Skip to main content

"IT'S A DOG GONE SHAME!" by Jayne Ormerod

     "Well, isn’t that odd?” Meg Gordon paused at the foot of a crepe myrtle tree and stared at the collection of colorfully painted rocks assembled around its trunk. They ranged in size from a Peppermint Patty to a decent-sized pancake. Each rock commemorated a neighborhood dog who had crossed the rainbow bridge. Officially it was called the Haverford Community Garden; unofficially The Dog Gone Garden.
Today, there was an empty space where one rock should have been, a green and yellow rock that held a special place in Meg’s heart. There was nothing more than a small muddy hole there now.
“Where did Scruffles’ rock go?” she asked her dog, Cannoli.
     The tawny terrier mix responded by wagging his tail as he looked around in search of his best friend.
Scruffles was a long-haired dachshund who had belonged to their elderly neighbor Mrs. Bennett. He had escaped from his yard and been squished by a car a few months ago, leaving many broken hearts behind. Mrs. Bennett’s recent hip surgery prevented her from making the daily pilgrimage to visit the commemorative rock. Right now, it was the only connection to the woman’s much-loved canine companion. She’d asked Meg and Cannoli to check on it every day. Which they did anyway. They all missed Scruffles so much.
“It has to be around here somewhere.” Meg talked to her dog like he was human. Someday he’d answer her back. “Let’s see if we can find it.”
Cannoli went into sniffing mode, following his nose along the oyster-shell path. He’d trot a few feet, and then backtrack before heading off in another direction. His tail wagged as he worked, but he never followed a trail very far before returning to her side.
Meg laughed at his antics. “Don’t waste your energy,” she said. “I don’t see it anywhere. I bet Dharma took it to touch up that chipped paint.” Dharma was the artist credited with creating the beautiful rocks in the Dog Gone Garden. “Let’s stop and see her on our way home.”
     It was a beautiful early fall day in the community that hugged the Chesapeake Bay. Meg and Cannoli enjoyed the stroll along the sidewalks that meandered through the neighborhood that showed the progression of housing design; from early 1900s beach bungalows to cozy post-WWII Cape Cods to 1950s split levels and on to 1960s brick ranchers. Some were well maintained, others less so. It was an eclectic, some might say dilapidated, community, but Meg was happy to call it home.



Popular posts from this blog

What’s Real in Your Fiction? by Heather Weidner

Recently, I was asked, "How much research do you actually do for fiction and how much of your work is true?” There’s quite a bit of research that goes into writing mysteries. I want to make sure that my stories are plausible and as accurate as possible. Readers notice when writers make mistakes. I mix quite a bit of “real” in my short stories and novels. All of my settings are actual places. I tend to put my works in Virginia cities and counties because I write what I know.  If a crime occurs, I make up that location's name. I wouldn't put a horrific or violent event at a real restaurant or store. But if you've been to the cities, you'll recognize landmarks, neighborhoods, and street names. I get ideas for crimes and capers from real cases, but I usually take liberties with the details. In my short story, "Washed up," in Virginia is for Mysteries, a beat up suitcase washes up on Chick's Beach, and it's filled with some mysterious contents. Back in …

IT'S ALL ABOUT OUR DOGS Interview with Heather

Tell us about the furry members of your family. I have a pair of Jack Russell Terriers from the same litter. The dynamic duo includes Disney, the brunette, and her brother Riley who looks a lot like Petey from the “Our Gang Comedies.” They are high energy, inquisitive little dogs. And they keep us on our toes.
How did your dog pick you to be his fur-ever mom? We had two older dogs who passed within three months of each other. Our house was so lonely without them. We went looking one day at puppies. My husband picked up Disney, and I picked up Riley. We couldn’t decide, so both of them joined our family. They are sister and brother from the same litter.
What is your dog’s favorite toy? These two are obsessed with sock monkey toys. We have about ten of them around the house. They are JRTs, so everything is a game to them.
Is the dog in your story in To Fetch a Thief based at all on your dog? It is. It’s based on my little female JRT. She’s a bundle of energy, a great companion, and she always …


<<This is the story of how four mystery writers met, and how the friendships  that developed led to collaboration on To Fetch a Thief.>>
     Writers seek out writers. It’s what we do. We join writing groups, not just to give us someone to hang out with on a Saturday afternoon, but because other writers get the angst of writing, the frustration when the words won’t come, the disappointment with each rejection. Perhaps most importantly, these communities give like-minded mystery writers a chance to discuss the various ways to kill people . . . in the literary sense!      One national community that supports our passion is Sisters in Crime ( and offers chapters that meet locally. Mystery by the Sea serves southeastern Virginia, and Central Virginia chapter serves the Richmond area. The two chapters collaborated on three short-mystery collections; Virginia is for Mysteries, Virginia is for Mysteries Volume 2, and 50 Shades of Cabernet.
     We hit the road, li…