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“Hello, I’m Carmel Bird and this is a true story about my dog. It’s a tale of mystery, money and the supernatural.
A few years ago when I was living in the city I felt the need for a companion in the form of a small white dog. My daughter is an expert at finding dogs for humans, so she was on the case. We investigated several shelters, but to no avail. I grew tired of the hunt and finally decided to buy a new puppy. The price was high so taking a common sense approach I went one day to the credit union and opened a special purpose account.
‘What is the purpose?’ asked the teller.
‘I am buying a dog.’
There was a sudden burst of sunlight that radiated instantly from within the teller. Her gold bracelets jangled, her spectacles winked, her lovely teeth gleamed at me with pleasure.
‘Oh,’ she said, ‘a dog! What kind?’
‘Yes. They are so beautiful. You are doing the right thing.’
So the account was opened:
‘For Purchase of Dog’.
When I got home my daughter called me. She was out at the RSPCA with a sad little Maltese in her arms.
I rushed out to see him, and there he was, a tiny, bewildered, skin and bone creature. Love at first sight.
My daughter named him Rafael, after the Archangel and I took him to visit the lady at the credit union. She lit up all over again.
He likes to grub in the bushes by the side of the road and one time he emerged from the bush with something in his mouth. It was a mobile phone.
I took the phone home and contacted the owner. Before long she was jogging down the front path, ponytail flying, sunglasses on top of her head, pink lycra and silver trainers flashing in the sun.
Without a break in the bouncing, she reached out and swept the phone from my palm.
‘Thanks,’ she said, and was gone.
I never heard from her again. Did I receive a card, a note, an email, a text? Roses? Champagne? Right, I did not.
A few years later I was selling the house in the city and moving to the country. There would be an auction. On the first day of the house inspections I planned to be far away but, somehow, I was still in the study. Behind me a voice said:
‘Hi, remember me.’
Sure enough, there she was, her ponytail and trainers intact.
On auction day, going, going, gone, she bought the house.
No roses, no champagne, just a cheque for the deposit, balance due in sixty days.
How the spectacles of the lady at the credit union sparkled and twinkled. How she clapped her hands and rattled her bracelets.
‘What a dog!’ she said. ‘What a dog!’ ”
ABOUT CARMEL BIRD:
Carmel Bird has published thirty books including novels, collections of short fiction, and books on writing, most recently Writing the Story of your LIfe. She is a popular workshop leader. Her website is www.carmelbird.com and her blog is www.carmel-bird.blogspot.com
Carmel has been a constant presence at Varuna through her many books but particularly her “How to Write” books that have been guiding writers for almost a quarter of a century!
For a full list of publications visit Carmel’s website
Child of the Twilight
The White Garden
The Bluebird Café
CRIME & COMIC
Open for Inspection
The Essential Bird
The Common Rat
HOW TO WRITE
Writing the Story of Your Life
Not Now Jack
Century of Australian Stories
The Stolen Children
Fathers and Daughters
Red Hot Notes
The Cassowary’s Quiz
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