God of All Things

23 Jul

100 words for Friday Fictioneers a group of writers from around the world who meet at a virtual restaurant every week and choose one story from column A and two from column B. The head cook and bottle washer is Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and the stories are inspired by the photo prompt below from Marie Gail Stratford.

My story is a requiem for two goats, dear friends of a dear friend, mauled to death by a pack of wild dogs on a recent moonlit night. The link to the picture is obscure, but has its roots in the Japanese superstition about not placing chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice.

God of All Things


No luck today in my search.

In a shaded grove of tangled bamboo, iridescent Tui’s fill the air with mournful song. A shaft of sunlight bathes a low mound.

Khalil Gibran said, “Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation”.

I don’t blame the dogs. They are man’s best friend in daytime, but at night and in a pack they answer only to the moon.

I do blame the owners and pray we never meet.

In fresh turned earth I stand two lighted joss sticks, one for Brad, now at peace, and one for Calvin, still missing.




goat on stump




43 Responses to “God of All Things”

  1. Sandra July 23, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    Your story struck a chord with me, Doug. A friend’s husky, the sweetest-natured, funny, lovable creature, suffered a similar fate. My reaction wasn’t quite so erudite as that encapsulated by Khalil Gilbran – I expressed the hope that her husband would sue the ass off the owners of the two Pit Bulls responsible. And before Janet gets on to me, like you, I blame the owners too. The dogs were shot as they continued their rampage.

    I liked the way you clothed a savage and painful event in finely crafted prose, and the link was subtle. I was also prompted to re-visit some of Khalil’s quotations, always a rewarding way to spend an hour or so. Well done.

    • dmmacilroy July 23, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      Dear Sandra,

      The dog’s fate should be the owner’s fate. We’d have a politer and safer world for all of us.

      Thank you for such a wonderful comment. You said a lot with a little.

      Mahalo and Aloha,


  2. rochellewisoff July 23, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Dear Doug,

    The deep love and care for your friend is evident in your well-layered story. As always, you show the rest of us how it’s done.

    I hadn’t read the Khalil Gibran quote before. After reading that it was hard to read the rest through a blur of tears.

    I echo Sandra’s words for I don’t think I can do better.

    “There are 3 types of good friends: one that is direct and honest when they think you are wrong; one that is trust-worthy, dependable, and generous when you need help; and one that is knowledgeable and talented to guide you and show you what you can’t see.” Kong Fuzi-ily



    • dmmacilroy July 23, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

      Dear Rochelle,

      You are all three.

      Thank you for your kind and beautiful comment. I will share my Kleenex with you.



  3. sustainabilitea July 23, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    No point in trying to repeat what’s already been eloquently said. One of the saddest things about dog (or pet) ownership is that all too often the owners don’t really realize what ownership entails, including training and attention, and don’t look for a dog based on the compatibility between the needs of the breed and the needs of the owner. At best, it makes for a less-than-comfortable pet; at worst, something along the lines of your story.


    • dmmacilroy July 23, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

      Dear Janet,

      Your assessment of the problem is spot on. Humans ought to be held accountable for the actions of their pets. This would promote a heightened level of education and training for the owners and, at the very least, proper fencing for the dogs. We owe it to the animals we are stewards for to put in the effort.

      Thank you for your reasoned response and comments. I hope those that need to will learn from your input here.



  4. camgal July 23, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    Well, I would say that the three comments above have said everything I could possibly have said but I shall reiterate that the love you have for your friend is clearly and powerfully echoed in your beautifully written story. I love Khalil Gibran’s work and so this happens to be the part that resonates with me the most.

    Khalil Gibran said, “Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation”.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • dmmacilroy July 23, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

      Dear Camgal,

      Thank you for your beautiful comment. Yes, the Gibran quote is eloquent and powerful and yes, I do feel deeply the loss of my friend. She is a gentle and loving soul and had helped to nurse both goats back to health after a previous attack by the same dogs, only to see them killed six weeks later. What she endured (to say nothing of the goats ) broke my heart.

      Mahalo and Aloha,


  5. Helena Hann-Basquiat July 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    A beautiful piece of writing, Doug. The anger and sorrow come through so well, and that lovely image of the lighted joss sticks will remain with me all day.

    • dmmacilroy July 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      Dear Helena,

      Thank you for such a beautiful comment. Peace comes to all of us eventually. I hope Brad and Calvin are grazing happily in a better place, the joss sticks’ fragrance wafting across their fields.



  6. patriciaruthsusan July 23, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    Doug, I’m so sorry your friend has suffered that loss. I was just reading in the paper of the many dogs that are running loose in packs in the city where we live. They’re killing people and wildlife and spreading rabies. The only thing that’s done is to collect them and spay and neuter them. Sometimes it’s not done correctly and new litters are born. Sometimes the collected dogs are released in areas where they don’t belong and then fights break out with the resident dogs. We hear them howling and barking at night like packs of the wolves they’re descended from. A pack killed a small child not many months ago and the men of the neighborhood went out with guns and did what they considered needful, despite the law. It just keeps getting worse and worse and no one knows where it will end. It’s an extremely sad and terrifying situaltion. —Susan

    • dmmacilroy July 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

      Dear Susan,

      Laws be damned, is what I would say. I would have joined those townsfolk in eliminating the threat. Wild dogs are a danger to all and as their numbers grow, things will change.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  7. Sarah July 23, 2014 at 1:45 pm #


    What a beautiful and touching story. I particularly liked this bit, “…but at night and in a pack they answer only to the moon.”

    I’m so sorry for your friend, but I am glad she has you for support.


    • dmmacilroy July 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

      Dear Sarah,

      We are all driven by the moon, some more than others, and as such, are no different from all creatures on this planet.

      I thank you for your kind comment and for pointing out the line you liked.



  8. aliciajamtaas July 23, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    Doug, I’m too late to say what has already been said. Lovely (may I say gentle?) writing about a very sad event. I have a fear of all dogs – due to being chased by a bull dog when I was six. It’s kinda’ sad because, upon meeting a dog, friendly or not, I go into fear mode and they know it. Thus begins the stand-off. Thanks for a beautiful piece of writing.

    • dmmacilroy July 23, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

      Dear Alicia,

      Thank you for reading and commenting. When you come upon a dog, let them know you love them and then let your fear fall away. Dogs respond to love and they’ll know you mean well.

      I like the gentle comment. A nice thing to say.



  9. storydivamg July 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    Dear Doug,
    A finely crafted story this week. I like the way your character takes the superstition a step farther in an attempt to seek justice for his friends. The intro was also well-written and enlightening; however, without it I don’t think I would have known that Brad and Calvin were goats.

    My favorite line in your flash is the quote from Khalil Gibran. It’s perfectly placed.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    • dmmacilroy July 23, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

      Dear Marie,

      I knew that the identity of Brad and Calvin was going to be a sticking point, and so decided to put the only hint I could into the title. That there really was a Brad and Calvin and that this story is about them first and us humans second was what pushed me over the edge re not trying to shoehorn in some way of telling the reader that they were goats.

      God of All Things = GoATs

      It’s a stretch, but the rhythm and feel of the piece demanded it, I think.

      Thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate them more than I can say.

      Mahalo and Aloha,


      • storydivamg July 23, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

        You made me chuckle with the acrostic, Doug, which I had caught but not realized was intentional. (I’m so frequently pointing out allusions and such that writers of lower quality than you do not intend that I’ve stopped assuming these happenstances are on purpose. What’s a literary critique to do, after all?)

        Thanks for the interaction.

        All my best,

  10. David Stewart July 23, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    Doug, I love the description you use. It is such a serene scene you paint, placed like a piece of dark, funerary silk over the terror in the background of the story. I especially love the phrase, “they answer only to the moon.”

    • dmmacilroy July 23, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

      Dear Dave,

      Thanks for such a perceptive comment. I was thinking about the gentle spirits of Calvin and Brad as I wrote the piece. Perhaps that came through in the writing. I hope they are better off now. Re answering to the moon, thanks again. It fits dogs well, and many other creatures on this planet, including us.



  11. elmowrites July 23, 2014 at 5:32 pm #


    I made the mistake of reading all the other comments and now feel I have nothing left to say! Loved the beauty of the descriptions, those two especially great lines (Depths of love and dogs under the moon) and the images this conveyed. Just re-read the other comments you’ll get what I thought.
    Couple of minor concrits, first if you want the reader to know they are goats from the story alone, I think they need more obviously goat-y names – as it stands, they sound like men. Which isn’t a problem, just a note. And secondly, I think fresh-turned could use a hyphen.
    I love dogs, but I never completely trust them; their nature is still their nature, much like the rest of us.

    • dmmacilroy July 23, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

      Dear Jennifer,

      Because Brad and Calvin were real goats with personalities all their own and because their story is a true one, my story was for them. I left their names unchanged and used my introduction as a crutch. Unprofessional, yes, but in this case I forgive myself and hope my readers will also.

      Fresh-turned would have given me another word and I can always use an extra. Thank you for that and for your con-crit, which is a gift beyond price. I accept it gratefully.

      I know what you mean about dogs and their nature. Take away the ‘u’ from my name and I’m just a member of the pack, howling at the moon.

      Mahalo, Jennifer.

      And Aloha,


      • elmowrites July 23, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

        Agreed about the names – like I say, a note more than a critique – and I should have said this is a lovely tribute to them. As an animal-lover (I type this one-handed with a cat on my lap), I feel your friend’s loss.
        As for the extra word, you’ve already got 98 in hand from the other week. Maybe you could spare me some for my dubious word-count technology!!

  12. Woman_on_Pause July 23, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    I enjoyed how this explores a very difficult subject. Beautifully written.

    • dmmacilroy July 24, 2014 at 4:36 am #

      Dear WoP,

      Thank you very much. Definitely a difficult subject.



  13. lingeringvisions by Dawn July 23, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    I enjoyed your comments as much as your story.

    • dmmacilroy July 24, 2014 at 4:37 am #

      Dear Dawn,

      Thanks for that. Comments are easy. Stories are hard.



  14. Snow's Fissures and Fractures July 23, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    Friends come to our lives in many shapes and sizes , but too often we mistreat them and even betray them. Such a sad story in which humans turn out to be the ulitmate villains.

  15. Perry Block July 24, 2014 at 1:05 am #

    Doug, a very touching and expertly written piece, the kind that makes me wish I had a similar touch with the serious. Not a false note in it, and a true sense of passion for losses of all kinds.

  16. santoshwriter July 24, 2014 at 7:19 am #

    Moving story! Let’s hope that Calvin makes it home! Staying positive!

  17. draliman July 24, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    I love the way you described the difference in dogs in daytime and at night. Very well written.

  18. Indira July 24, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    Very touching and superbly written. That quote is beautiful and true.

  19. rgayer55 July 24, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    I really loved the quote, Doug. It’s in the same vein as the line from “Big Yellow Taxi” (you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone). I agree that owners should be responsible for the actions of their pets–that’s the way I was raised.

  20. wmqcolby July 24, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    I remember my dog, Max, who was predominately collie, part German shepherd. It was a match for me. He was strong, loyal and died of cancer when I was a fifth grader. Never had another dog since. I remember how I cried.

    By the way, to chime in on something already mentioned, pit bulls are really very nice dogs. It’s the owners who don’t take care of them properly that turn them into monsters. It was big controversy in KC several years ago. Lots of people got schooled on that.

    • dmmacilroy July 24, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

      Dear Kent,

      It’s not Pit Bulls, never was. It’s people.

      Thanks for reading.



      • wmqcolby July 24, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

        You’re welcome, Doug and you’re right … it’s people!

  21. Lynda July 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    I have lost a beloved cat and a whole flock of chickens to marauding dogs. Loved your work this week, Doug.

    • dmmacilroy July 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

      Dear Lynda,

      I think we all know someone who has experienced this sort of loss. It is heartbreaking and all too common.

      Thank you re the story.



  22. misskzebra July 25, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    A gorgeously worded story that I cannot fault. I think a lot of people feel that they are just entitled to own animals and that the pet will simply have to “make do” if the situation is not ideal. An interesting parallel to my own story of people who will do things while not thinking about the future. Obviously this one has a much more tragic ending.

  23. Nan Falkner July 26, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    Dear Doug, Your friend is so lucky to have you and you are a wonderful friend to her. This should never have happened and in a civilized world – it wouldn’t. It is quite a tribute you pay to your friends pets and I liked the ‘lighted joss sticks’ reference. You are a good human being! Nan 🙂

  24. Dee July 26, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    Dear Doug

    Your story left me feeling sad and angry,

    Some people should never have pets or children. I think a test of some kind is long overdue to root out those unspeakable morons who are incapable of looking after pets and children. They always leave good, upright, caring folk to deal with the consequences of their savagery.

    Thank goodness your friend has a friend like you!

    Perfectly crafted, as always


  25. Sarah Ann August 4, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    This is so beautifully told and clearly heartfelt. Thank you for the education about Japanese superstitions and vertical chopsticks.

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