Ripple Meets the Deep, the short story

Ripple Meets the Deep—title story—an excerpt

by Jason Tinney

Just after six in the morning, the moon still hanging in the sky with the sun rising in the East, the three of them, father and son, Jubal in the middle, took off in Randall’s pickup truck headed for the “super secret fishing spot,” as Randall called it. They looked like an advertisement for Bass Pro Shop.

Randall was not a talker. He was prickly, easily agitated and had not mellowed in his 60s. Wayne made the decision before he arrived that he would not initiate a conversation unless the moment absolutely presented itself. In the past, idle chatter when they were together only resulted in more prolonged periods of silence. It was better to speak only when spoken to.

However, after a few miles of driving, Wayne seized on a topic he felt might have traction. “Where’d you get Jubal?” he said.

The dog pricked his ears and looked at Wayne, his tongue hanging out.

“I found him online. He’s a rescue. Went down to South Carolina to get him.”

“That’s a long haul for a dog,” Wayne said.

“Not that bad. Worth it.” Randall scratched the back of Jubal’s neck, his eyes still on the road. “Spent ten minutes with him and I was convinced. They found him wandering around some railroad tracks scavenging for food. When I got him home he ate so damn fast I had to put a metal ball in the bowl to slow him down. Probably thought it might be his last meal.”

Wayne stared out the window. Log homes sat off the road, hemmed in by thick woods suggesting a rugged, frontier lifestyle, but these houses started at $400,000 and were designed with every amenity found in American Dingo 2civilization. “What’s the mix?” Wayne said.

“Mix?” Randall gave Wayne a look as if he’d just been insulted. “Jubal’s a Carolina Dog.”

“A what?”

“A Carolina Dog.”

“He looks like a dingo,” Wayne said.

“He is. This particular breed is also known as the American Dingo. They live out in the wild.”

“Well, if he’s wild, he’s got to be some kind of mix,” Wayne said.

“Well, uh, Carolina Dogs can have all kinds of bloodlines.”

“So, essentially he’s a particular breed of mutt.”

Randall bristled: “If you want to be crass about it.”

Randall and Wayne turned down a dirt road and arrived at a spot that opened to a wide swath of Deep Creek Lake, the shoreline bordered by hemlocks, spruces, red and white pines. Tucked in the cradle of Savage to the north, Backbone to the south, the clouds left shadowed bruises upon the mountains, three-thousand feet above sea level…