Cur Dogs is a violent fiction about terrible places, terrible creatures, terrible people, terrible decisions and the terrible realization of just what it takes to do the job.
So, what’s it about?
Cur Dogs is set in 1978 … sort of. Disco and bell bottoms are on the way out. Escaping the squalor of Earth, and establishing oneself on the new planet frontier, is in.
Luckily, the new planet is easy enough to travel to, for those who have the money. But, getting there is the end of the easy part. Life in the port city offers hope, but really only delivers struggle after struggle. Deportations are common. Securing lasting employment is difficult, at best. That’s why the goal for most is to get to the sister city where things are better. However, getting there is tightly restricted. Money—lots of it—will get you there.
That, or it takes a risk bigger than most dreams.
The desperate poor—assuming they scrape up enough dough—often hire semi-legal Chaperones to escort them across a terrible wilderness to reach the good life.
The story of Cur Dogs is about one of those Chaperones. Her name is Alice Henrietta Reigert, but she prefers to go by Etta … not that the majority of her co-workers gives a damn what she prefers. To them she’s Reigert, and she should be happy that’s all they call her.
Reigert reluctantly accepts an opportunity to advance her career. To get promoted from Swing Chaperone to Lead Chaperone, all she needs to do is babysit her lunatic partner and ensure he doesn’t screw anything up as they escort thirteen people across the outlands to the sister city. That is … without getting them broken by the terrain, poisoned by the vegetation, arrested by the Rangers, or eaten by the local wildlife.
Sounds straightforward enough. But the thing is, Reigert won’t be in charge. That role is assigned to her partner, and Lead Chaperone, Victor Stovall … and the hot-headed crank doesn’t work as a committee.
Reigert’s job is plainly cut out for her. It’s too bad some of the desperate thirteen “packages” plan on making cuts of their own along the way.
Keeping it all together may be Reigert’s job, and hope for a better life, but surviving another day at the office is her new priority.
Work is hell. But, people … man, people … are worse.
Vintage Ads From The World Of Cur Dogs
First things first, I should point out this novel has a lot of swearing, violence, a little dab of sexism, and plenty of general vulgarities for just about everyone to feel uncomfortable about. It’s designed this way to give the book a certain flavour. This means I don’t recommend it to sensitive readers, young teenagers or to my Mother.
Secondly, American readers may wonder why there are so many superfluous U’s, double L’s, and other weird spelling throughout this book. You see, I opted to use the Canadian and/or British spelling whenever I could. Now you know … and welcome to the Great White North.
Thirdly, about curs …
I learned early what a cur was. My great Aunt used to call our family dog one.
“Get that cur off my couch,” she’d yell.
Notice how she didn’t say, “Get that dog off my couch,” or “Get that mutt off my couch,” or “Get that mixed breed off my couch.” She didn’t say any of those things. She said “Cur” because she meant it as an insult.
The cur used to be a specialized working dog, bred for farm work and hunting. It never got the accreditation it deserved because, at the end of the day, it was seen as unrefined and somewhat brutal. To this day, it’s still used as a derogatory insult. The unkindness of history is a stain deeply soaked, I suppose.
Well, I say to hell with that. There are curs and there are dogs in this world. I know within which camp my tent is pitched.
This book is dedicated to the shit-shovellers, the abuse-takers, the grinders, the hacks and the curs out there doing whatever it takes to get the job done.