Canine Curse

by Julia Cryne

“Hey, Macca! Some bird’s ‘ere to see yer sorry arse!” John called to Paul from their stage door.

“Comin’, Johnny.” Paul stretched and got up. He came over to the door, only to see an elderly gypsy woman, clad in flowing purple robes, with large gold hoop earrings. Her blackish, now gray hair was pulled back with a bandanna.

“’re you de one they call Paul McCartney?” she rasped, with a thick Romanian accent.

“Um, yes. Can I help you, Mrs. . . . . . ?”

“No Mrs. You can call me Madame Tusant. I come vith varning for you and de other Be-atles.”

Paul then replied, “Well, if it involves the others as well, you can come in and talk to us all.” She entered the small backstage room, where the Beatles were waiting before a concert in San Francisco. “So what is this exactly about, Madame Tusant?” Paul questioned, once the door was closed.

“You all are in grave danger. I come to varn you now, that after de show, you will come against someone dressed like me, who vould like very much to curse you.” The boys regarded this strange foreign woman with silence, not ready to listen to some old crackpot, bent on scaring them. “You no believe me. That is fine. I try, and you will pay de price. Bevare the canine curse.” She cackled, and fled the room.

“Well, she was a bit crackers, eh mates?” Ringo asked.

“Yea, but we should tell Nell and Mal, just in case.” George said decisively, and told their trusted security guards.

The boys did the show, performing in front of thousands of their adoring fans. It went well, and no “incidents” occurred, so they fell into a false sense of security. The four mop tops headed back stage, to their room, and made it safely inside. Neil and Mal posted a steady watch outside the door, just in case. Soon, a problem arose with a group of rabid fans, so Neil left Mal, to check it out. Mal waited for quite some time, then decided that the crackpot wasn’t coming, and went down the hall, and around the corner to get a drink. As soon as he was gone, an odd woman came from the opposite corner, and rushed into the room, silently. Only George and John were awake, and they tried to call out to Mal or Neil, but their voices clogged in their throats, and everything went black. Mal just missed the odd gypsy woman as she left the boys’ room.

After about an hour, Neil and Mal were told to take the boys to their hotel room. Neil opened the door, and started off with the orders, “Well, lads, time to go to yer . . . . .” He trailed off when he realized that the boys were no where to be seen. “Find them!” He ordered Mal, and the whole security staff went out to look. John, Paul, George, and Ringo came quietly out from behind the bed, where they had awoken a few moments earlier. The only thing different about them, was that they all had brown, drooped tails, four brown paws (each) and a wet nose. They noticed each other, and ran in front of a full-length mirror. The four bewildered creatures stopped dead in their tracks. Staring back at them, where humans should be, were four little brown English cocker spaniels.

The four dogs yelped, and a few security men, who didn’t know about the threat, came in. “It’s just some bloody dogs!” One of the men yelled over the racket. “Well, get them the hell outta here, ‘fore we’re fired!” The two unknowing men chased our four furry friends out of the building, into the night.

The friends soon figured out that they could communicate with each other, through the doggy language. “Woof, woof, arf, bark!” Ringo asked John.

“I don’t bloody know how we’re gonna get outta this one! So don’t ask!” John responded.

“Well, hate to be the pessimistic one, but fellas, here comes the DOG CATCHER!” George yelled, and all of them tried vainly to get away, but the dogcatcher and his young assistant caught them in no time. The uncaring pound official threw them into the truck, and rode off.

“Johnny, I don’t wanna die! I’m too young and talented!” Ringo whined.

“No son, yer not, but I don’t want you to die anyway.” John replied.

“Hey, shuddap back there!” the catching assistant called from the front. They quieted, and soon, the four dogs arrived at their unwanted destination. The assistant put them individually into some small steel-bared cages, to suffer with their fellow animals. They had missed the pound’s feeding time, and they, as humans, had not yet eaten before the spell was cast, so all in all, the four of them were practically starving. They would get no food that night.

The next morning, they decided to try an escape. “Come ‘ead lads! We ‘ave human brains! All of us put together could think of something!” John tried to encourage any idea.

“I can’t think of nothin’ on an empty stomach.” Ringo complained.

“I want to go home!” Paul injected.

“Well, unless some clever lad on our security team figures out that we’re here, we will be stuck here.” George pointed out.

Then, the head dogcatcher came into the room, carrying a syringe. He approached John’s cage, and tried to prick him, but John wouldn’t hold still. Suddenly, a call came, and the man withdrew the needle.

“A lady’s here to adopt some dogs. She wants to look at our collection.” shouted the assistant.

“This is our chance, guys!” Paul barked softly.

“Yeah, so look cute!” John said.

Then, the pound official came back in, with a lovely young woman, in her early twenties. “So, what exactly are you looking for?” he asked.

“Well, I want a few dogs, but I feel so bad about the ones in the pound, you know, they could be put to sleep or something, so I decided to come here. I don’t have a special breed in mind, but not any dogs that are vicious or really big.” The woman spoke gently, and her eyes searched the cages, looking with pity at the sad animals in them. Then, she noticed the four brown English spaniels. The woman smiled, and asked the man a question. “What about those dogs, there?”

“Oh, we just got them in. Those are a real nice breed, but maybe you’d like these brittanys over here.” The man didn’t want anyone to take the English spaniels until his niece decided if she wanted one.

“Oh, that’s nice, but I think I might want those.” She walked up to Paul’s cage, and he pressed his nose against the bars. The man opened them, and she scooped Paul into her arms. “He’s soft.” He turned his eyes up at her, and willed her to take him and the others home. “Yes, I think I’ll take all four of them!”

“Well, um, that one’s afoully mean-tempered.” He pointed to John. The woman leaned over towards his cage, and her soft brown hair fell into her face. John wagged his tail, and tried to act nice. She smiled.

“Well, he looks alright to me. How much for the four of them? They look like friends anyhow. I wouldn’t want to separate them.” The man sighed, and got the bill ready. He got four collars, and four leashes-which he attached to each dog. She took the guys out to her little red car, and drove home.

“Welcome to my home, sweet home!” the lady said to her new pets, as they entered a nice, two story brick home. She removed their leases, and collars. “Well, ya’ll will need some names! So what should I call you?” She seemed to think, then marched to the TV and turned it on, for ideas. An announcer in a boring gray suit, came on, looking serious, as a picture behind him showed the Beatles.

“ . . . .loveable mop tops were declared missing at the police station, in downtown San Francisco, early this morning. They are asking that anyone who knows the whereabouts of these four men would kindly report them to the police. The city is on a frantic search for John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. . . . . . . .” She turned off the television.

“Well, how do those names sound?” the dogs wagged their tails. “Who’ll be John?” She asked, and John ran up and licked her face. “Ok, you’re John. Paul?” Paul bounded up, and hopped into her lap, his tail wagging nonstop. “Alright, Paul you are. Now, George?” George shyly jogged up and nuzzled her leg. “Ok, Ringo must be you then!” Ringo came forward and jumped up and down, like a spring. The woman laughed. “Now that you have names, I’ll get you collars and tags, so you won’t go back to the pound.” Then the doorbell rang, and the dogs ran to the door, followed closely by the lady. She opened it, and another blonde woman came in.

“Hey, Caroline!” said the blonde.

“How are you, Shirley? Look at my new dogs! Aren’t they great?” said Caroline.

“There’s four of them, Car! My God, that’s a lot of dogs. I thought you were gonna get, like one or two, but four?” Shirley accidentally kicked George in the excitement, and he yelped. Caroline, bent over, and picked him up.

“Are you ok, George? Ohhh. It’s ok, sweetie.” She cuddled him, and he licked her cheek.

“My God, Car! It’s just a dumb dog.” John growled. She backed away, but continued. “Sheesh! You treat them as though they’re humans!” Shirley whined, in a nasal voice.

“Well, they’re real smart.” Caroline explained, as she put George down. “They named themselves.”

“What?” Shirley asked, skeptically. “Well, I saw the Beatles on TV, and called each of their names, and the dogs all picked which name they wanted, and they even respond to them. Watch.” Caroline called Paul, then John. Each came, obediently.

“Lemme try!” Shirley called Ringo’s name, but he didn’t come. “That’s what I thought. Ringo didn’t come when I called.” Caroline called Ringo, and he jogged up.

“He did for me.”

Shirley snorted. “Well, I hafta go. I have better things to do then hang out here with these stupid dogs.” Paul barked at her, and George growled. Shirley hurried out of the house.

“Now what was that all about? You guys don’t like her at all, huh?” George lay down. “Well, I guess I don’t blame ya. She has a definite mean side.” John sniffed, and walked over to the back sliding door. “Do you guys want to go outside?” She slid open the door, and the four guys ran out into a beautiful garden, and fenced in back yard.

Meanwhile, at the security center of the area, were several security men, and an old gypsy woman.

“Tell us what you did with them.” Mal growled.

The woman laughed evilly, but didn’t respond.

“Look, we will press charges. And, we know your friends’ names. You know, in your gypsy caravan.”

She stopped laughing, and glared at them. “I turn them into dogs.”

“Come on, tell us the truth.”

“I did. You no believe, too bad.”

“Well, can you tell us where they are now?”

“No. I just know that they are dogs.” Then, two security guards meekly stepped forward, and told Mal about the incident earlier with the English cocker spaniels.

“And you just chased them out?” Mal’s blood pressure was rising.

“Yes, sir.” answered one of them. Mal smacked his head in frustration.

“Let’s check the pound, and see if they were put in there.” Neil suggested.

“ . . . . Never treats me, sweet and gentle, the way that he should. I’ve got it bad, and that ain’t good. . . .” Billie Holiday sang along with the sad piano player. Caroline had always fancied blues. She loved rock and roll, but the blues was her favorite. And jazz was good too, come to think of it. The dogs were quiet, listening to the music. They were very smart dogs. They acted like they could understand English. It was almost odd. But Caroline loved her new pets. They really were more like family, though.

She got up from the chair, where she was petting Paul, and the others looked up. They followed her upstairs, and came into the bedroom. Caroline took out her nightgown, stripped, and changed clothes. The dogs watched her curiously. She didn’t mind, though. They were after all, just dogs. Even if they were very cute and intelligent, they were dogs, not men.

“You guys almost make me think that you are way smarter than me, sometimes. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised.” She stretched, and crawled into the satin covers. The dogs jumped up on the bed, and Paul squirmed under the covers beside her. George curled up by her feet with Ringo, and John settled down on the pillow next to her face.

At about midnight, Caroline stirred, and felt someone’s breath on her face. She opened her eyes, and saw John, the dog. The others were crowed by the door, whining softly. She got up, and opened the bedroom door. The dog posse ran down the stairs, to the door. Caroline followed, cautiously. Someone was at the door. “Who could that be, so late?” she whispered to herself. She grabbed a baseball bat, and opened the door, with the bat ready.

“Who are you?” she demanded. The dogs went wild, and jumped on the two men, barking and wagging their tails.

“My name is Mal Evans, and this is Neil Aspinall. Did you just get these dogs from the pound?”

“Well, yes, but what on earth could be so important that you come here at this hour?”

“Are you Miss Caroline Donnelly?” “Y-yes. What do you want with me?”

“Can we come in? I’d like to discuss this in private.” “No. You will stay there. There’s no way that I’m letting a stranger in here at this hour.”

“Listen, we’re with the Beatles, . . .”

She cut him off, “I don’t give a damn who you're with, or if you were the president! You’re not coming in!” Caroline raised her bat. “Now, state you business, and leave!”

“Well, you have the Beatles, and we need them back. So they can be turned human again.”

“Listen mister, I’m not one for practical jokers in the night, so you can go try someone else, I don’t have the Beatles here.”

“We’re not jokin', mum. And it seems that you do.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Then Paul whined at her feet, and John bit down on Mal’s trouser leg, and led him inside. Neil gestured to a car, and some more men and the kind gypsy who warned the Beatles earlier stepped inside. “Now could someone please tell me what the hell is going on, before I call the police?”

“I am the police, ma’am.” said an officer by the gypsy woman. Caroline stood in her nightie, dumbfounded.

“Bu-ut, um, why, how, um, wha?” was all that she managed, before she fainted. Paul licked her face, and the dogs assembled before the gypsy woman.

She began to chant, and laid down some magic rocks in a circle around them. Then she took out some herbs, and added them. She asked that everyone join hands around the circle, and a bright light flashed, which knocked everyone but the gypsy down. In the circle lay John, Paul George, and Ringo, in human form. The boys sat up, and looked around, and seeing Caroline unconscious, George went and got a wet rag, while Ringo fixed some tea. John explained everything to Mal and Neil. The other security men and the gypsy left. Paul stayed at Caroline’s side, and spoke gently to her, when she awakened. He explained what had happened to them, and thanked her for being so kind.

That’s when John came over. “How are ya feeling, luv?”

“Um, confused, but better.”

“You really told Mal! You weren’t afraid of him at’all, even though he’s a head taller than you. Wow, I’m impressed.”

“Uh, thanks, I think.” Caroline replied. John grinned broadly. Paul kissed her forehead, and George put the cloth on her head when Paul moved. Ringo brought her some tea, and she took it.

“You guys are being really nice to me. I really appreciate it.”

“Bawh, luv! You took care of us well. We owe you some care in return.” Paul said.

“No, you don’t owe me anything! Really, I’m ok, see?” Caroline stood up.

“Do you want to change, luv? You're just in a nightie.” George suggested.

“Nah. If you were dogs just a few hours ago, you’ve already seen me naked, so this is more clothing than you're used to.” She smiled when they all blushed.

“Let’s go, lads.” Mal called.

“Come with us.” Paul said.

“Yeah. You never know what’ll happen when we’re around!” John said.

“Well, ok, but now, I’ll need to get some more dogs!” Caroline replied.

Written by Julia Cryne. May not be reproduced in any form, by any means, without prior consent from the author. Consent may be obtained by e-mail.

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