FF: Don’t Feed the Black Dog

Don’t Feed the Black Dog*

 Genre: Realistic fiction, (dark) humour

Word count: 151 (sorry, Rochelle, I tried!)


She sends a photograph skittering across the caramel-colored desk.

emmylgant-friday fictioneers. 3.11.16

This beautiful photograph is by Emmy L. Gant; sorry I took it in a different direction, Emmy.

“What do you see?”

“What’s this, some new version of the Rorschach?” I crack a joke about Welcome Back, Kotter, conflating Horshack and Rorschach. Ah, before her time. Shouldn’t have said that.

“Jennifer, basically I just want to gauge how you’re feeling before we start the assessment.”

“Okay, but I think musically sometimes. Heavy cloud, but . . . no rain?” I offer my best Sting impression.


Another flopper. Why can’t I get this right? Fecking feck. She probably thinks I have multiple personalities now.

“Unh-huh.” She scribbles down something I can’t see. “In your own words, what’s your mood today?”

I find myself counting the indentations on the ceiling. 23-24-25.

“Uhhh? I’m a resilient mess. Most of the time. I guess.” You indecisive moron!

“I see. Can we proceed to the PHQ-9 now?”

“Sure. I got nothin’ better to do.”

*Note: I much prefer the metaphor and idea of “miasma” for describing depression to that of the “black dog,” because I love dogs, but many people do connect with it. Hence the titling.

This short story/flash fiction was crafted for March 11th’s Friday Fictioneers, which is lovingly curated by Rochelle as always. I hope you’ll stop by her post(s)—this lady’s got novels and short stories galore—and take some time to read other FF posts. With the variety of stories, it’s easy for me to make this promise: you’ll be amused, surprised, entertained, moved, and, very possibly, shocked. .


12 thoughts on “FF: Don’t Feed the Black Dog

  1. Maybe better to stop the wise-cracking (or is it “cracking wise”?) and try to answer the questions more sensibly methinks, especially during the PHQ-9 (which I Googled!). Great story!

    • Hey, Norma. Not sure if we’ll ever be normal, or if I’d want to be, but things are smoothing out. Thanks for commenting, and I don’t know if you’re going through a literal or fictional/figurative move, but if so, I wish you much light and luck. You’re right–and I love the metaphor of a house being a person in our lives, an embodiment if not a body–that moving is a mixed-emotion experience. There’s sadness, then there’s also a swirl of worry and excitement about the place that’s new to you. Anyway, I wish you the best, as always!

      • Thanks for your best wishes Leigh and sending lots of positive energy your way too. I’m literally moving – to my new home. But you are so right in saying about the moving process. Thankfully the net is up and running but there are lots of other things on the list.

      • I hope you’ve had a safe move then, Norma. At least there is having the Internet working, which I know is a luxury, but it’s nice, isn’t it? Hope you get back to writing/blogging and art-making soon!

      • Thanks Leigh. I think I’m getting back to my normal routine which means I’ll be able to do all the things I enjoy doing. Take care dear friend. 🙂

    • Thanks, Andrea. She might be a nice one to explore. I’m sometimes on the fence about exploring the darker, riskier parts of my psyche and past experiences, but at the same time, I think that’s where you have to go if you want your writing to be meaningful to other people and help them in some way (if only to show ‘how not to do it’ in some cases).

  2. Leigh I’m not so fond of the black dog, as a term or in real life. Although this post was from some time ago I wanted to send hugs to you and your family should any be helpful. Sending visions of playful puppies and sunny days ahead.

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