Every Dog Has His Day
by Jeff Baker
Snow flurries were skittering through the air as the huge black dog jumped in the snow. He hadn’t been in snow in a long time.
“Cerberus!” came the voice. His master kept himself from saying “here boy!”
The Elysian Fields gave away quickly to the icy purgatory where the dog was merrily romping. His master, Hades, Lord of the Underworld, stalked across the plain in his dark armor. Hades grumbled under his breath that while black spiked armor was intimidating to the newly-dead it was no good for trudging after a wayward dog.
Usually Cerberus stayed at the entrance where he was supposed to, as a guard dog to Hades’ realm. But sometimes he wandered off.
“The Hell with it,” Hades muttered. “Here boy! Here boy!” The Lord of the Underworld whistled for the first time in hundreds of years and was rewarded with a happy barking. But not with the sight of the animal bounding towards his master. He did see the dog’s tracks in the snow, however.
“All right, all right,” Hades grumbled again as he trudged on the ice. “Here’ boy! Come on!”
Hades quickly realized that armored iron boots were no good for walking on ice and snow as he slid, then slipped and landed with a clatter on his backside.
The sound echoed off the icy walls and over the icy river that ran through the realm, a river of woe and torment. In the river, the six young men in thin tunics had been shivering hip-deep in the icy water since the Trojan War. They hadn’t smiled in all that time. Now they were laughing at the sight of Hades sliding on his butt on the ice.
Hades paid them no heed. He saw Cerberus romping in the snow a few yards away. He had a thought.
“Here boy!” Hades called loudly as he tossed a snowball in the dog’s direction. Cerberus happily yapped and dove for the snowball which burst between his jaws. His only set of jaws, it was a Greek writer who had never seen him who started the story that the dog had three heads.
The dog looked up expectantly, happily wagging his tail.
“Here, boy!” Hades said, waving the snowball and tossing it in the direction of the Elysian Fields which those condemned to the ice fields could neither see nor enter. The dog barked and happily ran in the snowball’s direction followed carefully by Hades.
“Good boy, good boy,” Hades said scratching Cerberus behind the ears. The dog gave his master the look which universally said: “Where did my snowball go?”
“Come on, we’ll find something for you,” Hades said as he and the dog walked toward the main portion of the Underworld.
Hades made a note to himself to contact Hephaestus about making iron boots with better traction in snow. Because he wasn’t running after the dog in these slick boots again.
There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell…