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David Brendan Hopes

The Dog with White Eyes




Disembodied technical voice.


Setting: a blasted heath


Daithi: I have a story to tell you.


Francis: Not the one about tall Saorise. I heard that one already.


Daithi: Well, if you heard that one I won’t be telling it again, will I? 


Francis: God in heaven, I don’t know one way or the other.


Daithi: OK. This is about a dog.


Francis: I like stories about dogs.


Daithi: I know you do. When I tell it you this, you have to make sure the dog moves the way dogs move and not like a man. In your mind’s eye, I mean. When you see it.


Francis: Why in God’s name would I–


Daithi: The whole thing’s stupid if the dog moves like it was a man. 


Francis: Like, a man in a dog suit?


Daithi: Any way at all.


Francis: I’ll remember that.


Daithi: There’s a dog with white eyes. I saw him over the hill there, or maybe the one past that.


Francis: Is he blind then?


Daithi: He is not. He looked at me, the way you know somebody is looking at you. His eyes were white, the pupils of them.


Francis: You’re meaning pale blue.


Daithi: Pale blue it was, maybe, but near enough to white that it didn’t matter. Like a fairy dog in a story.


Francis: You and your stories.


Daithi: What do you mean me and my stories?


Francis: Do you think it was a fairy dog?


Daithi: Yeats has a story about fairy dogs.


Francis: Can we have done with Yeats for five minutes? 


Daithi: Have it your own way then. Besides, the eyes were the only fairy thing about him. A big red dog with a wide red head and those white eyes. He wagged his tail a bit. 


Francis: Did he?


Daithi: The way you do, you know, when you’re meeting someone new, and you’re a dog.


Francis: If I go over the hill, or maybe the one past that, do you think I’ll see the dog with white eyes?


Daithi: Maybe. I’d be terrified if you did not. But maybe it was just for me, the dog was, the way those things are sometimes.


Francis: Something like that must mean something.


Daithi: It must.


Francis: Maybe it means a boat is going to sink under you or you’ll be bitten by a mad dog.


Daithi: Maybe it means I’m going to be digging in the field and find a diamond the size of the dog’s white eye.

Francis: One or the other. You never know.


Daithi: You never know.


Francis: Who’d be leaving a diamond in a field then?


Daithi: Those old queens, the ones in the books. They were a wasteful lot.


There is silence for a while. A kind of sparrow sings from a pile of stone.


Francis: What is that, then.


Daithi: A bird singing from a stone. A kind of sparrow.


Francis: You were always a great hand with the birds. Do you think it means something then?


Daithi: The little brown bird?


Francis: Or maybe the stone beneath it. When two things come together like that you never know what is thing you’re looking at and what the thing you put aside.


Daithi: Like a painting and its frame.


Francis: Not unlike that.


Daithi: If we're meant to know, we would know. The stone would speak or the bird would spit fire. Something. 


Francis (noticing something in the distance): God above! Is that a red dog coming over the hill, following the road there?


Daithi: It is, I think.


Francis: Is it THAT one then?


Daithi: I think it is.


Francis: There’s more than one dog in the world.


Daithi: I think it’s him, though.


Francis: The one with the white eyes?


Daithi: It looks it for sure. Same wide head. The wagginess of the tail.


Francis: By God it’s making for us.


Daithi: It is that.


Francis: We need to run. We need to go the other way. I think you can see a dog with white eyes once a day and go on as you were, but after that–


Daithi: How would you know anything about it? I was the one who saw it, anyhow. 


Francis: I know something.


Daithi: What?


Francis: It’s not at peace.


Daithi: What do you mean?


Francis: Maybe it’s coming at us now instead of curled on a hearth rug somewhere because you were the wrong one and the message it has from the Other World was for me.


Daithi: Why wouldn’t it be for me then? I’m the one the dog found.


Francis: Dogs go astray.


Daithi: Fairy messengers do not. 


Francis: I don’t know that. I recall that one time when my mother–


Daithi: Oh, don’t be going on about that again. I’ve heard all I need to hear about your mother and the Black and Tans.


Francis: The ghosts of the Black and Tans.


Daithi: Whoever it was, then. The dog with the white eyes came to me.


Francis: But look at you! What business would the Other World be having with you? I’m tall and lean as a stick. I left that hazel tree stand when you told me a hundred times to cut it down.


Daithi: Hazel tree for God’s sake–


Francis: I’m the one with strange dreams I have to tell you about and you have to listen.


Daithi: I suppose you are.


Francis: He didn’t do his job, the dog with the white eyes. He can look at you and wag his tail, but if he sees me he’ll go on fire, or speak with the voice of a human being–


Daithi: In Irish


Francis: In Irish,  and that would be the end of us. 


Pause. Then Daithi comes to the edge of the stage and says:


Daithi: This is an awkward end to the story unless you believe that the white eyed dog is approaching from some ways off. But not that far off. People don’t want to sit there the whole time waiting for something like that to come.


Francis (doing as Daithi did): At some point we will need a– what do you call the thing?


Daithi: A crisis? A Climax?


Francis: Yeah, a thing like that. We will have to turn and run. If the screams we let out then are convincing enough, you will run behind us, out the door, all astray. 


Daithi: The whole lot of you. Even the stupid ones.


Francis: The stupid ones first. I’ll wager.


Daithi (To the tech crew): Unless you can think of a way to make the dog go on fire. I say–


From the Booth: NO!

Daithi and Francis look at each other, then at the direction from which the white eyed dog approaches at a wolf’s lope. They began backing off the stage as the lights come down. They break into a dead run before the lights go out.

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