The Curse of Being a Small Black Dog by Ricardo Fernandez

Published Issue 122, February 2024
Best of Birdy, Originally Published Issue 002, February 2014

My name is Harold and I’m a Miniature Werepoodle. I’m what you’d call a B-list monster. No one is scared of a man who, by the light of the waxing moon, turns into a black puffball. Really, the A-list monsters have it all. Vampires, Frankenstein and actual Werewolves have the best powers, the best transformation times and all the attention. Who says, “Don’t go outside! It’s a waxing moon tonight and the Mini Weredogs are out,” without laughing? 

I’m actually a fourth generation Werepoodle. My great grandfather really screwed over a gypsy. She cursed my family so hard that we all turn into little black dogs. 

My transformative condition has affected all areas of my life. I especially haven’t had the greatest success in dating. 

The last time I turned into my toy breed self in front of a woman was a complete fiasco. We were drinking some wine and, apparently, my judgment must have become impaired because I opened the blinds at her place and transformed. She laughed so hard she almost peed herself and spent the rest of the night watching rom-coms, eating ice cream and rubbing my belly. The next morning I woke up in my human form with a pink bow in my hair. There was a note on the table that said she had a great time and was glad I was her friend. I pissed on her rug before I let myself out.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people out there who hate all monsters. Even the poodle breed. Enough to kill them. Still, the A-list monsters even have the monopoly on cool ways to die. I mean, people have spent centuries trying all different methods to murder them. A few years ago I actually ran into Van Helsing in a bar. As he was taking a sip from his beer, I asked him if he had ever killed one of my kind, and do you know what that pompous jerk did? He spit his beer all over me and said, “Werepoodle?! Boy, you don’t need to kill them! They die from shame!”

My uncle Morty spent the greater part of two decades trying to find out what actually kills us. He ate wolfsbane. Nothing. Another time he melted down my grandmother’s silver, made bullets and shot all of us on Christmas. Nothing. One time he waited until he transformed and ate five pounds of chocolate. We thought he was on to something, but now he just has diabetes. I won’t deny that more than once I have, as a mini dog, jumped in front of a car. Hurts like hell, but no death. 

I’ve often wondered what would happen if I ever bit anyone while in my dog form. Could I possibly be able to share my curse with others? I mainly think about this at work. I constantly imagine sinking my tiny doggy teeth into my boss’ ankle and making him into a Werepoodle. In fact, more than once I’ve camped outside his luxury townhouse and waited for him to take out the trash. I bit that fat ass right on the Achilles tendon and held on for dear life. He shouted and kicked up his legs. He even stepped on me a couple of times, but I wouldn’t let go! I thought I was in the clear until his wife came out in her bathrobe and started to beat me with a bat. 

I woke up in a cage at the city pound the next morning, naked as the day I was born, to the screams of a poor volunteer. It was like she had never seen a naked man in a cage before! Well, things have quickly gone downhill since then. I’m now at county jail awaiting trial facing charges of Felonious Assault by a Transformative Monster with Intent to Infect. It’ll be forty years if my boss changes into a little dog the next waxing moon. No one is sure whether or not he will because this is the first time one of my kind has actually bit anybody. 

But on the plus side, I have an interview with Dateline in an hour. Top that, Bigfoot!

Born in Lomas de Zamora, Argentina and immigrating to the United States as a child, Ricardo Fernandez lives in Denver with his wife Leah and is an OG Birdy Contributor.

Head to our shop to snag Issues Past to read more of Ricardo’s work in early copies of Birdy.