It is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.
By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.
Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.”
When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.
On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.
It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.
They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.
My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Leisha has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. I think it’s a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I’m kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I’ll turn things over to my dog, Danny. He always has an attitude and usually does not speak highly of me. But please understand that we co-exist as the old Soviet Union and the United States once co-existed. We tolerate each other. So without further ado, here’s Danny the Dog.
Andrew took me away from my favorite pastime—barking at ducks—to help him out here. For a person that works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don’t think I will. Instead, I think I’ll tell you about our latest adventure. We’re always having adventures, and I like to write about them. And what I write about is 100% true.
I’d like to tell you, the gentle reader, of my travails. I’m Danny the Dog and the morning of infamy of which I speak, started out as most of my mornings do. At about 5:00 a.m., I wagged my tail, hitting the wall with it, and then I started in with my patented low growl. The thump … thump … thump of my tail hitting the wall, coupled with the growl, always awakens Andrew.
It was time to take him for his walk.
He begrudgingly hauled his carcass out of the bunk (on boats, beds are called bunks). He went into the head (bathroom) and did whatever humans do when in that room. Then he opened the hatch (door) and I scampered out onto the deck. Of course, I had to wait for him, I always do. He’s kind of old and decrepit; it takes him awhile to ascend the stairs. Finally, we were on our way. If I had known what was in store for me, I would not have been so anxious to start off on this particular walk.
First off, I must tell you that I love messing with Andrew’s head. I mean I like him and all, he’s not too bad for a human, but I’ve got to keep him in his place. After all, I am the dog and he is only the mere human.
Now, there are a few things that Andrew does not like me to do, but I do them anyway. At the top of the list, he doesn’t want me biting humans. I say if God did not want us biting humans, He wouldn’t have given them to us to bite in the first place. But I only bite humans that deserve it—the ones who don’t give me a treat.
The other two things on his list are no drinking out of mud puddles and eating food I find on the side of the road, particularly chicken bones. I did both of these things that morning just to let him know who was boss. And maybe I shouldn’t have.
Before we even got out of the marina, I stopped at two puddles and drank my full. Concerning the puddles, Andrew has learned a long time ago that I love rainwater and no way am I ever going to let him pull me away when I’m drinking that delightful liquid.
The next part of the walk didn’t go as smoothly. You see, I have Andrew conned. He lets me sniff to my heart’s desire where other dogs have been. Maybe “lets me” isn’t the right way to say it. It took a lot of training on my part to get him to be patient while I did what dogs love to do. Anyway, as he was thinking I was on the scent of a dog or some other animal, I was really looking for a chicken bone I had discerned.
When I found said bone, I clapped my jaws on it before Andrew knew what was happening. But even a human as out of touch as he is couldn’t help but hear the crunch as I bit into that tasty morsel. He tried to pry my mouth open to extract it, but he’s too old and feeble. No way was he going get that delicious bone from me. In the end, he gave up. Counting the mud puddle, that was two for the dog and zip for the human.
Now we come to the crux of the matter (I don’t know what crux means, but it looks good with that “x” at the end).
We usually go to a park on our morning jaunts, but not this morning. There is a lake in the vicinity that Andrew likes, but we mostly go there in the late afternoon. He likes to watch the sun go down over the lake. He calls it communing with nature, which is ridiculous. Humans don’t know how to commune with nature, only us dogs know how to do that. Hell, we are a part of nature! Anyway, back to my story.
It’s a nice lake if you like water. I don’t. I’ll drink the stuff, but that’s where I draw the line. On the few occasions that Andrew bathes me, it takes all my willpower not to bite him. Around the lake is also some nice green and soft grass. I love to roll on it. Andrew, being the indolent slob that he is, just lies there without rolling on it at all! Unbelievable!
That morning he did what he always does, he tied the long leash to a tree by the water’s edge, the tree on one end of the leash, me on the other. I didn’t mind, it’s twenty feet long and there were some good scents in the air, mostly duck. I love barking at ducks, don’t you? So, as Andrew lay recumbent on the grass, I set out to find me a duck to bark at. And it didn’t take too long to scrounge up a scent—it led right into the water.
I must not have been paying attention (of course I wasn’t, I was sniffing!) because I found myself on some terra firma that wasn’t that firm. I plunged into the water right up to my neck. It took me only a second to get back on solid ground, and when I did, I started to shake myself off. But I stopped because Andrew was laughing. He was laughing at me! So I held my instincts in check and went over to where he as was sitting. Then, and only then, did I let loose with the best shake of my life. Now Andrew was almost as wet as me. That stopped his braying.
He was pleased to inform me that falling into the lake was my bad karma for eating the chicken bone. He is always going on about karma and reincarnation. I don’t know about karma, but when it comes to reincarnation, who the heck would want to come back as a human? Not me, I might come back as Andrew. God forbid!
That’s about it for now. If I hurry, I might be able to catch sight of the ducks as they swim past our boat. I haven’t finished barking at them yet.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot—go out and buy Andrew’s new book and make the old guy happy.
This is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank Leisha for having us over. It’s been a real pleasure.
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. He now lives aboard a boat with his dog, Danny.