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The Night We Buried Road Dog: 03/14/09
"The Night We Buried Road Dog" is the February classic reprint in FSF. It is a long novella and its length caused delays in its original publishing date as Kristine Kathryn Rusch explains in her introduction. The novella though went on to win the Nebula and World Fantasy awards (among others) and is the title story in a collection of fiction by Jack Cady.
"...Road Dog" is set in Montana and Minnesota in the mid to late 1960s. It's devoted to cars, dogs and the open road. It is also reminiscent of Don Quixote but with a hint of The Mark of Zorro. Jed (the Sancho Panza for this tale) and Jesse (Don Quixote) set out on the quest to catch the Road Dog. Their only clues are a series of humorous graffiti left at the favorite watering holes along the highway.
Along the way a number of cars are buried in a cemetery run by Jesse. The first to "die" is Miss Molly (good golly!) to a cracked crankshaft. All of these sacrifices though lead Jesse and Jed no closer to discovering the identity of Road Dog.
As the title implies, the Road Dog is discovered but he is never caught. Who and why he is part of the sweet beauty of this story. The revelation didn't come as a surprise to me but was still satisfying. It reminded me of Secret Window, Secret Garden by Stephen King without the horror, though there are moments of magical realism.