Dev Madani worked as a copywriter for a large novelty pet supplies company, which meant he spent the majority of his day writing up over the top descriptions of products like ferret scarves or cat wigs.
His main task was to ensure that he used whatever keywords the client requested as many times as possible while still keeping the description intelligible. Keywords were meant to be included in repetition in order to increase the likelihood that someone would find their website when they searched for that term, but clients were idiots, which is why his summary of a civil war era bonnet for rabbits included the word ‘hop-tastic’ fifteen times. Dev thought that whoever the person was that searched for the term ‘hop-tastic’ deserved to pay the exorbitant forty dollars for their crappy product.
It was fair to say Dev wasn’t feeling very fulfilled in his job.
Today, he was working on a write up for a new line of doggy dress ups. They were being toted as the Ye Old England range and allowed buyers to dress man’s best friend up in costumes of knights, maidens, dragons, wizards, princesses and samurai’s – the historical inaccuracy of which made Dev want to scream out loud. Nevertheless, he raised his fingers to the keyboard and thought about the best way to convince some lonely shopper that the reason they weren’t satisfied with their life was because there dog didn’t have the right outfit.
Then the roof fell in.
+ + + +
The rescue services hadn’t been able to say what caused the cave in, which Dev had been a bit annoyed by. They’d done a great job of pulling him out of the rubble, and luckily no one had been hurt, but when the top of a building falls on you, you generally want to know why.
A lot of companies would grant leave to their employees after having a near death experience on their premises. Dev’s workplace instead handed out all the undamaged laptops and told everyone to work from home. Likewise, a lot of people would take a near death experience as an opportunity to quit a job they so clearly hated, Dev instead grumbled softly under his breath, took a laptop, and headed back to his apartment.
He placed his satchel which contained the laptop and some of the Ye Old England outfits for reference, onto his kitchen counter, and went to the fridge to grab a beer. Shuni, Dev’s chubby corgi trotted up to him with a look of pure happiness on her face.
‘You want a beer, Shuni?’ Dev asked. Shuni’s response was to continue to smile at him in her doggy way. ‘So, that’s a no?’
Dev had named Shuni for Samara, a figure of Hindu mythology, who was also known as Deva-shuni — the translation of which is ‘Divine Bitch’. As far as Dev was concerned, his Shuni was a divine bitch. His religious faith didn’t extend far beyond that.
‘What about juice?’ Dev asked the still smiling dog. ‘Red bull? Not after five, right? White wine? Milk?’
‘Oh, milk would be nice, thank you,’ Shuni responded.
Dev had the milk in his hand before his brain caught up with the fact that his dog, who, until now had been limited to a series of yips and barks, had just spoken English. He froze, and looked at the happy corgi.
‘What?’ Shuni asked. ‘Has the milk gone bad?’
Dev dropped the milk. Shuni trotted over to the container as it leaked its contents onto the hardwood. ‘Smells alright to me,’ she said, before lapping at the white liquid.
Dev told himself to remain calm. Told himself he might be dreaming. Told himself he might be going insane. Told himself to finish his beer, which he did in four quick swallows.
‘Look at us,’ Shuni said, ‘just two best friends sharing a drink.’
The beer was already working its way into Dev’s bloodstream, and so he felt his impending freakout get covered softly by a thin blanket of alcohol.
‘Shuni?’ Dev said, forcing his voice to remain calm.
‘Yes, Dev,’ Shuni responded, her muzzle drenched with milk.
‘Why are you talking?’
‘Oh, well, I need your help with something,’ she said, and lowered her muzzle back to the pool of dairy.
‘Okay, that’s nice, maybe stop drinking for a minute if that’s okay. I was more wondering how you’re able to talk, and, secondly, if perhaps I’m losing my sanity.’
She smiled at him again, which didn’t help the situation any.
‘No, you’re not. I’m just a god, that’s all.’
Dev took another beer from the fridge and drunk it even faster than the first one. Shuni seeing Dev scull desperately from the bottle took it as a sign that she could continue drinking too, and so went back to the milk.
‘Sorry, could you just elaborate on that last part.’ Dev said, his calming blanket of alcohol just barely hanging on.
‘The god part?’
‘Yes. Yes, the god part.’
‘Oh. Okay. Well, it’s pretty straight forward. You named your dog, me, after a deity, which allowed that deity, also me, to be able to inhabit your pet.’
‘Wait, you said you’re both my dog, and the god Samara?’
‘Yes. We just kind of merged when I, she, took over.’
‘And when was that?’
‘This afternoon, after the mystic cow crashed into your office building.’
‘I’m going to need more beer aren’t I?’
‘Maybe! Can I get some more milk?’ Shuni asked him, tail wagging.
+ + + +
‘So, let me get this right,’ Dev said as he walked through the fading sunlight back to his workplace, Shuni trotting beside him, a look of pure joy on her face. ‘A group of demons known as the panis.’
‘Yes,’ Shuni encouraged.
‘Stole the sacred cow, who is invisible to us mortals, and who they dropped on my office block, from the Angirasas.’
‘Who are the the ancestors of man.’
‘The Angirasas, back in the day, used the sacred cow’s milk to nourish humanity, allowing us to become the people we are today.’
‘Except, if the panis do something to the sacred cow then the ramifications of that will go back through time and all of humanity will be lost forever.’
‘And so you, Samara, a mythological Hindu being in the body of a corgi, have been tasked with stopping them, retrieving the cow, and saving the world; and you want me, a guy who writes copy for a living, to help you.’
‘That’s it. Ten out of ten. Two best friends on the hunt.’
‘This is just the most ridiculous shit,’ he said.
‘It’s an adventure!’ Shuni cried.
Dev rubbed at his face, half hoping that when he stopped some form of reality would be restored. When it didn’t he sighed and decided to just go with it.
‘Okay, so, why do you need me? Are you going to imbue me with, like, magical powers or something? Or do I possess some certain set of skills that’ll come in handy right when we need it?’ He asked
‘You can let me into the office.’ She said, still smiling.
‘And you’re my best friend.’
Dev sighed again. ‘You’re my best friend too, Shuni.’ He said, knowing just how true that statement was.
+ + + +
Dev pulled his swipe card from his satchel and opened the door into the office block. His company didn’t employ a night guard, and even if they did all they would have to guard at the moment was a giant pile of rubble, but, perhaps due to the quiet and the dark, Dev felt like he should be creeping.
‘What a mess,’ Shuni said, breaking the silence. She plodded past Dev and started trotting across the rubble, her flat white butt bobbing up and down as she went. Dev had always thought Shuni’s corgi butt was cute and comical, but knowing it now belonged to a god confused those feelings. Unsure exactly what he was supposed to be doing to help in this situation, Dev began pacing around the destruction.
He stopped and picked up a poster for one of their past products, the bitchin’ birdy spa bath. It had been one of the first products he’d written copy for. He hadn’t been confident in his skills at the time and so had plagiarized the write up of a similar product that was already on the market. He had been found out, however, when one of the rival companies noticed the same word for word description of their paradise parrot hot tub on his summary of the bitchin’ birdy spa bath. He’d been lucky not to be fired, his saving grace only coming from the fact that both products were quickly recalled; birds bathing in hot water turned out to be a very bad idea.
Since then he’d gotten quite good at writing copy, but, while there was some satisfaction from a job well done, he mostly found his work meaningless. It was hard to feel like you were making a difference in the world when your greatest accomplishment was the perfect description of a three piece — monocle, bow tie, and top hat — for cats.
‘Dev, Dev, bestie, over here. I’ve found the trail.’ Shuni called.
Dev made his way across the rubble to see Shuni sniffing around a section of collapsed roof.
‘What is it?’ He asked.
‘Sacred cow. Oh, yes, definitely sacred cow.’
Dev lowered himself to the ground, then looked to Shuni for confirmation. She gave him her usual doggy grin and he took in a big whiff.
‘No,’ he said. ‘Can’t smell anything.’
‘Really?’ Shuni asked, tilting her head to the side. ‘Because right now you’re face deep in its droppings. You mortals are so interesting.’
Later, once Dev had thoroughly wiped his face clean of the invisible mess, and once they had left the building, he turned to Shuni.
‘Okay, so you can see invisible cows, see their invisible droppings, and follow their invisible trail, not to mention the fact that you’re part god. I still don’t see why you needed me to let you into the building?’
‘Because I’m also part dog, that comes with limitations. Look at my little legs,’ Shuni said, stopping to wiggle one of her soft and stumpy limbs. ‘You don’t expect someone with legs like these to be able to open doors, do you?’
‘If that someone’s part god, kind of, yeah.’
‘Oh best friend, you’re so silly. I still have to work within the reality of this world. I can alter certain aspects, but why would I need to, I’ve got you.’
‘To open doors?’
‘Exactly! Come on the trails leads this way.’
The conclusion to this story can be found here.
Thanks for reading,