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. Kelly 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, and let him toot it for me. 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, dragged me away from a juicy steak bone to help him out. 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, but this one takes the cake and it’s 100% true.
Andrew and I have been having some fine ol’ adventures lately. Well, maybe fine is not the exact word. I’ll start with the light stuff first. Andrew is okay for a human, but he does leave a lot to be desired. Do you know he hasn’t bought me a chew toy in years? I’m talking about those rawhide things. Yummy! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a toy type of dog, but I do like a good chew now and then just like everyone else.
Anyway, we were out walking around the marina (we live on a boat) about a week and a half ago when we happened upon Chloe. She’s my friend, a chocolate lab. She’s only a year old and very playful. Sometimes I will deign to acknowledge her existence, but most of the time I just ignore her. She’s a mite too rambunctious for me, like most females of my acquaintance.
So while she’s bouncing around me and nudging me with her snoot, trying to get me to play with her, I noticed a piece of rawhide lying on the dock. It was half chewed and it was oh-so inviting. Of course, I went over and started to sniff it. Chloe followed me and put her snoot down to it also. That’s when I had to assert myself. I gave her a short bark and a little growl to tell her it was now my chew thing. Then I grabbed it and made it officially mine.
I guess Andrew didn’t get the memo. He tried to take it from me while telling me stealing was not a good thing. Lucky for Andrew that Chloe’s human, Jeff, was there or Andrew would have lost a finger or two. Jeff told Andrew that it was all right for me to have the treasure. We went home and I sat out on the dock and chewed the thing until it was no more. All in all, it was a very good day. However, the next day—as you shall soon see—was a day that will live in infamy.
At the moment, I’m torn between telling you of my harrowing escape from the jaws of death or about Andrew’s slight, prosaic run-in with mortality.
I guess I’ll save the best for last. Here’s what happened to Andrew:
I was out walking him a few evenings ago and I was doing my usual sniffing. I caught the scent of a chicken bone or two in the vicinity and went on alert. Unfortunately, Andrew did also. The place we were walking is infamous for chicken bones, so Andrew was watching me like a hawk. And because he was looking at me and not where he was walking, he slipped on an exposed root. His foot went into a small depression and we both heard a loud SNAP! His only comment: “Let’s go home while I can still walk.” He knew the pain and the swelling would soon set in and he wanted to be on the boat when that happened. He wanted to be near his pain medicine . . . I believe humans call it vodka.
Well, long story short, Andrew had broken something in his ankle, but we don’t know what. He has a doctor friend, who offered to x-ray it for him at no cost, but the idiot (Andrew, not the doctor) said . . . and I quote, “We know something is broken so the x-ray will only tell us what we already know. It was probably just a tendon snapping, I’ll be fine.”
I reckon you can’t argue with reasoning like that.
Now to the important news . . . what happened to ME last Saturday. Andrew is not the only wounded member of this household.
Saturday is the day the male humans escape their females and come to the Tiki Hut at the marina to drink beer and talk of manly things. Andrew is not a guy type of guy; he’s kind of a sissy, so he doesn’t hang out with the other males. Me, I like the guys and I am always happy to spend some time with them. Andrew usually brings me up there on Saturdays and leaves me for a few hours so that I can hang out. Then he goes back to the boat before the fresh air kills him. But this Saturday, Andrew had some business to discuss with his friend Don, so he stayed around.
After Don and the other males made a big show of welcoming me, Andrew tied my leash to a tree. For some reason, Andrew doesn’t trust me, so I’m always on the damn leash. But I didn’t mind, there was a new scent on the ground and I was in heaven.
I followed the scent over to a log where it was the strongest … oh joy! There was a crevasse at the middle of the log and I poked my snoot into it. That’s when I got the surprise of my life. Out came a crab. But I was undaunted . . . his pincher claw did not faze me at all, no siree bob it did not!
This is going to be fun, I thought. I barked and backed him up a bit. Then he raised his claw over his head in a defensive position. That’s when my world was turned upside down. He clamped his big ol’ claw right on my beautiful nose! Yeow and double yeow! I let out with a cry that sent Andrew scurrying over, bad ankle and all. When he saw what had happened, he had the temerity to laugh at me.
Now the two of us sit on the boat staring at one another. Andrew has ice on his ankle and I have ice on my nose. Actually, there is more ice in Andrew’s vodka drink than on his ankle.
Here we sit, just two old males wishing for better times. And I’m not about to forget his laughter during my darkest moment. My Waterloo if you will. As I write these words, I am plotting my revenge.
Oh yeah . . . 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 Kelly 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.