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EP169: How I Mounted Goldie, Saved My Partner Lori, and Sniffed Out The People’s Justice

By Jonathon Sullivan.
Read by Stephen Eley and Jennifer Bowie (of Screen Space).

Q: What happened when you arrived at the address in question?

A: My Partner Lori opened my door and I jumped out. I arrested a suspect!

Q: Yes, Officer Bull. But I would like you to tell me exactly what happened, in detail, from the time you got out of the car.

A: Okay. My skulltop showed me which house, and I ran toward it. A man and three dogs ran out the door. One of them was a bitch with pretty haunches. She was in heat, and I really really really liked the way she smelled. I wanted to run after her, but I knew I should go after the man. So I did. Even though I liked the way she smelled!

Rated R. Contains profanity, violence, and canine sexuality.

Referenced Sites:

CrimeWAV Crime Fiction Podcast

Comments (97)

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  1. Audita Sum says:

    Really fun story. I actually loved the profanity, because it was said with such an incongruously joyful voice. Seriously. The overenthusiastic dog voice was awesome.

    This story shook my ears. I like that.

  2. AnneC says:

    This story was spectacular, and definitely an example of something that lent itself really well to audio. I laughed out loud several times at the narration…seriously, Steve, that’s some nice “talking like a dog” talent.

    Narration aside, the story itself was definitely high quality. A lazy writer might have chosen to just make the dog thing a gimmick without adding any other real substance to the story, but here we had plenty of substance. I loved the “multi-layered-ness” of the whole thing — we had the dogs on one level, the bio-upgrade technology on another, the speculative vision of a media-borne vigilante justice system on another, and plenty of interesting social commentary along for the ride. Very well done!

  3. Brother Phil says:

    Loved the story, and though police dogs are usually german shepherds, Steve sounded more like a labrador.
    Loved the choice of a Heinlein quote for the afterword as well, as Bull put me in mind of the calebs in Starship Troopers.

  4. xahra99 says:

    Amazing story. Although police dogs are usually German Shepherds, Steve’s voice sounded way too happy. I’m thinking Staffordshire Bull Terrier here. Or Lab, of course, mostly because of this article: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/32953
    ‘Dog Experiences Best Day Of His Life For 400th Consecutive Day’

  5. tim callender says:

    I loved the story too. The f-bombs were hysterical. My first day in art school, way way back in the day, I had an instructor extol the virtues of the word “fuck”. Steve’s gleeful reading reminded me of her.

    I found the story very engaging. It rolled right along, never losing its pacing, and soon found myself immersed in the world Sully-dog had created.

  6. Rachel says:

    I only have nitpicks left. But first I’ll get to it.

    I like the social commentary in this story, which was there, but not overbearing. It also had some great tech involved.

    I also like the reading of this story. It had a great straight (wo)man with a very good reading by Steve Eley of a dog which made me think at times that he should rad more dog stories just so we can hear that voice.

    So, therefore, my nitpick is that dog’s POV seem often to be locked in the present. They forgive you almost instantly if you seem really, really sorry. It’s one of the appeals of a dog is that they get distracted easily because they can only see the moment in front of them. By giving a dog a memory bank and so on I get a distinct feeling that what the exact charm of a dog is often goes down the drain. (I say this after knowing quite a few labs, a mixed breed and a poodle.) But that is a nitpick.

    The other nitpick I have is that often dogs have a sense of sympathy or sadness. They cock their ears with a “why?” look on their face or even have a sense of sympathy. I’d love to hear Steve Eley’s dog voice with those tones to it as well. The almost childish quality in that forlorn expression that dogs get. But maybe for a dog, as his reading suggested wouldn’t remember the emotions that well and be focused on pleasing for the moment. “Give me a biscuit–aren’t you going to?”

    Last Nitpick. There has to be authors who own dogs. There are dog books out there by the thousands. This is not an excuse for Steve Eley to give up on writing and trying to publish his own fiction. Do it more Mr. Eley! Be selfish once in a blue moon. So you should also have the same desire, no matter what worldly pet you choose. If you would still like to make that excuse, then I’ll make a list of authors and other artist-types who own dogs! Who else will worship Invisible Pink Unicorns without a pen and mind such as yours? But this is nothing to do with the story itself…

    Beyond that is was a funny and interesting story with a really good format for podcasting.

  7. Randy says:

    Good Doggie

  8. Baxter says:

    Should have had a warning upfront for strong language and content and an explicit tag.

    Other than that, really enjoyed it!
    Great!

  9. V says:

    Strengths:
    *Mostly good use of realistic job-specific language for the cops, really thinking of the dog officer’s report on physical confrontations
    *at one point there was a comment about how caps forced those capped to do the bidding of the folks holding the leash. It was glossed over, but chilling…certainly with that in the back of my head the line at the end about how his master Hernandez was the most important thing was rather creepy….overall he’s a normal dog, warped into this role…I mean I know dogs supposedly view their owner as their alpha (and I noticed the lack of food treat triggers also, although I assumed the cap abnegated the necessity for them) and so that somehow fits with their natural impulses, but how much of what Bull has become is him, insofar as he had a personality before capping, and how much of it is his programming? Also interesting was that he wouldn’t even try to talk to an uncapped dog…wonder how he will relate to his puppies….then again afaik male dogs couldn’t care less about “their” puppies, but maybe its different for capped dogs. Interesting that he didn’t Mirandize Goldie as well….

    Weaknesses:
    *although the tone and use of language was skillful, the basic plot was less than original in some ways; People’s Court twist saved it
    *the way the guy they saved (his name escapes me) just got put into adult foster care and forgotten about was also troublesome. Realistic perhaps, but you’d think Goldie’s bond to him would have mattered
    *who is the interviewer? A mainframe? Certaintly there were suggestions of machine origin but it wasn’t clear…she sounded a little human sometimes, but there were also indications otherwise
    *hmm, I may have misheard , but logical error: how could you have the death penalty for so many crimes but at the same time it’s suspended by the Supreme Court? I think they said that rape, child abuse, murder and a few other things were capital crimes, and then that capital punishment wasn’t allowed….
    *production issue: especially near the end, the sound was very pasted-together feeling, as if you were talking past each other. I think that’s probably because you ran out of time, however, so no big. That said, I (and some other readers also) have appreciated your attempts to innovate technically, either with effects or with cooperative storytelling. Do more like this!

    Sum up: Particularly interested in how the story focused on the views of cops…and the Peoples Court notion was also interesting, making points about the ways media can distort the truth not to miscarry justice but to get a “good” and resolved story, and how folks assist them with this…simpleminded thinking, etc. Very reality TV.
    Cybernetic ethics with animals (can they give consent to the initial capping, and can they, if controlled, do so later?) also interesting.
    Good incorporation of social commentary and humor into an sf story, really interesting stuff around the edges.

  10. Tom Wilson says:

    Sully Dog never fails to disappoint, and this story is no exception. I thought the dialog was just right, especially the dog’s 5-year oldish enthusiasm for profanity. HowEVER, I’m getting frustrated with the number of stories I can’t share with my 5 year old daughter. I realize EP isn’t a “family” podcast, but I’m trying to properly indoctrinate.. err… introduce my child to good science fiction, and so much of it is simply ‘adults only’. :(

    Steve, your reading was spot-on, as usual! Great job!

  11. oldguypaul says:

    Steve I almost ran my car into the curb when I heard the excitement in the doggie voice. IT was excellent. The pacing of the story the usefulness of fuck, the wonderful smell of goldie, excellent.
    Thanks

  12. Paul Fischer says:

    I’m caught between two witty comments, so I’ll leave both.

    I really really really like this story.

    Steve, you dog, what a great read.

    I loved the idea of The People’s Justice and the skull caps on the dogs. I didn’t get exactly who or what the female character was supposed to be and the author lost me when she didn’t congratulate Bull on his impending offspring. Up until that point she was treating Bull as almost human.

  13. Thegreenman says:

    This was an awesome story. It’s definitely one of my top 5 so far.
    Echoes of Snow Crash plus Crime… Awesome. Totally. Awesome.

  14. Zathras says:

    I don’t have much to add to the comments already here, except to ask a question.

    How amusing would it be to discover that the interviewer was a capped cat?

    GIGO

  15. Dan the Man says:

    Embarrassingly, I missed the geek ref at the end. Different colored eyes?

  16. Bryce says:

    I have to admit that I loved this story immensely more than all the stories nominated for this years’ Hugo combined.

  17. I liked it. Definitely one of the more unique stories I’ve heard in a while.

    Of course now, every time I look at my dog, I can almost hear Steve’s voice saying ‘Can we go for a walk now? I really want to sniff that spot on the corner again…it smelled really good last time.’

    GAH!

    Still…Loved it! :D

  18. DrCrisp says:

    Fuck Factorial Nuns

    So now that I have your attention with that header, you may wonder what those three words have in common. Every time Steve’s character said, “Fuck”, two mental images came to my mind. The first one, the most likely one intended by the Author was of the smiling face a dog gets when he’s happy. The second one was related to me by my 8th grade Algebra teacher in parochial school. She was in a class and a nun was substituting for the math teacher. The subject was factorials written as 14! or 17!. The nun, whenever reciting the numbers made them sound bright and cheerful when she read them “14!” with a happy chipper smile and a lilting upnote on the “teen”.

  19. BarbaraJ says:

    Obviously the listener who objected to the profanity has never spent a moment around cops or military. The “F-Bomb” is a noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, conjunction and anything else you can think of.
    This is one of the best stories ever featured on this podcast.
    Good dog, Stevie. Good dog. I’m going to rub your ears now.

  20. LaShawn says:

    Oh, what a fun story! Steve’s voice made it so worth it. What really impressed me about the story was how Bull really wanted to uphold the law–so many stories I’ve seen are people who flaunt the law for their own means, so it was refreshing to see Bull’s desire to uphold the law. And he saved Jamal from getting fried–what is a good dog! And I feel so perverse for saying this–but he truly deserved to mount Goldie. Good boy!

  21. Aquarello says:

    That rubbed my tummy just right. Thanks!

  22. AlienSniffer says:

    I’m not sure if the superb reading by Steve and Jennifer caused me to like the story so much or if the superb story caused me to like the reading which was so well done. Either way, this was one of my favorite EP stories–clever and light-hearted. It took me a minute to recognize the voice of Steve Eley because his reading seemed different than his usual character readings. Perhaps because this was a dog and not a human character. Rock on, Steve…keep doin’ it doggie-style!

  23. J says:

    If my dog could talk, he would sound exactly like steve eley.

    as a side note, i do somewhat disagree with the assertion that dog and cat people are mutually exclusive. i like both, because i grew up with both.

    as to why so many writers like cats, i suspect it’s because they can be largely left to their own devices, and when they do want attention are usually content to sit on your chest and be vibrate while you pet them. dogs by contrast actually tend to want you to do things with them. things which usually involve getting up from the computer and going outside.

    i also disagree with the idea that dogs are inherently honest. my dog lies to me all the time, they’re just not very good at it.

  24. Zippy says:

    I am most empathicly a cat person, but nevertheless I loved this episode. Keep up the great work.

  25. Calculating... says:

    I thought this was a great story. I loved the idea that animals are still used in police work, but have been graduated to a higher level than guard dog and bomb sniffer.

    my dog can be extremely intelligent, when she wishes to be that is, and I feel like if she had the opportunity to be on a police force and run down bad guys, she would leap at the chance.

    while my sister disliked the “mistreatment” of animals in this podcast, i loved the whole thing. the way the story was presented was different and enjoyable, and the reading was exciting and made you feel like you were in the interrogation room.

    well done.

  26. JoeCamel says:

    Just adding to the chorus here–congrats to the author on a great story and to Steve & Jennifer (especially Steve) for the strong reading.

    I’m sure the voice work had something to do with it, but I think I agree with Bryce @ 66 re. liking this better than the Hugo nominees. This is one I’ll force friends and family members to listen to.

  27. coffeemonk says:

    I just listened to this story, and having also just listened to the previous 7 or 8, I can say this is the best I’ve heard so far. Great story, very compelling and wonderfully written. I loved the character of the dog, he felt very real and appropriate. Voice acting in this was very good, as well.

  28. Louie says:

    Thought I’d post for the first time after listening for a couple years.

    F@$k, F@!k. That was a fun story.

  29. aye says:

    i also disagree with the idea that dogs are inherently honest. my dog lies to me all the time, they’re just not very good at it.

    Best comment ever :)

  30. [...] is the Escape Pod episode where our guest speaker (Stephen Eley) and I read the story. The story is EP169: How I Mounted Goldie, Saved My Partner Lori, and Sniffed Out The People’s Justice.  It is rated R, so if that bothers you feel free to go with another podcast or another Escape Pod [...]

  31. Lungdoc says:

    i loved this story, and Steve, i love your dog characterization–was perfect!!

    need more lighter stories like this…sometimes it seems we have had a run of “message stories”. So this was great

  32. Xslf says:

    Jumping in, without reading others, so I apologize if other people said it:
    Great job of doing the dog- the female computer was somewhat less good.

    As someone who has two cats and a dog, I really wanted to protest about the comment at the end, re dog people vs. cat people.

    Personally, I always say I don’t extraterrestrials for alien intelligence- I have two races with that at home :)

  33. Jeff says:

    Loved ragtime’s feedback about the Max story. Really great!

  34. Sushma says:

    F***ng great!

  35. SF Fangirl says:

    Possibly best escape pod ever! (Although is in not necessarily true since I’ve been listening only a couple of months and haven’t made it all the way through the archive yet.) Great story. The voice and voice (in the text and reading) were great. This story certainly lended itself to being an audio story. I loved the story and would like to hear more stories about Bull; although, I bet that was one of his greatest days ever.

    However despite loving it, I did find it a bit long. I thought the ending where they finally catch the People’s Court dragged out too long with, I think, three action scenes taking place befor they got the the court room. At that point I was ready for the conclusion and the action scene seemed to be slowing the plot down.

    And somewhere near in the last third there was an oddity with the sound – something like an irregular thumping in the background.

  36. [...] August batch of Escape Pod stories begins with “How I Mounted Goldie, Saved My Partner Lori, and Sniffed Out The People’s Justice” by Jonathon Sullivan (whose story “Imperial” was the very first in Escape Pod). [...]

  37. Hyperion says:

    The only way this story works (as a podcast) is by totally committing to the voice. Such a great job. Imaginative fun story too. I will be sending people here for this.

  38. Siderite says:

    Oh, I am definitely a cat person and I can tell you exactly what they are thinking about: NOTHING! :)

  39. D & S says:

    Quite a story. We liked the story and have passed the site on to the rest of the family.

  40. Agent_137 says:

    I’m a new listener who’s been trying to catch up since my first listen at 136 (bright red star). “Goldie” has been my favorite so far as evidenced by me visiting the site and leaving a comment – both for the first time.

  41. [...] in August, we decided that if we really are going to do this podcasting thing, we should invest in better equipment than a $40 logitech [...]

  42. Aranya says:

    @ dan the man….different colored eyes, fenchurch from hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy had .. the.. eyes.

    now i’m not so sure.

    runs off to read h2g2 once more

  43. Fred McDonald says:

    I can only add my voice to the echoing chorus of people saying how good this was! One of my favorite Escape Pod episodes ever! My totem animal is Dog, although I am not specifically a “dog person” — it’s far more accurate to say I’m an animal person. (Yeah, so I’m “poly” even with pets …)

  44. Carl Minez says:

    I dont really know what to think about this.

    Its a very funny and original story indeed. What bothers me is the idea of actually “improving” the canines intelligence. Or rather adjust it to fit the human society. I find it remiss and distasteful. But hey this is just fictional, right. Ill hold back my complains till the near future.

  45. Alan says:

    Hey, I saw UP over the weekend and came back to find this story so I can bookmark it and send it to a friend of mine who also saw the movie. It took me a minute to realize the style and diction of Dug was exactly done by you, Steve, in the portrayal of Bull. So I had to share it with my buddy. And any other buddies that I happen to come across. :-)

  46. [...] Last Dog” Vinge, Vernor – “The Blabber” Sullivan, Jonathon – “How I Mounted Goldie, Saved My Partner Lori, and Sniffed Out The People’s Justice&#8221… Carrol, Jonathan – Friend’s Best Man Denton, Bradley – “Sergeant [...]

  47. [...] Last Dog” Vinge, Vernor – “The Blabber” Sullivan, Jonathon – “How I Mounted Goldie, Saved My Partner Lori, and Sniffed Out The People’s Justice&#8221… Carrol, Jonathan – Friend’s Best Man Denton, Bradley – “Sergeant [...]