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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Excerpt from Dial C for Chihuahua by Waverly Curtis

Chapter One

Apparently the fad was over. All those actresses and models who thought a miniature dog stuffed into a Versace shoulder bag was so cute were now abandoning their furry “accessories” in record numbers. The Los Angeles shelters were so full of Chihuahuas they had to fly them to other parts of the country. My new pet was one of forty Chihuahuas who had been shipped to Seattle.

At the Humane Society, the Chihuahuas were all in one cage. Most were milling around or throwing themselves at the bars, barking. One dog sat by himself, away from the others. A ray of sunlight fell through the opening high in the cinder block wall and illuminated his white fur.

I knew as soon as I looked into his big, dark eyes that he was mine. He held his head high but he looked forlorn. It was a feeling I could totally understand.
My divorce had just become final. My ex had already bought a new three-bedroom house with his fiancée, while I was scraping by in a one-bedroom condo with his cat. To make things worse, the real estate market was crashing, and my career as a stager was in jeopardy. After suffering through a series of disastrous dates, I decided to adopt a dog. I was in need of some unconditional love.
My new pet was quiet during the drive home but he turned into a little white tornado when I set him down on the carpet inside my front door. He raced around the living room, sniffing around the edges of the furniture. Luckily I had locked Albert, the cat, into my bedroom before I went to pick up my new companion.

While he was exploring, I went into the kitchen to set up a water bowl and food dish for him. I opened a small can of Alpo Gourmet, hoping he’d like beef and vegetables with gravy. At the snick of the can opener, he scampered around the corner, his nails clicking across the tile floor, before I could even spoon the food into his dish.

Poor little guy, I thought, he must be terribly hungry. But instead of wolfing down the Alpo, he paused in front of his dish and just stared at it.

Maybe he didn’t like beef and gravy. Maybe he didn’t like vegetables. But I’d been in a hurry to get to the Humane Society before they closed and had just picked up the first can of dog food I saw at Pete’s Market. Maybe I should have bought an assortment of flavors.

I was about to tell my new companion that I’d get him a flavor he liked, when he looked up at me and said, “Muchas gracias.”

De nada,” I replied as he began gobbling up the food like he hadn’t eaten for a week.

Wait a minute…he couldn’t have spoken to me. And in Spanish, no less. I’d been alone too long. That was it. I was under a lot of stress. I was late with my homeowner’s dues and late with my mortgage payments. I had started looking for work on Craigslist, but so far I wasn’t making much progress. Thirty resumes out, but only one interview. That interview was with the owner of a private detective agency. Jimmy Gerrard had a sleazy appearance, a shabby office, and a weird way of talking about himself in the third person. Still, I was desperate and had tried to convince him I would make a good investigator. I have an eye for detail, I’m a good judge of character, and I speak a little Spanish.

The dog had emptied his food bowl and was licking his lips with his long pink tongue. He looked out toward the living room. “Tu casa es hermosa, muy hermosa.”

“What?” I agreed that my home was pretty, but I didn’t expect to hear it from him.

Tu casa es mi casa,” he said approvingly. He got it backwards, but I got the point: he felt at home.

He trotted into the living room and started looking around, more slowly this time. I poured myself a glass of Chardonnay and followed him. He seemed to like what he saw, his head bobbing up and down as he poked his nose into the corners. I sank down on my chocolate brown sofa and set my wine glass on the end table. Before I knew it, I had a Chihuahua in my lap. He proceeded to give my crotch a series of vigorous sniffs.

“Stop that,” I scolded.

“I am a dog,” he said. “What can I do?”

I was about to shoo him away, when he lay down in my lap and curled up, snug as a kitten. He was so soft and cuddly, his short fur like warm velvet. His long ears were shell pink where the light shone through them.

I mused aloud, “What shall we call you?”

“My name is Pepe,” he answered in Spanish.


Sí.” He got off my lap and stood on the couch beside me, his huge brown eyes looking directly into mine. “And your name, senorita?” he continued, still speaking Spanish. “How are you called?”

“I’m Geri Sullivan,” I told him.

Bueno,” he said, with a wagging tail. “I am now, with great pride, Pepe Sullivan.”

I took another sip of my wine. This was too much.

Pepe looked me up and down. “You are muy bonita, Geri!”

I blinked. “Really?” It had been a long time since anyone had complimented me on my appearance.

Sí! Your dark, curly hair gleams like the wing of a raven. Your lashes are as long and thick as a camel’s. And your curves are as sultry as the Yucatan.”

“Pepe,” I said, “you are quite the flatterer.” Although I was still pondering the comparison to a camel. Was that a compliment?

“I do not flatter,” he said. “I speak only the truth. I can recognize a hot mama when I see one.”

“Well, thank you.” I said. They say dogs are man’s best friend, but this one was definitely woman’s best friend. He made me feel way better than any of the losers I had dated since the divorce.

“Geri,” Pepe asked, “have you any other dogs?”

“No, I don’t.” I said. For some reason, I was reluctant to tell him about Albert. Just as I was reluctant to let Albert know about the dog.

Buenísimo!” He nodded approvingly. “That makes me el jefe.”


Dial C for Chihuahua is the first in a series of humorous mystery novels written by Curt Colbert and Waverly Fitzgerald, under the pen name Waverly Curtis. Geri begins working for Jimmy G, the eccentric owner of a detective agency, and Pepe, of course, insists on going along. Soon they stumble upon the corpse of a Microsoft millionaire whose widow owns a lovely Pomeranian named Siren Song.

In the second novel, Chihuahua Confidential, Pepe and Geri travel to Hollywood to perform in a reality TV show called Dancing with Dogs. When Nigel St. Nigel, the judge everyone loves to hate, is found dead, Pepe and Geri are hot on the killer’s heels, while Pepe perfects his dance moves with his Pomeranian lady love.

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For the third novel, The Big Chihuahua, Geri and Pepe go undercover in a cult that worships an ancient dog warrior spirit named Dogawanda. The cult’s charismatic leader courts Pepe with promises of fame and fortune but Pepe and Geri are more concerned with figuring out who is killing her devotees. You can learn more about Pepe and his adventures at our web site

More from Waverly Curtis on Writers & Other Animals

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