Big Mama Extorts a Bank Loan

A fantastical work of fiction where a bold, zealous canine commences its quest toward world domination…

by: Wendy Stone

Big Mama cruised through the sliding glass doors on the heels of a human. Though Big Mama carried her fifty pounds of girthy fierce in a ten-pound bag, her weight insufficiently tickled the door’s sensor. She stopped just inside the bank’s lobby. Loans Department, she read from the high-swiveled signage.

The arrow sent Big Mama down a long, wide hallway. Towers of furless flesh wearing all manner of synthetic coverings cascaded around her. Eyes shifting, feet dancing, she navigated the forest of calves, the stampede of feet. Thunderous waves of bipedal locomotion echoed off the tile floors, bouncing off the walls, some walking lightly, others stomping as if in formation. She swiveled and tucked her satellite ears toward her rudder-tail.

“Is that a dog?” she heard human number-fifteen say as she stopped to read the intersection signage. Big Mama tipped her tiny muzzle knee-high and sniffed. Too much cologne, cheap shampoo, had sausage for breakfast, privates smell like thing I buried in backyard.

Comments and scents accumulated as did towering bipeds. A shower of unintelligible and pitchy unimportant remarks.

“What’s a dog doing without their human in a public building?”

“Are they working at banks, now?”

“Are they handling our money, now?”

“Oh, my God!” human number-too-many said. “She’s so pudgy and cute!”

Big Mama sniffed. Walked through fresh mud this morning — delightful, lives with three cats — suspicious, had salad for breakfast — criminal.

Human number-too-many crouched down. “And what’s your name? Do you speak like the rest of them?” A hand, its frou-frou cuff laced with orange kitty hair, reached out.

Is she touching Big Mama’s new tux? Big Mama’s ears flattened; her chest puffed, filling out the black and white silk; her tail popped, rigid and distinct; white-blonde fur spiked along her spine. Human number-too-many pushed off the floor with two fingers, fleshy lips curling in disgust. The little dog’s gaze followed the biped’s as it lifted skyward. Big Mama don’t like you neither.

The loans department, a chasm, a cave of ringing bells and overlapping voices, its dark-paneled high ceiling and walls called the hunter in Big Mama. Grrr, her tiny lips lifted. The hunter stalked among the chrome legs of the desks; the hunter hunted in shades of scents, seeking the weakest, easiest prey. She approached a particular desk, took a step back and launched herself into the client chair. The velcroed keypad peeled gently away from the silk of the tux’s armband.

Bank man looked across his desk. He laughed. “Can I help you?”

Big Mama gently set the keypad at the desk’s edge. She typed with one claw, the voice flowing from within the box robotic and staccato. “Money. I need money. Lots of money.”

Bank man grinned. “And you are?”

“Big Mama.”

“And, Big Mama, how would you be using this copious amount of the bank’s money?”

The claw hesitated over the keys. “Big Mama would rather not say.”

“Look, while canines are gaining rights, we don’t do that here at…”

While bank man barked, Big Mama typed. “You wear Franco L’Arant. You had dry toast for breakfast. Your mate wears oil. Hint of bergamot, vanilla…jasmine. But there’s another scent on you, Dave. A perfume, Angel Blossoms.”

Bank man’s eyes darted to a framed photo prominently displayed on the desk. In it, he stood behind hint-of-bergamot and a human child. He leaned across the kempt desk. “Turn that thing down! It’s too loud. Why don’t you speak like the rest of them? Better yet, whisper. I simply can’t give money to a dog off the street.”

Big Mama’s nostrils flared at bank man, the first stretch of a butterfly’s wings. She wore his scents from the inside out. “Angel Blossoms lives in the Garamond District.” Bank man twitched, her prey signaling its position in the dark. “I need money. Lots of money.”

This time, bank man’s eyes darted toward the security guard across the chasm of dark wood hills and chrome trees. Big Mama yawned and stretched her front paws languidly, the right hovering over the keypad, she hammered the keys. “D. A. V. E. is stepping O. U. —”

“Ahem! Yes, Big Mama. Well, now, let’s see what we can do.”

The synthetic fibers from the microchip embedded at the base of Big Mama’s cerebellum spidered up into her brain, creating bundles of ambition, drive, and careful design. The myelin sheaths spun protective layers of proteins around the groundwork of the future, her future, their future. It’s begun.

Wendy Stone is an Ozma Fantasy Award finalist, a topic-expert contributor for fellow scribes on the Twitter Hivemind Archive, and a doggy savior.

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