And the winner is...
Eldest Son reports that for the first 24 hours after we left, the dog just sat by the front door, staring out the sidelight window and whining softly. Sometime in the second 24 hours, she got our bedroom door open, curled up on Karen's side of the bed, and refused to move.
There's good reason why we named the mutt "Shadow." There are times, and this is one of them, when Karen can't seem to turn around without tripping over the dog. Personally, I find it hilarious.
But then, I'm not the one with a needy neurotic Labrador trying to climb into my lap every time I sit down.
As for the 12/19/08 Friday Challenge, I have to go along with the general tenor of the comments. Passinthrough wrote a good heartfelt rant, Torainfor wrote a real knockout of a story, and Henry — well, we'll get back to him in a minute. Choosing between Torainfor's and Henry's entries was quite difficult, and Karen kept coming up with all sorts of creative ways to split the difference and declare them both winners.
Myself, I really don't see that much similarity between Torainfor's story and Clarke's "The Star", except for a very slight similarity in the twist at the end. If I was still a member of SFWA I'd probably get drummed out for saying this, but I found Rain's story far more entertaining than Clarke's, perhaps because I've had family trips like this one — well, except for that getting stranded three thousand years in the past part.
I don't know if this story is sellable. Most SF editors tend to shy away from seasonal stories in general and anything that might be interpreted as being overtly Christian in particular, but if it was my story, I certainly would be trying to get it published. I think it's a very good candidate for a professional sale and I'm hard pressed to think of any obvious way to improve on it.
But in the end I'm not picking a story to publish, I'm picking a Friday Challenge winner, and in the final cut of the cards, I'm afraid that my personal prejudices won out. In recognition of those four hideous years I spent working in retail sales during the Christmas season, and in fond memory of life back in the days when you could still post a sign in your computer store that read:
WILL BE CAGED AND SOLD.
Oh, you know the drill.