Friday, February 12, 2010

Al Riske & Bodie

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Bodie (the cute one on the right) and this is my life-long companion, Al Riske. He's a writer and would probably like to tell you all about his first book, Precarious, which you can get from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, and fine book stores everywhere. I'd tell you about it myself, but he refuses to let me chew it.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Occasion? No occasion. Al drinks the stuff every day and I generally join him, on his lap. But for me? I prefer water —filtered though. It's gotta be filtered. Cool but not cold.

What's brewing?

It's Peet's Italian roast. Al has been raving about Italian roast ever since that trip he took to Italy with Joanne (my other life-long companion), which was before I was even born. Sheesh! Apparently dark roast has more flavor but less caffeine, so he doesn't get all jittery.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Not for Al. Unless you count the mound of whipped cream he put on top of his coffee.

Any treat for Bodie on this occasion?

I get a big breakfast biscuit every morning — I love the taste of bacon, cheese, and eggs all in one biscuit. You should try it.

How did you come to be united?

As far back as I can remember, Al and Joanne have always been with me. They say they adopted me, though, from a nice woman Joanne works for. I heard them talking once and Al admitted he had wanted a bigger dog (which is probably why I've always preferred Joanne), but I won him over. That's what he said: I won him over. And I wasn't even trying, you know. I was just being me. Being Bodie.

How did you get the name Bodie?

I was named after a famous skier, Bode Miller, but spelled different so people can pronounce it better. I guess I was pretty laid back as a pup, nursing while lying on my back and stuff like that.

Favorite place for a walk?

Anywhere, man. Preferably someplace new — that really gets me going, you know? — but I still like the old routes, too. Like to say hi to my old friends.

Stick, Frisbee, tennis ball...?

Actually, I don't want to be "naughty" but, well, there's this stuffed bear ... I know it's not real, and yet I see that thing sometimes and I just ... I get excited, you know?

Cat, squirrel, postman...?


Do you have any influence on Al's writing?

I like to think so, yeah. I try to slow him down if I can — sit in his lap and make him type with one hand so he has to think about each word.

What's an ordinary day like for Bodie?

I won't lie to you, man. I like to snuggle. Yeah, you heard me. Snuggle. So what? I can run and bark with the best of them, and I'm not afraid of anybody, but pick me up and hold me — I love that!

What's Bodie's best quality?

Bodie's a good boy. Just ask Al. He's always saying, "Who's a good boy? Bodie is! Bodie's a good boy!" Just like that, a dozen times a day.

What's Bodie's proudest moment so far?

Proudest? Graduating from puppy school. I was prancing like a show dog!

Most embarrassing?

Hmmm, I don't embarrass easily. I'm a dog, you know? We do what comes naturally. It's all good.

Al Riske was born in Shelton, Washington, and earned a degree in communications from Linfield College in Oregon. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, copywriter, and ghostwriter.

His short stories have appeared in the Beloit Fiction Journal, Hobart, Pndeldyboz, Switchback, Word Riot, and the Blue Mesa Review, where his story "Pray for Rain" won the review's 2008 fiction prize. He is currently working on a novel.

For more about Al Riske, go to alriske.blogspot.

Read more about his new short story collection at the official Precarious website.

--Marshal Zeringue