The Street is Lava | Dogboy Chronicles Short Tail


“This is Sally Pine reporting live for WAG News. I’m here with the driver of the car that’s been dangling over the edge of Wackmore Bridge for nearly six hours.”

Danny turned his head towards the driver’s side window so that his Omni-Cuff camera could record what he saw. The driver, a college-age male with a baseball cap and Van Dyke mustache, waved. Danny returned his view to Sally.

“Mr. Brinks,” said Sally.

“Call me ‘John.’ Mister is my father.”

“John, you’ve been hanging here for almost six hours…”

“Five hours, forty-nine minutes, and sixteen seconds, but who’s counting.”

“…what has been going through your mind?” Sally finished.

“Hmm…” John tapped his chin a couple times. “Not much. It’s kind of boring actually.”

Sally wanted to make sure she was hearing things correctly. “Boring?”

“Sure, the first hour or two, I was terrified, but after some time the adrenaline wears off. Afterwards, I read some books, watched a movie, and beat some Russian at Chess: Battle Royale.”

Danny switched the view back to Sally so she could ask her next question. “Any idea why it has taken rescue workers so long?

John yawned then shook his head like he was fighting off sleep. “Probably has something to do with the lava.”

The video zoomed in on Sally; she raised an eyebrow. “Lava?”

John pointed over the bridge–the best he could without causing the car to rock more. Sally and Danny peeked over the edge. Orange-red lava bubbled and popped below.

Danny kept his eyes on the lava so his camera could continue recording the street full of lava. “What do you know?” he said. “There is lava.”

“But why is there lava?” asked Sally.

John leaned back in his seat and turned his eyes to the sky. “The police said a semi carrying lava for Vulcan Labs overturned.”

“Why would someone be shipping lava?” asked Sally.

Danny didn’t break eye contact with the driver but did answer Sally. “I think Vulcan Labs is owned by Hephaestus.” 

“Oh,” said Sally feeling foolish for not knowing. “Never mind then.”

Hephaestus, the Olympian smithing god, was used to working inside a volcano. Made sense he’d want some lava in order to feel at home.

Sally was about to ask another question, but the sounds of the crowd breaking into cheers interrupted her. Danny and Sally turned towards the sound. The Dogcar, a white and purple vehicle that looks like a dog in car form, rolled to a stop. The gull-wing doors opened; I stepped out. The crowd cheered with whoops and wows followed by chants of “Dogboy! Dogboy!”

I approached Sally and Danny. The claws on my feet, which stick out from my black boots, clicked on the bridge’s concreate.

“What kept you?” asked Sally.

“I had to stop Blackfeather from stealing mail,” I said.

“Why on Earth would he steal mail?” asked Sally.

“He didn’t want to pay for the Cheese of the Month Club.”

Danny chose a groan from his Omni-Cuff digital sound board. 

I walked over to the car’s bumper.

“What’s up, dawg?” said the driver.

I knelt to pick up the car.

“Remember to lift with your legs,” said Danny.

I grabbed the bumper and let the telekinetic energy flow into the car. Golden lightning traveled down my arms and into the vehicle. The lightning was barely visible as it surrounded the car. I lifted the vehicle. It wasn’t heavy, but it wasn’t light either. It was like lifting a bed mattress.

The phantasmic/psychic energy kept the car from falling apart under its own weight or from gravity.

I sat the car down. The cheering and applauding of the crowd drowned out the creaking and groaning of the car as the telekinetic energy faded from it and “normal” physics took hold.

“Thanks, Dogboy,” said the driver as medical workers assisted him.

“Yes, good job, Dogboy,” said Sally trying to stay professional but also wanting to cheer. “Now, what are you going to do about the lava?”

I glanced towards the edge of the bridge. “Does anyone have an ice pack?”

Copyright Joe Rover 2021. All rights reserved.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!


The latest DOGBOY CHRONICLES book “The Lost Files: Episode 1” releases April 27.

Check out my links page for where you can order a copy!

Mysterious Space Signals

The following is inspired by a news article about signals from space that return every 16 days. You can read the article here.

Brain yelped a cheer interrupting my nap. 

Ever since the news story about strange signals from space every 16 days, Brian’s been at his equipment trying to decode the blips and static. It was interesting for about the first 15 hours. 

“I did it!” said Brain. He adjusted dials and knobs as I yawned and scratched my head. “In a matter of moments, we will discover the nature of these pulses.” Brain continued to adjust wavelengths and double-check readouts; I moved from Brain’s cot to the seat next to him. “Scientists are debating if the pulses are caused by an orbiting object blocking the source or if the source is orbiting an object. Another possibility is the source itself is pulsing.” 

The machine whined for a minute, which woke me up even further.

“Translation of cosmic pulses complete,” said SPOT, the artificial intelligence.

Brain and I fell into a deep hush. The machines beeped a couple times before the answer came.

“Eat at Joe’s,” said a friendly voice bouncing out of the speakers like a used car salesman who’d spotted a customer from across the lot. “Save 20 percent on your first online order. Offer expires 500 million years from broadcast date–Galactic year 2151.”

A hologram calendar appeared above my watch. “Drat!” I said. “It expired yesterday.”  

“Remember,” the ad continued, “if your order doesn’t arrive in 30 parsecs, it’s free.”

I sighed. “Why does everyone get that wrong? Parsecs are not a measurement of time!” I glanced over at Brain; he stared forward like a fish that’d just learned hooks are bad. “What’s wrong?”

“The greatest scientific mystery of our age…and it is a commercial.” He covered his face with a hand. “Why is the universe such a cruel mistress?”

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!

Copyright 2020 Joe Rover. All rights reserved.


The Unlikely Hero of 13B | Review

All reviews are my personal opinion. Spoilers ahead.

The Unlikely Hero of 13B by Teresa Toten tells the tale of Adam Spencer Ross who falls for Robyn Plummer. Adam immediately falls for Robyn and plans to marry her. Over the course of the story, he encounters many normal obstacles: a rival, age differences (he’s about 14/15 and she’s 16), and he feels he isn’t tall or manly enough for her (which leads to a hilarious scene in a coffee shop). He also pretends that his route home matches hers in order to walk with her. The twist to the story comes from the fact Adam isn’t “normal.” He has mental health issues like OCD.

Throughout the story Adam wants to rescue Robyn and be her superhero, but feels he comes up short because of his problems.

It was interesting to see the story through the perspective of the one with the metal illness. You get to see that Adam has a lot of the same feelings and fears that “normal” people have—they’re just cranked up to eleven.

I did have a problem with the story when Adam finds out that Robyn is getting better. She no longer needs to attend the support group meetings, which is where he met her. He then learns that her coming to the meetings and hanging out with him is harming her mental health. Adam freaks out about hurting her and says he’ll let her go, but then in the next chapter he’s still with her. It was kind of confusing to have this big, emotional moment with him in tears over hurting the one he loves only to have him continue to do so a page later.

Review Guide

But, you also get scenes like Wolverine talking about his heart problems and random illnesses or Green Lantern worrying about killing or hurting someone. At the beginning of the story, also known as the first meeting of Adam’s support group, the doctor in charge, Chuck, has everyone pick new identities to help them feel more comfortable; pretty much everyone chooses a superhero name. So, you have Iron Man worrying about his medicine dosage or Wonder Woman talking about being afraid of tight spaces.

I actually had some trouble finding negatives about the story. The flow and writing was well done. The characters felt real. The plot constantly moved forward, though it was a little cliché—boy meets girl, boy tries to win girl—but having main characters with mental illness brought uniqueness. The ending also seemed real. It was a happy-ish ending, but not an “everything is wonderful” ending. Adam isn’t suddenly cured of his mental illness, but he starts being able to cope with it. There are some pretty bittersweet moments, but you’ll have to read the book to find out about those. 4.8/5


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The latest Side Quest short story Carl Rogers Is Missing is out now for FREE.