Here was the brief for the latest short story comp over on the 2000AD forums:
Your topic for a story of no more than 500 words is… (drumroll)…
TALES FROM THE DOGHOUSE
Remember those quirky little stronty dog stories we got when they killed Johnny Alpha off (It’ll never last)?
EVERYONE knows Johnny Alpha, but what about all those other Stronts?
Where’s THEIR stories?
Right here, my friends, in 500 words or less
The votes were counted, the three winners were announced, and they’ve all been good enough to allow us to reprint their entries here. So lastly in first place, Jamie Beamish aka Jabish.
Once again, congrats to all the winners and thanks for letting us share your entries on here
“A Dog’s Luck”
Nervous Nigel never had any luck. Ever since he was a kid all he ever wanted to be was a Strontium Dog. Growing up in the Milton Keynes Ghetto he only had one ambition; to pin that badge on his chest. He’d show his dad, prove him wrong.
‘You’re never going to be a Stront son. That’s for mutants with a mean streak, a killer’s disposition. You’re too sensitive to be one of them. You’re just unlucky son.’
Nigel would joke that his mutation was his bad luck. But it wasn’t just that. He wasn’t lucky enough have one of those cool mutations like Johnny Alpha’s eyes or Durham Red’s teeth. No. Nigel was born with his nervous system on the outside of his body. A gentle breeze against his skin was agony for him. He took strong painkillers just to be able to wear clothes. Not the most useful thing when all you want to be is a galactic bounty hunter. That’s how he got his name. Nervous Nigel. The pun was very much intended.
But Nigel was determined not to let his bad luck stop him from fulfilling his dream. If he couldn’t use his body he would use his brain. He studied for years. He invented a suit for himself that would be like a second skin and not irritate his external nervous system. With that he could now work and train. He would be a Strontium Dog. His luck was finally changing.
And the day came.
Nervous Nigel stood in the main hall of the Doghouse and received his blaster from the GCC Doghouse Liaison. Other Strontium Dogs were in attendance to witness. He was so proud. He was handed his bandolier. He took one of the Time Bombs from its holder. He never thought this day would come. And the best part of all; The badge. Finally. The liaison released the pin from its clasp but just before he could pin it to Nigel’s lapel there was a flash in the middle of the hall and a screaming figure, armed to the teeth, materialised out of nowhere. The gathered Strontium Dogs immediately drew their weapons and opened fire on the intruder, vaporising him. The liaison was distracted by the commotion but Nigel would not have his big moment ruined by anyone and grabbed the SD badge that he had waited so long to get and pinned it to his chest himself. But the pin grazed his skin under his suit and in a fit of intense pain he screamed and dropped the time bomb he was holding, which immediately went off and sent him just a few seconds back in time and due to the orbit of the Doghouse he materialised in the middle of the hall to be greeted by a startled group of heavily armed trigger happy Bounty Hunters. The last thing that went through his head before being vaporised was:
Maybe bad luck was his mutation after all.