Monday, October 4, 2021

Dog Boys, by Charles de Lint

Triskell Press, ISBN 9780920623169, November 2012

Brandon's family has just moved from Atlanta to a gated community in the (fictional) southwestern city of Santo del Vado Viejo, and for reasons mysterious to Brandon, they're sending him to the local public high school. There are Mexican gangs, Indian gangs, and he's the new Anglo outsider. He has a quite sensible plan to keep his head down.

Unfortunately, during his first week, he sees a big, tough Mexican guy bullying a very petite Indian girl. He steps in to protect the girl, Rita, and succeeds for the moment. Too bad the bully, Bambino, is the younger brother of one of the leaders of the 66 Bandas gang. Brandon and Rita are now both going to be targets.

Even getting home from school is tricky--and they can't just go home. They evade the gang in Brandon's car, but barely. Brandon wants to call the police; Rita explains that the police can't really help with gang trouble. She persuades him to go with her to her uncle, Rueben, head of the Warrior Society of their Kikimi tribe--or, more casually, the dog boys.

What follows is scary and dangerous and, for Brandon, a truly strange and weird experience. It's a life-changing experience, and things will never be the same.

This is a short story, so it's not helpful to say too much. It's a de Lint story, which tells you something if you're familiar with de Lint. These are smart kids, ready to ask trustworthy adults for help. The adults aren't perfect, but they do their best.


I bought this short story.

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