Things That Go Lum in the Night by
(113 Stories)

Prompted By Hello Darkness

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Lum.  Family dog for decade.  Big, oafish Lum. Size and features of Newfoundland.  Fur and coloration of German Shepherd.  Heart of an angel.  Brain of a pea.

Lum.  Family dog for decade.  Big, oafish Lum. Size and features of Newfoundland.  Fur and coloration of German Shepherd.

Hit by car driven by my teacher. She’s in tears; car dented; Lum fine. Romps with little dog next door. Breaks its leg.

Sleeps outdoors most nights. One night bitter cold; stays indoors. My bedroom is on first floor. (Lum can’t climb stairs). Asleep, I suddenly feel huge weight on legs; can’t move.  Sit up. Not only cats’ eyes shine in dark.  Too scared to scream and still can’t move.

Finally realize: Lum.


[My first RetroFlash.  Hitting exactly 100 words is quite the challenge (these parenthetical words don’t count!).  Stock image of Newfoundland and German Sheperd since, sadly, could find no pictures of Lum.]

Profile photo of John Shutkin John Shutkin

Characterizations: funny, moving, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Nice tribute to a faithful pet, even if he scared you in the night.

    • John Shutkin says:

      Thanks, Betsy. Though now I’m really upset I couldn’t find any photos of Lum. Even my brother didn’t have any. I used to draw him for cartoons I did in junior high school; I may just try to draw him again. It will take a large piece of paper.

  2. Kudos on your first Flash John!

    Lum sounds like a lovely dog. I remember my childhood Fluffy sleeping across my legs in bed altho she was a small mutt, not nearly as big as your oafish guy!

    Now we have a cat, he takes up much less room!

  3. Lum sounds like a good and memorable dog. It didn’t take many words for you to show that. Nice work.

  4. Nailed the RetroFlash, John, as I knew you would! I would have to write well over 100 words to tell you all I love about this story and in doing so my comment would outweigh the story. Suffice to say, it moved me. Well done!

  5. Marian says:

    Love this RetroFlash and Lum, John. Big fluffy dogs can be scary at night. One of my clients had a male Newfie named Solo (200 lbs) who used to rear on his hind legs to his full six foot height. He looked like King Kong in one’s peripheral vision and gave me a scare once, but wouldn’t hurt a flea.

  6. Suzy says:

    Hurray for your first RetroFlash! I knew you could do it! I’m not a dog person, but I appreciate your love for Lum, and your momentary terror in the dark, waking up with him sitting on your legs.

  7. Laurie Levy says:

    I love how you describe Lum as having the heart of an angel and the brain of a pea. And you nailed it in 100 words! It’s a challenge, though.

  8. The dog who dented the educator’s fender. The dog with a “p” for a brain but missing a “p” at the end of his name. The dog who was mistaken for a monster in the dark. What a tail [sic]!

  9. Shucks, John, it’s always easier to respond than to invent from whole cloth… or whole dog. I enjoyed your Lum tale!

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