Title: THE FATEFUL PHOBIAS OF LEO STRANGE
Genre: MG Fantasy
Everyone knows bulldogs don’t speak. I mean, they hardly even bark. So why’d that hefty old Zelda say “car” just as I was about to get in it? Our neighbor liked to brag that his dog once lived with a circus, but all she’d ever learned to do was balance a ball on her nose. Or so I thought.
Before the sun could fry my skin, I jumped into the back of our Cadillac Escalade MegaXXX—a wimp of a car compared to all the self-driving land yachts cruising around the oxygen-sucking town of Sparkplug. Still, it had saved me from my fears a million times before. I slammed the door and squashed my nose against the window to see if Zelda looked like she was actually forming words. Kinda hard to tell on a creature with such a horrible underbite that her incisors didn’t fit in her mouth. But yeah. Her droopy jowls tightened and her lower jaw thrust forward every time she finished her disturbing howl. The “r” in “car.”
Don’t be a wuss, Leo. You’re imagining it. That’s what Omar would say. Best buds forever, despite my frequent freakouts. I could probably crack him up—and definitely everyone else in seventh grade—blathering on about a talking dog. Of course Zelda couldn’t really speak. Maybe this was the first stage of cynophobia. Fear of dogs. One of the few things I’d thought was totally harmless. Had a lifetime spent battling phobias made me totally lose it?