Oh. My. Dog! #59

Posted: June 24, 2021 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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“Did she like what you had for her?”
“On arrival, I got in position to ensure that we would not get caught. They got in, took what they wanted, got out, and drove off without me. I did not see them again. I never had the chance to have this beautiful plant to give to her.”
Rob lowered his head, and Bud whimpered again. “They seemed so nice; they were the only ones who were nice to me in years.”
“Except your favourite aunt.” Rob nodded, still avoiding eye contact.
“Could you identify them for me?”
Rob looked shocked.
“These men did something very nasty. They destroyed and stole valuable plants that are irreplaceable; they caused a lot of monetary and botanical damage.”
“Oh. What if they had done this to my aunt’s garden?” Rob could no longer hide his tears, and Paul handed him his handkerchief.


Jones collected Rob to show him suspects in the database. In the meantime, I told Paul about my concerns regarding Rob’s role in this case and how Lady Barker-Worthington might react – would she blame Charlotte?
“It is an educated guess that she genuinely cares for Rob. He might be the only one she can forgive.”



Oh. My. Dog! #58

Posted: February 13, 2021 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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I had decided to get to the station by bike, considering it more comfortable for Rob to be picked up by one man and a dog. Paul had updated Jones on the way, asking him to let me stay at his side to watch and listen in on Rob’s interview. As Jones related this request to my being Bud’s owner, he did not object.

When Paul entered the interrogation room with Rob – and Bud, I was sorry to see how small and vulnerable Rob looked. ‘The born scapegoat.’ sprang to my mind.

“Have a seat, Rob.” Bud led Rob to a chair while Paul brought two glasses of sparkling water to the table. Rob’s hands were shaking so badly that he had to seize the glass with both hands. Bud whimpered and laid his head on Rob’s lap. Rob immediately relaxed and Paul started with some harmless questions. When he mentioned Lady Barker-Worthington, Rob’s face lightened up. “She’s my favourite aunt; she’s always nice to me, she offered me the job as her gardener’s assistant as she knows that I love plants.”

“So, you are glad to work for her.”

“I am. And I wanted to give her something in return.”


Oh. My. Dog! #57

Posted: January 4, 2021 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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What Bud showed me was sad; Rob suffered constant humiliation when the only thing he wanted was ‘to belong’. I wanted to tell the others what I had seen, but Bud pressed his paw harder. I saw two men approaching Rob, patting him on the shoulder, smiling, buying him a beer. Bud’s and my eyes met; I nodded, and he dropped his paw.

Turning around, I said: “There is something you must see, Paul.”

Bud trotted over and laid his paw on Paul’s knee. A minute later, Paul fondled Bud’s ears, seemingly feeling as blue as I did.

“We need to interrogate this young man carefully. He has not been treated all too well in the past; the ‘bad guys’ tricked him by offering their friendship and a rare plant to get his support. It is the real culprits we will have to find.”


Jones called as we finished our coffee. He had some notes about Rob’s having been beaten up repeatedly, without ever identifying the responsible parties – other than that, his name had not appeared in the research.

Paul decided to pick Rob up. “Let Bud and me come with you; a dog to cuddle might be what makes him relax – and talk.”

Oh. My. Dog! #56

Posted: December 1, 2019 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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“She is pretty competitive,” Charlotte conceded. “But she certainly would not accept the plants if they were stolen.”

“Thanks for your time, Charlotte. This must have been hard to digest.”

Back in the car, Paul Cairns speed-dialled his second-in-command. “Jones, you need to research Lady Barker-Worthington’s nephew Rob – we might be on to something.” Paul Cairns disconnected and they drove home in silence.


Back home, Paul Cairns and Lynx found the others in the living room; Annie’s cheeks were flushed as she eagerly listened to my explanations on how to research gardening advice on the web. At least Bud looked up, yawned, and trotted to the door to greet them.

Annie Cairns looked at her watch. “Coffee time and – talk time!” She marched to the kitchen, knowing that we would follow – which we did.

Paul Cairns told us what he and Lynx had learned from Charlotte and that he was expecting to hear from Jones; Lynx added some of her thoughts.

“Wasn’t it odd to meet in the Viking room?”

“No, Ken. It is good to know that nobody could listen in to the interview – especially her ladyship.”

I was still wondering when Bud laid his paw on my knee.

Dear friends and readers,

Cover: In a Small Compass – Vol. 2
by Karen Oberlaender

My third book, In a Small Compass – Vol. 2, was published on November 22, 2019, as a multi-format ebook by Smashwords. The book comprises fourteen (optimised) short stories as well as three flash fiction stories. I hope you’ll take time to check it out at Smashwords or at one of the other retailers by following the link below. Among other locations, the stories will take you on a journey to Oakville, York, and even Norway. Enjoy your trip!

In a Small Compass – Vol. 2 is available at many retailers. Mobi format is available at Smashwords.

Buy/download links: https://books2read.com/u/3npzN6

I hope that you enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them.

I am looking forward to your feedback and reviews. 🙂

Best wishes,



Fourteen contemporary short fiction and three micro-fiction stories with paranormal streaks take you on a journey to Oakville, York, Germany, Norway, Ireland, USA, and other places.

Find out more about:

– Ben and the wood.
– Cara and an eerie afternoon.
– Danny’s youth.
– A witty grandfather.
– Kenneth and the lake.
– Jonah and the chest.
– Valentina and the spring.
– Justin and the scent of cinnamon.
– Francesca and her dream.
– The hawk at the harbour.
– Michael at the museum.
– Gwendolyn’s call of duty.
– Sheriff Jim and the unpaid bill.
– Rose’s hardship.
– Lydia’s bliss.
– Martin and a tricky case.
– A teenage boy and a king.

Available ebook formats

epub, mobi, pdf, lrf, pdb, html


Oh. My. Dog! #55

Posted: October 27, 2019 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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Charlotte whistled. “This dreadful mirror?! If you already assumed that my mother’s taste differs from mine – you were absolutely right.”

“How did it end up being used in a break-in?” Lynx wondered aloud. “Did you put it in the trash?”

“The only thing I did with it was hiding it from my view by putting it behind the vanity mirror. Perhaps my mother took it back and – holy…” Charlotte’s voice faltered for a moment. “I truly hope that I*m on the wrong track – but my cousin Rob is always short on cash, perhaps mother gave it to him for sale. He earns a little by supporting our gardener by doing some menial tasks.”

Paul Cairns rubbed his chin. “Charlotte, I do need to ask you a question that might sound a little strange,” he said gently.

Charlotte looked him in the eyes. “Shoot.”

“Your mother seems very competitive, is it possible that your cousin wanted to help her win the gardening competition; rare conifer transplants and tricolour rose liners were stolen. Perhaps Rob wanted his aunt to win by providing her with the rare plants, and get a refund for them; he might have told her that he bought them.”


Oh. My. Dog! #54

Posted: February 24, 2019 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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Paul Cairns noted the barely visible movement of Lady Barker-Worthington’s left brow. “Charlotte – your expert of choice? Everyone else in this family is more worthy of providing expertise on any given exhibit.”

“I agree. Yet – this is about a Viking artefact.”

A look of absolute disgust briefly crossed the lady’s face. “Mortimer, inform Charlotte that she has visitors.” She stood, and picking up her trade journals, she headed for the door.

Lynx seemed utterly unfazed, whereas Paul Cairns tried to remember if he had ever met someone as ill-behaved.

Hurried steps and “Lynx, this is really you!” interrupted his train of thoughts. The young woman hugging Lynx was the opposite of her mother, outgoing and kind. Lynx whispered something in her ear.

“Lynx, Mir Cairns, please follow me to our Viking collection.”

The Viking collection was in an annexe of the building, Charlotte and the cleaning staff were the only ones who knew its exact location; moreover, it was not monitored by security devices.

Charlotte used her key and let her visitors in. “All right, tell me what’s going on!”

“There was a break-in at the plant nursery, someone used something with your initials. Please show Charlotte the photos, Paul.”

Oh. My. Dog! #53

Posted: February 17, 2019 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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Lynx, we need to talk to Charlotte.”

Sure thing, Mr Cairns. First, we need a plausible reason and second – a suitable attire.”

Bud laid his paw on my knee.

That’s brilliant!” Fondling Bud’s ears I elaborated my plan.

Lynx was thrilled. “Mr Cairns, would you mind playing my uncle?”

Not in the least, my dear. And it’s Paul. We should stop with that formal nonsense, don’t you think so too, Annie, love?”

Mrs Cairns – no, Annie! – seemed pleased. “I couldn’t agree more, Paul. Let’s raise our mugs and celebrate this special moment.”

A few minutes later Lynx left for a change of clothes, Annie sent a grumbling Paul to dress up appropriately for their visit at the Barker-Worthingtons.

Thanks to announcing their visit beforehand, a gleaming borrowed Jaguar, Lynx and her charming smile, she and her “uncle” Paul were allowed along the driveway to the house. A butler in livery opened the front door and led them to the salon.

Lady Barker-Worthington, it is so lovely to see you again!”

Lady Barker-Worthington reciprocated the niceties with a smile that did not reach her eyes.

And the purpose of your visit is the Worthington collection, because…?”

“We need Charlotte’s expert opinion.”

Oh. My. Dog! #52

Posted: November 3, 2018 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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“Difficult – what kind of difficult?”

“How can I best explain it, Lynx? Well, let us say they breathe money. They consider themselves above all – untouchable. They do not only have friends in high places, but they own them. We cannot just knock on their door. To even get near the premises is ‘Invitation only.’.”

Mrs Cairns looked troubled. “Perhaps you should not follow that line, dear. If they feel threatened, they might file a complaint. This would stick to your profile forever.”

“We cannot let them get away with it!”

Mr Cairns chuckled. “Not so fast, Ken. We do not know if Charlotte is involved here. As you mentioned, it might have been stolen. The Barker-Worthington aren’t known for donating…”

“Charlotte and I were classmates for a few weeks. She was funny, always open for pranks. Then we were told that she transferred to a more appropriate school. After what you just told us, Mr Cairns, I assume that she enjoyed her freedom a little too much for her parents’ taste.”

“I am convinced that they want to keep their daughter under control. They do not want their reputation harmed.”

“Despite that, Charlotte wants to have fun – even with burglary.”

Oh. My. Dog! #51

Posted: October 21, 2018 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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While we were talking, Mr Cairns hat quietly joined us at the table. When I started explaining Bud’s finding, he got really excited.

“We know that they checked if they could enter the premises without getting caught! That they wore gloves is annoying; on the other hand, the mud has effectively destroyed all possible evidence.”

“Another question is how to prove it. We cannot tell anybody about Bud’s gift.”
Lynx agreed with me. She stared at the mirror, taking in how it was attached to the stick. Frowning, she grabbed a napkin and lifted the mirror for a closer look, turning it in different angles. You could have heard a pin drop when she finally smiled into the round.

“We’ve got ourselves a clue!”

She pointed at the initials C.E.B.W. “This belongs to Charlotte Elisabeth Barker-Worthington. She might have given it to a friend.”

“It might have been stolen – or even donated.”

I had hardly finished talking when Bud laid his paw on my knee. I recognised the young man from the other vision. “Is this Charlotte?”

Bud went over to Lynx. “Yes, that’s her.”

Mr Cairns sighed, “The Barker-Worthingtons are difficult. We need to plan our approach with care.”