Armadillos I Have Known

Otis is Resurrected

Bolivian armadillo, from wfscnet.tamu.edu

Original photo credit to WFSCNET.tamu.edu, used to illustrate the story “Otis is Resurrected” by Brady Udall, initial broadcast on Chicago Public Radio’s “This American Life” #154, re-broadcast October 26, 2007. (You can still listen to this show for free; click on “Full Episode.”)
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“Otis is Resurrected” was originally published in Story magazine as this version. The version read by Udall for “This American Life” was shortened in some places, which did not overly change the tone of the story, but the ending is quite a bit different and was considerably darker and far more upsetting than the original. (Although I did not realize that until after.)

I was listening to this while driving home from work and, having missed the first minute or two, did not hear it described as fiction. The tears started flowing (I’m a sucker for a sad animal story, I admit it) when it got to the part about Donald and Otis in the laundry room, and was completely full-on crying when it got to “by the end of the summer, Donald was dead,” both out of sadness for Donald and for the terrible loss and regret his brother must have felt for being too busy and too caught up in his own problems to deal with his mentally ill brother. And when the story came near to the end, and how Richard, the narrator, desperately tries to find redemption and peace with what happened to Donald by manipulating Otis’s life in the most terrible way, I was bawling almost hysterically. I was also absolutely furious at Chicago Public Radio for giving publicity to this insane repulsive waste of air, and I thought of all the things I was going to do the second I got home: first, write a letter to CPR and completely ream them out for being a party to such a disgusting and repeated event; then find out (Google is my friend, and let’s just say I know some people) where this psycho nutjob lived and call Animal Control, the newspapers, the TV stations, and every other outlet I could think of to get this sadistic fuck away from that poor armadillo.

As I pulled into the driveway, the story was over, and I heard Ira give the name of the author and I immediately thought, “Hey, that’s not the name he was called in the story,” and then, of course, came the disclaimer that this was a work of fiction and no armadillos were harmed. I felt like someone had just taken his foot out of my stomach.

I have searched and searched for a transcription of the TAL broadcast version and could not find it. So I did one myself.
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OTIS IS RESURRECTED
By Brady Udall
“This American Life” broadcast version

It was three days after our old man died that my brother, Donald, accomplished the most spectacular deed of his life. I wish I could have been there to see it: Donald taking the Greyhound down to Nogales all by himself, buying the baby armadillo for eight hundred pesos from a pie-faced Indian woman at the Santa Acuna market, tucking the little thing under his arm like a football and running the length of the pedestrian border station, past the heat-struck tourists in their sombreros and loud socks and the guards with their sidearms and walkie-talkies, pushing through the last steel-toothed turnstile into the heart of the Nogales slums.

It was his proudest moment, though it did take him the rest of the day and half the night of wandering among the hookers and street-corner punks to find a bus that would bring him back to Ajo. I don’t know how he managed not to get robbed or killed or at the very least his teeth kicked in, but there he was after I came home from hours of frantic searching, sitting stiff-backed on the couch, beaming. The little armadillo was rooting at the crotch of his pants and Donald’s pink sweating face had screwed itself up with such a grin of utter self-satisfaction.

Donald ended up giving the armadillo to me. A present, he said, something to make me feel better. I thanked him, took the armadillo, which clawed at my T-shirt like a cat, and gave it a little squeeze. What else could I do?

My father had worked as a janitor for twenty-one years, but he was also a reader of books, a scholar—if it is possible to be both a scholar and a sixth-grade dropout—and one of his favorite subjects was zoology. He could bore you into a coma with what he knew about the great horned owl or the common mealworm or the laughing hyenas of Africa. But of all the beasts of the animal kingdom, he loved and admired the humble armadillo most.

“Nope, not the smartest or prettiest,” he would say when one of them scatted across the highway in front of our old Le Mans, “but the hardiest, you see what I’m saying, the most resourceful.”

He often promised he would get us an armadillo for a pet, but he died before he could come through: an end-all heart attack standing in line at the grocery store.

I was seventeen, Donald nineteen. Our mother—a Guatemalan migrant worker who had married my father under the impression he would one day be a rich man who could buy her a Cadillac and a house with a swimming pool—had run off when we were babies, so it was just the two of us now. It took me about a week to get over the shock and then I did what I had to: I dropped out of school, started working full-time pouring concrete for Hassenpheffer’s and moved Donald and me to a cheaper apartment near the McComb & Sons wrecking yard, where Donald could watch the cars getting pulverized from our window. We got money from the state that paid for Donald’s medication, but the rest was up to me.

Donald was really something else. What could be done with a guy who ate his own earwax? Who carried a maroon mini-Bible in the band of his underpants and read random scriptures out loud at inappropriate times? Who could be sashaying about the room one minute, doing a dead-on impression of Sammy Davis Jr., and the next be downstairs in the closet grunting like a pig and trying to tear his hair out?

From a distance, you wouldn’t have been able to tell him from any other teenager. He had relatively good hygiene, did not usually talk to himself in public, and was something of a handsome devil with his dark hair hanging down over pale green eyes. Sometimes, I would take him to a party or dance with me and the girls would flock around us. He could be as charming as Hugh Hefner in short bursts, before he’d have to run off and hide in the bathroom.

I remember once when I was nine or ten and we were playing in the backyard. He kept pestering me, saying, “I am the Indian, you are the cowboy, okay?” I told him to shut his trap, I was busy building a cave for my army men. He wouldn’t give up. “Me Indian, you cowboy, okeydokey?” Over and over. “Dammit, Donald, you freak!” I hollered. “Do whatever you want, but just shut up for a second!”

“I’m not a freak,” he said, sticking his chin out.

“All right, then,” I said. “You’re a retard extraordinaire.”

The next time I looked up Donald was on top of the doghouse with the bow-and-arrow set my father had bought for him at a garage sale. He had the arrow notched and pulled back to his ear, just like the Indians on TV. I hadn’t noticed before, but now I saw that he had taken off his shirt and tucked it in the elastic of his shorts so it looked like he was wearing a loincloth and had used a little blood from the scab on his elbow to make fiendish red streaks across his face. He was doing it perfect, really, just like a TV Indian, an honest-to-God savage. I didn’t believe he would really shoot me, so I just sat there like a jackass, my hands full of dirt. I didn’t see him let go of the bowstring but I certainly did hear the thop! the arrow made when it hit me in the chest, dead center. More from the surprise than anything, I fell flat on my back. It was only a target arrow, but it pierced my sternum just enough to stand upright from my chest, waving around sluggishly like a reed in a river.

I lay in the grass and stared up at the neon yellow fletching of the arrow. My hands were still full of dirt. Donald jumped down from the doghouse and stood over me. He was smiling an odd, satisfied smile, as if he was expecting to be congratulated on his marksmanship. He looked at me for a long time before he gently put his hand around the shaft of the arrow without pulling it out.

He said, “Right smack-dab in the heart, white man.”

I told Donald I wanted him to name the armadillo. After several days of deliberation he decided to name it after Otis, the happy drunk on The Andy Griffith Show, who our father had resembled in almost eerie detail.

I got used to taking care of Donald alone—I had no choice—but Otis was a different story. First of all, Otis smelled. He gave off a musky odor that intensified whenever he was nervous or hungry and no matter if we scrubbed him raw with industrial soap and water, the smell would come back in an hour or so. And then there was the furniture. Armadillos are burrowing animals—this is something I learned from my father—and in the confines of our small apartment, Otis didn’t have many opportunities to burrow. Instead, he would march through the house like a tiny gray tank and move the furniture around. He’d waddle into the living room, put his blunt forehead against one of the legs of the coffee table, and bear down, inching it around the room, his little squirrel claws scrabbling on the wood floor. At least once a week, without fail, he would crawl between the mattress and box springs of my bed and take a dump. My father was right about armadillos: they are hardy, they are resourceful, and, if Otis is typical, are as dumb as donkey crap. Sometimes, in the course of his incessant apartment wandering, Otis would find himself trapped in a corner and would spend the rest of the evening attempting to claw his way out.

Otis was technically my pet, but Donald cared for him, worried over him, tormented him, teased him, then made up with tearful professions of regret and affection. While I was away at work they would do things together. Donald would carry Otis around outside, conversing with him, rooting in the weeds in the vacant lot, searching for earthworms or crickets for Otis’ dinner. Sometimes, Donald would hide behind the recliner and when Otis passed by, would jump out and shout in a high soprano wail, “Look out, Otis!” Poor Otis would spring two feet into the air, like a startled cat, his leathery body twisting, his claws clutching at nothing, and once he’d landed he’d scurry into the hallway, looking back over his shoulder, embarrassment in those little piggy eyes.

This kind of living arrangement was no boost for my social life, I can tell you. If I ever wanted to bring a girl home, I figured I’d have some difficulty explaining why the apartment smelled like a bear’s den, why the furniture was strewn around and why my brother was naked and hiding behind the couch waiting to scare the daylights out of an armadillo.

It took five years before I found someone I loved enough to bring home. Allison was good about everything, told me I was a saint and a Christian to be taking care of Donald. She was so wonderful and beautiful and good-smelling I could barely stand it. I proposed to her, after which I went home to talk to Donald. It was springtime in the desert, the smell of cactus blossoms everywhere, and I was so full of love and desire I could barely see straight. Allison and I had decided that we would get an apartment nearby, that with my new promotion at Hassenpheffer’s and Allison’s job at the county courthouse, we could afford our own place and, with the help of the government, support Donald. Donald would be all right as long as we checked on him daily, made sure he was taking his medication, occasionally washed the place down with ammonia so the smell wouldn’t bother the neighbors.

I have to admit the thought of escaping from Donald and Otis and that cave of an apartment was almost as enticing as the thought of being with Allison.

At home, when I sat Donald down to explain things to him, I could barely get a word out; I stuttered and stammered, kept wiping my mouth. When I finally made things clear, Donald whipped out his mini-Bible and frantically paged through it but couldn’t seem to come up with anything—the first time I had ever seen him at a loss for a scripture. He yanked at his hair and ground his teeth together until they squeaked. Finally, without saying anything, he snatched up Otis, who had been napping under one of the couch cushions, and went into the laundry room, slamming the door behind him.

I felt like kicking that door down and wringing his neck—couldn’t he at least try to be happy for me, to think of somebody other than himself for one minute? I wanted only to be with Allison, and I hated Donald for making it so difficult, hated him for the years of responsibility and obligation and lost opportunities, hated him in the way only a brother can hate a brother.

I took a few steps toward the stairwell to leave—I didn’t care, I was going to stay at Allison’s, my first night ever away from Donald—when I heard a splashing noise from inside the apartment. The laundry room door was locked and I shouted Donald’s name, but got no response. I tried to kick in the door, which was made of something like cardboard; my foot went right through it. Once I had my leg free, I looked through the splintered hole and could see Donald hunched over the utility sink, both arms submerged up to his biceps. The back of his neck was purple and pulsing, full of angry blood, and it took me only a moment to understand he was trying to drown Otis.

I unlocked the door and grabbed him from behind, but he resisted, grunting and plunging Otis deeper into the water. I wrestled him out into the living room, where we fell sideways against the couch. Donald twisted away from me and stood up, the water dripping off his elbows, forming a puddle around his shoes. Otis was curled up in a ball, just like when he slept, and Donald began to shiver so badly that he lost his grip and let Otis’ body slide out of his hands and hit the floor with a wet slap.

Donald’s face twisted into a mask of concentrated grief. “See?” he wept. “See what I did?”

Looking at my brother, I felt all the parts of me that had been opening up since I had met Allison collapse on each other like so many empty rooms. It would have to be me and Donald, brothers, inseparable, no one else allowed.

I don’t remember if I looked away, or if it was as sudden as it seemed, but one moment Otis was a sad, wet corpse, as dead as an armadillo could be, and the next he was huffing and twitching and scrabbling to his feet.

Donald let out an arching shriek which sent Otis zigzagging into the kitchen where a mad chase ensued, Donald slipping and flailing, knocking over chairs and pulling down the drapes, still choking and sobbing, now with relief. He finally herded Otis under the table and once he had pulled him out, he held him up, his fingers locked in a death grip around his little body, and cried, “Otis is resurrected! Otis is resurrected!”

A fair trade: Donald got his armadillo back and I got to marry Allison. Never again did Donald show any sign of jealousy or resentment; he was the best man at our wedding, read a long section from Zephaniah at the reception, even brought us a gift: a book called Hot Sex for Cold Fish.

Things went well those first few years. We saved enough to buy the concrete business from old Hassenpheffer, who retired to ride his Harley around the continent, and Donald and Otis seemed to thrive together. We stopped in to visit as often as we could—Allison cooked dinner for them on Tuesdays and Thursdays—and we paid a housecleaning service to scrub the apartment down every week, put the furniture back in place, and steam the carpets.

Donald had his first episode one night while I was in Phoenix at a heavy equipment auction. They found him digging up the lawn in front of the City First Bank, blabbering about how difficult it was to find high-grade earthworms on the south end of town. When the cops tried to approach him, he pelted them with dirt clods and threatened to eat a fistful of worms if they got any closer. He spent most of the night in the holding tank before Sheriff Brasky figured out who he was and gave me a call.

A few months later, at the city park, Donald climbed an old elm which branched out over a sidewalk. He managed to pee on a few passersby before the groundskeeper knocked him off his branch with a well-thrown rake.

We took him to a doctor, who adjusted his medication and suggested that Donald be put in a home, where he could get the care and attention he needed, where he could socialize with somebody besides an armadillo. I brought up the subject with Donald, but he told me he would rather die than give up Otis to live in a house with a bunch of half-wits and knuckleheads. The only other option, we knew, was taking in Donald and Otis ourselves. Allison was eight months pregnant with our second baby, the business was really starting to take off—it just wasn’t a good time, we told ourselves, we might be able to work something out in a few months when things had settled down. By the end of the summer, Donald was dead.

The call came in the middle of the night, like they always do. Sheriff Brasky told me that Donald had been hit by a car on 87 near the refinery. He had run through traffic completely naked, dodging cars and sprinting down the median, until an old couple in a minivan clipped him with their bumper, knocking him over a temporary steel divider and onto a concrete platform where he was partially impaled by a jutting piece of rebar. He bled to death before the ambulance arrived.

After I went to the hospital to identify his body, I drove out to the accident site. For half an hour I combed both sides of the highway without a flashlight until I found Otis, cowering under a piece of discarded plywood. His left foreleg was mangled, nearly torn from his body, and he was bleeding from the soft flesh of his belly. I drove him over to the only veterinarian in town, Larry Oleander, and pounded on the door until he answered. Larry was an old retired cowboy with a glass eyeball and a dent in his head where a mule had kicked him.

“Jesus Geronimo Christ,” he said. It was four o’clock in the morning. I held Otis out to him and he said, “What you have there is an armadillo.”

“Fix him up,” I said.

“Son,” he said, “I don’t know what you think…”

“Do it.”

Larry Oleander peered up at me. He sighed and held the screen door open. “Come the hell on in.”

Larry amputated Otis’ leg, stitched up the wound on his underside, bandaged him until he looked like one big wad of gauze. When I tried to pay him he waved his hand in front of my face, took a slug off a bottle of vodka he kept under the operating table. “Jesus, Richard. Just promise me you’ll never make a peep about this to anybody.”

I took Otis home and he has been a part of our family ever since. Over the last few years I have added on a wing to the house just for him. He has a room with a skylight and two bay windows, his own pillow-bed to sleep under, and a bunch of old furniture to push around. As far as I am aware, he is the only three-legged armadillo on earth with his own personal wading pool.

Allison is not thrilled about having an armadillo in her home, never has been, but she knows it’s important to me. The kids—we have four of them now—can’t stand Otis either. They want another pet: some kind of happy, slobbering dog or an albino snake to impress their friends. Otis is not only real, real dumb, they argue, but also smells like doo-doo; they’re not sure which is worse. I tell them they are correct, they’ll get no disagreement from me, but Otis is our pet, and we’re going to love him no matter what.

I try not to let myself forget how blessed I am: my beautiful family, my dream house up in the hills, a successful business that pretty much runs without me. I am happy and satisfied most of the time, but every once in a while, maybe once or twice a year, something will come over me, a dark mood that I can’t shake, usually at night when everyone is asleep and the house is quiet, and I’ll get Otis out from under his pillow-bed and take him upstairs. I run a bath, sitting on the lip of the tub, holding him close to my chest the way he likes it.

Usually I just let him paddle around, but sometimes, when the tub is almost overflowing, I take him firmly in both hands and plunge him into the water. There’s not a clock in the bathroom, so I count: one alligator, two alligator, three alligator. This is how I count off the seconds.Otis struggles like a tiny lion for the first two or three minutes, writhing and spasming wildly, sending up a boiling foam of bubbles, fighting and scratching with everything he’s got, and I hate myself for what I’m doing to him.

Usually between the fourth and fifth minute is when he starts to lose his will, and his thrashing weakens as he gradually curls up on in himself, like a flower dying, and goes utterly still. This is always the hardest part for me.The urge to pull him out is almost unbearable, but I go five or ten seconds longer than the last time. One alligator. Two alligator. Three alligator. Four alligator. Five alligator. Until I can’t stand it anymore. I lift him out and he lies there in my hands, like a deflated soccer ball, and I’m sick with dread knowing that this time I’ve taken it too far: I’ve killed him. I stare down at him and wait, hardly blinking, wait for that first twitch or jerk, for his nostrils to flare with life, and usually there’s almost an imperceptible shudder from underneath his hard shell, a stirring, and his tail will begin to vibrate like a piano wire, and he slowly, hesitantly opens up, and stretches himself, clawing the air and coughing like a newborn.

Sitting there on the edge of the bathtub with Otis wet and dripping in my arms, I’m always overcome with the same vision: Donald clutching a newly revived Otis, his face slick with tears, transformed from a man twisted inside out with grief to someone awestruck at the realization that our worst mistakes can be retrieved, that death can be traded in for life, that what has been destroyed can be made whole again.

With a sudden surge Otis struggles to get out of my lap—he is an armadillo and there is exploring to do. I let him down and watch him slide around on the linoleum and try to push the toilet off its base and I feel a small, bitter joy lodge in my heart. “Otis is resurrected,” I whisper. I carry him to his room and make sure he is comfortable under his pillow-bed and only then will I be able to walk peacefully through the dark, quiet halls of my home, kiss each of my children goodnight, and lie down next to my wife to sleep.
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Thank you to Brady Udall. I have enjoyed that story more than you can ever know.

19 Responses to “Armadillos I Have Known”

  1. BoulderBill says:

    I knew this was a work of fiction when I heard it on NPR, but my question was, “Why the change in ending?” Did the author make the change or was it requested?

    And wasn’t someone smart enough to know that it diminished the published short story?

    This revised version took a moving piece of fiction and turned it into a story about a twisted wacko who, twice a year, tries to drown an armadillo and in such a way that he will eventually succeed. Leaves one wondering just how long before he turns on his kids… probably not the original intent of the author.

  2. Meow House says:

    Hi, I know what you mean–seems weird that it was changed. It became much darker. Brady Udall read the story for CPR though so he must have made the changes. It’s possible the original version was the one read: I could only find it online in that version which I believe was a direct reprint for Story Magazine, and they might have altered it (or had it altered) to suit their readership.

    I do think the radio version is much more powerful, even though the narrator comes off as a sadistic whacko. But that is what got to me so much. I don’t think I would have burst into tears and been ready to notify the police with the tamer ending. I think in fiction the goal of the author is to create an emotion within the readers that makes them identify with, or love, or hate, the characters. I think Udall accomplished that with the CPR version.

    Thank you for commenting! I was surprised someone read this far back. :-)

  3. Kelly says:

    wow, this is quite an intense piece of fiction! Thanks for posting. Your post has been picked up by Metafilter, so you will probably see increased traffic to this post. Your post is a link included in a post about armadillos.
    http://www.metafilter.com/80538/Little-Armored-One

  4. Marcia says:

    I just heard this on NPR, Sat. May 5, 2012. I also found it so powerful that after hearing it, I immediately googled it as I want a copy. I will place it with my important papers. NAMI should consider passing out out a few copies.

  5. bluidshay says:

    Hi, I was directed to this site from a Google search on “Otis the Armadillo.” Like the author of the article, I was horrified and appalled at this story airing today on TAL until the disclaimer at the end. There I was on Park and Main, ready to disembark the car and retrieve some cash from the bank, but I was riveted by the narrative. By the time Donald tried to drown Otis I was sniffling, I had tears running down my cheeks when Donald was killed and Otis was saved by the vet, and the ending had me sobbing out loud, BAWLING at the injustice done to this poor armadillo. I was ready to reach for my cell phone and call the police to have someone track down this psychopath, but then I heard the disclaimer. “This was a work of fiction…no armadillos were harmed in the creation of this story.” As a fictional story, it’s awesome and riveting, but when you think it’s true it’s incredibly disturbing!!

  6. meowhouse says:

    Hi Marcia and bluidshay – I didn’t realize NPR broadcast this again today. I am still moved by this story and actually think of the story often. I was, like you, incredibly affected by this piece when I first head it and I still am. I am glad it’s been on the air again and I’m glad more people are moved by it.

  7. eric says:

    I just heard the story on TAL and, though I knew it was fiction, it also moved me tremendously—resonating with things in my own life, I guess. How dumb animals can mean more than clever ones, sometimes, and things like that. It’s disturbing, and the ending really threw me for a loop. Was he really going to go there? Mainly I’ve just been crying and crying. It also says so much about loss and memory and missed chances.

  8. eric says:

    Thanks so much for your transcript, although it seems TAL has also has one up. I’ll bet yours is better.

  9. meowhouse says:

    Hi Eric, they probably got the transcript idea from me! … I’m glad they put one up; there wasn’t one 5 years ago when I first heard this. I’ll have to go look at the TAL site and check it out.

    I so agree with what you said – this is a story about regret and sorrow and trying to overcome the feeling of being powerless by exacting one’s power, whatever that is, over someone else. I don’t know if you read the original version that was published in Story Magazine – I had a link up but it’s dead now – but it was not so dark and disturbing. I still wonder why Udall changed it for the broadcast.

  10. eric says:

    “Otis” was also published recently in a collection of “coming of age” stories, and from what I can see in the Google Books preview, the story ends as it did on TAL. So he clearly changed it, to make it a lot darker, I guess. You’re right, a lot of the story’s power comes from appreciating just how weak and helpless that poor, stupid armadillo is. It wouldn’t work with a clever, resourceful pet at all.

  11. Tony W says:

    I don’t listen to TAL all that much, but if I’m in the car when it comes on, I listen. But somehow, I heard the story of Otis when it was originally air and again today, May 5. Both times, I managed to join it in mid-story and not know it was a work of fiction. Today, I listened in horror, somewhat remembering the story but not enough to remember that it was fiction.

    This is an incredible story. As the story wound to it’s conclusion, I sat in my car in front of the rental house, where I was returning to do finish some work. I cried. I was trying to figure out what I would do if my tenant came out and saw me in my tears. Fortunately, he did not and no one will ever know this middle-aged man was crying over a fictional armadillo.

  12. meowhouse says:

    Oh Tony! I know what you mean. When I heard it, I guess I didn’t realize that TAL ever featured fictional stories. I listened a lot but not to EVERY show and I guess I had only ever heard what I thought was the regular kind of story they did – i.e., first-person true narrative events. So when I heard this one – coming into the broadcast right at this story and not hearing any intro that might have been done at the very beginning about it being a fictional story – I was just so horrified and shocked. I don’t remember now if I heard the whole story or if I too got in mid-reading. … I believe I had a similar feeling to yours – hoping that nobody in another car would see me and wonder just what was going on with that lady in the next lane whose face was all wet and scrunched up.

  13. meowhouse says:

    Eric – thanks for that link. After the story excerpt, there is part of an essay by Udall telling how he came to write a story about an armadillo. It seems he himself actually has been fascinated by them since he was a kid and he wanted to write a story about them but knew he couldn’t just make it a story about a guy who loves armadillos since nobody would get that, unless they also loved armadillos, and there are, naturally, few people who feel the same. So he had to make it a story about desire and longing and regret. That is where he really hit it right. He said it was the easiest story he’d ever written.

  14. Kathleen says:

    I too heard this piece this past Saturday while driving to drop off my dry cleaning. I sat in the car riveted til the end of the story. I didn’t know it was fiction either since I shut off the car when it ended so I could bring my laundry in. It stayed in my mind so much I wanted to search through Google to find it – and here it is! (I tried on the TAL website but they didn’t have it. I didn’t realize it was a few years old). Thanks for posting!

  15. meowhouse says:

    Hi Kathleen, you’re welcome – it does have that power of staying, doesn’t it? I haven’t forgotten it for 5 years! BTW here is a link to the whole episode and the TAL transcript – I don’t think they had a transcript when I first posted this but it’s there now. Or you can listen to the reading again, if you can manage to. I actually have not listened to it again, although I have read it, because it was so painful the first time. I know I will still cry even though I now know it’s fiction.

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/154/in-dog-we-trust

  16. julianne sawinski says:

    this story, real or not, is disgusting and sadistic. who are you guys trying to kid? I was so disappointed in NPR all around. Probably will be way more careful about what i listen to now, wouldnt want to hear this type of nonsense and pure evil again.

  17. meowhouse says:

    Hi Julianne, I don’t think anyone is trying to kid anyone. Everyone here has said how disturbing and horrifying the story is. I certainly have, ever since, listened carefully for “this is fiction” disclaimers on NPR, which I never did before hearing this one. I was extremely disappointed in them for a long time following the hearing of it. As you can tell from here and if you have read any of the comments on Facebook, just about everyone was very dismayed at hearing it, even once they knew it was not true.

    I do think that the ending – which was absolutely NOT what I expected – makes it a powerful story. But, as memorable and emotionally manipulative as this story was, it is not an experience I would care to repeat.

  18. Daniel Benavides says:

    Hello,

    I listened to this story on May 5th as well, and it has been echoing in my head for a very long time. I have been searching for the broadcast, and eventually found a way to download the entire file from the TLA archives. I edited the file to be a selection of the story Otis Is Resurrected, and posted it on YouTube, for ease of access.

    Here it is for you all to enjoy:

    http://www.youtu.be/NFKIvzHL1Ak

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