From Bob the Rubber Chicken in Venice, a travel book for children, written from the point of view of Bob, an opinionated synthetic fowl.
The next morning the family took a ferry, to the island of Burano.
“This island is famous for its lace,” Mom said. “The fishermen’s wives used to make lace while waiting for their husbands to return from sea.”
“I would love to buy some real Burano lace,” Meghan said.
“Not unless you win the lottery. A ten-inch doily costs $2,000,” Mom laughed.
“You’ll just have to stick with the made-in-Taiwan stuff,” Dad said.
William didn’t look excited by lace making. He did perk up as we got closer and saw the bright blue, red, pink and yellow houses. “Hey, this island looks more Caribbean than Italian,” Dad observed.
“William, guess which house is my favourite,” I crowed.
“I know, the bright yellow one.”
“I’ll walk you to the lace museum,” Dad said as we got off the boat, “ but I’m not going in. I’d rather just wander and soak in the atmosphere.”
William and I stayed with Dad, while Mom and Meghan toured the museum. Houses and lace stores lined the streets and canals. With needles clicking, small groups of women gossiped in the sunshine as they made lace in front of their shops.
Walking through a small square, William put me down on the sidewalk and stopped to pet a dog. William loves dogs and has to pet every one he sees. The dog started to drool as he sniffed me with interest.
“I don’t like this, William,” I said.
Suddenly the dog grabbed me in his mouth and ran. Terror clutched my gut and I let out a massive fart. This momentarily stunned the mutt, causing him to drop me. Squawking with fear, I ran, flapping my wings to add extra speed, with the drooling canine on my heels. This only encouraged the saliva-spitting beast to quicken his pace.
Next thing I knew, I was in the midst of a circle of ladies making lace. A doily with the needles still attached entangled itself in my comb. Looking back, I noticed the dog also tangling himself in their handiwork.
“What was that?” one of the lace makers screamed.
Finding myself blocked by a wall, I turned around and ran back through the circle of lace makers. This time more strings and lace wrapped themselves around my head, and trailed in my wake.
“Uno cane cattivo!” another lady answered, waving her cane in a threatening manner.
“Yes, a very bad dog,” the ladies yelled. “Let’s get him.”
We were moving so fast that the ladies didn’t even realize I was involved. They ran after the dog, and the dog ran after me.
That’s when I saw the church ahead. Blessed sanctuary! Mercifully, the side door was open. I ran in, slamming it behind me but the latch was faulty and didn’t catch.
I found myself in a small bright room with two other doors. Strains of organ music told me that one led into the chapel, and the flush of a toilet indicated the use of the other room.
In the centre of the room, a beautiful, lace wedding dress was draped over a mannequin on wheels, waiting for its bride.
I opened the door to the chapel a crack. The church was packed. The groom and his groomsmen fidgeted at the altar, while the bridesmaids lined up in the alcove.
Creeping back to the outside door, I leaned against it and listened to the conversation coming from inside the washroom.
“You can calm down, sweetheart. They just delivered the dress,” a female voice said.
“I’m too upset. I can’t stop shaking.”
“Francesca, I know you’re nervous, but everyone is waiting for you. You have to go out now.”
“Mom, I feel like I’m going to barf,” the bride said.
“You won’t. It’s just your nerves. You’ll be fine,” the soothing voice answered.
That’s when I heard it. Something was sniffing from the other side of my door. The dog forcefully threw himself against the partition catapulting me onto the neck of the mannequin. I held on for dear life as the mannequin rolled through the doorway, stopping at the back of the chapel. I peered through the lace veil which still covered my face and streamed behind me.
“Here comes the bride,” someone yelled out.
“Isn’t she lovely,” someone sighed.
Cameras clicked, flashbulbs flashed. The organ began to play the Wedding March and the bridal party solemnly started to move down the aisle.
Bursting into the alcove, the dog lunged again at the mannequin, causing it to speed down the marble floor, chased by the bride’s father. Bridesmaids jumped left and right, landing on guest’s laps. I clutched the mannequin with my wings, afraid to fly off. Finally it began to slow down.
“I caught the dog,” a voice yelled from the back of the church. “He won’t get away from me.”
Through the lace covering my face, I saw the groom smile. “A little impatient, aren’t we, darling,” he teased.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness….” began the priest.
Oh no. This wasn’t how I envisioned my future love life.
“Stop the wedding!” screamed a voice from the back of the church.
The dog howled.
The groom looked to the alcove where a beautiful women stood with an embroidered altar cloth wrapped around her. Startled, the groom turned and looked at me. He moved his hands towards my veil and slowly lifted it. We stared into each other’s eyes.
I didn’t read love in his look, it was more like horror and disgust. He grabbed me by the neck.
That’s when the dog broke free. He darted over to the bride, grabbed her covering and raced out the door, cloth firmly clamped in his jaws.
Standing in her underwear,the bride released a blood curdling scream...
 TIP: The Laguna Nord ferry leaves from Fondamente Nuove stop on the north shore of Venice. There are lots of ferry stops there, so make sure you take the right one or things might get ugly. You can use normal ACTV Vaporetto tickets for this trip. It is a 42 minute trip that stops first at the Island of Mazzorbo which is connected to Burano by a pedestrian bridge.
 TRANSLATION: A bad dog
 TRANSLATION: A bad dog
Kimberly Scutt loves to travel with her husband, John and two boys Graham, thirteen and Cameron, ten. When not planning trips or organizing family, Kimberly is the owner/operator of Signature Events, a marketing and special events company. Kimberly is presently working on her second children’s travel story and guide. She purchased her main character, Bob Hubert in a garage sale for 50 cents and in 2006 took him along with the family on a two month tour of Europe. She made a deal with the boys that if they regularly wrote in their travel journals, she’d write Bob’s experiences in his own journal. And so began The Books of Bob. On June 18, 2009, she gave a reading of “Rubber and Lace” at CJ’ Café.
Note: For information about Brian Henry’s upcoming writing workshops and classes see here.