Sir Doge walked slowly through the swinging doors of The Cataract. He knew he had to be careful when entering the infamous cat saloon. He was nervous and his palms were sweaty.

He reached the bar, grabbed a stool at the counter and began to pour himself a drink.

Soda breath, hot air and the smell of cheap gin and whisky filled the already smoky air. He sipped his drink appreciatively and hoped the bartender wouldn’t notice. He scanned the room, trying to get a feel for the place. It had a worn elegance about it… and it suited its patrons.

Doge had never been to the old saloon. However, he remembered that the Cataract had a reputation as The Place To Find The Truth. Maybe that was why it was so famous. People would talk about truth and beauty. He supposed that’s what it was about, The Cataract.

As he listened to the tales of their colorful pasts, he studied the faces of the cats at the bar, their hair stylized and painted in pastel shades, taking note of their clothing and the color of their eyes.

He studied the barkeeps, looking for signs of favor, hidden behind masks of sadness.

“We don’t get many dogs in here, these days,” said the bartender. “But not for lack of trying, no.”

Doge looked to his side. A large, fat cat was sitting in one corner, his face obscured by a pair of black horn-rims. He had a pockmarked face with deep lines etched into his forehead. Doge couldn’t tell if his eyes were the same shade or if they were black or brown. He wore a black suit, and there was grease and smudges on his hands that glimmered in the lamplight.

The barkeep turned to Doge and said in a hoarse whisper, “His name is ‘Snoogie’… from a movie. He’s the one you want to talk to.”

Background & comments

I don’t know where the idea of Sir Doge in a western setting came from, but I think it’s fun.

Also, I recently got access to DALL-E 2 so it felt natural to try and make a cover illustration. The specific text used to generate the cover image was “An illustration of a Shiba Inu cowboy sitting on a stool in a saloon, having a drink, next to a cat in a black suit, post-apocalpytic, dimly lit, digital art”. I tried a few variations and prompts, and they weren’t great.