Revenge Fantasies for Idiots: Johnny Brick (They Shot My Dog)

Part 9 in an ongoing series

Matthew Thiele
3 min readApr 19, 2022


Photo by CamelCommodore. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Gianno Reese is Johnny Brick, a retired brickmason who just bought a whippet puppy. The film deals with deep philosophical questions about the relative value of human and animal life, and it arrives at the obviously correct answer: one dog’s life is worth about twenty human ones.

In the first scene, a suspended cop who is moonlighting as a dog seller tells Brick, “Enjoy your new life with your cute little forever friend.” That statement will prove to be devastatingly ironic.

Brick’s neighbor calls the police on him at 3 a.m. because the new dog won’t stop barking, and the terrified cop who takes the call ends up shooting the dog. Brick had named it Karl, after his father, who died in a freak shaving accident.

Brick decides to take his revenge on everyone who had anything to do with Karl’s death, starting with the dog salesman. When Brick confronts him, he asks “Is this about the breed? Look, yeah, sometimes I sell a dog that is part chihuahua without telling buyers. But do I deserve to die for that?” His eyes plead desperately as Brick levels his double-barreled wheellock pistol at his chest (Brick is into antique firearms). “Yes,” Brick whispers as he unloads both barrels.

Peter Peck, “Double-Barreled Wheellock Pistol Made for Emperor Charles V (reigned 1519–56).” Public domain courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The policeman who shot Brick’s dog is serving a month-long suspension for accidentally shooting the mayor’s dog and the police chief’s dog. Brick confronts him as he is snorting coke in his backyard. The cop grabs a nearby pistol when he sees Brick approach, but he’s too coked-up to hold it steady.

Brick disarms him and throws him to the ground. As the cop stares down the barrel of Brick’s flintlock pistol-machete, he offers Brick his pregnant fiancée, 5 pounds of cocaine, and $500,000 in cash if he’ll let him live.

Before he stabs the cop in the heart and pulls the trigger, Brick whispers, “I want my dog back, you son of a bitch. Even if it was part chihuahua.” The cop expires with a bewildered look frozen on his face.



Matthew Thiele

Teacher. Satirist. Scholar. Published in Slackjaw, Points in Case, McSweeney’s, Ben Jonson Journal, and elsewhere. Definitely not a robot. Or an alien.