I gather up an armful of tired looking toys and pass Fleegle in the kitchen on my way to the garage.
“Where are you going with all my toys?” he asks.
“We’re having a garage sale.”
He cocks his head to the side. “You’re going to sell my toys?”
“They’ve been sitting untouched in your toy basket for so long I figured you were bored with them.”
He follows me out to the garage, but now he’s carrying something in his mouth and it’s not a toy. “What have you got there?”
“Your remote to the television,” he slurs around the hard plastic. “It’s your donation to the garage sale. Think of it as going on a diet for the mind and you’re cutting out visual junk food.”
I do a 180 and return the armful of toys to his basket and he drops the remote back on the coffee table. Détente is established.
Back in the kitchen, he grabs his crate by its door and starts dragging it toward the garage.
“What are you up to now?” I ask.
“I’m going to sell my crate at your garage sale.”
“What’s that you got in your crate?” I ask Fleegle, pointing inside it at something small and black.
His tail wags. “Well, Raud, that’s one of your remotes. I think it’s to the television.”
I look at him suspiciously. “What’s it doing in there?”
He sits, his tail sweeping the floor behind him. “It’s like this, I just tossed a cookie remote in my crate for you.”
“Ha ha, very funny.” I get down on all fours and crawl in to retrieve the remote, wet with dog slobber, but thankfully not yet chewed on. The crate door bangs against my feet. “What are you doing out there?”
“I’m giving my crate to you and you’re moving in. Now that it’s yours, do you want a stuffed Kong to chew on while I’m out carousing the neighborhood with my friends?”
I hold open the crate door for Fleegle, my chocolate Lab.
He stands his ground and stares at me. “No. I’m not going in my crate.”
“Why not?” I ask.
“How come it’s my crate? Why isn’t it your crate?”
I look at the crate, which is small for me, then back at him. “Well, have you ever seen me get in it?”
“If you get in I’ll get in.”
“I’m sure you would. That would be very cozy.”
“I like cozy,” he says.
“I know you do.” I toss a dog cookie in the back of the crate.
“Oh boy, a cookie,” he says as he runs in after it. His tail thumps against the inside of the crate as the cookie crunches in his mouth.
I put a Kong stuffed with frozen peanut butter in behind him and close the door. He hears the latch close and turns around.
“Cat butt! I fell for it again, didn’t I?” he says, looking through the wire mesh of the crate door.
“Yes, you did.”
He spots the red Kong toy. “Ooo,” he sniffs the air. “I smell peanut butter.”
I was napping underneath Tina’s dangling feet—she was the smallest of my two-legger family—while she sat on the old red leather couch between her dad and granddad. Every now and then she brushed her toes against the fur on the top of my head. It woke me with a tickle, but I didn’t mind. Tina was my favorite being in the whole world and could do nothing that would bother me. I just lay there dozing and listening to what the old men had to say. When Tina’s dad took her to the park to play with the other two-leggers her size, he was always the oldest dad there, but the other dads seemed to look up to him as if he’d been through this many times before and was full of wisdom, as if he was the dad they’d always wanted. But he’d just gotten a late start and was in the same boat as they were, though he never mentioned this. He did look more like a granddad than a dad, and with Tina sitting between him and her mother’s father, the two men looked like brothers. She sat there and giggled at the silly things they said while her feet rubbed the top of my head.
“What do you want to be when you grow up, Tina?” Granddad asked.
She pointed at me, lying on the floor. “I wanna be Charlie.”
Her dad smiled at her. He was a lawyer who had wanted to be a doctor when he was young, but the chemistry classes that first year in college didn’t quite take. “You want to be the dog? But you can be anything you want to be when you grow up, a doctor, a lawyer.”
She shook her head. “No, Charlie.”Continue reading “You Can Be Anything You Want to Be”