The Owner, obliviously munching on her half of the cheese scone was muttering about the Prime Minister and I was stalking.
The squirrel was being extremely provocative. For a start it was on the ground, foraging for nuts. Secondly its tail was twitching. And thirdly it was flaunting its fluff in a Primeval Instinct-engaging manner. So, as she basked oblivious in the glow of the news on her phone, I began to stalk.
A pointer stalks with his whole self. He freezes, one knee angled towards the target as he zeroes in. He identifies the target with his Laser Vision and he locks on, like the weapons system of a stealth jet. He points himself towards it. He pauses. He steadies. He plans. He visualises. He LAUNCHES. And the eternal race of Dog and Squirrel begins and proceeds to deadly combat. It is a race played out in parks and woods and fields and meadows since the evolution of mammals began. It is a race that only one can win. Such is the single-mindedness of the Moral Dog, his Canine Heart, his Lupine Evolution, his Atavistic Passion, his Dire Wolf Soul.
The runner, of course, thinks that if he wears shoes that glow in the dark everything will simply avoid him. It is the trouble with human beings. They think everything else will get out of the way. They fail to understand that it’s a Primeval World out there. Anything can come at you. Anything. From any direction. From any species. From any geological era. Be prepared, that is the motive of the Primeval Dog. When it’s a Cenozoic Jungle out there, Fluorescent Feet are Not Enough.
The Owner is too busy apologising to the runner to engage with me on the matter of human failings. I wait till she has given him her number for the dry cleaning then I attempt to share my thoughts on Anticipation and the need to Bear Evolution in Mind. Humans who don’t look where they going, I say, have long been a target for dinosaurs. You’d think they’d remember.
She says you can’t expect a Human to expect a hound chasing a squirrel to come at them from left stage at the speed of sound and through a hedge. And besides, there are no velociraptors in Waterlow Park. And, she adds pointedly and in italics you could probably hear from the House of Commons, even given all the shouting, that includes the Evil Waste Bin. Which wasn’t evil, actually, was it?
I think it’s rather mean of her to bring the Evil Waste Bin into it again. It may have proved relatively harmless (I still maintain it could have eaten a Small Human and we wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t tipped the rubbish out) but dinosaurs are very good at disguise. Very sneaky. It’s easy to know you were safe with hindsight.
She has to concede that. She’s seen Jurassic Park.
So, I say, just as anything that lurks in a hedge has Evil Intent till proved otherwise, anything that scurries along the ground with a fluffy tail may be the last chance at breakfast before the Meteorite. For both the Owner and the Moral Dog. She’d be singing a different song if I’d caught it, I add. It only made it up the tree because I was interrupted.
The Owner sighs. She says we’ve already had a cheese scone (and, she adds rather pointedly, I had the big half). She asks what I would have done with the squirrel if I’d caught it. I don’t have an answer to that, do I?
It seems to me that rhetorical questions are the last retreat of the person who has Lost the Argument. I refrain from pointing out that it’s because she is still hungry that she is being Morally Obtuse, quod erat demonstrandum, as I realise that if I mention this we will return, yet again, to who had the bigger half of the cheese scone. Instead I maintain the dignified silence of One whose Point is Proved.
The Moral Dog. Dignity in Victory.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.