He is Obsessed, says the Owner. When he sees a Ball he Forgets Everything. Everything. My Shouts fall on Deaf Ears. My Whistle Goes Unnoticed. Even the Offer of Cheese Produces not even a Flick of the Ears. I think we need to Do Something before he gets another ASBO.
Excuse me, I say. I am Listening.
The Owner Ignores my Comment. Do you think he needs some sort of Therapy? She Asks.
Therapy? I say. All Dogs like Balls, I say. You cannot Therapy me out of Being a Dog, I say.
I Do Not Think he needs Therapy, says the Man, All Dogs like Balls.
Excuse me, I can Hear Every Word, I say.
And he is Mumbling, Says the Owner, as if neither of us had spoken. He becomes Completely Unintelligible. Truly, he is Obsessed. He is Becoming a Menace and may have to be on a Lead in the Park.
I Cannot see the Problem, I say. I am a Dog. This is a Ball. And so is this Other Ball.
Hergest, says the Owner, Nobody can Understand You with Two Balls in your Mouth.
The Balls Understand me, I say, and That is All that Matters .
Does it Really Matter? Asks the Man. He seems Happy. Look at him, Running Round the Park with Two Balls in his Mouth. Do we not want to have a Happy Dog?
They are Not His Balls, says the Owner.
Perhaps He Found them, says the Man. As he Ran Around.
I Found Them, I say. As I Ran Around.
I still cannot Understand a Word You Say, says the Owner. If this is Meant to be your Defence then you may need a Barrister. Preferably One whose Mouth is not Also full of Other People’s Balls.
It is Rather Clever of him to Find So Many Balls, says the Man. He is, after all, a Gun Dog Breed. It is what he is Good At.
Exactly, I say.
He Found them in Other Dogs’ Mouths, says the Owner. Being a Thief is What he is Good At. He already has an ASBO for Knocking over Small Children In Bulk. We cannot Push our Luck.
They Went Down Like a Pack of Cards, I say. I Barely Touched Them.
One Could Say He Won the Balls in a Fair Fight, says the Man. The Second Ball was a Particular Triumph, given that he Obtained It whilst Holding the First.
One Could, I say.
The Second Dog was a Chihuahua, says the Owner. One cannot call that a Fair Fight.
I am Rather Proud that he Outwitted those Other Dogs, says the Man.
If you think that wasn’t a Fair Fight, I say, you don’t know Chihuahuas.
Then I suggest you Remain Silent during the Impending Altercation, says the Owner to the Man. And you, she adds to me, Stop Mumbling.
The Other Owners Appear to Retrieve their Balls with Rather Bad Grace. The Man and I Bond Silently as the Balls are Extracted from the Mouth of the Moral Dog and returned to the Poodle and the Chihuahua.
The Poodle thanks me Graciously. Poodles Understand a Fair Fight.
Vete a freír espárragos, Gringo, says the Chihuahua.
Your Mother was a Hamster and your Father Smelled of Elderberries, I respond.
It is Embarrassing, says the Owner, as we Head Home. Hergest you were a Naughty Dog. Twice.
I was Honing my Essential Skills, I say.
You Must Admit, says the Man, there are Times when his Essential Skills Might Come in Useful.
Do Explain what those times would be, says the Owner.
Well, says the Man, if rather than an Innocent and Polite Poodle and an Innocent but Rude Chihuahua those two Dogs had been Evil Master Criminals who had Kidnapped a couple of Innocent Ducks the Moral Dog would be Hero of the Day.
Well, says the Owner, I will give you that.
That is a Good One, I say. The Moral Dog feels quite Prepared for Such an Eventuality, albeit that the words Innocent and Duck make an Unlikely Pairing.
And, says the Man, should we Ever Find Ourselves in Pursuit of a Despotic Dictator and his Right Hand Man, who having been Overthrown were attempting to Flee through the Park carrying the Nuclear Codes, the Moral Dog might Save the Free World.
That is an Excellent One, I say. Despotic Dictators could become my Speciality. You are definitely on a Winning Streak.
I suppose, says the Owner, that if One has been Watching Jack Ryan Movies one might Anticipate such an Eventuality and Count it a Reasonable Example.
Go for the Hat Trick, I tell the Man. Bring in the Zombies.
And, says the Man if, in a Post Apocalyptic World, you and I were Hiding in the Park, Desperate for Food, whilst being Hunted by Headless Zombies, and the Moral Dog had just Snatched the Last Two Available Oranges from the Mouths of Predatory Werewolves, the Moral Dog would Ensure we Lived to Fight Another Day.
Nice Try, says the Owner, but I would Honestly Quit Whilst You are Ahead.
The Man and I High Five whilst she is taking off her Wellies.
He is an Excellent Barrister. I am Thinking of Retaining Him.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.