My Ball is lost. Who, precisely, has lost my Ball is a Moot point. I appears to me that, since the Owner threw it, she has lost it. The Owner, on the other hand, seems to feel that some kind of Understanding between the Moral Dog and the Owner regarding an Obligation to track the Trajectory of the Ball means that Responsibility for Lost Balls passes to me.
Perhaps, I say, we could just go Back in Time to when you threw the Ball, and start again.
Alas, says the Owner, we cannot travel backwards in Time, only forwards, and only then at the rate of One Second per Second.
It must be possible, I say. Dr Who does it all the time.
Dr Who is not real, says the Owner.
I cannot believe you could Stamp on my Dreams like that, I say. Considering that you threw my Ball and, in the process, lost it, I add pointedly.
I am not Stamping on your Dreams, says the Owner. This is the first time you have mentioned any Dreams about Travelling into the Past to Retrieve a Ball.
That is because this is the first time you have been Morally Responsible for Crushing them through an Ill-Judged Underarm shot, I say. The least you can do is let me go back in Time. In the absence of my Ball there is so little else to light my life.
No good can possibly come from Travelling in Time, says the Owner. Not even for one who is Humbug.
I disagree, I say. I could go back to the day Boris Johnson’s parents got married, I say, and make the vicar late. Even you could surely agree some good could come from that.
You could, says the Owner, but many theories of Time Travel suggest that even if you could go back it is logically impossible that you could change the outcomes that history has already fixed. Boris Johnson would find another way to have happened anyway. He is Like That.
Surely not if the Vicar sprained his ankle walking up the church path due to an unfortunately placed Moral Dog, and was obliged to spend the afternoon in casualty? I say.
My point is that the whole idea of Time Travel is nonsense, says the Owner. A Time Traveller cannot be present before their birth, it is logically impossible.
But I could just go back ten minutes, I say, to find my ball, I say. I would come straight back in an instant, I say.
You would not have to come straight back, says the Owner, you would be back in ten minutes anyway. But this would create an Impossible Paradox. There is only one past, so if the Moral Dog went back into it looking for the ball he would encounter his earlier self, yet we know his earlier self did not encounter him in the past, so this cannot have happened in it. What are you looking at?
I am looking around, I say, since my future self must be here looking for my ball.
If he was here, says the Owner, there would be two of you. Another Moral Dog, created out of nowhere. This is called a causal loop. The Time Traveller who brings something from the present to the past creates such a loop. Matter cannot be created from nothing. Such an action could endanger the whole of Time and Space.
Although, I say, having another Moral Dog would make up for not having a ball. So do not stand further on my Dreams, one can only be Morally Crushed so many times before the Damage is Permanent.
Very well, says the Owner, you win. Let us send the Moral Dog back in time to look for the Ball.
Really? I ask. Right now? I ask. Will it hurt? I ask.
Dr Who always seems fine, says the Owner, and there is no time like the Present. Although, she adds, there may be another time like the Present for the Moral Dog. Ha ha.
That is an excellent joke, I say. This is very exciting, I say. I can hardly wait, I say. I wonder how the Owner knows it does not hurt.
Although, says the Owner, some sacrifices may be needed.
This is not about my Parts again is it? I ask.
Of course not, says the Owner, it is just that you will have to share Squeaky Cat.
I suppose I will, I say, but of course I have two Squeaky Cats.
That is true, says the Owner. Although there is only one Caspar. You would have to share him.
I am sure Caspar will enjoy playing with two Moral Dogs, I say. What fun we would have, I say. Obviously, I say.
Indeed, says the Owner. And I suppose that the risk that he might prefer the Other Moral Dog to you is a Small Price to Pay for Finding the Ball.
Of course, I say, a small price, I say, but my voice is a bit wobbly.
And there is only one of me, says the Owner. But I am sure you will not mind me extending my affections to another Moral Dog.
Love is made for Sharing, I say in a slightly Squeaky voice.
Was that a vocal hiccup? Asks the Owner.
No, I say, with a vocal hiccup.
Of course, says the Owner I am not actually sure which of the two Moral Dogs would be the Real You, she says. Presumably he would, since he was the Earlier Dog. So if push came to Shove he might get the Biggest Biscuit. Given that you would be, in a Moral Sense, an Impostor.
The Moral Dog is not, of course, swayed by such considerations, but it coincidentally strikes the Moral Dog the whole idea of tripping up Vicars and meeting ones earlier self in order to share Caspar is beginning to sound a bit complicated.
I suppose Time Travel is a lot of effort for a Ball, I say. Given the possible Ethical issues with Tripping up Vicars.
No effort is too great for the Moral Dog, says the Owner. Or indeed Moral Dogs, she adds. Do you think, she asks, that if I tell One Moral Dog off, both Moral Dogs will be Chastened?
I suppose, I say, we could just have another quick look for the Ball first. Just in case it is easier to find it now than to Travel Back in Time.
That is true, says the Owner. We could. Although two of you could look more Effectively.
That is true, I say, but I feel rather bad about the Vicar, I say. And there are always Other Balls.
Ah, says the Owner. That is true. We could postpone both Travelling back in Time and Further Fruitless Searching and head instead for a Coffee? I believe Caspar and Bercow may be there.
That sounds excellent, I say, and I they will be pleased to see even One Moral Dog. After all, the thing about Time Travel is that it can always wait until tomorrow.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.