Once again the Owner and I are in the Park. We have a Tennis Ball, one that the Moral Dog cleverly found in a Bush. We have been playing Throw and Fetch for Some Time. Occasionally I allow the Owner brief possession in the hope that she will Throw it Again. Unaccountably, however, the Quality of the Owner’s Throwing has become Rather Impoverished.
You are not throwing the Ball very well, I say. It is Sticking to the Ground.
I am Throwing it Perfectly, says the Owner, the Problem is not the Throwing, it is the Splatting.
It seems to have some trouble leaving the ground after Impact, I say.
That is because it does not Bounce, says the Owner. She throws the Ball again and it hits the Pavement with a Squidgy, Splatting kind of Sound.
It is a Tennis Ball, I say. It must Bounce. The Issue must be in the quality of the Throwing, I say. The Ball is Perfect, I say. I am enjoying it Enormously, I say.
Do not cast Aspersions on my Throwing, says the Owner, the Man has longer Arms. Just because I am a Girl does not mean that I cannot Throw. The Ball no longer has the Coefficient of Restitution that it once Enjoyed.
You are technically not a Girl, I say, because I like to be correct, and One Cannot Help but Observe that you are a Lady of Mature years. Perhaps your joints no longer accommodate Man-like throwing.
Since we are being Correct I might point out that One Cannot Help but Observe that you, says the Owner, are a Dog who is Shortly Going Home on his Lead.
Do not Take Offence, I say. I was simply making an Accurate Observation, I say, regarding the Inaccurate use of the term Girl to describe someone no longer in the Full Bloom of Youth.
I think you may mean that I am in my Prime, says the Owner. And remember before you Respond that I am still Holding the Ball.
Of course you are in your Prime, I say, but this does not explain why the Ball does not Bounce, I say.
You need to look more closely at the Ball, says the Owner. I will hold it for Inspection, although Only Briefly. The Ball, you will Observe, is impregnated with Primordial Ectoplasm. One might almost call it Ooze.
Are you sure it is not you that is Oozing, I ask? You appear to be Covered with Ooze.
That is because I have been Slimed by the Ball, says the Owner. The Ball is Soaked in Slobber.
Oh Good Lord, I say. That is Awful, I say.
Exactly, says the Owner.
Do you know how it has happened? I ask.
Someone has been Sucking the Ball, says the Owner.
I am Shocked, I say. I do not know what to say, I say. That is Truly Disgusting, I say.
They may have even have been Chewing the Ball as they Sucked it, says the Owner. Chewing is Particularly Productive of Saliva, she says.
I cannot imagine who would do such a thing, I say. Who would suck and Chew the Ball of the Moral Dog until it is Impregnated with Ooze, and then take No Responsibility for the Subsequent Loss of the Coefficient of Restitution? I ask.
Almost certainly it is Someone, says the Owner, who has been in Intimate Contact with the Ball throughout our time in the Park. Almost certainly it is Someone who has had Possession of the Ball for Sufficient time in which to Offload their Slobber. Almost certainly it is Someone who has Refused to Hand Over the Ball for appropriate Throwing, gripping it instead in an oozy Tug of War. Almost certainly it is Someone who feels, entirely Unreasonably, that the Ball is Solely theirs.
I am Stunned. I cannot believe it. I hardly know how to Respond. It is Tragic for a Moral Dog to see one to whom he has Looked for Guidance Fall So Far. Surely there is Some Other Explanation? I ask. Surely no Single Person is Capable of Producing Slobber in Such Environmentally Hazardous Quantities.
I know of One, says the Owner, from Personal Experience. She looks at me Meaningfully.
I am So Sorry, I say.
So am I, says the Owner.
Look, I say, in an Understanding Tone, we Both Understand where you are Going with This.
Wonderful, says the Owner.
But there is no need to Labour the Point, I say kindly.
On the Contrary, says the Owner, the Labouring is the Best Part.
The Sucking could only have been the act of a Distressed and Disturbed Mind, I say sorrowfully.
One, perhaps, experiencing Cheese Withdrawal, agrees the Owner.
I am Prepared to put this Unfortunate Episode behind us and Make a Fresh Start, I say Helpfully.
So you should be, says the Owner.
With a Fresh Ball, I say in a Positive tone.
That is an excellent Idea, says the Owner.
Free from Slobber, Ooze and and Sucking by this Sadly Deranged Person, I say, Empathetically.
Precisely, says the Owner.
Although I really would prefer you not to Slobber on the Next One, I say.
It was Barely Even Criticism. I really don’t know why we are going home.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.