I cannot believe you just did that, I say.
Did what? Asks the Owner.
Ate Rodney, I say.
I did not eat anyone, says the Owner. I have had a single bite of my Easter Chocolate Rabbit. I have been saving it.
Him, I say. And he doesn’t look very saved now, does he? I say. You appear to have eaten his ears, I say.
They are the Best Part, says the Owner.
You appear to be showing No Remorse, I say. I cannot believe you are So Remorseless, I say. It is like Confronting a Serial Killer.
No remorse is necessary, says the Owner. I have not eaten anyone called Rodney. Nor have I eaten any Cereal. Ha ha. I have eaten Easter chocolate moulded into the Shape of someone called Rodney. That is Not the Same Thing.
Of course it is the Same Thing, I say. I have seen him sitting in the fridge. We have Bonded. And by the way, your cereal joke falls flatter than Donald Trump in California.
You cannot Bond with a Chocolate Rabbit, says the Owner. Next you will be saying I should not eat Jelly Babies when I go for a run.
Oh Good Lord, I say. You eat Babies as well? I say. I bet you eat them Head First too, I say.
Everyone eats them Head First, says the Owner, and you are indulging in Anthropomorphism and Sentimentality. A Chocolate Rabbit is not a Rabbit. A Jelly Baby is not a Baby.
I do not see why not, I say.
Because they are not Moral Beings, says the Owner. Jeremy Bentham Famously said that in order to be due Moral treatment one needs Moral Qualities Relevant to that Treatment. Thus it would be wrong to Bite off the Ear of the Moral Dog, even if it were Covered in Chocolate, as it would cause him to feel Pain because he is Sentient. Rodney, on the other hand, feels no Pain and is not Sentient. He has no nerves. He is made of chocolate.
He may feel Pain in his Soul, I say.
The Owner removes Rodney from the fridge. Look, she says, he does not have a Soul. He is Hollow.
Oh Good Lord, I say, you have Eaten Rodney’s Soul. When I thought there were Flesh eating Zombies in the Cemetery it never occurred to me that one of them was you.
Look, says the Owner, Rodney was never Sentient. He is like Squeaky Cat. I did not call you a Flesh Eating Zombie the day you swallowed Squeaky Cat’s Ears.
The Comparison between Rodney and Squeaky Cat is an Apt One, I say. Squeaky Cat is my Friend. I Chew him in Fondness and in a Bonding Fashion as he feels he was Born to be Chewed. The fact that his Ears came off under the Influence of Slobber was an accident for which he has already forgiven me.
Look, says the Owner, Rodney and Squeaky Cat are not Sentient Beings but mere Representations of Sentient Beings. Only Sentient beings have a Moral Core. Only Sentient beings have a Soul.
Oh Good Lord, I say, and I back away from the Owner, are you trying to tell me Squeaky Cat does not have a Soul? Our Faithful and Ever Patient Squeaky Cat?
Well…. the Owner begins. And then, like the Creepy Children in that film about Possession when the Aliens landed, the Owner’s Eyes and the Eyes of the Moral Dog turn as One to Squeaky Cat. His Expression is both Hurt and Accusing.
Squeaky Cat cannot believe you have said that, I say. Squeaky Cat says he is Astonished and Disappointed after all we have Been Through in our Moral Journey. Squeaky Cat says you have made him Ache in his Spleen.
Squeaky Cat seems rather Silent to Me, says the Owner, and he does not have a Spleen, he is full of Kapok.
If he believes he has a Spleen, who are you to tell him he has not? I ask. My grief lies all within, And these external manners of lament Are merely shadows to the unseen grief That swells with silence in the tortured soul, I say.
The Moral Dog is cheating by quoting Shakespeare, says the Owner.
The Moral Dog is pointing out that Squeaky Cat and his Spleen are a Part of our Lives, I say.
Squeaky Cat gazes at the Owner. I would be the first to admit that, owing to his eyes being not only made out of Plastic but being made from the same mould as those of Squeaky Cockroach, Squeaky Cat has a certain lack of Expressional Variety. But I can tell that the Owner sees something there, something which she has always seen, something which she cannot help but acknowledge.
He does have a certain Something, says the Owner, but he is Always the Same.
That is because he is Imbued with the Wisdom and Patience of One who has been Chewed, Laundered, Sewn, Reconstituted and Stuffed Up a Jumper without his Innate Personality changing one Whit, I say. Squeaky Cat is Faithful, and that is Worth Something. Squeaky Cat is Our Friend.
You are right, says the Owner. I now realise that Squeaky Cat does of course have a Soul, because the Moral Dog has Imbued him with it.
What does that mean? I ask.
I mean, says the Owner, that although Squeaky Cat began as a Metaphor, you have made him Real.
Terry Pratchett said just because something is a Metaphor that doesn’t mean it can’t be real, I say.
Terry Pratchett was Always Right, says the Owner.
So, I say, for Clarity, I say, Squeaky Cat has a Soul because I think he has? I say.
No, says the Owner, Squeaky Cat has a Soul because you Love Him.
We both look at Squeaky Cat. It seems that, beyond all probability, his Facial Expression has changed from Accusing to Warmly Affectionate. You are right, I say. Is that not the subject of your Philosophical Research? I ask. Are you not are attempting to explain that even Persons who are Deceased are still Persons simply because we still Love Them.
Indeed, says the Owner, it took me twenty thousand words to make that point, but you have summarised it Twelve.
I can tell she is impressed. Any time you want me to proof-read your efforts, I say, ask away.
Thank you, says the Owner, I am so glad we have that resolved. Squeaky Cat is a Member of the Family. She tucks Squeaky Cat into his my Bed in a Respectful and Positively Moral Fashion, and turns to the Fridge.
Not so fast, I say.
What is the matter now? Asks the Owner.
Put the Rabbit Down and Stand Away from the Fridge, I say.
Later, when I am drifting off to sleep in My Warm and Cosy Bed with Squeaky Cat and Rodney I hear the Owner and the Man talking quietly. It seems the Man thinks it will not End Well. I cannot imagine why.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.