Why are you looking so Melancholy? I ask.
I am missing the Coffee Shop, says the Owner.
It has not gone anywhere, I say, it is still there. We can go and see it. I think you will find that through the Park is the quickest route.
It is not the Coffee Shop at the moment, says the Owner. It is just a building.
I could understand such Melancholy if you were missing the Man, I say.
I do not miss him much as he is Sitting Right there, says the Owner.
Hello, says the Man.
If he were not right there, I say, I could understand your missing him, but missing a Mere Shop seems Self Indulgent to the Moral Dog. People are Sick. Moral Dogs are deprived of Day care. Squirrels are Unchased. Crows are Gathering. The World is Falling Apart and you are Woeful over a Shop? I do not understand it.
One can miss a Place, says the Owner, for its Soul.
That is ridiculous, I say, a Shop cannot have a Soul.
I shall prove you wrong, says the Owner. Think what the Coffee Shop means.
It mainly seems to mean Coffee, I say, and a Telling off for the Moral Dog whenever he Engages with a Chair, and that endless conversation about whether you deserve a Panettone and should you or shouldn’t you have one which always ends so badly for the Moral Dog.
I always share, says the Owner.
If half a Panettone with the currants taken out can be called sharing, I say.
The Coffee is Excellent, says the Owner.
You can make Coffee at Home, I say. Indeed you do so with a relentless obsession that surprises even the Moral Dog.
And the Coffee shop is full of People, says the Owner.
But the Coffee shop is full of people you do not know, I say.
That does not mean I do not like them nor enjoy their company, says the Owner. People, she says, need People.
Excuse me, says the Man.
The Man is obviously Perfect in Every Way, says the Owner, but Sometimes People need to be Plural.
Thankyou, says the Man.
Don’t mention it, says the Owner.
What about all of your Zoom sessions? I say. You Zoom with the Sofasingers and you Zoom with the Cocktail Partiers and you Zoom with your Family and you Zoom with your friends. You have far more contact with Humanity than when you are not Locked Down. Surely you have all the People you need?
Even Zooming with Cocktails is not the same as just chilling out with People, says the Owner.
I would not know, since I am obliged to sit under the Table whilst you do it, I say.
That is because you drank my Margarita last time, says the Owner.
It was a fake Margarita, I say, because when you asked the Man in Tesco if he had any Tequila he said ‘in North London? You must be Joking.’
That is a good thing, says the Owner. Dogs were not designed to drink Alcohol.
Neither were People, I say.
You have a Point, says the Owner.
I have many Points, I say, most particularly that I cannot see how you can miss a Building full of People you Do Not Know.
Do you not miss the Park with Caspar in it? Asks the Owner. Even though we still visit the Park.
Of course, I do, I say, but Caspar is my Friend. I do not mention that he is also my Trusty Superhero partner, Fluffy. Nor that I am slightly worried that he may have Shrunk Impossibly since I last saw him, since for the first six months of the Moral Dog’s Puppyhood he was certainly shrinking on a Daily Basis.
What do you miss about Caspar? Asks the Owner.
I realise I must not mention his Cape nor his Superdog Galoshes. I miss his bark, I say, and I miss his smell, I say, and I miss the way he chases me around the table. I hiccup slightly at the thought of How it all Was.
Is that all? Asks the Owner.
And I miss the screaming and the recriminations, I sniff, and I miss the clearing up and the Lady with the Trousers that used to be Pink before they met the Moral Dog, and the Man who does not like me saying Hello because I spilled his froth, and the Big Dog who is still Big even though I have grown, and the Girl with the Sparkly Dress that would not let me Borrow her Crown.
You are getting there, says the Owner.
And I miss the sound of the steam, I howl, and the laughing, and the chatter… and the warmth…. and… the smell of the polish… and… and… I miss the Coffee Shop too.
Is the Moral Dog crying over a Mere Shop? Asks the Owner.
Of course I am. Who would not?
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.