The Amazon Man arrives carrying a Parcel.
Look, Hergest, it is for you, says the Owner. Let us Carry to the Kitchen to Open It.
I follow the Owner Upstairs.
I note that you are Singing, I say.
Yes, says the Owner.
Good, I say. I was just checking, I say.
What do you mean? Asks the Owner.
I guessed it was Singing, I say. There were Other Possibilities, I say. But I did not want to Call an Ambulance until I had checked in case it was Singing, I say.
That is not very polite, says the Owner.
The Problem for the Moral Dog is that he can hear the Frequencies the Owner cannot, I say.
Gosh, says the Owner, and does the Owner Sing at Those Frequencies?
Sadly, I say, Yes.
Singing is an expression of Pleasure, says the Owner. The Moral Dog must Bear with it. We have a Package from Amazon.
I understand that, I say. But why Whiskers on Kittens? I say.
I was also singing about Bright Copper Kettles and Warm Woollen Mittens, says the Owner.
Are you Entirely Mad? I say. It is July, I say. Even if I make some allowance for the Inexplicable Appeal of Kittens one cannot possibly require Bright Copper Kettles at this time of year, I say. And they require a Great Deal of Polishing to keep them Bright, I say. Otherwise they go a rather unappetising Green Colour, I say.
It is just a song, says the Owner, listing the Favourite Things of Maria von Trapp. I do not desire a Copper Kettle, but she and I have some favourite things in Common.
I assume from this that Verse Two concerns Squeaky Cat and the Moral Dog, I say, and that Maria von Trapp subjected them to the same Cacophonous Ear-Thrashing as Yourself.
No, says the Owner, growing up as she did in pre-War Austria Maria von Trapp was unaware of the Joys of Squeaky Cat and the Moral Dog. However the next line concerns Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String, which is Rather more Relevant to our Current Situation.
Oh, I say. Surely it cannot be that the Amazon Man has brought a Brown Paper Package full of Whiskers from Kittens, I say. That is Positively Freaky, I say.
On the Contrary, says the Owner, it is not Kitten’s Whiskers that are my Favourite Thing either as, despite the Obvious Delightfulness of Kittens, I agree with the Moral Dog that a Package of Whiskers no longer connected to the Original Kitten would be somewhat Freaky.
It is the Kind of thing that happens in those Scandi Noir Dramas you much Favour at Night, I say.
No, says the Owner, not even Scandi Noir directors would go so far as to bring mysterious packages of Kittens’ Whiskers into their Gruesome Plots, says the Owner. However it is the Brown Paper Package Itself that is my Favourite Thing.
What is the use of That? I ask. Until it is open it is Merely a Brown Paper Package, I say.
Au Contraire, says the Owner, until it is Opened it could be Anything, says the Owner. It is Excitement, says the Owner. It is Potential, says the Owner. It is Anticipation, says the Owner. It is Schrödinger’s Cat, says the Owner. Is that not Wonderful? Asks the Owner. Is the Moral Dog not Thrilled? Asks the Owner.
The Owner Cannot think much of the Moral Dog if she thinks he would be thrilled by a Box from Amazon containing a Dead Cat, I say. That is Warped, I say. You belong in a Scandi Noir Drama, I say. Along with the Whiskers, I say. I should have guessed when you first started singing about them, I say.
The Box Does not contain a Dead Cat, says the Owner. The Moral Dog is missing the Point.
At least Half of the Time it does, I say. One never knows which half of the time one is in, I say. That is the Point that Schrödinger was making, I say. The Owner is missing the Point, I say.
There is no Cat in the Box, says the Owner. Dead or Alive, says the Owner.
I cannot believe that the Amazon Man has Removed the Cat, I say. What did he do with the Cat? I ask. Was it Alive? I ask. Did he Simply Abandon it? I ask. Someone should call Catline, I say. That is best as Dogline would not Take This Seriously, I say. They have been known to Fall About Laughing during Calls about Cats, I say. I am not Proud of it, I say. There is Work to be Done, I say.
There was never any Cat, says the Owner. Nor any Kitten. Nor any Whiskers. There is Just a Box and a Present.
I think you and Schrödinger differ on the Fundamentals, I say. Whilst the Potential for the Cat remains one must Bear it in Mind at All Times. What if it comes out Screeching? You know how Cats can Be. The Unfortunate Attitude of those working at Dogline is Rooted in such Experiences.
Look, says the Owner. The Box measures Six Inches by Four inches by Three Inches. It could not possibly contain a whole Cat, Dead or Alive.
It could, I say. If it was Folded Up, I say. Which would be Ghastly if the Cat were Dead, I say, and Positively Intimidating if it were Alive, I say. And your Implicit Suggestion that the Box may just contain Part of a Cat is Even Worse, I say. Perhaps then we should Get Things Over With and open the Parcel, I say. If it is meant to be a Treat for the Moral Dog I say, the Anticipation is Somewhat Dampened by the thought of a Cat or Part-Cat, Neatly Folded, I say. Alive or Dead, I say. Packed in Whiskers, I say.
The Moral Dog is Missing the Point of the Joy of the Brown Paper Package Tied up with String, says the Owner. Forget the Cat, says the Owner. What would be the Very Best Thing that the Moral Dog could Imagine in the Box?
A Squirrel, I say, preloaded with Cheese.
Bearing in Mind the Six Inches by Four Inches by Three Inches of the Box, says the Owner.
A Very Small Squirrel, I say, leaving space for the Cheese, I say. Squirrels do not take up as much space as Cats, I say. I am not sure how Dogline would respond to a Call regarding Squirrels, I say.
Is that all you can Think Of right now? Asks the Owner.
It is all the Moral Dog can Ever think of, I say. Apart from Lollies, I say. But I realise there will not be Lollies in the Parcel, I say. Given that it is not Plugged In, I say. They would have to be Melted Lollies, I say. I suppose the Box might contain Melted Lollies and a Folded Squirrel, I say. The Squirrel would then be Quite Wet, I say. I do not have Much Time for Squirrels but would not like to think of a Wet One folded in a Box, I say.
Nevertheless, says the Owner, the Point is Made. The Moral Dog is enjoying the Anticipation of Pleasure created by the arrival of an Obvious Gift.
Whilst the Owner has calmed the Moral Dog’s fears regarding the possibilities of Deceased Cats and Freaky Whiskers, I say, the Moral Dog’s Mild Curiosity is Somewhat Tempered by Concerns for the Wet Folded Squirrel and Sorrow at the Melting of the Lollies, I say.
The Moral Dog, says the Owner, is missing the Point.
What is the Point? I say.
The Point Is, says the Owner. The Point is. The Point is almost beyond retrieval….
Go On, I say.
The Point is that Brown Paper Packages Tied up with String suggest that the contents could be any Desirable Thing, says the Owner. At the moment of Opening the Possibilities are Wonderful. That is the Point.
Although given that the Owner has previously suggested an Array of Possibilities including Whiskers, Parts of Dead Cats and Folded Squirrels drenched in Melted Lolly, I say, you will forgive the Moral Dog’s wish to Avoid the Opening, I say. It is like that scene in Alien, I say. One never knows what will come out of the Box, I say. I am going to bed, I say. Tell me when you have opened it, I say. Schrödinger has a Lot to Answer For, I say.
Argh, says the Owner. At least she has stopped Singing.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.