In the Distance there are sounds of Recriminations.
We are Going Home, says the Owner.
We are always Going Home once we have Come Out, I say Wisely, as I know how much the Owner Appreciates a Wise Dog.
Do not Try your Slippery Eel Philosophy with me, says the Owner. Dog of Dreadfulness, says the Owner.
You seem to be Out of Breath, I say. You would not want to Overexert Yourself, I say. Given your Advancing Years, I say. You Accidentally said Dog of Dreadfulness, I say. When I realise you meant Dog of Delight, I say. Older Persons are Easily Confused, I say. Bless them, I say.
If I had a Dog of Delight, says the Owner, I would not now be suffering the Breathlessness of Betrayal by the Dog of Disrepute, says the Owner.
You should Sit Down, I say. I say all this as the Dog of Devotion, I say. In case you Wondered, I say. Not that you would, I say. Even in your Confused State, I say. Perhaps you have had Too much Oxygen, I say.
I do not want to Sit Down, says the Owner. If I wanted to sit down I would have Stayed at Home, says the Owner. And not Invited the Moral Dog into my Life, says the Owner. Although Moral Dog is hardly the right name for such a Dog, says the Owner. Dog of Deceit, says the Owner.
The Moral Dog ignores the Sudden Chill at the Nape of his Neck. I suppose the Owner is not the right name for such an Owner, I say. Given that you are a Little Hoarse, I say. Ha ha, I say. That is a Horse joke, I say. Since we are clearly Making Jokes, I say. You are Not Laughing, I say. Is it something I said? I say.
I am Not Joking, says the Owner. I have been Shouting, says the Owner. Repeatedly, says the Owner. In a Tone of Rising Anxiety, says the Owner. Racing Hither and Thither, says the Owner. For nearly half an Hour, says the Owner. Seeking the So-Called Moral Dog, says the Owner. Coincidentally, says the Owner, for almost Exactly as Long as it took the Other Humans to retrieve the Small Human from the Pond, Detach it from the Duck, and escort it, shrieking, away, says the Owner. Throughout All that Time I was Frantic with Concern, says the Owner. Like One who Imagines the So-Called Moral Dog has encountered Peril in the Park, says the Owner.
You will be both thrilled and Relieved to know that I was here all along, I say. Nowhere near that rather Noisy Small Human with the Inexplicably Angry Owner, I add, for Clarity. The Muddy One, I add, for Even More Clarity.
It was not, says the Owner, Muddy Earlier.
That was before it went in the Pond, I say. Some distance away from Myself, I say. Where I have been Safely Biding my Time in the Innocent Pastimes of a Genuinely Moral Dog, I say. Observing Squirrels, I say, Counting Leaves, I say. Listening Faithfully for the Siren Call of my Outstanding Owner, I say. As Befits a Dog of Duty, I say. What Peril in the Park, I say.
I thought perhaps the So-Called Moral Dog had been Seized by Squirrels, says the Owner. Or Detained by Ducks, says the Owner. Or Entangled by Eels, says the Owner. Or Chased by a Chihuahua, says the Owner. Or Removed by Republicans and Forced to Participate in an Endless Vote recount like Albert Camus’ Sisyphus, says the Owner. Only even more Stupid, says the Owner.
You Poor Thing, I say. I can see that Such Thoughts would be Terrible, I say.
Surprisingly, says the Owner, Such Thoughts were rather Comforting, says the Owner. Given that the Only Alternative Explanation for the Moral Dog’s not Appearing Instantly at his Beloved Owner’s side was that he had Inexplicably Morphed into the Dog of Disobedience, says the Owner. The Dog of Disloyalty, says the Owner. The Dog of Deceit, says the Owner. The Dog of Depravity, says the Owner. The Kind of Dog that would entice a Small Human into the Pond, says the Owner. Then Hide in a Bush, says the Owner. Dripping Pondwater, says the Owner. Until the trouble is Over, says the Owner.
As a Dog of Disbelief I cannot believe that you Said That, I say. As a Dog of Dignity I am prepared to Overlook it I say.
The Dog of Dignity must think the Owner of Outrage was Born Yesterday, says the Owner.
I most certainly do not, I say. You would not have nearly so many Wrinkles, I say.
Nor would I fail to recognise a Dog that smells of Pond, says the Owner. Skulking, says the Owner. Guiltily, says the Owner. Admit it, says the Owner. Concede, says the Owner.
I will not, I say. I am entitled to Due Process, I say. The Presumption of Innocence is one of the Fundamental Principles of the Law, I say. The Modern Understanding of the Dreyfus Affair is Predicated Upon it, I say. This isn’t Belarus, I say. You don’t Start off with the Presumption of Guilt then Coerce a Confession out of your Moral Dog, I say. You don’t Fabricate a Fantasy in which the Moral Dog and the Small Human Entered the Pond as a Conspiracy of Confederates, before the Moral Dog, sensing the approach of the Owner of Opprobrium, Fled for the Shrubbery of Sanctuary, I say. Leaving the Small Human Alone in the Pond of Pleasure, I say. With the Ducks of Depravity, I say. Who entirely deserved to be Stuffed Upside Down into an Anorak with Dinosaurs on it, I say. That is Natural Justice, I say. But it is still Beside the Point, I say. You cannot Determine Guilt through Arbitrary or Unforeseeable Process, I say. This is not the Georgia Vote Count, I say. You cannot Change the Vote because you do not Like the Result, I say. Irrespective of the presence of a Politically Motivated US Attorney General, I say. Who deserves to be Disbarred, I say. I would have thought you would know that, I say. Bring out your Witnesses, I say. Bring out your Evidence, I say. Democracy Rules, I say. Biden for President, I say. Kamala Harris for Vice President, I say. Hurrah, I say. Thank Goodness they elected a Woman at Last, I say. And a Woman of Colour I say. And that Colour is Not Orange, I say. It is a Triumph, I say. The World is United in Recognition that it is, today, a Better Place, I say. Dictators everywhere tremble in their Totalitarian Insecurity, I say. It is the end of a Presidency that Attempts to Circumvent the Separation of Powers and Make Justice and the Rule of Law as Partisan and Randomly Unjust as the Current President is himself, I say. The Paris Agreement will be Revived, I say. Greta Thunberg will be Thrilled, I say. Hurrah for the World and Democracy, I say. I say all this Morally, as One would Expect.
That is all true, says the Owner. The Dog of Discernment shows a Remarkable Understanding of the Principles of Political Morality, says the Owner. One would think that such a Delightful Dog had been reading Rousseau, says the Owner. And Rawls, says the Owner. And the more Approachable Texts of Spinoza, says the Owner. And the Noble Works of John Locke, says the Owner.
I might have been, I say, modestly and accurately as befits the Dog of Democracy.
So I suppose, says the Owner, the Moral Dog has a Point, says the Owner. I am prepared to Presume his Innocence in Pursuit of a Better World, says the Owner. I may even Extract the Ball of Bounciness form the Pocket of Perversity. Come, let us Sally Forth as Owner and Moral Dog, and Seize the Day.
That’s Him, says the Small Human.
And the Lead is On. I almost got away with it.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.