As I get on my knees to scrub the muddy floor I’m contemplating a different story idea.
We have rabbits and squirrels in our neighborhood. Our dog, aptly named Colonel, is a fifty pound black Labrador who likes to patrol the fence at least once every ten or fifteen minutes – as it seems anyway – to rid his assigned territory of these nemeses.
I was in the middle of cooking breakfast this morning when Colonel came bounding into the kitchen as Labradors, you probably know, are bound to do. He stood wagging his tail, his large chocolate eyes shining.
Trying to ignore him was too much of a challenge.
“Colonel, not now”, I tried. Retrieving the milk from the refrigerator, I almost tripped over his prostrate and sulky form.
Giving up, I got the key from the hall and let him out the back door.
With breakfast ready, I had just sat down to eat. Colonel whined to get back in. Trying again to ignore him, I continued to try to eat.
Whining changed to insistent barking.
Peace trumped hunger after the third or fourth bite. I got up and let him in. Whereupon he almost knocked me down as he rushed to the table and reared up to put his paws right next to my plate.
“Down Colonel, your breakfast is in your dish.”
Colonel got down obediently, but paced back and forth under the table, brushing my calves lest I forget that he was there. As if I could.
Why in the world had I allowed the kids to get this monster? They were now away at college. I was left alone to be slave to the spoiled savage.
With breakfast eaten, I stood to carry my dishes to the sink. Once again, I almost tripped as the behemoth leaped to block my way, looking up anxiously for any morsels that might happen to fall from my plate. A few did. “A peace offering”, I told myself.
As a few minutes later I sat down to write, the pleading eyes above a long black nose rested on my knee. Pretending not to see him, I brought up the story I had been working on the night before. I had awakened with some fresh ideas and wanted to get started.
The body attached to the nose began to wiggle insistently. An earthquake would have been milder. I got up to let the beast out.
In the middle of the next idea, the whining began again. I let Colonel whine until the barking began. Then I got up and let him in. Colonel stood next to his treats and offered a gargantuan paw. Flipping him a treat, I tried once more to sit down to my story.
The story, which should only have taken an hour or so to write, consumed the morning, punctuated about every three or four sentences with an interruption from the yard sentry: Out, in, out, in, out, in, out…
Needing to get out of the house myself, I went to a small diner for lunch. Next door was a hardware store. I went in to browse.
I came out with a package, smiling.
Arriving home, I put Colonel out into the yard and set to work.
Following the instructions, I cut a hole in the door.
It was dinner time before I finished. Putting the tools away, I started making dinner.
As if it was a signal, Colonel arrived in the kitchen with the usual urgent request.
I tried to get Colonel to go through the new doggy door.
He was having nothing to do with it. Exasperated, I finally opened the back door and out he went.
Returning to the kitchen I continued to prepare my meal, contemplating a peaceful evening. Perhaps I’d even finish the story.
Lightning and an accompanying thunder clap shattered my reverie.
Suddenly a muddy monster came crashing through the doggy door and raced terrified through the back room, hitting the kitchen linoleum and sliding right into home, landing against the stove. The hot frying pan flew up into the air, coming down onto the startled canine. Yelping, Colonel raced for the back door again, this time going out through the doggy door, almost meeting himself coming back in to get out of the storm.
Thankfully, Colonel is not badly injured.
Now the floor is clean and the exhausted pooch sleeps peacefully at my feet as I consider replacing my back door.
Smiling I start writing the new story.
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