My three o’clock in the morning epiphanies are brought to you by the shadowy outline of a black dog with ears perked in a manner that makes you believe that she is about to ask a question. She doesn’t; she just continues to stare until you begin to question your own life choices.
While you know she is a kind animal, you wonder if she is contemplating a turn to violence in order to wake you from your slumber. She remains silent.
It’s as if she has listened to all the Miranda warnings that have been broadcast from the flat screen on the living room wall during the days when you leave the television on for her. Maybe the endless viewing of “Criminal Minds”—while you are away—have allowed this seventy-three-pound dog to collect hundreds of examples of deviant behavior, poisonings, shootings, stabbings, and, of course, stalking one’s prey.
You believe the solace of the human voices that come out of the electronic window might be comforting, but she could just be learning the ways of man. Her refusal to answer questions, to keep secrets, and to merely give off the vibe that she has an attorney on retainer tell you that she does listen, she does remember, she does think that your investigatory skills don’t hold a candle to those of Joe Mantegna.
Still, she stares. She controls her breathing; she keeps it in mind that the spring shedding of her winter coat leaves physical evidence all over the house. She recalls that no one— not one person— on that show has ever questioned the dog. No one has ever asked where the dog was on the night of the crime. She also considers having her attorney write a letter to the producers of the show to inquire why they do not introduce more animal actors to the show; she is an activist.
I make the mistake of moving. Sure, it was only a slight change of position that a mere mortal would never notice, but she does. Ears perk higher, her front feet begin to lift and drop as if she is about to break into a delightful dance.
You pray for the dawn, but by dawn, it might be too late. I reach out from under the warm comforter to touch and test the dark void between her muzzle and mine. I recoil when I feel the cool moist nose of a creature who is driving me to madness with her patience and coy ways. My eyes strain through the fog of inky darkness to make sure she has no weapons.
She must have come in peace, this time. I rise to fumble and tumble into something appropriate for post-eveningwear, and I find that a sweatshirt— still inside-out when I see myself in the bathroom mirror—is the only available option.
It seems she only wants to go outside—this time—but what about next time. Her patience is maddening. Upon return to the house, I unscrew the top of the Milk-Bone jar. It’s something she has not mastered, and she has no thumbs.
I crawl back into bed and pull the covers up to my neck a little tighter. She settles nearby, in a place where I cannot see her eyes. She finally begins to snore, and I feel comfortable enough to fall back asleep, but only for now. I know this will happen again. I am hopeful she appreciated the biscuit.
I’ll leave the television on a shopping network, tomorrow. I’ll make sure I secure my credit card in the safe. She doesn’t know the combination. At least I don’t think she does.
Thanks for swinging by the blog. We have been making progress in the dissemination of the posts, and our decision—for the next couple of posts—will be to send them on Wednesday nights. There will be fresh material posted here every few days, so check back. The good news is that if you dont, our intention is to send out the last two or three posts in that Wednesday night mailing. Let’s see how this goes.
Thanks for your support for my book, the blog, and my dog.
Follow us on Facebook, and subscribe to my page updates (we refer to them as newsletters).
(Copyright 2020 Timothy Cotton)