Wednesday, 21 November 2007
How to talk to dogs
You are sitting on the toilet. Your underpants are slung low around your ankles. They are white and clean. The newspaper is folded into quarters on your lap, and you are completing the crossword puzzle with a blue biro. You are slowly, satisfyingly evacuating your bowels and you have four more clues to solve. Alfred noses open the door, which you haven’t quite shut, because Alfred and you are the only ones home. You do not acknowledge Alfred’s presence because this is supposed to be a quiet moment between you, your digestive system, and D.A., who compiled the crossword. Alfred tries to get your attention. He does this by dropping a wet tennis ball in your underpants. Your underpants are like a hammock, designed especially for tennis balls. The tennis ball is wet because it has been in Alfred’s mouth and thus marinated in Alfred’s slobber. Other things that have been in Alfred’s mouth over the past four days include sock, stick, wombat dung, raw cow flesh, dog food, your brother's ear. There is now a wet tennis ball in your underpants, possibly bearing microbial traces of whatever lives in wombat intestines. Do you say anything to Alfred, and if so, what?