Something was decidedly off-kilter.
Mouse padded through the echoing house, unnerved by the fact that it seemed like she was the only one in the entire residence. Well, her and that stupid mutt.
Think of the devil. Rockefeller cascaded into the living room in a tangle of gangly legs and disgustingly slobbering tongue, full of exuberance and wet puppy noises.
“Mouthe! Mouthe! Play! Play! Huh? Huh? Huh?” He launched directly into his best play bow, butt in the air and front paws splayed in front of his body, head cocked and tongue lolling hugely, he was panting in his excitement.
Mouse settled herself comfortably on the back of the couch, well out of puppy paw reach. She lifted her own delicately-made paw to her mouth and started cleaning it with her pink, scratchy tongue. “You stupid Dog. Can’t you see we have bigger things to think about than your overdeveloped play instinct? Where did you get THOSE, anyway?”
Mouse was referring to the two pink bows perched precariously on Rockefeller’s head, one over each large floppy black ear. Rockefeller, seeing that Mouse wasn’t going to play, sat back on his haunches and regarded his erstwhile housemate.
“Well, I liked them. And I took them. I got them from a poodle down the thtreet, the latht time Drinkie-poo let me off the leathe. Don’t you just think they’re absolutely fabulouth?”
Rockefeller’s lisp was even more pronounced today than usual, Mouse noted in disgust. As if it wasn’t bad enough that he was under the distinctly ridiculous delusion that he was a pit bull, he continued in his obsession with accessories and coordinating accoutrements. Whoever heard of a well-accessorized pit bull? Nevermind the fact that Rockefeller was a singularly large (and disgusting) specimen of a Black Labrador retreiver. Some people’s pets, Mouse thought to herself.
“Rockefeller, please try to pay attention. Are you listening? Hmm? Are you listening?” She waited while Rockefeller was momentarily distracted by a fluttering insect, refocused, and sat back down again. As his gaze returned to her whiskered face, she said, “Our human is missing. She’s been gone for two days and I, for one, am starting to get a little worried, not to mention hungry! I’ve had to drink out of the toilet, for god’s sake! Where could she be?”
“Oooh! A mythtery! How eckthiting!” Rockefeller was practically peeling his skin in anticipation, his tail wagging a mile a minute as he considered the implications of what Mouse just conveyed.
Finally, his chance to be a hero! His opportunity to show 2N that he was a wonderful Dog, a brave Dog, a pit bull worthy of her admiration and even (gasp!) doggie treats!
Mouse recalled his attention back to the present.
“Okay, look here, Rockefeller. We’re going to need to work together here, okay? None of your accessorizing or pretending to be a pit bull or anything like that, okay? And please, for the love of God, please don’t get in any more dogfights with the bitch down the street, okay? I think she knows you’re the queen around here.”
Rockefeller’s hackles rose at Mouse’s use of the word “pretending”. “But I AM a pit bull, Mouthe! I am fierthe! A tornado of fury! Whirling about! Whirling, I tell you!” To prove his point, Rockefeller promptly started chasing his tail. He just knew that someday, someday, he would catch it. He would!
Mouse sighed. What had she done to deserve this. Honestly!
She leaped off the couch and over Rockefeller in one graceful bound. “Come on, you dumb Dog. We need to go find our human.”
Rockefeller abandoned his efforts to seize his tail and came bounding after Mouse, his favorite chew toy gripped securely in his jaws.
“No, Rockefeller. No.” Mouse was standing firm.
“But-!” Rockefeller was full of puppyish anguish at leaving his beloved squeaky toy at home.
“No, Rockefeller. Frosty must stay at home. This needs to be you and I only. Frosty would only complicate matters.” In a flash of inspiration, she added, “Think, what if you need to, erm, bite someone? Frosty would end up getting in the way and then you couldn’t, um, defend 2N as well as if you left him at home.”
Rockefeller, immensely cheered by the thought that he would be called to bravely defend his beloved mistress, finally agreed to leave Frosty the beloved Squeaky Toy Snowman on the floor of the living room.
Together, the two erstwhile friends made their way to the back door. Pausing, they looked at each other, then looked at the pet door, with no small amount of trepidation. Both knew that once they left, they wouldn’t return without their mistress. They were embarking on an adventure!
At last, Mouse sighed, and trotted through the door, Rockefeller in pursuit. As the sun started going down, it highlighted the two pets, one a hugely fluffy, grey and white cat and the other a gender-confused black lab that thought he was a pit bull, with big floppy ears, gangly legs, and pink bows perched behind his ears like misguided butterflies come home to roost.
God help 2N.