by Noni Bird
A dog and his writer "Mommy"
So now she keeps company with her characters, who she finds more interesting than any real people anyway. At first I thought they were real people, the way she was going on about them with Daddy, like gossiping about the neighbors or something!
I figured out who the main "people" are: Isabel and Paul are the long-lost lovers from college, both fifty (which is still young, Mommy insists); he’s a divorced neurosurgeon and she’s a widowed businesswoman, both very smart. Henry is Isabel's partner in the publishing business and Felix is her rich Wall Street father. Everyone's rich and beautiful, for that matter, but with flaws. Their deceased mother warned them to love one another...but can they once their secrets come out? The story takes place in Manhattan, of course!
At eleven years old – and that’s seventy-seven in dog years! - I feel kind of silly calling them “Mommy” and “Daddy” but that’s what they call themselves around me. It’s Dog-talk…same as Baby-talk. I understand lots of languages…it’s all a matter of inflection and watching body movements. I watch TV too, so I even understand Gibberish!.
Mommy marvels all the time how a dog can go from being dead to the world to full alert in a split second! If I hear a sniff, my ear goes up in case there’s something to follow, like a rustle of the cushion that tells me she’s going to leave "Manhattan" and her office on the couch to take me for a walk around the block here. I can only wait so long, you know, so I jump down off my part of the couch to rest my head in her lap and nudge her off the keyboard.
I have to be more careful, though. The other day I hit one of the keys and it messed her up and she cursed. Luckily, not at me, just the “dumbass” computer. “How do I undo this now?” When I looked over, I saw four pages displayed on the screen instead of one. I knew she wasn’t asking me how to fix it, but I walked away to look out the window just in case.
She never fails to run the vacuum every day, a powerful one with a clear canister that I try not to look at because it's stuffed with dog hair, and that makes me feel sheepish. I bring in dirt sometimes, too. I can’t walk on tippy toes into the kitchen like their "Bella" did.
But I worried the other day when I saw Mommy's crochet project left on the arm of the sofa, with a strand of yarn dangling down to the floor. I thought to myself, if she gets that sucked into the vacuum it’s goodbye to that little dress for her granddaughter! It will unravel down to the metal crochet hook still stuck inside it. I had to jump off the sofa and hang out by the window that time too! I couldn’t bear to watch that happen.
Whew! She picked it up first and put it away.
Despite writing and thinking about her book all day, Mommy takes breaks and walks me around the block, although almost in a run, so she can get back to her work. I need to shed the pounds I gained in the shelter eating that cheap Alpo people donate, so I don't mind hustling. But if she meets up with her girlfriend, we have to go a longer way and I have to “recalculate”, Mommy says, so they get all their talking done.The woman's dog is a black and white female, not my type. Borrring!
But life is good. “Comforts galore!” Mommy jokes. (She thinks I slept out in the cold and rain for a year and a half).
The table in front of her footstool is filled with books and a manuscript that’s at least an inch high. I heard her counting the pages the other day…eighty-one of them. Hmm…not as many as I thought, considering she’s been at this for four months. But she keeps replacing the pages, and nowadays the stack isn’t growing as fast as it started out. I heard her tell Daddy she’s halfway done with over forty thousand words. I figure that’s only half the number of words she’s rewritten or junked. But each time she’s getting better, so it’s all good.
Once in awhile she goes to the store, but only if she's out of toilet paper or something important.
She's back already? Damn, that was fast!
“I'm home, Bear...where are you? You'd better not be on my computer!”
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