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Rated: E · Short Story · Animal · #216988
I am the dog that can read!
I, Gremlin, am a very special dog: I can read! I must first pay tribute to my venerable Mama (who seems to have forgotten me, alas, with the advent of a new litter), who taught me to read. She did not have my advantages, as her Person was always at home, which did not leave her with much opportunity to extend her skill.
My Person, however, is a Modern Woman, who works in a place with a glass ceiling that seems to trap her there for many hours every day. This has left me in the house alone and allowed me to greatly broaden my skills, and I have been able to study large amounts of the Oxford Dictionary, the Macquarie Thesaurus and the Encyclopedia Brittanica. Nowadays I read everything I possibly can, including My Person's mail, the notes she leaves on the fridge, the newspaper and other things,although I do draw the line at reading her personal journal. I have made serious study of the books she borrows from the library on dog training, so that I can be in control of this unwelcome discipline. She doesn't follow the training methods very carefully, and they vary from book to book, but I obey her enough to make her feel that the training is successful.
I tried my paw at writing, as this seemed a very desirable skill. However, a pen and a paw do not seem to be compatible. I made marks on very many pieces of paper, which I was then obliged to chew up to disguise my efforts. One day when I had tried particularly hard, I was quite ill from all the paper I had eaten. On some occasions My Person discovered me, and I had to put on a big act of playing with the pen, kicking the paper about and tearing it as I raced excitedly around. A few episodes of this resulted in My Person hiding all the pens in the house from me for a while, so I put that skill in the too-hard basket, so to speak.
A big event in My Person's life was the arrival of a computer. This is a window into another world that can be controlled by lots of buttons (called a keyboard; it doesn't have any keys that I can see), and an object looking like a soap on a rope, called a mouse (which could, if one's eyesight was poor, be mistaken for one).
As with the arrival of any new object at my house, I put on a big Jealous Act. This is to make any subsequent actions of mine appear mild and normal, but I can assure you I am well in control of My Person's life, so that I have no need to be jealous of anything! While she was out, however, I read all the books that came with it, and after a few days I put on my Lovey-Dovey Act, so I could snuggle up on her lap and watch all that she did. I discovered the Word Processor, The Graphics Program, The Internet and Games. Games were not much good; it was possible to shoot people or other creatures, but never cats! Not even a good cat chase!
I found I could write in the Wordprocessor using the keyboard, and composed several articles that would have been totally impossible with pen and paper. It was a concern of mine that My Person would find these files (some were rather personal), so I read up the books again and found how to make them invisible.
After a time, The Internet became very interesting. As I said, I could manage the keyboard, and of course controlling a mouse is a breeze, and I learnt the passwords when I was apparently sleeping on My Person's lap. So when My Person was doing extra long hours at work (and muttered in her sleep about end-of-year figures, whatever they are) I had a lovely time visiting all sorts of places around the world, seeing all the tourist attractions, museums, pet shows and all, from my own house! Incidently, I also discovered this amazing site where I could publish my writing and get it critiqued, so I have been able to hone up my writing skills.
Then I learnt about Chat Rooms. This has been really addictive! I have taken on the persona of a 6-foot tall male human with blond curly hair, named Grimaldi, and frequently I've been talking to Cutie-pie, who seems really sweet. But I have some uncertainty: is she really a human as she says, or a dog like me? Or, dare I mention it, a cat? When I asked her if she was really a human, she asked me if I was a Martian, and things cooled a bit, so I've been working on my eloquence in order to keep her friendship.
Yesterday, when My Person came home and opened the mail, she swore at one of the letters for several minutes. I didn't get a chance to read it, as she put it in her pocket and took it to work today. As I said, she's been working very long hours, so I was taken by surprise when I heard voices coming through the house in the late morning. It was My Person, and an unknown male human, and My Person was saying,
"I know there's no sign of a break-in, but the ISP told me that it had been accessed every weekday at this time, from this phone number! It's cost me a fortune!"
The voices came down the passage and I confess I panicked. Trying to stage my Silly Act, I grabbed My Owner's spare glasses and put them on, and only just thought to push the button on the front of the monitor, then turn back to the door and look cute. Flash! flash! flash! I could hardly see, and my Cute Look was very forced as My Person and a man with a huge camera stood framed in the doorway, gaping at me!
I jumped down while they were still staring, and raced around the room barking to distract them whileIi bumped the computer switch off as I passed, hoping they wouldn't notice the change in sound as it stopped. I rolled on my back on the floor at their feet and grinned at them, and the man turned away saying he didn't photograph animals or kids. My person looked really puzzled, but picked up the glasses from the floor and they both went out and checked out all the other rooms in the house with me following at their heels, my mind working fast.
Somewhere or other, the time that the computer is used for, gets recorded. It's not on the computer itself, I've looked at everything. It must be just the internet time, then, and My Person has to pay for the time! How can I get on The Net undetected now? Will I ever talk to Cutie-pie again? Or post my writings? Or go on virtual holidays?
My Person went back to work for the afternoon, and I only turned the computer on to clear the disk cache, just in case someone investigating found my pictures of the attactive winner of the dog-show!
My Person is rather stressed this evening and is having a soak in the bath. So I'm taking the opportunity to post this, to let anyone interested know there is a reason for what might be my long absence from The Net, and I hope this is not my last literary item. My Person will not get another statement from the ISP for a month, but I must still work fast. No writing, no chatting, just focusing on searching for information on how I can access the ISP and delete the information from My Person's account, and also perhaps how to disguise where I'm dialing in from.
This is the challenge of a lifetime; when I post here again I will be . . . Gremlin the Hacker!

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