January 28, 2012

Snippet Number Three* with footnotes**


. . . I’d been this really disgustingly sweet, cooperative kid, always worried about everyone else (this got worse after Ran was born.  I am never having kids.  Moms with new babies have no life), which is to say this total dreary little dreep.  What actually started giving me my own personality was when I got old enough to volunteer at the shelter.  It was mostly dogs and cats, but even then there was one parrot (who was totally bonded to Clare, who said, I’m never doing this again), a chameleon (who still runs to the back of his tank and turns blue to go with the walls every time anyone comes into Clare’s office) and three ponies (who had started biting kids at the petting zoo in Electrowest).  Since then there’ve been alpaca and sheep and goats and a crippled bobcat the Big Cat Rescue didn’t have room for and then it bonded with Clare too so they let her keep it.  But I was thrilled at being allowed to shovel dog crap and scrub bowls.  The self-confidence issues of a ten-year-old can be pretty weird.   

            But I was still pretty disgustingly wet, it’s just now I was mostly disgusting about animals.  For example, I wanted a dog.  I’d wanted a dog since I was born, but this was about six months after Dad died, and Mom was still trying to be extra-nice to Ran and me, especially because she was working about twenty-six hours a day and exhausted and cranky when we saw her at all.  So while she gave me the old ‘a dog is a big responsibility’ lecture and reminded me forcefully that she was working twenty-six hours a day and back up from her was a non-option, her heart wasn’t really in it.  I knew who I wanted—and Clare had been saving him for me—so we brought home Mongo (short for mongrel, although really he’s a border collie).  He was about six months old and already crazy, and you can guess that some ordinary family hadn’t been able to cope with a hairy attack squad caroming off the walls and trying to fetch pieces of furniture so somebody would throw them for him.  Mom, even having basically folded on the subject of my dog, was a little leery but Clare said I’d cope, which made me feel better than anything ever had in my life before—at least anything since Dad died.  But Mongo is also really, really happy and cheerful and loving (as well as crazy) and he was totally a good idea and just what we needed. 

            But the point is, he was my dog.  We had him because I wanted a dog.  I had to walk him twice a day and feed him and brush him (way too much fur.  If I’d realised I might have tried to fall in love with something with short hair) and make sure his water bowl was full and all that.  Which in Mongo’s case included a lot of remedial training, starting with SIT.  Sitting to have his lead put on, sitting before he was allowed out the door, sitting before he could jump in the car, sitting before his food bowl was put down—and the accidental swallowing of the hand holding the bowl is not allowed.  Sitting a lot at least made new sort of loops in his caroming and got him used to paying attention to me as something more than dog-food and thrown-stick provider.  Then there was learning no eating sofa cushions or baseboards or shoes or origami figures that happen to fall on the floor—he ate the best dragon I ever made and the fact that Takahiro made me a better one later on doesn’t change anything—and finding a more or less chew-proof dog bed because there are limits.  I thought teaching him the long down was going to kill us both, although I have to say that possibly my attention span wasn’t totally up to it either.

            But I did it.  I did it all.  He barely even ate newspapers or gloves after the first six months with us.  I was the kind of kid who actually did walk the dog every day.  Twice.  Just getting enough exercise was a big thing with Mongo. . . . *** 

* * *

* I think it’s number three 

** See!  Footnotes!  ::waves:: ^

^ Stardancer wrote:

I had to look up “ecphonesis” too. But what I got out of that paragraph was mostly the fact that I kind of want to see a scene now that includes an eggplant and a philosopher

Aaron wrote:

But does a Dining Philosopher* need one or two forks to eat an eggplant?

And you would think eating comes into this equation why? 

*** Remember:  this is only second draft.  Mongo may start saving the universe sooner in the final copy.



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