Because I'm a marathong coach, I know a loser's attitude when I hear one. I hadn't even had a chance to get bored and fall asleep yet. She jumped back on the dreadmill and ran another couple of steps, but it still sounded wrong, like the lub-dub in Mom's chest instead of her regular feet beat. After only a couple of seconds she stopped the dragon inside the dreadmill from roaring and sat on our bed. "I think it's really hurt," she said.
Thomas is my friend, I guess, but we don't have much in common. He's not a good runner like me. He has a real long body, but short little legs so he walks like a caterpillar and Mom and I have to walk slow so that he can keep up. He's never been camping, didn't go to puppy school, and is unemployed, so we don't have much to talk about. Mostly I just pretend he's not there, and I'm not sure he's noticed me yet either.
It all started with a smell. It smelled like camping. Then one day the sun came up and I discovered that someone had gone through and erased the world. All the nearby stuff was still there, but anything in the distance had been erased leaving nothing but a smudgy grey-white in its place. Around the same time, the people started disappearing off the streets.
An important thing for any job is that the boss-person be a good leader. My boss-man is a great leader because he brought turkey jerky to our meeting, and immediately he had my undivided attention. I was inspired to do anything he asked me to do. "You are a very handsome man," I told him, laying my head in his lap. "I find you irresistible..." I went on.
As much as I love Mom, I couldn't imagine anyone finding her as handsome as I am, and I thought it was pretty preposterous that she would think that someone would find her the more attractive of the two of us.
It is a tradition for four-legged runners to wear face socks in the start and finish area. Mom says it's not nice to criticize other cultures, but I don't think it's nice to humiliate anyone or hold their mouths shut. How are you supposed to do fun things like bark, eat the chips that Mom is sharing for breakfast, or lick the legs of strangers when you're wearing a face sock? Everywhere I looked there were four-legged runners smooshing their faces on the ground or punching themselves in the nose trying to get the face socks off.
Well... mostly to ourselves. We were running through the skirt of the mountain, where the boulders and bushes fight to see who can win the trail, when I came around the corner and saw a turtle-person right in front of me. "What are you doing here? Let me see your early morning permit!" I barked. She looked suitably scared of me, so when Mom called my name, I figured it was okay to leave the turtle-person, go get Mom and show her.
Once we started walking downhill on the shady side of the mountain, Mom, whose heart pumps ice rather than blood, started to turn blue. Every mile or so, I had to come back to her and block the path so that she could bang her hands on my handsome butt until she could feel them again. It wasn’t that cold, Mom is just made with lizard parts.
"Do you ever wonder why they're always staring at that thing?" I asked Bodie. I knew the answer, but I wanted to see if she knew the answer too, and if she didn't then I would sound smart.
"Because it's full of pictures of us, and they're obsessed with us?" Bodie suggested.
"Well, yes. But they're not pointing it at us and giving us treats, so it's doing something else too," I said, standing a little taller because Bodie is a smart dog and she hadn't figured it out, so I knew that I was a very smart dog. "Because there is a witch inside," I explained.