I looked skeptically at Mom's knee. It looked like it was already connected together, even if it was a little floppier than usual and hung a bit like a puppet's leg when she walked. "Are you sure that the vet isn't just having you on so that he can sell you a surgery?" I asked. "Those psychos really can't be trusted." All she said was, "I'm so sorry..."
"Mom, mom! Come here and look! Quick! There's a man dressed like Smokey the Bear!" Then Mom came clattering out of the bushes. If she were a cartoon character, she would have had twigs in her hair, hashtags on her cheeks and forehead, and her tongue hanging out. But in real life she just looked like a lost person.
I looked at Mom's weird boxy body that's flat in all the places where humans are sometimes curvy, and then I looked at my sleek, athletic frame that was black, but not blobby at all. "Well I don't have any boobies, and neither do you," I said. "And if one of us is going to chase contaminated critters, it should be the one of us that is up to date on his flea meds, don't you think?"
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.
This morning Mom took me to a trail that I didn't recognize, and imagine my surprise when one of my professors was waiting for us! I was so excited to see her after all these years, and squeaked like a manly cowboy for Mom to let me off the leash so that I could go knock her over. As I got close, a dog stepped in my way and said, "Just who do you think you are, and what do you think you're going to do to my Mom?"
This trail was like nature's storage room, where all the cool things to see were in one place, but all disordered and piled on top of each other in a way that made them hard to look at. There were big bits of sandstone sticking out of the ground that had holes scooped out like swiss cheese, and slabby bits of rock all fanned out like someone had knocked over a stack of pancakes, and little villages of boulders in shady glades that definitely had gnomes living behind them, and a tractor that had been used in the revolutionary war, and a patch of fuzzy white plants that looked like they were covered in frost as a fashion statement, and wildflowers in all the shades of grey, and as we got higher there were views of the mountains in every direction that you looked. We could even see off in the distance where the mountains fell into the ocean and the cool, grey fog clumped like a bad mood.
“I’m not worried about hikers. There are cats that hide in these trees. They jump down and before you know what’s happened, they've grabbed you by the head are dragging you into the bushes to eat you up.” “Oh! I love cats!” I said. “They are great fun to chase! I hope one drops on me.” “Not these cats…” Mom warned. Mom gets so scared of the silliest things.