Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Sands of Time (for me) are Running Low

Saturday night.

Late.

I'm cowering in my bed. A police helicopter is hovering low above the garden, its rotor blades punishingly loud. A spotlight beams across the kitchen, searching for a fugitive from justice. I'm hidden, out of sight, beneath the breakfast bar. At any second I expect armed response officers to abseil down from the chopper and burst in through the double glazing, with orders to take me out. It's the one time I honestly don't want to be taken out. And all because of this picture.


I know at first sight it looks like someone has bruised a sketch of a puppy Springer Spaniel on my mistress' leg but apparently 'I' did that. My lawyer has advised me against publishing the evidence for the prosecution but I feel I must explain the mitigating circumstances. This is not one of the hundreds of dog attacks that occur every year. This was an accident. Let me explain.

I was being walked round the road beside the cricket pitch by my mistress, minding my own business, not paying too much attention to my surroundings, when all of a sudden I find sneaked up behind me a nasty West Highland Terrier who's gnashing his teeth and giving me chin. I respond with equal aggression, whirring round to meet him, only to find the mistress has interposed herself between us and my jaw meets with her thigh. I get one hell of a fright (as did she) and immediately back down. The little Westie smiles and walks on, whiter than white, job done. He'd provoked me into committing a heinous crime. Next I would be on the news, hounded by reporters and threatened with execution.

The walk back home was painful for both of us. I felt ashamed and she was trying to hide a limp. I'd drawn blood. That meant she had the right to request that I be put down. And at that moment I felt like I probably deserved it. But looking back it wasn't my fault. If that Westie hadn't been goading me it wouldn't have happened. I wasn't looking for a fight. He started it. He was to blame.

Not a very good defence, though, is it? The teeth marks speak for themselves. I wanted to apologise but what could I say? "Sorry" doesn't really cut it. "I promise I won't do it again". Correct when you're dead! When we got back to the house I went straight to my bed, without looking for a treat or my dinner, while she went upstairs to examine the damage. 

Over the next few days nothing was said in front of me but I could hear them whispering. The master took over walking duty, allegedly because the mistress was working late. Whenever our eyes met, the mistress had a cold, disappointed look. I kept out her way. I didn't even approach her for her final crust of breakfast toast. I reckoned my time was up. Which brings us back to now.

The spotlight makes another sweep across the kitchen, this time from the other window. I start to cry. I don't deserve to die. I'm too young. The kitchen door opens. It's the mistress. She's come to give me up. She crosses to the window and peers up. I'm sure she's about to shout, "Down here!" when instead she crouches down beside me, wincing slightly, and pats me on the head. She looks me straight in the eye and tells me not worry. "It's probably a burglar they're after, or a vandal." She waits with me till the helicopter moves off, allowing me to lick the moisturiser gently from her fingers and palm. There's a bit of Savlon on them too. She must have been dressing her wound. I hope she gets better soon.  

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