I do not live alone. Therefore when I have a head cold and I’m sneezing and my nose is running like a wilderness river I do the conscientious thing and go downstairs and sleep on the couch.
Last night I had a cold. A whopper.
I’d only been nestled amongst the throw blankets for a few minutes when I heard activity upstairs. That was followed by the creaking of stairs and finally the scratching of claws on the kitchen floor. This led me to believe that my dog had decided to come downstairs and join me. This was confirmed moments later when my dog approached the couch.
My dog is completely black, save for a little graying of the muzzle and eyebrows, so watching her slide through the darkness was quite beautiful. She then turned, tail wagging, and moved in front of the sliding glass door to let me know that she wanted out.
This was annoying. I’m not begrudging her need to pee, but I was feeling rather miserable and it had taken me a long time to assemble the throw blankets in such a way that my entire body was covered. The nestled state I found myself in wasn’t easily won. I now see why buffalo and bears were much more prized than beavers and otters. What my body needed was a buffalo skin and what I had at hand, on the other hand (although, strictly speaking, the same hand), was a half dozen woodchucks. Which also explained why they are called throw blankets in the first place; you want to gather them the fuck up and throw all of them into a flaming pit.
Be that as it may, that explains my hesitancy at letting out the dog. But if she had to go out, so be it. I unselfishly threw off the throw blankets, braving the dangers of including both threw and throw in the same sentence, knowing it would take me another fifteen minutes to arrange them (the blankets, not the words) in an acceptable manner, and opened the door for her. She went out and I watched her walk around the yard, looking for just the right spot to relieve herself. Apparently not a decision to rush into.
That’s when I again heard activity upstairs. That was followed by the creaking of stairs and finally the scratching of claws on the kitchen floor.
No. I do not own another dog.
And yet seconds later an all black dog bearing a striking resemblance to my dog turned the corner, tail wagging, and moved in front of the sliding glass door to let me know that she wanted out.
I turned to look out the glass door and saw my dog walking around my yard under a moonless sky. I looked down and saw my dog looking at me expectantly.
Being a man of action to my very core, I opened the door.
The dog went out.
That when I heard more activity upstairs, followed by the creaking of stairs and finally the scratching of claws on the kitchen floor.
Let me remind you again, I am the owner of one and only one dog. Singular.
Another black shape emerged from the darkness of the kitchen wanting to be let out. A figure that looked in every way to be my dog. Black as midnight in a coal mine.
I once again glanced outside to see two silhouettes pacing around in the darkness.
I opened the door and third black dog joined the festivities.
This happened three more times.
I then stood, slightly unnerved, at the sliding glass door and watched six dark figures slink around my backyard like specters. Six dogs identical in every way. Six of my one dog.
It’s funny, I really did believe up until that time that the recommended dosage of medicine created to relieve the symptoms of a head cold was based purely on how important that particular head was and not the age, weight, and metabolic rate of the person taking it. Given that I feel the contents of my head are worth at least four times that of the typical person, my discussion of throw blankets being a perfect illustration, I took four times the recommended amount.
Why this resulted in more than four dogs I can’t say.
“One learns a great deal sometimes from being sick.”
― Alan Watts