“Geez Fido, get out of the way, will ya? It’s about the third time today I’ve almost tripped over you.”
“I was just making sure you knew I was still here,” Fido said.
“It’s not like anybody could miss you. You’re 80 pounds of Big Red Lug.”
“But I don’t care about anybody. I care about you, you, and you.”
“That’s a nice sentiment, Fido, and believe me when I say I appreciate it. All I’m asking is why now? All of a sudden, you’re underfoot almost all the time. What’s going on?”
“Nuthin,” Fido said.
“Come on, out with it, Big Boy. Does this have anything to do with Chief-the-Cat?”
“He sure gets to sit on your lap a lot.”
“Gee, Fido, if you were about 60 pounds lighter and about half your length, you could sit on my lap, too.”
“We tried that once, remember? It didn’t work. It wasn’t that you had anything wrong with your lap. The chair was too small.”
“The USS Enterprise would be too small for you, Fido. Is there anything else?
“Chief gets food from a can.”
“Not all the time, he doesn’t. And what’s that to you, anyway?”
“I want to have food from a can.”
“All this time, you have been a vacuum cleaner to your bowl of kibble. Never a complaint; never a hint that you didn’t like it.”
“I love my kibble, but Chief gets food from a can.”
“That makes a difference?”
“To me it does.”
“This sounds like you need a lesson or two in the division of attention. Again. First of all, and although Chief would never say this to your face, he knows that he’s the No. 2 four-footer around here, that you’re the Lion King, and he knows about all other stuff.”
“Like what other stuff?”
“He’s not dumb, Fido, not like some cats I know. I knew a cat, once, that was basically nothing more than a life support system for its fur. Chief is smart, though. He knows you get to go to work with me and spend all day under my desk. He knows that you and I go for romps together, and that he never gets to go outside except to sit on the woodpile on the deck near the door. He knows that you get to ride in the car and poke your nose out the window.”
“I had not really considered all of this,” Fido said.
“Well geez, Old Man, snap out of it, will you? See, to Chief-the-Cat, he thinks he’ll never make your kind of grade, so he gets a little bit on the insecure side of things.”
“Is that why he always jumps on your lap?”
“Probably, but I really wouldn’t know about that. He doesn’t talk much.”
“You can say that again,” Fido said. “Talking with Chief is like talking to a stump.”
“That’s mean, and while it may be true, it’s not right that you should actually say it. There are rules about that sort of thing.”
“Let me sit down and think about that.”
“Not there, Fido, I’ll just trip over you again.”
“That,” Fido said, “is exactly the point.”