Unfortunately, Boris (our Border-Staffordshire cross with no small amount of whippet) is not particularly thrifty when it comes to using the Internet. His broad, big-toed lion’s paws are awkward on the keys of G and R, so, unsurprisingly, he is often found to be chewing in frustration on a Theakston and Harvard rubber-chew mouse, while words like ‘wobstoppef’ (instead of Gobstopper) and ‘Cafinal’ (instead of Cardinal) rise up his screen like lazy flies from the garbage of his day, and needless to say, the furious re-typing means those heavily laden insects never alight on the roof of his laptop with a little, light conversation. Rewriting with paws, is like that…
“Time for a walk, old dog.”
He pads beside me through the wet, grassy park, considering new ideas on Chaucer and Kennedy, convinced that his true canine instincts will lead him to a justifiable conclusion – some new, writerly insight, far greater than ever before found by a type-writing Gefalumpahound (or whatever cross he is).
I watch his big, saggy eyes like handbags holding bowling balls.
I observe the lappish tilt of his soft, brown ears, that perk up at the first sign of cats, small children, and fresh inspiration on his play (you know, the one on Brookmyer and Barbara Woodhouse – but it’s a long work).
Cats, of course, ruin his concentration, and make the vein in his forehead pound. Poor old dog – but certainly his work is some of the best of a type-writing dog this year, anywhere – or at least, that’s what he alludes to around his writing companions as they snuffle each other hello and drag through the leaves, in one big, happy, bounding, hairy writing group, camped out in wet, winter’s grass.
It suddenly occurs to me that Boris and I have quite misplaced Mother’s Day. Mother, of course, is quite attached to it and will let many things slide (such as Boris smoking his pipe indoors and observing her with one, blood-shot eye over his monocle – as long as his feet are clean) but not, unfortunately, the one day of the year that has her name on it.
I hope, amongst hope, as the lead goes slack and then straightens up again, that Boris has come to some poetic objectivity, some humorous story, he can pound in with his big, awkward paws, which can then be misdirected as the perfect, off-the-cuff gift for a mother who has everything, apart from a sense of humour.
Boris peruses a cat in an ill-considered manner. Good, good. Mother likes cats – big, stripy, slack-jawed cats, just like that; fuzzy like a jumper.
Then his attention snaps to a little, black, scratchy movement in the leaf-litter. No, for God’s sake, not Kafka – drop it, boy, drop it! I hate it when he eats bugs – all buggy-breath; the tongue that licks his master’s face and Mother will never understand it. The little black beetle navigates the drool, with the spryness of a 6,000,000-year-old literary critic and vanishes between the leaves of crackling paper.
Boris is on the hunt, but fails to find inspiration by burying his wet nose in the behind of a pertly, pink Pekinese, running on an extendible leash, like a buzz saw cutting through the grass. The sour faced woman, with skin whiter than frost, sucks in on a lemon and reels in her maddened, canine appliance. It completes a four-footed take-off, and vanishes over a bush – reeled in out of the way of literary temptation. That lead has obviously come to an end.
I wonder, as I stand embarrassed next to Boris, who squats next to me like the spider-lady, rigid and shaking, if this is his final, writerly analysis of the matter. Tufts of grass fly in appreciation of the great outdoors.
Mother, I don’t think I’ll present you with Boris’ latest, greatest, master-work.