It started the day of The Green Bag.
It had been Blue Bag, Blue Bag, Blue Bag for years, ever since I came. Come in, chuck ‘em down, stomp, stomp, stomp. Crumbs on the floor! On the floor! Yes, yes, yes. Then out, tumbling, roiling, running across the lawn, the slope, the expanse of grass with a ball, two balls, lots of feet. Feet with black shoes, running, running; me nipping, nipping. Those shoes can get out of control, you know. Run, run, run.
Till Mum yells, “Boys! I’ve told you before! Take off those uniforms before you play outside with The Dog.”
I’m not offended. I am The Dog. It’s a little insulting though. I have a name, you know. Scruffy. “Scruffalicious,” Boy One calls me. “Scruffo,” Boy Two calls me. Boy Three calls me “Honey”. He’s the favourite. You’re not allowed to have favourites, but too bad, I’m allowed; I’m The Dog.
Lately it’s been different. Boy One’s bag is different. It’s green. His shoes are black still, but shiny, sleek. A bit scary. He drags his shoes. He stays in them longer and swings them under his chair. Sometimes he puts his head on the table with a groan and his arms dangle down to find my fur, to ruffle my fur, to entwine his fingers in the roots of my fur. I lick his hands and he says, “Scruffy.”
But tonight he’s laughing. Boy One is telling Boy Two, Boy Three and The Mum all about something he’s learnt. Mum seems to know what he’s doing. They all copy. First; put the tips of your fingers of one hand on your forehead, then move them to touch the middle of your chest. (“Down, Scruffy!” They yell). Then touch one shoulder (“The LEFT one, you Doofus”, says Boy One), then the other shoulder.
The Mum is laughing her big laugh. “I can’t believe you’ve never done the sign of the cross before,” she says.
Boy One grunts. “And now we’re doing it every day, day in, day out.”
Mum ruffles Boy One’s hair. I jump up to lick his face. I like this game! This game is good!
“Never mind,” says Mum. “You’ll get used to it. Soon you might even be asked to be altar boy!”
Whatever that is. Who cares? Who cares! We’re running again, this time in bare feet and this time our arms, our legs are flailing, flashing, flitting all over the green grassy lawn.