Friday, June 8, 2012

Roadkill Cafe, Part 7

They had a little trouble knowing what to call themselves (this was a bigger problem for Freckles, but that’s a different story entirely), but they commonly called themselves Rom and Jules, which were short for Romeo and Juliet.

Rom and Jules could be teddy bears, and they could also be intimidating; it all depended.  For those who really knew them, they were teddy bears, and that’s what really counts.  Jules, for instance, was known for being testier with strangers, but she also once goofed off behind a Christmas tree, playing a game of peek-a-boo, or maybe she just wanted to go outside and the tree was in the way.  Either way, that incident kind of came to define her, and at the Roadkill Café, she wasn’t too shy to recreate it, now that she was always at ease, and no longer refraining from working at her Eat List.

The Eat List is a tradition among dogs, from the old days and perhaps alternate lives in which they really did need to protect their human companions with their lives.  It’s the imaginary itinerary for eliminating threats, which can shift according to mood and provocation.  And actually, come to think of it, Freckles had the biggest one of that, too.  You’d never have known it, unless you knew it.  Dogs say a lot with their eyes, too.

I mentioned the term “human companion,” you’ll note, rather than “master” or “owner” or any other somesuch nonsense.  This is what dogs, especially, really think about humans they share a home with.  They don’t tend to be shy, do they?  They own the home in ways some humans might understand, and others won’t.  Rom and Jules would help you understand in short order.

Mostly they lounged around, putting their bulk and weight aside.  They were probably the happiest of any patrons in the place, and seemed to ignore anyone else, which was not something they’d been able to do in their earlier lives.  No, if they’d been in a place like this before, they assured me, there’d be a lot of noise, a lot of scrambling, and a lot of fun!  It’s called being sociable.

I asked Ribsy what he thought of the pair of them, and he said they meant no harm, and I guess he was referring to Rom and Jules as a whole, and not necessarily here or there, and that’s what I knew about them before I knew them, and when I got to know them, I understood what he meant.  That sounds a little roundabout, but that’s the kind of response dogs like that can generate.

My advice: the truth will out.  Even if Jules wants to make you think one thing, if you give her the chance she’ll prove you both wrong, and that’s the way it ought to be with everyone, the chance to crawl between someone’s legs, demand some loving, and get it.  Can you think of something better than that?

Come to think of it, Ribsy said, those two reminded him a lot of Barky, and the more I thought about it, I understood what he meant.

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