Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Larry arrived the next morning to paint Mistress. It was early for him. Even I was hardly out of my basket and still yawning as he wheezed up to the bedroom.
“You look a bit worse for wear,” Larry said to Mistress.
He moved his easel to the left, dragging a gammy leg in a sad attempt at travel. Larry’s shirt was torn. Both Archie and I had decided that he should have got another job years ago. But then, that applied to Mistress, too. There was not a bean to be had in the art world right now. Not unless Mistress could find a hidden masterpiece.
“It’s called the natural look,” Mistress replied. She swept her hair up over her scalp.
From where I watched at the corner of her counterpane, I could see the dark shadows under my mistress’s eyes.
“Tommy bit the Council man yesterday,” she said.
Larry pointed a paint brush in my direction. “He’s a liability, that dog, and ugly to boot! That’s two of us he’s bitten”
I tried to stare him out but without success. Larry was no longer looking at me.
“One day, your pug will disappear like a puff of smoke,” Larry went on.
Mistress rolled off the bed. She threw a dressing gown around her, covering the black bodice that Larry was far too keen on adjusting. Archie called him ‘a hands on painter’.
“The session is over,” Mistress said, her lips tight. “I won’t have my dog criticised by you of all people. He’s the best friend I ever had!”
I gave a bark and felt myself glow with pleasure. My little tail wouldn’t stop wagging. Couldn’t I find a way of getting rid of these undesirable men for ever?
Follow what goes on with this dog.
Monday, 7 February 2011
After the biting episode, I was confined to the dog house, or what Mistress calls the ‘spares room’. The place where all her unsold pictures end up awaiting collection from artists who have either disappeared, died, or fallen so into debt, they’ve had to bunk off to the country.
Archie put his nose underneath the door and met mine.
“Smells musty,” he said, “and there’s so much dust around, I’ll get one of my allergic reactions.”
Archie sneezed three times to make his point. “Mr Greig limped off after Lesley gave him a large Bells whisky.”
“I don’t care,” I replied. “I hope he can’t walk for a week. Anyway, the good news is that Mr Greig will have forgotten Marek.”
I tapped one of Archie’s front paws and felt better for the contact.
“I didn’t know you had it in you, son,” Archie muttered. “But there may well be trouble later.”
When Mistress let me out of the ‘spares’ room, Archie and I rolled down the stairs together as naughty boys should. The snow had stopped falling. I could tell that the air outside was crisp, a lot crisper than the smell of alcohol seeping from every corner of our sitting room.
Nathan had joined the ladies, and blow me down if Lesley wasn’t opening another bottle of wine. Archie’s eyes rolled in disgust.
“So Tommy bit the Council man, did he?” Nathan chuckled. “Well, I dunno about that …”
He rubbed my left ear and I grinned. I couldn’t help it.
Mistress blew her nose hard. “I had to give Mr Greig a sweetener,” she murmured, “my last tenner out of the Italian vase.”
Nathan had a good scratch around his chin. “Fancy that,” he pondered. “A corrupt Council official. I wonder how many of them are taking bribes.”
Lesley came three inches off the sofa and lay back again. “Pour me a glass, blockhead,” she said to her husband, “and then find out what it says about the Dangerous Dogs Act on the internet. Julia may be in even more trouble than she is already!”
Saturday, 15 January 2011
“Marek is a good person, Mr Greig,” said Mistress. “I mean Mr Czcibor …”
As she spoke, she fell off the arm of her chair onto the floor.
“Dearie, dearie, me,” Archie growled at me. “Your owner is making a spectacle of herself. This is not the way to behave!”
Mr Greig crossed his arms. They were so long, I had an idea that he could stop traffic.
“Mr Czcibor is involved in pornography on the internet and not only that, he is forging notes like this one.”
He held out another of those hundred pound notes.
“All true,” muttered Archie. “You’ve been bewitched by your new friend, son.” Archie stared down his snub nose at me. “Marek’s a bad egg and he is playing with fire if he thinks he can use that currency. Even the Council are on to him.”
I felt a distant thumping between my ribs and the heat of centuries rising in me.
Mistress got up slowly. She looked like a mad woman with her hair streaked across her face. She needed my aid and I had to come up with something. Archie wasn’t going to help me.
“He plays games, Mr Grig,” hiccupped Julia.
“Mr Greig, if you don’t mind, Miss Taylor.”
“Mr Greig, then,” said Julia. “Marek is a Surrealist in the real sense of the word. He painted those notes for fun! People misunderstand him, that’s what I say. Marek wouldn’t defraud anybody. Least of all, Mr Grig, someone like you who is very important and a member of the Council.”
Mistress sat down with a bump on the chair that Lesley had just vacated.
“If you don’t mind, Miss Taylor, I will wait for Mr Czcibor until he comes home,” Mr Greig said.
The heat was ringing in my ears. I leapt as only a pug can in a moment of stress and aimed for Mr Greig’s right ankle. Then I sank my teeth into a sour lemon stench of sock and found his skin.
“AHHHHH!” screamed Mr Greig. “Take that dog off me..!”
I kept my teeth where they were and closed the gap. On the right occasion, I was a pug with iron jaws.
Friday, 7 January 2011
Mr Greig had shed himself of his coat and stood right beside Archie and me in the sitting room, though he didn’t notice us.
“What can I do for you, Mr Greig?” Mistress asked.
Her voice wobbled and she had a hard time keeping upright.
“I’m looking for Mr Marek Czcibor,” Mr Greig replied.
He kept rubbing his hands as he spoke. They moved like large weights and to my delicate nose, smelt of cheap soap. I could see from Archie’s expression that he was not impressed. Mr Greig was one of those men who had been built too tall for his own good. His eyes were everywhere. Finally, he looked down at the pair of us and gave his trousers a flick as if to rid himself of any canine evidence.
Lesley was now flat out on the sofa. She waved a hand in Mr Greig’s direction.
“I expect Marek’s gone to the pub,” she slurred. “Being the holiday season and all that.”
Mr Greig stood stock still.
“I wish to talk to him about a few matters,” he said.
Archie and I peered up at Mr Greig, the man from the Council. As we did so, he shook his mop of hair and tiny white specks fell towards us.
“Dandruff!” groaned Archie.
By contrast, the room had gone dark in the space of minutes.
Outside the window, the snow was falling fast.
Was it pugs to the rescue yet again?
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
“What about selling them on e-bay?” suggested Lesley. I bet we’d get a mint!”
“God strewth,” said Archie. “We’ve reached the lowest of the low. They’ll be downloading us dogs next!”
“I don’t care what Nathan thinks,” declared Lesley. We share a battlefield daily, Julia. You should see our bedroom. Nathan’s on the front line, what with all his shoes assembled in the corner. The flotsam and jetsam of a disintegrating marriage.”
Mistress took a handkerchief from her sleeve and wiped away a tear.
“Don’t say that, Lesley. You’re my best friends ..!”
“You never would have thought so,” I said to Archie. “Mistress tells some terrible tales about the two of them.”
Archie gave me a cuff about the ears with his front right paw. You keep mum, son, d’you hear me? No good comes of repeating what’s told you in the basket.”
I nodded. But I was miserable. What good was I if I couldn’t be a confidante to Mistress?
Meanwhile, both Mistress and Lesley were peering out of the window where a green hedge seemed to be on the move.
“Look out there!” cried Lesley. I’ve never seen that hedge before.” She tried to wave her empty glass towards the window but the glass came back and hit her on the nose.
A couple of ice blocks fell beside Archie. “Here,” he said. “One for each of us. We deserve a treat for listening to this rubbish ..!”
Archie and I sucked on our ice blocks and as we did, the hedge stood up.
It was the dreaded Inspector, Mr Greig.