Saturday, 20 November 2010
There was no doubt in my mind. I had to keep Archie on my side and that meant persuading him to like Marek. Mistress would be in an even worse state without her man.
“No money changed hands at the auction house,” I said to Archie, after a short interval.
“Humbug!” he replied.
I felt desperate. Whatever Marek was up to, he always had plenty of cash in his shabby leather pockets. Somehow I had to protect him.
“He looks after Mistress and stops her doing stupid things, like selling the family portraits,” I said.
Archie had a way of looking at me when times were rough. Now his nose came level with mine and I gave a sniff of appreciation. He did not reciprocate.
“There is more to life than a bacon sarni,” he stated.
Well, that was rich coming from Archie. That pug could eat for England. I wondered in that instant if Archie had gone off me.
“I have a new admirer,” I said rather hastily. “An alsation who asked me to call him ‘Hen’. I met him on our walk in the country the other day. He gave my left ear quite a tickle.”
The only sound in the kitchen was of the clock ticking. I felt Archie’s stomach move away from me slow over the tiles.
“I hope you’ve no sentiments in that direction, son,” he growled. I would never share a basket with a ‘homo’.”
“Never, Archie!” I cried. “I had no trouble in turning him down. Anyway, he lives in Esher.”
Archie gave a jaw chomp and there was silence again.
Outside the kitchen window, late autumn leaves were falling across the glass in a series of orange ribbons. A rush of wind brought them slamming towards us.
“I bet that fox is somewhere close and looking in. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t looking straight at you, kid,” said Archie.
He gave me a thump with his right paw. “From now on, we stick closer together, right?”
I gave Archie a thump straight back.
He couldn’t hear my hidden sigh. We were friends again and that was all that mattered.
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Archie and 1 were chomping on ‘Rodeo’ bars in the kitchen, with the afternoon play on the radio. Normally, we would both be listening, but right now, my friend had a serious glint in his eye.
“We have problems in this house, son,” he said. “And in yours.”
There was silence while I contemplated this statement. Archie had a wisdom beyond his years. He stood as a barometer for the weather in the Fuller household and we were, without doubt, facing storms ahead.
“Lesley and Nathan are fighting like bantam cocks,” announced Archie. “We have Mr Fox as a new neighbour: your mistress is heavily in debt and Marek is playing with counterfeit money.”
“What does counterfeit mean?” I asked.
Archie rolled his eyes. “Where did you get your schooling, son?” he said.
I kept my mouth shut and swallowed the last of my Rodeo bar.
“Whenever I have a problem with a word,” Archie went on, “I consult my ‘Dogmatis’”.
“Oh,” I replied, feeling small in my own lack of knowledge.
“To be found on the shelf above where Nathan keeps his toenail clippers,” Archie declared.
His pink tongue lay on his lower lip. My friend, Archie, was thinking hard.
“They got the painting back, you know,” I said. “Mistress’s ancestor. Now she has no money at all.”
Archie gave a grunt. He couldn’t disagree.
What to do next, I wondered? Archie and I were going to have to come up with something fast.
Before the bacon sandwiches ran out.
We dogs will keep you posted.