Notes from Blanche:
After a hectic Christmas with Hug and Shrug and the gang, mom and I headed north to see her family, which this time included her sister. Mom only had one other person in her litter, another girl, whom I met once before, and she seemed to have a puppy of her own. When we first arrived at her house, a smallish creature opened the front door and promptly screamed and ran away. They wouldn’t let me get near him, which is a shame, because he smelled like hot dogs and peanut butter, and I was certain we could be great friends.
This time when we got to my mom’s parents’ house, the smallish creature was waiting in the window with his nose pressed up against the glass. He didn’t scream, which was good, but he did hide behind a TERRIFYING FENCE OF HORROR that made dreadful noises every time somebody moved it. He had matured, and he seemed more appreciative of me as a possible future companion. We exchanged several meaningful looks across the top of the TERRIFYING FENCE OF HORROR. I also noticed his scent has mellowed nicely in the yogurt-banana direction, with a soupçon of graham cracker.
It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized there was another small creature in the house. I didn’t see him as much as I heard him. The screams were terrifying. Like someone was possibly eating someone else’s head. Mom turned on a light in our room to check on the commotion – also to drag me out from under the bed, where I was hiding. When she opened the door to peek out, I saw him. At first I couldn’t believe that single wall of sound was coming from one animal. He turned and looked me right in the eye. Then he ripped the chew toy he was sucking on out of his mouth, threw it across the room and gave another yell.
He looks like a cross between a bear and a Great Mastiff, but compact. Like maybe if a pug ate Godzilla. That kind of strength. Like Hercules. Which is what I decided must be his name anyway. He has Popeye arms and he walks on all fours, just like me. But in a far less efficient manner. He travels back and forth like a sailboat. Like if Vikings built a sailboat. And then sailed it.
The taller one, whom I now understand manipulates the adults using charm (not the raw power of his younger sibling), did not seem to like being left out of the morning’s discussion. He also offered his own shouting to the day. Wait, did I say “morning” and “day?” I apologize. It was still too early for the sun at this point.
My mom’s eyes were narrowed into slits. She looked a little like the mole I found in the woods, but without the overbite. Her sister said “Merry Christmas!” really nicely, but it was in the voice mom uses when I have something I shouldn’t in my mouth. Like a nail. Or her toothbrush.
Mom tried to go back to sleep, but after she turned the lights off, put her earphones in and pulled the comforter up around her face, I remembered I had to poop. So we got to see the sun come up after all!