Jon de Vos: It came from beneath the duvet
Sky-Hi Daily News columnist
A librarian from the Fraser Library called. It seems that they were randomly over-scrutinizing their inventory and felt that, perhaps, just perhaps, one of my dogs had nibbled on the corner of a book I’d just returned. She explained that “past incidents” had earned me a high position on their speed dial and did I want to come in and look at the book or should they just debit my credit card that they keep on file?
This time I was positive. They were barking up the wrong tree. “Ha, ha,” I exclaimed jovially, “but that’s impossible! I returned those books myself, unharmed. My angelic dogs haven’t chewed up anything significant in, oh, quite some time.”
I glared furiously at the three mutts in question, sprawled across the sofa, guarding it with all their might and wagging so fast they were stirring up clouds of dust. It’s their sofa, if someone dares to sit in it, the dogs claw their way up their leg and sit on their lap gazing fondly at their victim, breath redolent of yesterday’s trash. Nobody has ever sat on our sofa twice. Nobody without a light saber, that is.
Cuervo, our Bulgarian Weasel Hound, sensed danger first, casting his eyes nervously in my direction. Freeta, the basset hound, raised her head with a concerned, yet aloof, expression that said, “That wouldn’t be the lying, conniving, library, would it?” Then she turned and began staring through the window like she sat front row, center, at the off-Broadway production of “Cats.” I could tell. She’d done it. I cupped my hand over the receiver and hissed, “Freeta, you idiot! How could you?” She refused to look. Her lip quivered in either remorse or a stifled belch. With Freeta it’s hard to tell.
“Ah, well, tell you what,” I said calmly into the phone, “I really don’t think my wife’s dogs could have done something like that, but I’ll come down and look at it anyway.” I hung up and screamed, “Another book? You numbskull, what were you thinking?” Apparently thinking she was in some sort of hot water, she dove over the back of the couch with all the agility of a spare tire.
After a solid thumping on our already-battered, formerly-expensive lamp, she careened out the dog door, mostly on the first try, fleeing to the safety and haven of the backyard. The backyard is a fun and exciting place for Freeta, until she realizes there is no food, water, or king size bed. This realization takes about thirty seconds which is a bit of a stretch for her attention span, so it works out well. Alarmed at being so far from her source of food, she blasts back through the dog door like a cannonball, sideswiping the lamp again on her dash back to the sofa. My wife and I have learned to take naps standing up because, if the couch isn’t full of sleeping dogs, it will soon be whether we happen to be lying on it or not.
Freeta loves her bed, luxuriating across the length and breadth of it, following the sun during the day, moving in an arc across the bed like a sundial. At about the 4:15 P.M. spot, right next to the night stand, I figure she lost control of her jowls and gummed the corner of a book. Just slightly.
When I returned that book, I didn’t notice any teeth marks. How do they know my wife’s dog did it? Have they considered the implications if this toothsome book wasn’t really a victim of my wife’s hound? What if this were the first attack of a violently sick, serial book biter? What better place than a library to hide this frightful obsession? What better job than a librarian to conceal this appalling compulsion? Well, I admitted, maybe a congressman, they seem to do okay with scandalous behavior.
The librarian and I stared at each other. As I slid my check across the counter, I considered asking her if she would put the corner of the book in her mouth to see if the bite patterns matched. The moment passed but deep inside, I knew it had to have been the librarian.
Couldn’t have been my sweet dog.
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