“I made you a cup of Slipper Island gold!” Fluffy called from the kitchen. He’d found himself an apron. The kitchen smelt homely now that drinks had been poured.
All that hollering, though! Florence must have found a dead moth-moth on the windowsill. They’d hold a funeral later. That’d take care of an entire afternoon.
Florence came slip-sliding into the entrance hall, skidding to a halt in her socks.
From the kitchen, Fluffikins watched her glide past the doorway. “You didn’t reply when I called, so you’re getting coffee,” he said. “I hope a smidgen of caffeine won’t send you completely over the edge.”
Florence screeched to a halt near the front door and nose-nudged the wet shoe right out of the dog dish.
“Come now, Florence,” said Fluffy from the kitchen. “I’ve made you a nice cup of instant. You’re not going to insult me by drinking lace-up tea, are you?”
“Look!” called Florence. “I sniff-see something through the water!”
“Oh no. Oh no no no. Not this caper again. Back away from the dish, Florence,” said Fluffy. “You know what happened last time. Dog ONLY knows where this one might take you.”
“There could be another fantasy world dog-dish inside the dog-dish! And another one after that! Dog dishes inside the dog dishes. ‘Mise en abyme‘ dog-dishes!”
Florence squinted a bit and sniffed the water. Her own doggy face shimmered back. But underneath the tiny ripples she saw-smelled her parents. Mr and Mrs Mutt sat at their dining room table. The other Florence sat with them, clean and tidy, cutting a fillet of salmon with a knife and fork into bite-sized chunks. With those normal knees of hers, the other Florence sat happily on Florence’s chair without needing to leap up during dinner for regular stretches.
“I don’t know what’s got into you, Florence,” said Mrs Mutt in an echoey, far-away voice, “but I like it.”
“I told you she would grow out of it eventually,” said Mr Mutt, smiling fondly at his wife and then at the daughter. “Tell you what, Florence dear. If you maintain this good behaviour for an entire month, we’ll take you to the go-kart place after all.”
Perfect Florence smiled back.
Under the Mutt Family kitchen table, the scruffy, fluffy, regular-looking dog-dog from the photo searched the floor for crumbs of dropped fish. Finding none, he scratched his left ear with a hind leg and sneezed, without preparing a tissue.
“Do you get it?” whispered Florence to a slightly disturbed Fluffikins. “That girl is ME. And that dog, he is meant to be YOU!”