“I’ve never worked that out,” replied Florence who had no mind for vagueness, especially when it suited. Florence had collected very little sugar anyway. People had given her Meaty Morsels, cowboy jerky and rubbery pigs’ ears. She was munching on the last Meaty Morsel right now. If you’ve never tried one, Meaty Morsels are a bit salty. When you scoff them all, one after the other on the short trot home, they’re a LOT salty.
Fluffikins used his paw-hands to turn the door knob. He’d worked out the knack weeks back but had been keeping the know-how to himself.
But tonight he was using all his human tricks, just like a person-person.
Tonight was his night to shine.
In the entrance hall, Fluffy’s silver bowl of fresh water sat beside a rack of house-slippers and boots. Moonlight peeped through the stained glass window. The dog-water twinkled and danced.
Mr and Mrs Mutt were already in bed, snoring softly.
Fluffikins waited for further questions from upstairs but none were forthcoming.
He went into the kitchen and reached for a tumbler. “Florence, do you want me to get you a plastic one?”
Florence was not allowed to use the glass tumblers because she was inclined to smash them by accident. She wasn’t allowed to drink from the dog dish either, but who was even looking?
The metal of the dog dish reflected her snout and eyes like a watery mirror. Her cheeks seemed to have grown more downy. And what were those? Whiskers? Sure enough, when she bowed her head, the newly sprouted whiskers touched each side of the dish.
Florence was delighted. She had always wanted whiskers. These would come in useful for touching things, even for ‘Keep your hands to yourself!’ occasions.
“I’m turning in, then,” said Fluffikins from the kitchen, placing his own empty glass into the top rack of the dishwasher. He yawned loudly and stretched his arms to the ceiling like a man-man.
Florence took a long lick of water from the dog dish, forming her tongue into the shape of a ladle.
Lap lap lap!
Dog water tasted different from regular tap water. Not in a bad way. You might say colourful, and slightly sweet.
“Hey Fluffy,” Florence called. “Come peer into the dog dish and tell me what you see!”
There was definitely something else in there — apart from the moon reflecting through the window. And she didn’t mean the ripples from a cross-draught coming from under the front door.
“I don’t see anything except water, and maybe a bit of dog hair,” said Fluffikins, glancing over her shoulder. “There usually is hair in the dog water, though I swear it’s not mine because I myself am a very clean and tidy gentleman. Count yourself lucky there’s not a blowfly, free styling it from one side of the dish to the—”
“Look closer! You won’t see anything from that height!”
“Fine, fine.” Fluffikins dropped reluctantly to the floor and looked into the silver dish. “Show me this so-called ‘magical water’.”
“See it? See?”
“No.” Fluffikins yawned again, this time like a dog, with his front legs stretched forwards and his tongue curled out.
“Smell it, then. Squint your nose, cross your nostrils and it comes into sniff.”
“For dog’s sakes, Florence. What am I meant to be sniffing at?”
Florence described the vision. It was hard to put into barks, what with all the excitement and all the salt, but Florence did her best to describe the island in the dog dish. There was an island, all right, clear as a moonlit midnight. She could smell it rippling in the distance, across the sea of dog-water.
And from behind this very dish, someone was calling her name.