“No more Borders,” says Spence.
“Not good,” says Admin. “Remember that Q and A they did with Bernie?”
Borders: Having read Dog On It, I have the feeling we may not get much out of you in this interview.
Borders: This is just an impression – by the way, are you armed right now?
Bernie: I’d rather not say.
Borders: Just an impression, and no offense, but would it be fair to say that your approach to people is guarded?
Bernie: Fair to whom?
Borders: Good point. But what I’m leading to is the idea that the only being you really open up to is your dog Chet.
Bernie: I don’t think of him as my dog.
Borders: How do you think of him?
Bernie: We’re partners, Chet and I.
Borders: In the Little Detective Agency?
Bernie: That’s part of it.
Borders: Tell us about the Agency – how you got started, what kind of cases you take on, the highs and lows.
Bernie: I worked in law enforcement here in the Valley after I got out of the Army, and after a few years went out on my own.
Borders: You’re a graduate of West Point?
Borders: And you played baseball there?
Borders: What position?
Borders: Did you harbor any dreams of playing in the Majors?
Bernie: Not realistic ones.
Borders: I understand you fought in Desert Storm. What can you tell us about that?
Bernie: I came back in one piece.
Borders: Let’s get to Chet. I take it you first encountered him on that notorious final day of his at K-9 school.
Borders: The day Chet flunked out of the program. Perhaps we can say “eventful.”
Bernie: All right.
Borders: What were the circumstances?
Bernie: I just happened to be there, as a guest of Lt. Stine of the Valley PD.
Borders: A close reading of Dog On It suggests that a cat and blood were involved in Chet’s failure.
Bernie: I wouldn’t use the word “failure.”
Borders: But were a cat and blood part of the story?
Bernie: I couldn’t say for sure. It all happened very fast.
Borders: And you took Chet home that night?
Borders: You were married at the time. Reading between the lines, it’s my impression that your then-wife Leda didn’t bond quite so closely with Chet as you did.
Bernie: Now you’re getting into personal territory.
Borders: This is a promotional-type interview, after all.
Bernie: Maybe for you.
Borders: Uh, could you talk about your finances a bit? It’s repeatedly suggested in Dog On It that they’re “a mess.”
Bernie: We’re doing all right.
Borders: But what about the problem of those private school tuition payments you’re obligated to pay for your son Charlie even though you’re not the custodial –
Bernie (interrupting): Nothing about my son is a problem – and he’s off-limits for the purposes of this discussion.
Borders: No need to get up, Mr. Little. That’s better. Mind if I ask you your height and weight?
Bernie: six-two, two-oh-five.
Borders: And you seem to keep yourself in pretty good shape.
Bernie: Not really.
Borders: I’d imagine Chet’s in good shape, too.
Bernie: The best.
Borders: What makes him such a good detective? His hearing? Smelling ability? Strength? Endurance?
Bernie: Chet understands people. That what makes him such a good detective.
Borders: What’s the best thing about your job?
Bernie: Solving cases, missing children’s cases especially, when we bring them back safe.
Borders: And the worst?
Bernie: Seeing what some people will do to other people.
Borders: You seem to have taught Chet many things. He can open certain kinds of doorknobs, for example, and find buried evidence.
Bernie: Chet picks up some things pretty easily. But what I’ve taught him doesn’t compare to what he’s taught me.
Borders: Oh? Like what?
Bernie: The most important thing Chet taught me – and it’s something I’m still working on – is to get everything you can out of life. But that’s him barking outside. Nice meeting you.
CD’s Bernie is currently listening to:
Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday (Bernie gets the feeling that Chet especially enjoys Roy Eldridge’s trumpet solos.)
When I Stop Dreaming: The Best of the Louvin Brothers
Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music: Ray Charles
Gently Weeps: Jake Shimabukuro (Bernie plays the ukulele a bit himself, but not like this.)
Books on Bernie’s bedside table:
Lincoln’s Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words, by Douglas L. Wilson
Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West, by Hampton Sides
How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend: The Classic Training Manual for Dog Owners, by the Monks of New Skete
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