PAW AND ORDER: Chapter One, Excerpt Two
“Bernie? You called?” Hey! It was Suzie. Hadn’t heard her voice in way too long, although it usually sounded warmer than this. Suzie had been Bernie’s girlfriend, back when she’d worked for the Valley Tribune, the Valley being where we lived—maybe in Arizona, a detail I’d picked up quite recently—but then she’d gone away to take a job with the Washington Post, a no-brainer Bernie said.
“I, um, ah,” Bernie said. “Sorry.”
“You’re saying you’re sorry?”
“For what didn’t happen,” Bernie said. For what didn’t happen? This was hard to follow. My mind wandered to a morning not long ago when Suzie had arrived suddenly at the houseboat where Bernie and I had stayed while working the Ralph Boutette case and found Vannah on board. Vannah: a story for another time, but I should probably mention that tiny bikini and how the straps kept slipping no matter what she did. My mind wandered on to something else, namely barbecue, and when it came back, Bernie was saying, “. . . crazy to let silly misunderstandings come between us.”
“How about serious misunderstandings?” Suzie said, her voice still pretty cold.
“Them, too,” Bernie said.
There was a pause, and then Suzie laughed. Soon they were both laughing. I like watching humans laugh when they’re on the phone, especially when they laugh their heads off and somehow keep the phone in place the whole time. As for what this conversation was about, you tell me. It went on for some time, and then I put my paw on Bernie’s knee, just reminding him about what we were here for, namely barbecue.
Bernie glanced at me. “I’ve got a feeling Chet’s hungry,” he said.
“That’ll be with a capital H,” Suzie said, losing me completely. But maybe not Bernie. He laughed again. What fun we were all having! I pressed a little harder with my paw.
“So,” Bernie said.
“So,” said Suzie. After that came a long pause. Then she went on. “What’s next?”
“Headed home,” Bernie said.
“Happy trails,” said Suzie.
– from PAW AND ORDER, coming Aug. 5
Welcome new friends Minnie, Jama, Jasper, Token, Mr. Maximilliano. Stay tuned for Friend of the Month announcement later today!
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