Sneak Peek: The Dog Who Knew Too Much
Women of a certain type have an effect on Bernie. This was that type of woman, easy to see just from the way Bernie’s mouth fell slightly open. Curvy shape: check. Big blue eyes: check. Face tilted up in his direction: check. Poor Bernie: that was all it took.
“That’s me,” Bernie said. “And this is Chet.”
She backed away. “He’s so big. I’m not comfortable around dogs.”
Not comfortable around me? True, I’m a hundred-plus-pounder, but she had nothing to be uncomfortable about, unless she pulled a gun or something like that. I watched her hands, square-shaped, a little plump, with bright red nails.
“You can be comfortable around Chet,” Bernie said.
“Why is he looking at me like that?”
Bernie glanced over at me. “Uh, not sure, actually. But he means well.”
Of course I did! But I kept my eyes on her hands, just in case. Funny how the mind works: mine was making some kind of connection between red nails and guns. Then I started thinking about the way women paint their nails—I’d seen Leda, Bernie’s ex-wife, do it many times—and men never did. Next I thought about what human nails were for, so small and dull-edged. And after that I lost the thread.
“My name’s Anya Vereen,” the woman was saying. “I heard of you from a friend.”
“Who?” said Bernie.
“You might not know her by her real name,” Anya said.
“No?” said Bernie. “What name would I know her by?”
Autumn! I knew Autumn. She worked for Livia Moon at Livia’s Friendly Coffee and More, over in Pottsdale—not in the coffee part out front but in the house of ill-repute part out back. Autumn was one of those humans who really liked me and my kind—the nation within the nation, Bernie calls us—and she’s also a world-class patter. We’d interviewed her not too long ago, but the details of the case weren’t coming to me at the moment.
“Ah,” said Bernie. Then came a silence. Silences like that often happened when Bernie was getting to know women of a certain type.
“Ah?” said Anya. “Meaning what?”
“Nothing,” Bernie said. “Nothing at all—just that, yes, I’ve met Autumn.”
“And you’ve jumped to the conclusion that I’m in the same line of work.”
“No,” said Bernie.
He was right about that. I love Bernie, and he can do just about anything—you should see him in a fight!—but jumping is not one of them. That’s on account of his war wound. Bernie went to war in the desert—not our desert, but some other desert far away, and this was before we got together—and came back with his leg wound. He never talks about it, but he limps sometimes when he’s tired. When that happens I slow down a bit so he can keep up.
“Because I’m not in her line of work,” Anya said. “Although sometimes I wish I was.”
“She’s making real good money. I should know—I do her taxes.”
“You’re an accountant, Anya?”
“Correct. And you’re not pronouncing my name right.”
“It’s like On Ya.”
This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 at 8:55 am and is filed under Chet The Dog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.