Having two dogs and two cats share my world means that my world is often in a state of chaos.
Steve Rogers, the Chihuahua, spends an inordinate amount of time menacing Thor, our jittery ginger tabby.
Bane, our full-figured, fluffy gray tabby, enjoys dining on anything wicker or leather and violating my personal space whenever possible.
And Charlie, our Sheltie, tries to steer clear of it all because he’s a dog of peace.
A lot of times when Mary and I leave the house for lunch or to run errands we’re exiting what appears to be a petting zoo gone wild, and I admit it’s nice to have just a little bit of “us” time.
Invariably, though, when we get back home all the critters are nice and calm, causing me to wonder what they’ve done – and what they talked about – while we were gone.
A typical weekend day sees us head out for the afternoon, and I kiss them all on their heads and tell them I love them. I also leave one in charge because I like to show I trust them with responsibility.
As I get in the car I glance up at the window and Steve – standing on a stool in the den with his front paws on the window sill – is looking out at me.
Then we drive away, and out of sight.
Here’s what I think happens once we’re gone …
“OK, they just rounded the corner,” says Steve, his tail wagging furiously. “Man, I hope that lady comes back with chicken. I love chicken. Chicken is a thing that I can eat any time and every time. You like chicken don’t you, Charlie, huh? Huh? Huh?
Charlie stretches out on the hardwood floor and sighs.
“Yes,” he says. “I like chicken.”
Steve continues looking out the window and wagging.
“Hey, Bane,” Steve says, “Do you remember that time that lady left the chicken in her purse and you knocked the purse over and all that delicious chicken fell on the floor?”
Bane, chewing on the edge of a wicker trunk, looks up briefly.
“Indeed,” he says.
Steve jumps down and heads toward Bane. He bites the cat’s ear but is swatted half-heartedly.
“Me and Charlie made quick work of that chicken, didn’t we?” Steve says. “I think you got some, too, didn’t you?”
“I did,” Bane says. “Now leave me alone for a while. I’m trying to destroy this trunk.”
Thor then creeps out of the bedroom, looks at Steve and switches his tail.
“I hate you, you little bastard,” says Thor, immediately retreating.
“C’mon, T,” Steve says. “You’re a cat, I’m a dog … it’s like the circle of life from that movie.”
“What movie?” Thor asks.
“You know, that circle of life movie,” Steve says. “Escape from New York.”
Bane, who has now completely removed a corner from the wicker trunk, shakes his head.
“The Lion King,” he says.
“What?” Steve asks.
“The circle of life reference is from The Lion King,” Bane explains. “It’s a song by Sir Elton John. Escape From New York is a John Carpenter film set in a dystopian America, circa 1999.”
Steve looks confused.
“Yeah, I don’t know nothing about no circus in 1999,” Steve says. “I’m just trying to explain to my orange friend that fightin’ and feudin’ is what we’re designed to do. We’re like those famous families that fought all the time – I think their names were Cagney and Lacey.”
Bane rolls his eyes.
“The Hatfields and McCoys,” Bane says. “That’s who you’re talking about.”
“Were they in Escape from New York?” Steve asks.
Before Bane could swat him, Steve senses movement outside and retakes his spot on the stool. Once in position, he notices a man and woman walking a small dog on the sidewalk.
“Hey!” he barks. “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Get the hell out of here with that vermin. I swear I’ll jump through this window and jack all your asses up. ALL. YOUR. ASSES. UP! “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!”
Charlie chews his butt briefly, looks up at Steve, and says, “You make me nervous with your noise. Please don’t make any more noise.”
Thor mews slightly as he walks away, muttering, “I hate you, you little bastard,” under his breath.
After the danger passes – meaning after the man, woman and dog pass – Steve starts talking about chicken again.
I figure this goes on for roughly another hour, and then they sleep for, oh, a good two hours.
Steve – now on the futon with Bane and Thor while Charlie continues to snooze on the floor – perks up when he hears our car doors close.
“Be cool, guys,” he says. “They’re back. I just hope that lady has some chicken. Me and you like chicken, don’t we Charlie? Huh? Huh? Huh?”