Jenny, who is a dog

So a while ago I wrote two episodes in a semi-con­tin­u­ing series on ficlets, and tonight I wrote the third. The sto­ry is far from over — in fact, in all can­dor, I have no idea where it’ll wind up — but it’s been fun to write it so far.

Here it is, to date.

Jenny, who is a dog

Part 1

Jen­ny, who is a dog, came into the liv­ing room, sat down on the floor, and spoke. “What supper?” she said, tail thump­ing on the hard­wood.

I stared at her. “Beg pardon?” I was shocked enough that I actu­al­ly respond­ed. To a dog. You see the state of mind I was in?

“Supper. Food. What?”

“Uh – ” I’d been mak­ing my own dog food, these days. Jen­ny was old, and store-brand food wasn’t doing her any favours. “Liver and rice, for you,” I said. “I think piz­za for me.”

“Good. Liv­er good,” she said, and trot­ted off to the din­ing room.

I went into the kitchen and got a beer out of the fridge. As I twist­ed the cap off, my phone rang.

“Y’ello?”

“Doug?” It was Lisa, my girl­friend. “Uh, Doug, I didn’t know who to call – “

“Calm down,” I said. “Deep breaths. What’s up?”

“Mr. Kit,” she said. “He’s – ” She couldn’t go on.

“He’s talking?” I said, and there was silence on the line. I knew I was right. Mr. Kit, who is a cat, was talk­ing too.

Jen­ny came into the kitchen and sat on the floor. “Jenny good dog,” she said.

Part 2

Jen­ny, who is a dog, watch­es entire­ly more TV than I do these days. She can’t read, yet, but she has fig­ured out which but­tons on the remote con­trol do what, and she’s learned to iden­ti­fy the voic­es and the theme music of the pro­grams she likes best.

When I say she watch­es TV, what I mean, of course, is that she turns the TV on and lis­tens to the pro­grams. I asked her one time what she saw, when she stares at the screen, and she said, “Ghosts.” She’s a lit­tle spooked by it, I think, and so she main­ly lis­tens. She likes the edu­ca­tion­al chan­nels best, it seems.

I came home today to the strains of Dai­ly Plan­et’s end-cred­it theme music, blar­ing. She’d turned the vol­ume up as high as it’d go, then wan­dered to the kitchen to lis­ten to the ghosts speak.

“Learning lots?” I said.

“Bullet train,” she said. “Inter-nash-null space sta­tion. GMO grain.”

“Good,” I said, crack­ing a beer. Long day.

“Can I have GMO grain? Supper?”

“I’ll see what I can do,” I said.

“And liv­er. Liv­er good.”

Part 3

Jen­ny, who is a dog, grad­u­at­ed yes­ter­day. I sat in the audi­ence, thrilled as any par­ent, as she shook paws with the Chan­cel­lor of the Uni­ver­si­ty, took her sheep­skin in her mouth, and let some­one, I think the Dean of Fam­i­ly Law, shift the tas­sel from left to right on her mor­tar­board.

The applause was deaf­en­ing.

#

“Lisa’s com­ing over tonight,” I said, fry­ing up beef for some chili. “Are you all right with her bring­ing Mr. Kit?”

“Kit good,” said Jen­ny. She gets along okay with Lisa’s cat. They’re not close friends, but they’re not ene­mies either. Which is a good thing, since soon they’ll be liv­ing togeth­er.

“Kit smart.” Her tail thumped on the floor.

#

“Congratulations, Jenny,” said Lisa. “I hear you were the top dog in your class.”

“Only dog.”

“It was a joke,” said Lisa.

“No,” said Jen­ny. “It was pun.” She turned to Mr. Kit. “Come, Kit,” she said. “Help me study.”

“You’re done, though,” said Lisa. “Aren’t you?”

“Bar exam,” said Jen­ny, and she and Mr. Kit went through the door into the liv­ing room.