It Wasn’t Me

23 Dog and toy - Debbie Ridpath OhiGwynne looked down at the ripped toy, then into the big brown eyes staring up at her.

“It wasn’t me.”

“Really? Then who was it? There’s only you and I here.”

The big brown eyes kept staring. “Alright. I confess. It was me but it’s your fault for-”

“Henry! You’ve become so cheeky since we gave you the ability to talk.”

Henry wagged his tail.

Gwynne was pretty sure that had enhanced since they, her and her boss, Dr Temple Horne, had injected the dog with the experimental speech drugs. “I thought that toy was your favourite.”

“I was only playing.”

“It’s got dribble all over it. You were shaking it weren’t you?”

Henry nodded. “It’s what we do. We’re dogs. We chase rabbits, cats and things.”

“Anything that moves, I know.”

“So you give me a cat toy and I’m going to-”

“Chase, Henry. You didn’t need to rip it to shreds.”

“It’s not shreds. An ear’s come off, that’s all.”

“What did I say about you being cheeky?”

“Just speaking my mind.”

“If I’d known…”

“What?”

“Nothing. Never mind. Now, Dr Horne and I have some things we want you to do. When we ask you questions, we want your honest answers, OK?”

Henry nodded.

Right on cue, Dr Horne, entered the lab, studying a clipboard. “How is he today?”

“I’m well, thank you.”

Dr Horne looked up from his notes. “Henry?”

Henry smiled. “That’s me.”

“So everything’s OK. Voice alright?”

“More than alright,” Gwynne answered. “Can’t shut him up.”

“I did think it was weird to start with,” Henry said. “I could hear myself. Of course I could always hear myself but it’s like it was clearer, louder and…”

Dr Horne watched Henry’s lips move as he waffled on. “Your lips are moving.”

Henry stopped mid-stream. “Of course. I’m no ventriloquist.”

Dr Horne laughed, looked at Gwynne’s scowl, and laughed again.

Henry turned to Gwynne. “You said you had some questions?”

“Yes. Dr Horne?”

The doctor looked back down at his clipboard. “Number 1. How do you feel?”

Henry frowned and repeated, “I’m well, thank you.”

“Number 2. Has anything else improved since the implementation of the medication?”

“‘implementation of the medication’,” Henry mimicked. “Like what?”

“Memory? Vocabulary? Desires? Motivations?”

“Erm…”

“Maybe a bit too much all at once,” Gwynne suggested.

“No, it’s OK,” Henry said. “Memory. The same, I think. Born, eat, poop, chew…” He looked at the toy. “I couldn’t help it.”

“That’s OK, Henry,” Dr Horne soothed. “That’s what they’re there for. Any frustrations?”

“Apart from it not being a real cat?”

Dr Horne laughed and put a large tick in the ‘sense of humour’ box.

“You asked about vocabulary,” Henry continued.

“Yes,” Gwynne butted in. “And Desires, Motivation.”

“Vocabulary. Now I like hearing the sound of my voice-”

“We can tell,” Gwynne mumbled, receiving a dirty look from Henry.

“It’s not like I’ve studied a dictionary since you gave me that stuff.”

“Interesting,” Dr Horne said while chewing on the end of his pen.

Henry didn’t find that interesting at all. He’d quite like to spend his time studying not only a dictionary but an encyclopaedia as well, but thought that a step too far at this early stage. “As for desires. I still desire to rip up…” He looked up at Gwynne and paused. “Desire to play with my toys. That was an accident. Motivation, being given a fake cat is a good one.”

“Very good.” The doctor nodded and jotted more notes. “Question 4. If you could be any animal what would you be?”

Henry tilted his head.

“Would you like me to repeat that?”

Henry straightened his head again. “You mean you can change me into something else?”

Dr Horne laughed. “Of course not, Henry. We can only work with what we have.”

“That’s a silly question then isn’t it?”

“It’s hypothetical.”

Henry now wished he’d had that dictionary.

“Pretend,” Gwynne added, seeing the expression on his face.

“A giraffe.”

The two white-jacketed humans looked at each other.

“A giraffe?” Gwynne asked.

“Why a giraffe, Henry?”

“It’s obvious, isn’t it?”

The doctor shook his head.

“Because all I see all day are ankles. Knees if I’m begging, which I don’t plan on doing again any time soon, by the way. If I was… were a giraffe I’d be able to see anything, wouldn’t I? Even more than you. Any more questions?”

Dr Horne nodded. “A few but I think that’s enough for today.”

Gwynne looked at him startled, so he beckoned for her to join him in the corridor.

Henry watched them leave then turned his attention to the one-eared cat. “They’ll be giving that stuff to you next, although they’d have to sew your ear back on or you wouldn’t be able to hear their questions.”

He then looked back at the glass pane in the door, saw the ecstatic expression on their faces. “If you’re like that now, just wait until I show you what I can really do.”

***

Picture above courtesy of Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

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