The more astute reader will notice that I am still alive.
This despite the ongoing pains in my eye. It is beginning to drive me slightly insane. My partner does not like it when I scratch and pick at my eye - and yet, she insists on applying the drops obtained from the vets, which only intensify the itching. I must admit that the situation has improved slightly - I can now open my eye by just a crack - and I am once again taking pleasure in my walks.
Just last night, my partner generously said that I could have a night off from my drops. Unfortunately, I celebrated this development with a good old fiddle while my partner was in the bathroom. Needless to say, she caught me.
"Oh, Jasper!" she said, sighing at me. I blinked back at her, trying my best to look innocent. "You mustn't pick at it. I think we'd better have drops after all."
"No, thank you." I replied.
"You've made it all red and sore again, sweetheart." She planted a soothing kiss on my forehead.
"No, I would like to have my night off from the drops."
"I'll go and get the drops."
And she did.
"I want my night off from the drops!" I repeated, as the small vial was uncapped. But before I could protest any further, the drops were in, the bottle was recapped and the bedside light was extinguished. I did get an extra goodnight kiss out of it though.
I did not sleep well, despite the extra kiss. I dreamt that my little cul-de-sac outside had been transformed into a Roman coliseum. A HUGE Rottweiler stood in the arena, waiting for me. The seats and stands were filled with cats, who were all chanting "Send out the dog! Send out the dog!" I marched bravely out, and the Rottweiler fell on me, snarling. He pinned me down and produced from his fur a case of needles - which he proceeded to push through my right eye. I squealed like a newborn pup and woke up with a start. Coming gradually to my senses, I found with much relief that I was in my darkened bedroom, on my side of the bed, with my partner sound asleep on her side. Despite my irritation at her for administering the eye-drops, I snuggled as close as I could to her side. Sleepily, she put an arm around me, and thus I prepared to spend the remainder of my last night on Earth.
This morning, I opened my eyes to a bright, fresh sunrise. Typical, I thought. That I should die on such a lovely day. My partner opened the French Windows, leading into the garden, and went to do some work in the kitchen. I thought about scampering back upstairs and hiding under the duvet. However, a moment's consideration brought the appraisal that it was probably better to get it over and done with, rather than procrastinate and then have to face it anyway. I fiddled with the catch on my garden gate, succeeded in opening it, and marched confidently out into the road.
I'll admit that the idea of the coliseum was not entirely wrong. There was an eerie stillness in the air - akin to the warm silence preceding a visit from the thundering Sky-dog. Glancing about me I saw a number of cats dotted about on walls, fences, etc., some with bells, some without, all watching keenly with an air of expectancy. I looked towards the house in which dwelt the white tomcat. The front door was open.
I was about to sit down, when the white cat strutted out from his house and sat down on his path, with a stupid smug smile on his stupid fat face. I just looked at him.
Suddenly, there was a flurry of movement from within the white tomcat's house and there - framed in the doorway, appeared Eddie.
There was a collective gasp of awe and horror from the various assembled spectators at the sheer size and might of the vast Rottweiler. I, however, knotted my brow in a frown. Something seemed oddly familiar... As Eddie exited the house and began to stride towards me, a soft breeze blew. I sniffed the air and - yes - it confirmed my original suspicion...
"Edward!" I yipped, "You smelly old b*st*rd! How the bl**dy h*ll are you, you old s*d?!"
The Rottweiler stopped in his tracks.
"That's never young Jazz?!" he barked.
"It most certainly is!" I barked back.
"My dear boy!"
"Fantastic to see you, Eddie!"
For - yes - it was my old chum, Eddie the Rottweiler. I have not mentioned him for many, many months but, if you look back at an early blog post, you will most certainly find mention of my friend, whom I used to encounter at Abbotstone of an evening.
"How are you, sweetheart? What have you done to your eye?" asked Eddie.
"I try not to grumble." I replied. "I've got an abscess. Due to a grass seed."
"Hah! Seeds. B*st*rds all." sympathised Eddie. "I had no idea you lived around here!"
"Since the beginning of March." I explained.
"A-ha." said Eddie. "I've been here for years - but I'm rarely seen. I head off with my partner's boyfriend when he goes to work early in the morning, and don't usually return until after dark. Lots of kids round here. And I know what people think about Rottweilers. I keep myself to myself."
"You're a good one, Eddie."
I glanced over his shoulder at the white tomcat. He looked distinctly unsettled at the way our conversation was proceeding. Behind me, a couple of observing cats yawned, muttered to each other, and then got up and left.
"And how is Angus?" I asked. Anyone familiar with Eddie knew to enquire after fellow-Rottweiler and long-term gentleman-companion, Angus. Eddie frowned.
"We aren't really speaking at present."
"I'm sorry to hear that." I replied, sympathetically. "Whatever happened?"
"Hmmm. Caught him eyeing up those two Japanese Akitas that live down by the Fire Station."
"I know them."
"Vicious queens!" hissed Eddie, taking me aback somewhat. "Couple of evil sows, the pair of them. They just sit outside the pub, staring at every passing dog and then mouthing off about their fur colours and collaring arrangements. They're like a couple of whelping bitches."
This was so near a picture of what Eddie and Angus liked to do on an average afternoon that I inadvertently laughed. Fortunately, Eddie thought I was laughing at his description of the two Akitas and chuckled.
"But seriously." I said, "You and Angus were such a lovely couple. Don't throw it all away."
"Bless you, darling." smiled Eddie. "Still into the ladies, are you?"
"I can't help myself."
"Well, if you ever change your mind..."
"You stick with Angus, old lad. He's the one for you." Eddie smiled.
"What am I doing out here, anyway?"
"I believe you are supposed to be 'mashing my brain into a milkshake' and then drinking it?"
I explained about the preceding events, from the birth of the kittens, my friendship with baby Zac, and my gallant defence of Chloe, leading up to our present encounter. As I continued my tale, Eddie looked more and more irritated.
"He said I'd beat you up, did he?"
I nodded - and the sight of the white tomcat, looking utterly stricken, discreetly withdrawing from the scene and then bolting around the corner did not escape me. Eddie sighed heavily.
"I WISH he wouldn't keep throwing my name about like that." he said, shaking his head. "I am NOT his personal bodyguard. And, honestly, we Rotties get a bad enough press as it is, without him going around shooting his mouth off, saying I'll go and beat up all and sundry."
"Eddie." I said, seriously. "Everyone who knows you knows that you are naught but a gentleman." Eddie winked at me. Then, there came a female call from inside his house:
"Oop - that's herself [his partner]. Delightful to catch up with you again, dear boy. See you around, Jasper, old love."
"Bye Eddie." I grinned. "And you make it up with Angus. Life is too short for feuds."
With a wag of his tail, Eddie trotted back into his house. As the door closed behind him, I heard a loud call:
"Keviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin!! A word. NOW!"
With an air of profound relief and satisfaction (mixed with a slight twinge of pleasure at meeting Eddie again), I pattered back into my house - before Chloe latched eyes on me....
I believe the word most appropriate to the situation is "PHEW..."