Alas, our lavender plants are no more. And – yes – these are the lavender plants which my partner installed to replace the Rose of Sharon (the one that I ate) and the huge, gaping crater in our border (the one that I dug as an outdoor den for myself on hot days). My partner and I stood, side by side, in our garden looking at the wretched plants.
“That one in the middle might be saved.” sighed my partner, shaking her head at the other three.
“Well, at least that’s something.” I concurred. “It won’t be a total loss. I wonder what can have happened?”
“Hmmmn.” my partner frowned. “These two –” pointing at the worst-affected, now dark brown, plants, “Look like they have been consistently and regularly urinated-on, which has poisoned the roots and killed the plants. And this one at the end – “ as we moved together to the end of the section of border, “Seems to have been trampled and sat-on until it was totally crushed. See where those taller stems there have been snapped off?”
“Yes indeed.” I replied, sniffing the broken and mangled lavender-stems. “What a great pity.”
I remained at my partner’s side, surveying the wreckage and decay, until the effort of maintaining a mystified and sorrowful expression began to make my facial muscles ache.
“I believe I will take my luncheon now.” I said, trotting through the French Windows into our house and continuing on to the kitchen. After a time, my partner joined me. “Of course, the real tragedy here,” I remarked between mouthfuls of crunchy marrowbone biscuit, as my partner prepared herself a sandwich, “Is that the killer may never be discovered and brought to justice.”
My partner turned and looked at me through narrowed eyes.
“Yee-ess…” she said, sounding almost suspicious. I looked away. I hate it when she says ‘yes’ like that. It makes me nervous. It’s almost as if she thinks that I was the culprit! As if I could ever be that wicked...
As the car in which I travelled sped away from the home of the Miss Smarts, I decided that I had actually rather enjoyed my day out. It was most refreshing to have had a change of scenery, and the snippets of sandwich had been extremely welcome. I wondered whether I should mention these things to my pack during our nightly chat, or whether it might provoke some resentment. I decided to play it by snout, and just enjoy myself in the meantime.
I sat very comfortably on the lap of the young lady, who still grasped the end of the lead attached to my collar. She obligingly opened the car window so that I could poke out my head. How I loved that! It was delicious to feel the wind in my ears - just like I was in a high-speed chase. I chuckled happily, and the young woman patted my head.
I watched as we passed the vets' surgery and continued along the road towards the roundabout that would turn our vehicle in the direction of home.
To my inexpressible surprise, however, on reaching the roundabout we did NOT go around it and towards the rescue shelter - but we took the first exit which led in precisely the opposite direction! Confused and flustered, I turned and stood on my hind legs, leaning against the back of the rear-seats, staring out of the back window at the roundabout, which was rapidly receding into the distance.
"Ummm... Excuse me...? Miss? Excuse me?!" I hazarded, nervously. "Errr... I think we might be going the wrong way..." When I received no response, save for another pat on the head, I began to panic. "No! No!" I cried. "This isn't right! Please turn around! I want to go home!" My consternation only increased as the roundabout went from being a speck in the distance to disappearing from view entirely. I was now beyond my knowledge of the area and the surrounding scents grew increasingly unfamiliar. I felt as though I were standing on a high stool, which had just been kicked away from beneath me. I struggled to ascertain whether I was more frightened - or more angry.
The young girl just gave me another reassuring cuddle. It didn't help.
"It's alright, sweetheart." she smiled, in an attempt to comfort me. "You're going to a brand-new home now, just for you."
I wasn't impressed. Not impressed at all.
"There, there." she continued to try and soothe me. "It's OK, you'll see."
"I don't want to see." I muttered, crossly. "I want to go home."
"Alright, Jasper?" she smiled, looking at my face. "You're my Jasper, now. You're going to live with me. Jasper is your name now."
I stiffened, angrily, and turned to glare at this wretched creature. I gritted my teeth and looked her directly in the eye.
"My name - " I hissed, with increasingly poisonous venom in my voice, " - is Captain."