"Fizzy's pregnant." announced my witless but lovable canine chum, Ewan, proudly.
"WHAT?!?" I yelped, incredulous. "But how...?"
"Well, I'm surprised that you has to ask!" barked Ewan. "What happened is that I put my winkie in Fi-"
"NO!!!" I snapped, "I mean, I thought you'd been snipped!"
Ewan shrugged. I continued, completely dazed, "So how..."
"Don't know." responded my simple friend. "But all I does know is that Fizzy is having some babies. Mummy took her to the vets and they putted something on her belly and she saw six babies on a television. They is ALL look like me!"
I began to feel nauseous. Ewan noticed not, and prattled on, grinning from ear to ear. "They is two baby-ladies and four baby-boys. Think about that! Fizzy has got four little willies growing inside of her! Four little willies, Jasper, hiihiihiihiihiihiiihiiiiii....! They's all lined up in her tummy with three on each sides! Theys look like beans in a pod!"
"Peas." I corrected, weakly. This was one of my all-time worst nightmares made flesh.
"What?" yipped Ewan. "Oh, of course! You doesn't have to ask politely, Jazz, Of COURSE you can see her! Come with me."
I staggered behind him as best I could, feeling numb in every quarter. Ewan led me into the workshop, where Fizzy was lying on her side on a piece of carpet, her belly noticeably swollen. She smiled serenely. I managed a watery grin back. "Isn't she beautiful?" beamed the proudly expectant father. Before I could even whimper out a response Fizzy called me over.
"Come Jasper," she smiled, extending out a welcoming paw. "If you listen carefully you can hear the babes within my womb." There was nothing I would like less than that.
"Erm..." I muttered, "There's nothing I'd like more..." I forced my legs to walk towards the happy black labrador and rested my head sideways against her flank. At first, I could discern nothing, save the normal passage of juices through a warm, living body. And then I heard them. Tiny, high pitched, almost imperceptible, unconscious squeaks. A human ear would not have been able to hear them. They came, sometimes together, sometimes overlapping each other, in time with the rhythm of one adult and six foetal heartbeats, the same squeak inside Fizzy's belly, mingling with the gurgle of the amniotic fluids. The same squeak.
"Cheese!", "Cheese!", "Cheese!", "Cheese!", "Cheese!", "Cheese!", "Cheese!", OVER and OVER and OVER...
"Are you ok, Jasper?!" asked Ewan, with concern in his voice, as I staggered backwards in horror and almost fell over. I whirled round to look at him - and screamed.
For he had turned into a giant prawn, his long pink antennae wavering at me. Spinning back, I saw that Fizzy was also a prawn, curled up, her tail flicking in my direction... "Are you OK?" repeated prawnEwan.
"Jasper, are you alright?!" asked prawnFizzy, extending a pink pincer and shaking my shoulder.
I screamed again.
"Jasper! Are you alright? JASPER! J A S P E R?!!?!" The voice morphed into that of my partner's. I opened my eyes - and saw her concerned face staring down at me. I was entangled in my favourite blanket, which was cast wildly about me, and I was hot, breathless and numb. My heart was flinging itself against my ribcage as though it sought to snap through and escape. My partner relaxed somewhat when I opened my eyes and she saw my pupils focus upon her pretty young face. "You were screaming in your sleep, Jazz." she explained, giving me a reassuring hug. OHHHHH, thank goodness. THANK goodness. I wept with relief until my breaths once again came easily.
And THAT, ladies and gentleman, is the price of stealing.
Yes - it's true.
Yesterday evening, my partner decided to treat herself (it has been a long time since she had a treat) to a Chinese take-away meal. And, whilst her back was turned, I took away some of her take-away.
A portion of prawn fried rice. Easily snaffled; it went down a treat. My partner was VERY angry. Alas, my reward was also my punishment. A portion intended for human consumption is a prawn too far for a handsome, slender, dog's consumption - and hallucinatory nightmares were the unhappy consequence of such a crime.
I report this so that it may serve as a salutary lesson to others minded to thieve delicious take-away meals.
I shall wish you a good night - though 'twill be a long time before I sleep soundly once more: