I have been busy trying to put my affairs in order before the end.
'Tis true that I am no longer bleeding from the snout, but I am getting terribly tired and can still breathe largely through one nostril. That barked, my appetite is still hearty and my strength has suffered no diminishment.
I am, however, enjoying the lovely warm spring weather. The floral scents and birdsong are utterly bewitching. Yesterday evening, I was dozing in the sunset when Honey, the ginger queen-cat from opposite (who mistakenly believes that the cul-de-sac belongs to her. Ha! As if...), decided to amble over and sit in front of my fence.
Oh, I think not, my dear.
I issued a volley of angry barks, each more insulting than the last. Honey blinked benignly back at me. With that, I launched myself from my sofa and flew into the garden, ranting and storming. Pretty Rosie from next door appeared from her garden, on the left, and began barking too (she, for reasons best known to herself, likes Honey and barked to defend her feline chum). The voice of the unseen Archie, the Jack Russell from the end of my terrace, issued forth from the direction of his rear garden, baying foul invective against cats everywhere and encouraging me in my barks: "Tell her, Jasper! You tell her! Go on - get her!). And Peaches, my nemesis, came wandering over, pretending he was en route to somewhere else but really listening with high glee to the cacophony.
I ran with much force towards my rear gate, Honey noticing at almost precisely the same moment that the latch of said gate was not fastened properly and would not prove much of a challenge for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier with a rumble on his mind. She fled, and I listened with satisfaction to the click as her cat-flap closed behind her.
Chuckling to myself, I re-entered my house as the other participants of the altercation melted away. My partner looked at me with a raised eyebrow.
"For someone who's supposed to be on his last legs, Jasper, you have an astonishing amount of energy." she said, patting my head as she pretended to scold me. I grinned sheepishly back at her.
All thoughts of errant cats and personal infirmity were cast firmly to the back of my mind, however, on my latest encounter with Eddie, my friendly, camp-as-a-row-of-tents, Rottweiler chum who lives across the way from me.
I was returning from a swimming trip with my partner and spotted Eddie sunning himself on his front lawn. He was sitting up, his chest almost swollen with importance, and was clearly bursting to tell me something.
"Jasper, dear boy!" he greeted me, before I had even reached him.
"Hullo, Ed!" I smiled at him. "How's Angus?" Angus is Eddie's long-time gentleman "companion" and fellow muscly-Rottweiler.
"Jasper - I have reached a decision." announced Edward, self-importantly, ignoring my question. "I have decided that it is time that I got married and fathered some pups."
It was only with the greatest effort that I kept myself from exploding with laughter.
"Oh?" I managed to squeak, thankful that I had already been to the toilet recently. "I didn't think you were the marrying kind, Eddie?" Ed looked at me through narrowed eyes. "I mean," I continued, "What has Angus got to say about this plan?"
"Not that keen." muttered Eddie, frowning.
"You surprise me." I replied. "Ed, you do know that you'll have to - erm - 'interfere' with a lady if you want some pups? You know that, don't you?"
Eddie wrinkled-up his snout in distaste.
"Urgh..." he muttered.
"Yes!" I nodded, winking at him. "I'm not sure that your big plan is a terribly good one, old boy. You want to be sticking with Angus. All the dogs and even most of the cats round here love you, mate. You should concentrate on being a good 'uncle' to them. I'm not sure that you'd make a very good husband for a lady-Rotti."
"Why?" queried Eddie, looking inclined to be quarrelsome. It was time to bark frankly and call a halt to this madness.
"Because, Edward, you are as gay as a cucumber!" I barked. "As is Angus! You can't turn your back on the way things are and pretend to be the dog you're not! If you can prove me wrong, I will willingly and gladly kiss Peaches!" The mere thought of that made my stomach heave.
And, with that, I turned and went to take the few steps further, which would lead to my front door. I looked back, as I heard Eddie's claws clicking on the pavement behind me. The mighty Rottweiler leaned in closer to me and quietly said:
"Don't tell anyone, will you?"
I grinned at him.
"Ed, it's our little secret." I said with a wink, giving my friend a good-natured head-butt.
Well, I still do not know if I am on the way out or not. But at least I can still see the glaringly obvious, along with every other sentient member of this community. And the day when Angus and Eddie decide to walk the straight path in life is definitely the day when I will genuinely feel that I've outstayed my welcome in this world.
Dear, oh dear, hehehe...