From behind the tripod and camera I say to Fleegle in his new red elf hat, “Try not to move or it will fall off.”
“This stupid elf hat isn’t going anywhere, Raud. You’ve tied it on nice and tight. I could run to the moon and back and it would still be on my head. Where’s your hat? Why am I the one who’s always got to look stupid?”
“My hat got in the way of looking through the viewfinder.”
“This hat is getting in the way of me being a dog.”
“Smile at the camera.”
“Why? That’s like asking me to smile at a rock, and do I smile at rocks? No. Well, I might if it had been scent marked by someone I like. Maybe if you pee on the camera I’ll feel like smiling at it.”
“You want to look grumpy for the Christmas card?”
“It’s sunny and hot, where’s the snow? why are we doing this now?”
I put my hands on my hips. “Because it’ll take you that long to smile at the camera.”
“You know how I feel about things on top of my head.” He stands up and does a full body shake where his skin goes one way and everything else goes the other. The elf hat comes loose and slides down to the side of his face. He swats it off with his paw and starts out of the room.
“Where are you going?” I ask.
“I don’t know. Outside to do dog things that don’t involve little elf hats.” He pauses to think, and then snatches up the hat in his teeth. “On second thought, I know exactly what I’m going to do.” He heads for his dog door to the backyard.
“If you bury it, you’ll be the only elf wearing a muddy hat.”
“Ha, that’s if you find it.”