While sweeping the kitchen floor, I hear a squeaky ball squeak outside in the backyard. It squeaks and squeaks and grows progressively louder until Fleegle walks through the open patio door and stops to watch me sweep. Squeak, squeak goes the ball in his mouth as he clamps down on it.
“Good ball?” I ask.
He nods. Squeak.
“I didn’t know you had any left that still had the squeaker in them.”
He sets the ball down on the floor. “So it is you that’s been steeling my squeakers.”
“Fleegle, as you always say, it’s not steeling if you leave it out for the taking.”
“But why take my squeakers?” he asks.
“I just happen to really like squeakers.”
“Like you just happen to really like vanilla and strawberry ice cream,” he says, reminding me of my penchant for only getting chocolate, something he doesn’t get to eat.
“Boy, you catch on quick for dog bred to run through muck and brambles.”
He gives me an annoyed look and picks up his ball–squeak–then turns to go back outside.
“Where are you going?” I ask.
“To hide the last of my squeakers.”
* * *
I’m startled out of a deep sleep. The clock on the nightstand reads 3:37am. I lay in the darkness wondering what woke me, listening to the silence of a neighborhood asleep. I feel Fleegle jump up on the bed, then his hot breath near my face.
“I found another ball you missed under the bed,” he says. “Now I have two squeakers.”
Squeak, squeak. And squeak.