I unlock the passenger side door of the car for my date, Brooke, saying, “If you let me get in first, I’ll keep Fleegle from jumping on you.”
“What’s a Fleegle?”
I move out of the way so she can see in the car. Fleegle is in the passenger seat slobbering on the window at us. “That’s a Fleegle.”
“Oh cool, you brought your dog.”
“I have trouble saying no to him. You aren’t allergic or anything?”
“Nope, bring it on.”
I climb in the driver’s side. Fleegle’s tail thumps away with excitement as he faces the passenger door, waiting for it to open. “Who’s that, Raud? Did you bring me a friend to play with?”
“That’s Brooke. She and I are going on a date.”
“We’re going on a date? I love dates. Are prunes dates? Look, she’s showing me her teeth. Ooo, she has food in her teeth. I love her. Should I clean her teeth when she gets in?” He spins a circle in his seat. “Let her in, Raud, don’t keep her waiting.”
“Then get in the back and make some room for her.”
“Wait a second. Where’s the girlfriend questionnaire? Has she filled it out yet? How’d she do on the cat question?”
“Please get in the back.”
He positions himself between the two front seats and Brooke climbs in.
“He sure is a happy dog,” she says.
He can barely contain himself and makes a move to climb on her lap. I grab him and hold him back.
She scruffs his neck with both hands. “It’s okay, you can let go. I grew up with Labs.”
At her touch, Fleegle melts into a ball of fluff with his head in her lap.
Surprised, yet appreciative of his calmness, I say, “He thinks he’s a lap dog.”
He looks at me out of the corner of his eye. “I am a lap dog. I am one with the lap.”
She strokes his back. “The perfect dog for cold winter nights.”
He squirms onto his back. “Belly rub, please.”
Fleegle makes his mooing sound that says he’s happy. “She can skip the questionnaire.”
Still rubbing his belly, she says, “With my job and apartment, I can’t have a dog, but boy do I miss them. I know you said you wanted to go out to eat, but why don’t we get some Chinese take-out and go to the park and I can take Fleegle for a walk.”
Fleegle sighs. “I love my date, Raud. And I love pot stickers, get lots of pot stickers for Brooke and me to eat on our walk. And maybe some salad for you, too, of course. You need to get in shape for this dating thing.”