Fleegle and Franny sit inside the house watching me through the screen door as I plant shrubs in what used to be the front lawn.
As I dig the hole for the last one, Fleegle says, “Raud, let us out. We can help you dig your holes,” Fleegle says.
Franny scratches at the screen door. “And fill them too.”
“We can even do both at the same time,” Fleegle adds.
I lean against my shovel. “We tried that, and then you saw the neighbor’s cat across the street and went for a chase.”
“He taunted me. He called me slow poke. How could I not chase him?”
Franny wags her tail. “I didn’t chase the cat, I’m a good girl, I was chasing the slow poke.”
Fleegle gives her a look and grunts his dissatisfaction. “Please, Raud, let us out. I need to mark all of those new shrubs as mine before the other dogs in the neighborhood do.”
“So you want me to let you out so you can pee on my new plants?”
“It’s fertilizer, Raud. They need it to grow and thrive.”
I snort my derision at that. “The lawn in the backyard shows otherwise.”
“But Raud, you need supervision. You’re doing it all wrong.”
Franny looks at Fleegle. “You mean there’s a right and wrong to digging a hole?”
“Of course not. It’s just about the digging, but he doesn’t know that.”
I put my hand on my hip and give the two of them a hard stare. “I do have ears, you know, and though my hearing may not be as sharp as the two of yours, I can still hear you over here just fine. You need to learn to whisper if you’re going to talk about someone behind their back.”
Fleegle stands up and his ears go back. “Speaking of which, you better look behind you.”
Franny paws at the screen door. “It’s the gnome, Raud.”
“I’m not falling for that.”
“But he’s carrying a sharp stick,” Fleegle says.
“Ouch!” I shout and dance away from the source of the sharp pain in my calf. “Bloody wasp. Why sting me? I did nothing to you.”
“Bloody gnome is more like it,” Franny says.
There’s no gnome, only a wasp buzzing me. I head inside to wait for it to find trouble somewhere else.
Fleegle moves aside as I open the screen door. “If you dug up my yard it wouldn’t bother me, but I like digging. The gnome apparently doesn’t.”
Franny slowly shakes her head. “Nah, it’s not the digging that set him off, it’s taking his truck out for a spin that pissed him off. He must really identify with that truck, I mean, look at him. He’s so small, even smaller than me, and the truck is so huge. It even has an extra step just to climb into it.”
I shake my head in disbelief. “A compensating gnome? Now I’ve heard it all, Franny the Freudian.” I close the screen door behind me. “Let me know when the wasp is gone.”