Negotiating with Cookies – Shop ‘Till You Drop

While on a walk in town among all the holiday shoppers, Fleegle says, “There sure are a lot of people carrying packages.”

“That’s because it’s the Christmas shopping season and people are filling the emotional void they feel with buying stuff for one another.”

“Like when you give me food to fill the void in my belly when I’m hungry?”

“Yes, just like that.”

Fleegle thinks on this a moment as we walk some more, then asks, “And what do they do later when they’re hungry again?”

“They return what they were given and buy something else.”

“And when they’ve finished their ‘business’ with that and are hungry again?”

“They surf eBay for impulse buys.”

“People sure do spend a lot of time on their shopping. What do they do with all the stuff?”

“If they’re lucky, they have an attic, and then after a year or so they take a carload of donations to Goodwill.”

“At least when I eat and do my ‘business’ it’s biodegradable.”

I scratch my head. “I wonder if old stuff at Goodwill is just a slower form of biodegrading.”


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Negotiating with Cookies – Werecats

While sharing the couch with Fleegle and watching television, I say, “Fleegle, you know what I envy about you?”

“Beside my cold wet nose and paws scented like Fritos, no, tell me.”

“When you worry, it’s always about something immediate, and then it passes. You never waste your time worrying about tomorrow.”

“I can’t worry about something that doesn’t exist. I don’t worry about werecats, do I?”

“Like werewolves, but cats?”

“Yeah, because they don’t exist, just like tomorrow doesn’t exist until it gets here. And what’s the point worrying about the now? It’s much easier to deal with the now than worry about it. Maybe you just like to worry.” He rolls onto his back. “I think I’ll take a nap.”

“Sleep tight, don’t let the werecats bite.”

Fleegle looks at me, then hops off the couch. As he heads toward the bedroom, he says, “I’m going to nap on your pillow. It soaks up drool better than mine.”


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Negotiating with Cookies – Sniff-Sniff

I’m sitting in the den with a sketchpad drawing cartoon dog faces when Fleegle comes in and starts sniffing my legs and knees and staring at me with his head tilted to the side.

“Why do you keep sniffing me and looking at me like that?” I asks.

“You are Raud, aren’t you?”

“Huh? Of course I am. That’s a silly question.”

“You don’t smell like him.”

“Well, I did change my brand of soap this morning.”

“I’m not some dumb puppy that can’t figure that out. You’re back to using Ivory again. It’s not your soap. You smell, well… alien.”

“Oh alright, I’ll tell you. When I went out last night, I ate garlic pizza.”

Fleegle plops backwards onto his haunches. “You had pizza without me? Who ate all the crust? Did you give it to some other dog? Now I know you’re not Raud. He would never do that to me. You’re an alien for sure,” he says and struts out of the den.

“Where are you going?”

“To the kitchen to check on the alien egg thingy. Maybe it hatched and you’re the result. Pod-Raud.”


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Negotiating with Cookies – Eggs Benedict

I finish pushing the reel mower around the backyard lawn and go inside for a glass of water to wash down the pollen where I find Fleegle in the kitchen sitting in front of the refrigerator with the door wide open and a strange blue glow on his face.

“What the cat, Fleegle? Close the fridge door. You’re letting all the cold air out.”

He doesn’t budge. “But then I won’t be able to see it.”

“See what? The egg?”

“No, the ham.” He wags his tail. “Are you ready for your sandwich yet?’

“It’s only 10:30 and I had a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.”

“I know, it was tasty.”

I step over to close the fridge door, but stop. “Does it look bigger to you?”

“The ham?”

“No, the egg.”

“Maybe, but the ham definitely looks smaller. If you were smart you’d go buy a new light bulb for the fridge and give that crazy egg thingy to Timber Jack. I bet his jaws can crush anything.”

“You’re probably right, but we need to see this through. Don’t you want to know what it is?”

“Not as much as I want to avoid another encounter with crazy space chickens.”

“Oh Fleegle, you worry too much.

  *   *   *

In the middle of the night I’m woken by a cold wet nose in my face. “Raud, wake up. It’s happening.”

“What’s happening?”

“Your reckoning. Listen.”

I hear the muffled sounds of something thrashing about coming from the direction of the kitchen.

Fleegle jumps off the bed. “You better bring that bat you keep by the bed.”

I glance at it as I slip my feet into my slippers, then grab it and follow the noise to the kitchen.

Fleegle cocks his ears. “It’s coming from inside the fridge.”

As I open the fridge door, the sound stops, and all looks normal inside, bathed in a pink glow of a Key West sunset.

“It’s gone,” Fleegle says.

“No, it’s not,” I say and point at the egg.

“Not the egg, the ham.” His hackles go up and he growls. “And the egg looks definitely bigger.”

I flick on the kitchen light. “And so does your belly.”


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