Negotiating with Cookies – Ghost Writer

As I’m hunched over my desk working on a story, and my bad pasture, Fleegle appears from underneath my desk and rests his head on my knee.

“Whatcha working on, Raud?” he asks.

“Chapter one of a children’s story.”

“Ooo, what’s it called?”

“I don’t know yet, but the working title for chapter one is, ‘The Watermelon Has Landed’.”

“I can eat a lot of watermelon. You should write a story for dogs. I mean, you don’t have kids but you do have me.”

“And what should it be about?” I ask.

“Well, chapter one would be about a guy who forgot to feed his dog lunch.”

I glance at my watch. Time has really whipped by. “And chapter two? What’s it about?”

“Chapter two is about how the guy made it up to his dog by giving him a double portion of kibble.”

I push my chair away from my desk. “And chapter three is about how this fat Labrador—I assume your protagonist is a Labrador—has to skip dinner because he ate so much for lunch and doesn’t want to end up going to fat camp.”

Fleegle’s ears perk up. “Fat camp? This is the first time I’ve heard of this place. Can I go there?”

I raise my eyebrows at him. “You want to go to fat camp?”

“Yeah, don’t you? If everyone there is fat, they must serve up some good sized portions. I bet they use giant ladles, unlike that tiny half cup measuring scoop you use to dole out my kibble.”


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Negotiating with Cookies – Grinch

Fleegle nose bumps me in the leg at the park and asks, “Raud, are you a Grinch?”

“Why do you ask?’

“I overheard one of your friends call you that?”

I nod my head. “Well, they were right. I am a Grinch, completely unreformed.”

He tilts his head to the side. “What is a Grinch?”

“A Grinch is someone who has great difficulty getting into the Christmas spirit, or simply chooses not to bother.”

“Christmas spirit? Is that spirit as in like Buck the ghost dog who comes around to visit every now and then?”

“No, not like Buck the ghost. Christmas spirit is when you feel enthusiastic about doing a lot of gift shopping, competing for parking, maxing out your credit cards on things people will return or re-gift. Christmas spirit is being excited about family visits and having relatives stay with you who hog the remote.”

Fleegle tilts his head to the other side. “But I heard it had to do with the birth of some guy named Jesus who was born a long time ago.”

“Shush, don’t say that too loud or the pc police will snatch you up.”

“Why? He sounds like a pretty cool guy who could turn rocks into dog biscuits.”

“I know a few Labradors who don’t need Jesus for that.”


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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 – MacPoochie

“Why do so man couples dress alike?” Fleegle asks as we walk through the park. “Does Target have a special section, like there’s a Mens, a Womens, and then there’s a Couples? Like Petco does with Dogs, Cats, Birds and Fish?”

“No special section, but my hunch is that it’s because only one from the couple is doing the clothes shopping, and they naturally choose the colors and styles they like for both of them, while the other from the couple just figures it saves them the hassle of a trip to Target, and if their mate likes the clothes then that’s good enough.”

“Well, I’m glad you don’t pick out clothes for me. I’d get tired of wearing blue jeans and t-shirts everyday. That’s almost as monotonous as kibble for breakfast lunch and dinner.”

“If you wore clothes, I doubt the washing machine could handle the post dog park load of Fleegle wash, especially on a muddy day. And what day isn’t muddy at the dog park this time of year?”

“If I wore clothes, I’d wear a kilt in my own tartan.”

“Kennedy tartan is very nice.”

“Not your tartan. I’m not some lame Kennedy flunky.” He lifts his leg on a park bench. “I’d wear my own tartan, the MacFleegle Tartan. Would you like to hear about our clan history?”


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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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