Feeding Hollywood

While on the couch watching a Battlestar Galactica rerun, Fleegle asks, “So the people on television are not who they say they are?”

“No, they’re actors,” I say. “They’re reading lines they’ve memorized that were made up by the writers about imaginary people.”

“Does that mean if I become an actor I’ll get to fly a spaceship? I want to fly a spaceship.”

“No, they’re sitting in front of a green screen when this is shot. Someone else puts the spaceship around them later.”

“So they’re just sitting there in a couple of vinyl recliners like you and me while someone else does all of the imagining for them?”

“Well, they do read the lines,” I say.

“And they make facial expressions,” Franny says from her end of the couch. “Those two look really skinny, I bet they’re super hungry. Maybe the writers should’ve written something into the script about binging on space food. It might be the only way to get the actors to eat. I bet the writers do all of their writing in their kitchen within an arm’s length of their fridge.”

“Why do you think that?” Fleegle asks.

“Well, are you thinking about sharing when you have a mouthful of food? I don’t think so. I think these writers just don’t want to share any of their food with their characters so they starve them.”

Fleegle gets off the couch and sniffs the actors on the television screen. “They don’t smell so good. Raud, I think they need our help. Why don’t we move the television into the kitchen and try to feed them.”

Franny wags her tail. “Yeah, you could put the television on top of the refrigerator and you could throw food at their mouths when they’re talking. Some of it is bound to get in.”

I shake my head. “The couch goes wherever the TV goes and it won’t fit in the kitchen.”

“Ah yes,” Fleegle says, “but the fridge will fit in the living room.”

“Yeah, right next to the couch. And you’d only have to move one thing that way instead of two,” Franny says and jerks her chin at the screen. “Look at her skinny arms. Do you think she ate at all last week? At the rate she’s wasting away, she may not be around for next week’s episode.”

Fleegle struts in front of the couch. “We need to move on this fast, Raud, and start throwing food at her. She’s my favorite character.”

“Is that so. Then what’s her name?”

“Um… The hungry one?”

I get up from the couch. “Okay, but she’s only getting popcorn. We don’t want to overfeed her. She might go into shock from too many calories.”

Fleegle tilts his head at me. “But that’s popcorn with melted butter, right?”

“And salt,” Franny adds.

Previous Bartering with Biscuits – Therapy

First Bartering with Biscuits – The Puppy

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Mr. Pillow

I lie on my bed, reading before I take a nap after a late lunch on Sunday. Fleegle keeps shifting positions to goober this part or that part of his body, shaking the whole bed as he does.

I look at him over the top of my book. “Fleegle, go lie down on your pillow and give your goobering a rest, please.”

As he gets up and moves to his pillow, Franny jumps up on the bed and plops down on top of my stomach. I look at her, my eyebrows raised, and give her a look that asks her what she thinks she’s doing lying on top of my stomach just after I ate lunch.

She lifts her head at me. “What? You said go to our pillows. That’s what I’m doing, getting on my pillow.”

“I’m your pillow.”

“Well, I’ve tried Fleegle, but as you’ve noticed he doesn’t stay put long enough to get a good nap in. You’re much better at that than he is. You stay put plenty long to get a good nap in. Sometimes your body even forgets to breathe and needs a gentle nose bump to remind it to.”

Fifty pounds of Labrador puppy on top of my belly just after cold pizza for lunch is too much. I shift my hips and she slides off of me onto the bed, leaving just her head using me as a pillow. She seems fine with that and I return to reading my book.

Moments later, she nudges my hand with her wet nose. “Pet me,” she says.

And I say, “Take a nap.”

“No, pet me.”

I ignore her. She nose bumps me again. “Pet me.”

I move my hand away.

She gets up and moves closer to my hand. “Pet me.”

I give in without thinking and pet her as I read. Then the whole bed moves as Fleegle gets up and eases his eighty-five pound butt on top of my stomach.

My eyebrows go up at him in a questioning look. “Fleegle, what are you doing?”

He glances at Franny, then back at me and wags his tail. “Pet me.”

Next Bartering with Biscuits – Crunch

Previous Bartering with Biscuits – Nails

First Bartering with Biscuits – The Puppy

Nails

Fleegle and Franny lay in the grass in the backyard licking the sides of their front paws obsessively.

When they notice me watching, Fleegle raises his head and says forlornly, “Raud, someone stole our dewclaws.”

They were removed when he was a puppy. “Don’t look at me. You showed up with four toed paws.”

He looks at where his dewclaws should be. “The dogs at the park have five toes on their paws. Where are our fifth toes?”

Franny looks up from her paw-goobering. “Yeah, we want them back.”

“You’ll have to talk to your matchmaker breeder about that,” I say.

“You mean Suzie has our toes? What, like in a drawer someplace?” Fleegle asks.

Franny tilts her head to the side. “Yuck, what if my toes get mixed up with Fleegle’s? I don’t want brown toes.”

Fleegle stands up. “We need to go to Eugene and get our toes back, Raud.”

Franny stands up too. “Yeah we do. Let’s go.”

I clear my throat, preparing to make a stand. “That reminds me. You’ve both been making a lot of clickity clack sounds when you walk on the wood floors. It must be time to trim the nails you do have.”

Fleegle starts to slink across the lawn toward the bamboo. “My nails are just fine. No trimming needed here.”

“But what about going to Eugene and retrieving your dew claws?” I ask. “They’ll need to be trimmed too.”

“Another time. I’ve got things to do,” he says and disappears into the bamboo.

“How about you, Franny? Are you ready for your nails to be trimmed?”

“You’re not trimming mine. Long nails are all the rage right now at the park. Did you pick up the pink polish I asked for?”

“I’m not going to paint your nails.”

“But I’ll paint yours if you do.”

Next Bartering with Biscuits – Mr. Pillow

Previous Bartering with Biscuits – Princess

First Bartering with Biscuits – The Puppy

The Princess

I find a sunny spot in the backyard, line up my chair to make the most of the fall sun, and sit down to attempt some writing in my notepad. I open it to a fresh page, click the tab on my pen a few times, and wait for something to surface to inspire me.

It isn’t long before Fleegle emerges from the bamboo and is staring alongside me at the blank page too, and soon he is followed by his blond shadow, Franny.

“What are we doing?” she asks.

“Shush,” Fleegle says. “Raud might have writer’s block.”

“What’s writer’s block?”

“It’s when Raud can’t think of anything to write about.”

“Is that because his coconut brain is hollow?”

Fleegle pushes her away by shoving his butt in her direction. He nose bumps my notepad. “Maybe if you drew some meaty bones it might help get the ink flowing.”

I click the tab on my pen a few more times and look at Fleegle and Franny. “I didn’t think I had writer’s block until you two brought it up.”

“Ah, that’s the power of suggestion at work,” Fleegle says. “Now back to drawing those meaty bones.”

Franny pokes her head in. “Did you say he needed suggestions? Get your pen ready, Raud. I’m not too sure what writer’s block is but I’m pretty sure I don’t have it. I can tell you all sorts of things to write.”

“Back off, Franny, Raud’s going to draw me some bones.”

“No he’s not. He’s going to write down my story. Let me begin. Once upon a time there was a dog named Franny and she was the prettiest princess in the land. She had a super obedient servant named Fleegle who did everything she told him to do.”

“Hey, I’m not your servant.” Fleegle sees me writing and whines, “Raud, don’t write down what she says, we have bones to draw.”

Franny looks down her nose at me. “Read what you have so far, scribe.”

I look at the page. “Once upon a time there was a dog named Franny and she was the stinkiest dog on the block because her big friend Fleegle showed her where all the coyote poop was.”

Franny snorts her derision. “You left out ‘Princess’.”

Next Bartering with Biscuits – Nails

Previous Bartering with Biscuits – Dirt

First Bartering with Biscuits – The Puppy

How Honest Can a Butt Wiggle Be?

I arrive home from a trip to the paint store after leaving Fleegle and Franny at home because it’s too hot of a day for them to wait in the car while I wait for the store clerk to mixes the paint and we all know how long that can take. I slide my house key into the front door lock, expecting to hear the patter of paws on the other side but there’s nothing. I turn the key and open the door, but there is no one there to greet me. Beginning to worry, I go inside and into the living room where I find Fleegle and Franny stretched out on the couch.

Franny barely lifts her head to look at Fleegle. “I told you it was him.”

Fleegle doesn’t even bother to lift his head to speak, he just mumbles, “Duh, who else would it be?”

I put down my freshly mixed gallon of paint. “What? No greeting at the door? No, hi Raud, we’re so happy you’re back? Not even a surly remark about how surprised you are that I found my way home without you.”

Moving only her eyes to look at Fleegle, Franny says, “He’s very needy, isn’t he?”

“Tell me about it,” Fleegle mumbles. “He needs a lot of reassurance that he’s loved. I think I’m too tired to do that today.”

Franny rolls onto her back. “You’d think the fact that we haven’t eaten him in his sleep would be enough.”

“Never underestimate Raud’s emotional neediness. It can make him really thin skinned sometimes. But you know, he did say we could eat him if he dies in his sleep and we run out of kibble.”

Franny’s ears perk up as she moves into a sitting position. “He did?”

“Yep.”

“Well then…” She jumps off the couch and comes over to me, tail wagging. “I’m really glad to se you, Raud. So glad you made it home.”

I put my hands on my hips. “You know, I’m not feeling the sincerity.”

She puts a bit more butt wiggle in her tail wagging. “How’s that?”

I reach down and pat her side. “Better.”

Fleegle sits up. “Raud, why don’t you try again like we do when we practice your sit-stay training. Go outside and come back in, and have a couple biscuits ready for us when we greet you at the door.”

Next Bartering with Biscuits – Sharing the Canine Way

Previous Bartering with Biscuits – Fleegle’s Bed

First Bartering with Biscuits – The Puppy

Fleegle’s Bed

Franny holds her ground on the bed and growls down at Fleegle who is trying to jump past her up onto the bed. “Poor Biscuit Breath,” she says and wags her tail. “You have to sleep on the floor tonight.”

“But my bed is up there on the pillow next to Raud’s pillow.”

“Not anymore. That’s my pillow now.”

“But I’ve slept on that pillow since I was a puppy.”

“How’s that cold hard floor feel? You should have enough biscuit padding on your backside to be more than comfortable, walnut brain.”

*   *   *

Fleegle whimpers so loudly on the pillow next to mine that he wakes me. I pat his side and say quietly, “Fleegle, wake up.”

He stops whimpering, raises his head and looks around at his surroundings. Seeing where he is, he drops his head back on his pillow with a loud sigh. “Oh thank goodness. I was having the worst nightmare. Have I told you how much I love my pillow?”

Next BwB – How Honest Can a Butt Wiggle Be?

Previous BwB – Invasion

First BwB – The Puppy