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Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Prodigal Dog, parts 4291 - 4294

 4291. Sometimes their advice seems to us to be confusing, but we are sure that they are always correct, and when we have to turn back it must be to keep us safe and out of danger. 

 4292. When traveling, it sometimes happens that disastrous accidents occur and in order to avoid those accidents it is necessary to seek Divine guidance.

 4293. This is why we will sometimes turn around and go backwards, by this method we avoid tragedies, and I feel certain we have avoided thousands of tragedies in this way.

 4294. Remo said nothing when he heard this explanation. He was a home dog, and had never ventured outside of his owner’s little village. He had the utmost respect for Otis and the Rooster, and imagined that they had to know everything there was to know about the wide world.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Prodigal Dog, parts 4287 - 4290

 4287. It happened a third time. Instead of going forward they went backwards, Remo’s exasperation got the better of him and he asked a question.

 4288. “How is it then, that we keep on turning back, and never seem to know where it is we are going?” he said. Otis, who you will remember was a devout Pagan, answered the question with this comment.

 4289. “Out destination is Rome, but we do not know what Rome is exactly. We know, however, that it is some sort of holy thing especially important to us Pagans, but what exactly it is we have no idea.”

4290. In these situations we put our entire faith in the gods who guide us, asking them at each turning, for their advice about what way to go.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Prodigal Dog, parts 4283 - 4286

 4283. It is even worse when a dog keeps his eyes half open for a long time, and continually opens one of them wider for a moment, looks up and then to the side.

 4284. Remo did all these things for a while, and so both Otis and the Rooster began to worry that taking the little guy along on their journey was going to prove to be a difficulty in the end.

 4285. In the morning things were no better but they had to travel on and kept at a steady pace all day. They came to several intersections in the road, and as they had done in the past they set themselves riddles, flipped coins, or played hopscotch to decide what direction to go in. 

4286. On two occasions they turned around and headed back the way they had come, basing their decision on a roll of the dice. Remo found this very strange and confusing but made no comment. He was absorbed in his own thoughts, and had begun to feel homesick, but kept it to himself.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Prodigal Dog, parts 4279 - 4282

  4279. Otis felt guilty for reprimanding him so sharply on the road, and tried to reassure him by starting up a casual conversation. He said, “As a rule we don’t talk a lot when we are traveling because the talking uses up our breath and we can not get as far in a day.”

 4280. The idea of not talking on the road was made up on the spot by Otis, and was not true, but Otis said it just to reassure the greyhound. It had the opposite effect however, causing Remo to think that Otis was still thinking of him in a critical way.

 4281. Remo made no reply, but was seen to violently shiver all over with the cold. He looked up at Otis for a second, then over at the Rooster for a moment, and then settled his head on his paws and half closed his eyes. 

 4282. If he had closed his eyes completely it would have been much better, but there is no better way to tell when a dog is suffering from depression, than when they lay down to rest and keep their eyes half open.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Prodigal Dog, parts 4275 - 4278

 4275. He said, “Look at that apple tree, it is just so …” here he was unable to find the right word. Then he said, “That lake in the distance, you can see that it…” here he was unable to express himself, and simply sighed.

 4276. He went on this way all day long, never able to explain his thoughts and feelings with words, but never giving up trying, until Otis was forced in desperation to shout out, “Shut up Remo!”

 4277. Instantly the little Greyhound fell silent, and the great import of what he had done to his life fell on him like a stone and he began to feel gloomy. The sun was going down. 

4278. That night it was rather cool. Otis and the Rooster, who were used to living their lives in the outdoors, did not notice it, but Remo began to shiver off and on, and appeared to be depressed.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Prodigal Dog, parts 4271 - 4274

 4271. His owner spent a restless and anxious night, was hysterical in the morning, and had to be taken to the hospital by lunchtime. It looked, at first, like the poor dog’s owner was not going to survive the separation. 

 4272. Meanwhile, Remo was happy and excited to find himself experiencing his first moments of true freedom in his entire life. Often in the past he had tried to imagine what dog freedom would be like, how it would look and feel, but his imagination, with nothing to go on, had not been unable to come up with anything substantial.

 4273. At first he was able to keep up with Otis and the Rooster, but he was so overwhelmed with his new experiences that he kept a running monologue with himself about all the strange sights he was seeing. 

 4274. He did not mean for Otis and the Rooster to be the recipients of his observations, but in such situations it happens quite by accident, and can’t be avoided.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Prodigal Dog, parts 4267 - 4270

 4267. Since they could not imagine it happening in actuality, they could not see it when it actually happened.

 4268. Remo did not know it but his small act in the dog pageant tipped the balance in the mind of Otis and he had to submit to the judgment of the Rooster and accept the Italian Greyhound into their troupe.

 4269. Their troupe now had three members and could hardly be considered a troupe in the true sense of the word. The word troupe implies a larger number of members, but for the present we will stick with the word.

4270. They did not set off at once, but waited until just after dinner when the dog pageant had ended. Remo was always allowed out before it got dark and was always trusted to return promptly. It was already dark when his absence was noticed.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Prodigal Dog, parts 4263 - 4266

 4263. The Rooster’s looks seemed to say, “Well, obviously we have to take the little guy along with us.”  But Otis’ reaction implied that although Remo was indeed talented, there could be no place for such an animal out on the road.

 4264. One thing they noticed about Remo’s act was that the audience did not understand any part of it. The little greyhound went through all the motions of a butler serving a drink to someone sitting in a chair, but the intent went unnoticed.

 4265. It was just the same as the act that had preceded it. The previous dog had seemed to hesitate before leaving the stage, and to the audience Remo did the same thing; his actions were perceived as random and meaningless, spastic and pointless.

 4266. If anything, the act he performed detracted from Remo’s score. The people in the stands and the judges themselves were incapable of even imagining that a dog could act a part in a play, much less a pantomime. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Prodigal Dog, parts 4259 - 4262

4259. He was dressed as a butler in a cut away black tuxedo coat and trousers with a satin stripe down the leg. Over his front leg he carried a white cloth like a large napkin, and in his right paw he acted as if he was balancing a cup, perhaps a cup of tea or coffee on a tray.

 4260. His destination was the middle of the stage where an imaginary person sat at an imaginary table on an imaginary chair. Remo placed his imaginary cup on the imaginary table and then waited patiently to be dismissed by his invisible patron.  

 4261. One he was dismissed by his invisible customer he made a deep bow and walked off the stage with a measured and dignified step.

 4262. Otis and the Rooster were amazed and impressed with Remo’s acting skill, and throughout the sixty seconds the performance lasted the Rooster kept casting Otis sidelong glances, in an attempt to confirm that Otis was indeed seeing and appreciating what the little greyhound was doing. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Prodigal Dog, parts 4255 - 4258

 4255. Like watching a seal playing music by beeping horns, one felt that the dogs had no notion of what it was they were really doing, and did not care a whit about if they won or lost.

 4256. The only interesting performance was delivered by a poodle that walked across the stage on his hind legs, but seemed to be unable to bring himself to go behind the right curtain to complete his act. 

 4257. He would approach the screen, pull back, and then approach it again timidly. He seemed to be frightened by something the audience could not see, and his inability to overcome his fear lent a touch of humor to his routine.

4258. Then it was Remo’s turn who entered the stage last of all when the audience was already fatigued with the repetition of predictable dog tricks. His appearance took everyone by surprise and earned him immediate attention.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Prodigal Dog, parts 4251 - 4254

 4251. The discussion of whether Remo wanted to run off with Otis and the Rooster was interrupted by a trumpet call from the arena where a competition was beginning. Remo was a contestant in the event, and so ran off to join the other contestants.

 4252. Otis and the Rooster joined the audience in the stands. What they saw was a small stage blocked by a curtain at each end. A dog would enter the screened area at the left, enter the stage and perform a trick, and then exit on the right.

 4253. Some of the dogs wore costumes, and others were in their natural state. The tricks were of a conventional nature and involved rolling over and playing dead, or balancing food on the nose and walking on the hind legs.

 4254. Each trick was greeted with polite applause, especially by the owners of the dogs in question and their immediate friends. But the performances were so ordinary that they did not arouse much enthusiasm.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Prodigal Dog, parts 4247 - 4250

 4247. Was the Rooster being deliberately obtuse, or did he simply not understand what Otis had said. I have to admit that I think the Rooster did not comprehend the idea the wolf was trying to express, and the reason is because birds apparently do not understand metaphors.

 4248. A bird can understand a metaphor when expressed in visual terms, as in a painting or a dramatic performance, but they draw a blank when the same kinds of ideas are expressed in words. I have heard it said that their natural language does not include the word, “like.”

 4249. Birds will often deny that their language lacks the word “like,” but in the same breath they will often go on to condemn the use of that word by saying such things as: nothing is ever like something else, everything is unique in its own right.

 4250. Bread is only like bread, and rain is only like rain, and to say that the rain is like bread is to abuse a person’s thought process under the guise or the excuse of poor poetry.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Prodigal Dog, parts 4243 - 4246

 4243. When Otis saw that Remo was considering the Rooster’s proposal, he turned to the bird and said, “Are you out of your mind?” To disregard Remo’s feelings in that way was quite out of character for Otis who was, as a rule, very sensitive to the feelings of others.

 4244. But the idea of traveling around the country-side with a sensitive little dog for company seemed such an idiotic idea to him, that he could not but help thinking that Remo would be relieved to be spared the ordeal of such an endeavor. 

 4345. When he saw that neither Remo nor the Rooster responded to his remark he went on, “Just consider for a moment traveling through the woods with all its dangers, making our way into the treacherous Alps and across dangerous glaciers, and all the while carrying some expensive Ming Dynasty jade vase, and trying not to damage it.”

4246. “But Otis,” said the Rooster, “we are not going to be carrying any Ming vases on our travels.”