“Pardon me, Marica,” Missy began, “Do you have a moment?”
“Why certainly, girl,” Marica replied, “What’s up?”
“Ruff?” Rocky asked.
“What are your thoughts on in me-dI-us rez?”
“Ruff?!?” Rocky scoffed.
“Me-dI-us rez. Surely you know that term, Marica,” Missy answered. “It’s a literary devise meaning ‘to being in the middle of things’.”
“Ruffruffruff,” Rocky chuckled.
“Well, Missy,” Marica said holding back a giggle, “It’s pronounced in ME-dE-as race. I thought you knew Latin pronunciation.”
“I don’t know what you think is so funny, Dear Friend,” Missy scolded Rocky. “You have a vocabulary of literally one word. And no, Marica, I am quite certain I am pronouncing it properly. It derives from the French, I’m quite sure.”
“Ruff,” said Rocky shaking his big bulbous head.
“In any case, what are your thoughts on this devise?” Missy continued. She had been sidetracked too many times by these sorts of disagreements with Marica and her Dear Friend, Rocky. She wasn’t going to let it happen again.
“Well. Let’s see,” Marica thought for a moment, “I’d say pretty much everything begins in the middle of things when you get right down to it.”
“Ruff, ” Rocky agreed. “Ruff?”
“Good question, Rock. Why do you ask about in medias res?”
“Well,” Missy sighed and slid down on the floor near Marica’s desk. “I am in the early stages of planning my first novel.”
“And I am considering beginning it in the middle of things,” Missy ignored Rocky’s utterance of disbelief. “As you know, many of the classics begin in me-dI- …, I mean in ME-dI-…, in the middle of things. And as I intend my novel– nay, epic– to become a classic, I was considering, pardon my use of this vulgar word, but “hooking” my audience right from the start.”
“I think hooking your readers right up front is a fine way to begin, Missy,” said Marica, “But I really wouldn’t know because I have never written a novel much less an epic.”
“Thank you for asking, Dear Friend. I have not yet finished the plot line but in the most general of terms, it is a story– about canines, naturally– of courage, justice, friendship, magnanimity, honor, wit, … .”
“So, the virtues?” Marica asked.
“Exactly,” Missy replied. “But I seem to be missing… . Oh! Truthfulness, good temper, temperance… .”
“Temperance. That’ a good one, Missy,” Marica interrupted. “What have you learned about temperance in your studies?”
“Ruffruffruff,” Rocky chuckled. He could see where this was headed!
“Well, Marica,” Missy sat up straight and assumed her schoolmarm demeanor, “as you know, temperance had a somewhat different meaning for the Ancients than it does for the common folk today. Aristotle believed as a virtue, temperance was very similar to courage. Temperance was a mean with regard to all pleasures, not simply drink. The vicious extreme most common is self-induldgence or the inability to control one’s desires.”
“Ruffruffruffruff,” Rocky was rolling belly up laughing.
“Could you give us an example of intemperance?” Marica asked.
“Of course, one comes quite readily to mind,” Missy said. “Tiger, the cat’s inability to ration his food. I mean really! Have you seen how he eats? One big mouthful and it’s all gone and he’s howling around for more within an hour!” Missy said excitedly.
This was too much even for Marica. She burst into laughter and had she been a dog, or younger, she would have been ROTFLHAO.
“What, pray tell, are you two laughing about?” Missy asked. “This is a matter for serious discussion!” She said sternly.
“I’m sorry, Missy,” Marica said wiping a tear from her eye, “But I seem to recall a bit of intemperate behavior from you just the other day”
“Why! I never! Whatever are you talking about, Marica?” Missy said indignantly.
“Ham bone,” was all Marica said.
“Ruffruff,” Rocky was getting exhausted from all this laughing.
“Oh,” Missy said as she lowered her eyes. “Oh my, I do suppose that was very intemperate of me, wasn’t it?”
“Well,” said Marica softly, “Don’t worry about it too much. Nobody can be virtuous all the time. It was a big bone.”