“Marica?” Missy asked as she looked up at Marica who was having breakfast at her desk.
“Why did my Dear Friend not accompany me on my morning constitutional?”
“Ruff?” Rocky, too, was perplexed by the change in routine. Rocky does not like routine changes.
“Well, Missy,” Marica replied, “You cannot exert yourself for the next week or two. So I thought you and Rocky should go on separate walks for a while.”
“I see,” Missy said glumly. “Doctor Joe did tell me to take it easy. He doesn’t want the staples to come out.”
“R.U.F.F.?!?” Rocky of course had been told about Missy’s surgery when he inquired where in the world she was yesterday, but there had been no mention of staples.
“Yes, Dear Friend, it is true. Doctor Joe and the nice ladies put me back together with staples. Look, I’ll show you,” Missy said extending her neck and shoulder for Rocky to see.
“Rrruuufff,” Rocky warned. He had no desire to examine so hideous a sight. In this regard his sentiments were much aligned with John’s.
“Is it really that objectionable?” Missy asked.
“Ruff,” said Rocky as he picked up Strange and Fantastic Stories and headed into his box for his morning reading. It was one thing to read in detective novels of the grotesque, quite another to see it in real life.
“Will there be other changes?” Missy asked as she wandered over to Rocky’s food bowl.
“I’m afraid so, Missy,” Marica said picking up the bowl just in time. “You have to go on a diet.”
“A DIET!! Whatever for?” Missy demanded. “Why, I’m just as stealth as I was five years ago!”
“Svelte, Missy, svelte,” Marica corrected.
“Ruffruffruff,” Rocky chuckled.
“That’s what I said, Marica. You really must get your hearing checked. Perhaps you could ask Doctor Joe about it.”
“Yeah, well,” began Marica, “the point is you need to lose about ten pounds,”
“What dreadful news. Oh my. Oh dear oh dear,” Missy moaned. “How am I ever to accomplish this? I so do dearly love breakfast, lunch, supper and the occasional morning, afternoon, and evening snacks. Oh dear oh dear.”
“Gosh Missy, it shouldn’t be that hard, we’ll help. But you’ll need to take responsibility for your own behavior, like the characters in your Epic Novel, Vitiosus Canes, Virtutum Actus— no intemperance!”
“Ruffruffruff…,” Rocky chuckled again, remembering that exchange.
“Well,” Missy cleared her throat and sat up straight. “I had not considered the challenge framed in this way. I can assure you, Marica, I am quite up to the task. As you well know, the Aristotelian Virtues are the shining stars of my Epic Novel— I examined each in thorough detail during my researches. I shall take pride in approaching this challenge with magnificence and good temper. I shall be courageous in the face of this Herculean task– ten pounds, you say? We shall strive….” Missy stopped short and slumped her head.
“That’s the spirit, Missy. But what’s wrong?”
“I won’t have to give up people food on my diet, will I?”
“Oh no! That’s the good news. Joe said to cut back on dog food, not people food.”
“Whew. That’s a relief,” Missy regained her stoic posture. “I do so love John’s cooking.”
“Rufff!” Rocky chimed in.
“I know. Who doesn’t? Now, how about a bite of scrambled egg to wash down your medicine?” Marica asked.
“That will be fine. But just one bite! I’m on a diet, you know.”