a tale in weekly parts
Al and Madge rose early and set off for the refuge. Chav went with them.
Some time later, Xander and Kr’veth’neq’is had a leisurely breakfast before setting out themselves.
“Do you realise,” Xander said, “that this is the fiftieth episode? Do you think we should do something special to mark it?”
“I don’t, Bro,” Kr’veth’neq’is replied, “and for two reasons.”
“Yes. One: today is all about finding a companion for Chav. He doesn’t feature much here, and it wouldn’t be right to hi-jack his day by mixing it in with anything else.”
“Okay. I can see that. Two?”
“Fifty is just a number.”
“A pretty significant number.”
“But still just a number. Two weeks’ time, we’ll have been going for a year. Let’s do something special then.”
“Fairy nuff,” Xander said, “Ready?”
The siblings held hands and phased to the refuge, just in time to see their parents’ car turn into the driveway.
“Good timing,” Al said to his offspring as he got out of the car, “I saw you materialise just as we turned in.”
“How was the drive?” Xander asked.
Al cupped his hand to his mouth and whispered, “Your mother was car-sick.”
“Oh, no!” Xander said.
“You alright, Mum?” Xander shouted toward the car.
“Fine, Son,” she replied, brightly.
“So what do we do now?” Al asked.
Almost before he had given voice to his question, one of the volunteers approached and introduced herself as Diana.
“You must be the Grahamsons,” she said, “and is this little fellow Chav?”
“Yes,” Xander replied, “he’s the one who needs a friend.”
“And you’ve come to see?”
“Oh, splendid. We really do want to find her a good forever home. Let me have someone bring her, then we’ll take a walk with her and Chav, to see how they get on, and to see if she takes to you as a prospective adoptive family.” She spoke briefly to a colleague, who brought out the most adorable looking terrier cross. “This is Ixus. Ha ha ha, it looks like she and Chav are going to get along fine.” The two dogs were as if joined nose-to-tail, chasing around to sniff each other. The Grahamsons and Diana set off on a walk with the two dogs as soon as they had settled.
Ixus was good with Chav, very calm on the lead, and seemed at ease with her new family.
“Let’s go into the office and get the paperwork dealt with,” Diana said. Chav and Ixus stayed outside with Kr’veth’neq’is, while Al, Madge and Xander went into the office with Diana.
Twenty minutes later, having showed identity and proof of residence, having filled in a lengthy form wherein was set out in detail the living conditions Ixus could expect, and having handed over the money needed to cover Ixus’ housing and medical costs, including sterilisation and various vaccinations, and having made an additional donation to the refuge, the three rejoined Kr’veth’neq’is and the dogs, loaded the dogs into the back of the car and all set off together.
The youngsters soon found out why Madge had been car-sick on the way there. All the windows were closed, and the heating was on full blast. Added to that, there was a smell of exhaust coming in somewhere at the front, and the back smelled of petrol.
Xander and Kr’veth’neq’is sent to Albert and Jarvis for thoughts. Following Albert’s suggestion, Al pulled off the main road and drove deep into woodland, finally coming to rest in a spot that couldn’t be seen from any populated area. Jarvis appeared almost immediately and expanded to enclose the vehicle.
“Xander, hold on to the new dog,” Albert said, “it may react to the unaccustomed way of travelling.”
“What about Chav?” Madge asked.
“No problem,” Albert reassured her, “he’s an old hand at this.”
“Old hand? How many times has he travelled like this?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Albert said, “forty, forty-five…”
“Forty-two,” Jarvis’s voice boomed.
“You’ve trawled him around space forty-two times?”
“And time,” Albert said.
“And dimensions,” Kr’veth’neq’is added.
“And he loves it,” Xander said, just to put a cap on it.
“How can you know that?” Madge asked.
“Oh, lots of ways,” he lied, “the way he wags his tail, the way he runs up the steps, all sorts.”
“Still. That can’t be right, luv, can it?” she said, appealing to her husband.
“Would you prefer to drive back the normal way?” Al asked.
“No, I would not.”
“Then don’t complain at what’s offered.”
“Fairy nuff,” Madge conceded (at least we know where Xander gets that from).
Having jumped that last hurdle, they all arrived home almost before Madge had got the words out. Getting out of the car, Ixus stood unsteadily on her feet, looking around, licking her chops and panting a little.
“She’s confused,” Chav sent to Xander, “I wish I could communicate with her better.”
Ever-watchful Jarvis sent to Xander, “Can I have the new dog for a while?”
“Can you help her the way you did Chav?”
“Did you really just ask that question? Haven’t you been listening? Have I taught you nothing?”
“Okay, okay. I think I can swing it for a couple of minutes.”
“It’ll only seem like a couple of minutes.”
“Dad,” Xander said, “I’d like to take Ixus to show her Jarvis.”
“Okay, but only for a minute or so. We need to get her settled.”
Less than two minutes later, they were all inside the house. The two dogs were in what would become a familiar position, facing each other, making full eye contact and, although Al and Madge were unaware of it, but not so Xander and Kr’veth’neq’is, chatting away like neighbours over the garden fence.