Clio: Ok so, Day 54 and the..
I put down my pen and she glances at me and stops.
Me: Day 54? What happened to Days 1-53?
She waves a little white paw in the air.
Clio: You’re the writer, you fill them in. It feels like Day 54 to me. Should I continue or are you going to interrupt me at every stage?
Me: You know, a small subset of people think it I am weird to love animals as much as humans? Why do you look puzzled?
Clio: You are weird.
I pick up the pen and make a gesture towards her.
Clio: So, as I was saying, Day 54 and my human accompanied me on a brisk walk down the lovely country lane – Yes, what is it?
Me: Could we at least refer to me as something more complimentary?
Clio: You have a problem with the truth? You’re human, you’re my only subject, ipso facto, you’re ‘my human’.
Me: I didn’t know you knew Latin?
Clio: What did I say about interruptions? We must hurry, if this works on the same principle as my 7 dog years to your 1 human year then I have just 7 minutes of inspiration per day.
Me: You think that’s funny?
Clio: I crack myself up. Now, where were we?
I look back at the notepad.
Me: I should have left you down the bog country lane.
Clio: You wouldn’t!!
Me: We’ll see. Go on.
Clio: My subject…my human, no? What would you like then? Especially since you were so kind as to come up with a pretty decent title for me. Though why on earth you picked such a long one is beyond me. I would have been satisfied with something short and sweet like ‘Her Royal Highness, Princess Clio’.
Me: I wanted to give a sense of your authority.
(Under my breath): And limit its scope.
Clio: Did you say something?
Clio: I like it. ‘Her Royal Highness, Princess Clio of Cloogantoverville’. It will be difficult to emblazon across a jacket but it is fitting. Why tack on the ‘Ville’ at the end of the name?
Me: Don’t know really. Wanted to have an Irish and American feel to it.
Clio: Right. Well, I’d like to shorten it in everyday conversation to ‘HRH Princess Clio the Pretty’.
Me: Ok, HRH, what’s next?
Clio: I was thinking that since these are my musings on you and my life here, I would start by letting you tell readers how pretty I am and maybe a few details about my good nature and gentle character as well as my very regal bearing.
Me: Well, I do write fiction. Should I include the fact that I had to wash poop off your big fluffy backside this morning? You know, I now get why my dad looks at me sadly and shakes his head and says ‘You used to have such potential.’
Clio: My backside is not big!! Besides I like my hair.
Me: You should have a gold medallion to hang around your neck. You could pass as a Greek guy then, with all that chest hair.
Clio: Would you like me to talk about the time Freda wanted to call the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on you?
Me: I knew you were behind that!
Clio: Well, you have to admit the haircut you gave Hamish was cruel.
Me: You try shaving a wriggling dog with one of those hand power razor things.
Clio: You didn’t think of stopping after the first few jagged swathes of hair were gone off his back?
Me: (muttering) It was an expensive razor thing. Hey, it might still be in the cupboard somewhere.
Clio: You bring that thing near me and you will be eating through a feeding tube too.
I retreat to doodling in the notepad.
Me: are you nervous about your surgery on Friday?
Clio: What, with the specialist flying in from Israel just for me? And a top vet surgeon in Dublin?
Me: Right. So it is just me.
Clio: You worry about everything. I’ve come through seven surgeries on my mouth and I’ve got this feeding tube stuck in my neck, do you see me complaining?
Me: What do you call running from the towel and rubbing your wet self into every cushion in the house?
Clio: A royal protest. Besides you shouldn’t have cream-coloured fabric covers. Pink is much more my colour.
Me: I’m getting a headache. Your seven minutes of daily inspiration are surely over by now?
Clio: You’re getting old.
Me: Hey! Eight in dog years is older than I am now. You think maybe we should retire the ‘Princess’ thing now? Maybe call you Milady Dowager or something?
Me: I’m going to pay for that, aren’t I?
Clio: Human, you have no idea how much…