The first thing I see is not what I expect to see. Instead of her beaming face, the dog’s wet nose pokes from behind the door. Creeping menacingly, his snout emerges with her humming the theme from Jaws. I say she’s humming it; she’s trying to but can’t because of her constant giggling. After a few seconds, the dog’s tail wags into view, followed by the rest of his plump, curly-haired body. Meeko’s hands are wrapped beneath his armpits, and so he floats before me halfway between the floor and the ceiling. The poor thing’s coat is drenched, and yet the smell of soap on him is infinitely better than the previous stink of rotten fish. Grinning at me, he sticks out his tongue and looks up to an unseen Meeko who finds it the most hilarious thing ever. Putting on a voice, she bobs the dog up and down making him dance.
“Hello, Mr Smelly,” she snickers.
Rolling my eyes, I reach for my beer and down what’s left.
“You’re the smelliest fucker I’ve ever seen, aren’t you? You really are a smelly fuck!”
Her giggling body falls against the door, but she manages to catch herself from tumbling into the room. The dog looks up at her again wagging its tail frantically.
“If you’re not careful,” I say, “he’s gonna piss himself, and you’ll have to give him another wash.”
“Don’t talk to me like that,” she snorts, “the only one capable of pissing himself here is you.”
Shaking the dog with both hands, she makes all manner of strange grunting noises while bumping into the door.
“Mr Smelly!” she shouts. The dog barks, and when she says it again, he drools all over the floor.
“Dirty Mr Smelly fuck! Smells like a truck and looks like a duck!”
Leaning back in my chair, I smile against my best wishes.
“Perhaps you should be the one writing these words instead of me. I never knew you were such a poet.”
“Better than you, I am.”
Tiring of her antics, she clears her throat then jumps out from behind the door.
With the biggest of smiles plastered over her face, she looks pleased beyond measure of her ventriloquist act.
“Oh,” I say mockingly, “I had no idea. I thought it was the dog.”
“I bet you did! Bet you pissed your dirty pants.”
“Mmm,” I grumble, “at least the two of you smell better now.”
Lifting the dog to her face, she kisses him on the top of his head. Lowering him down to me, he grins and holds his paws out.
“Give him a little kiss,” she says, “let him know you care.”
“If I do, will grab me another beer?”
Leaning in, I go to give him a peck on his nose, but she pushes his face into mine, causing me to inadvertently smooch his slimy tongue. Scrunching my face, I pull back with a huff.
“Dickhead,” I snort.
“Don’t swear,” she frowns, “you’ll upset him. Now say sorry, or I won’t get you your beer.”
Looking at me sternly, she pinches her lips, waiting for my apology.
“Sorry,” I sigh, rolling my eyes again.
“Don’t roll your eyes at me, or I’ll box you up.”
“You gonna fetch me a beer then or what?”
“I suppose,” she says, and with that, she cradles the dog like a baby before disappearing into the kitchen. When I hear the clinking of two bottles and the caps plinking off into the bin, my suffering and pain floats away out the window.