I was trying to find just the right words for a chapter ending. It was Thursday morning, the kids were at school, Jim was at work, and my brain was wrapped up in the last paragraph of chapter 21.
Ping. Someone turned on the Xbox. I ignored it for a minute. Then the barking started.
I went into the other room. Suspect #1, Thistle, stood by the TV and faced Suspect #2, Pepper. Pepper was lying on the left couch cushion, staring down Thistle. Thistle looked innocent and Pepper flashed me a guilty expression.
Something to keep in mind: Thistle always looks innocent, and Pepper seems forever guilty. If Pepper has an accident, she hides under the kitchen table and shakes. If Thistle does something he's not supposed to (like stealing sourdough bread from a child), Pepper hides under the kitchen table and shakes. If I scream, "You can do it, Colin," to Colin Firth when he's on TV just before they announce the winner of Best Actor at the Academy Awards, Pepper hides under the table and shakes. See the pattern?
I said, "What are you guys doing?"
Thistle looked from me to Pepper. I was pretty sure he wanted me to see that Pepper was lying on his very favorite couch cushion--the one on the left--because in Thistle's mind, this is the WORST CRIME EVER. This explained the barking.
After glancing at me, Pepper barked at Thistle to let him know she wasn't about to give up the spot.
Something else to keep in mind: whenever there's a disagreement between the dogs, Pepper is the one who started it. If he's "helping me write" in the den, snoozing by my chair, she might stroll in and chew his face--just for fun. If he's playing with his sock monkey, she'll steal it. Maybe there's a reason she always feels guilty...
I looked at Exhibit A, the Xbox. It was open. Inside was Exhibit B, Call of Duty. I turned back to the dogs. Neither one cared about Exhibit A or Exhibit B. Neither one knew how to turn on the TV, which would have been required for them to play Xbox. Neither one had opposable thumbs, which meant even I could have probably beat them at Call of Duty.
1. This case would never be solved.
2. I wasn't very good at training dogs.
I turned off the Xbox, went back to the den, and had a super productive writing day, no thanks to my dogs. They stayed in the family room and worked out the couch issue, no thanks to me.
Background information: We have witnessed each dog turn on and/or off the Xbox. This behavior started just after Christmas. They use their noses. We think they smell the kids' fingers on the on/off button. Another reason they might do it, according to my family, is they think turning it on will bring the family to the couch; maybe they're trying to get the pack together. Just as turning it on will bring the family together on the couch, that may be why they turn it off. As you know, the couch cushion on the left is very special, and some things can only be shared so much.