September 3, 2008

Lewis, of course, is glad that I have no dreams to report in this e-mail.

—It was taking you away from your more important work, he tells me.

“Meaning, writing about you?”

—Yes. I figure that if this book is a success—and how could it not be, considering the subject matter?—that you might feel obligated to thank me for the inspiration by giving me better treats than you’re currently offering.

“Always a food angle with you . . . you know, your deadly sin is probably gluttony.”

—I prefer to think of myself as a gourmand, someone always looking for broader culinary experiences.

“Okay, whatever you say. Certainly you do that part of your job better than any other.”

—What do you mean?

“Well, for instance, I heard you had a bath the other day.”

Lewis beings to look sullen.

“And that you did not enjoy it.”

—It was unnecessary, that’s all. And what does a bath have to do with my job, anyway?

“You’re a retriever. You’re supposed to dive into lakes and ponds and swim out to get ducks and such, yet you don’t seem to like water very much.”

Lewis does not reply.

“Plus, you’re a ridiculously bad retriever, as well. You never chase stuff I throw for you, or hardly ever, and then you don’t give up the item and let me throw it again. What’s with that?”

—I’d rather not talk about it.

“Why?”

—I’d rather not talk about that either. Or the water issue.

We were silent for a while.

“You’re being very mysterious about this, Lewis.”

—I prefer the word dignified. Or reserved.

“Those are not words I’d usually associate with you.”

Lewis does not reply: he lies down with his back to me, in a very deliberate ‘nuts to you’ type of way.