—And what about my bark? You’ve stopped conversing with me and I hardly see you anymore and I haven’t heard a word about my bark for ages, which means you’ve probably decided to forget all about it, though you can’t imagine how distressed I am, particularly with all the new stupid yappy dogs that have moved in on both sides of the house that are driving me crazy, plus . . .
“You’re breathing awful hard, calm down.”
—How can I be calm when all my dreams are being buried beneath the yapping of stupid little dogs and the neglect of a formerly loyal transcriptionist, um, I mean secretary . . . uh, I mean co-author?
“Almost a nice save there . . . muffin-licker. Look, the past few weeks have been a time of transition, so just mellow out and don’t get your lump in a twist: your bark is still on the agenda and your ‘loyal’ secretary has not abandoned you.”
“Really, though I do have some other work to do today, okay?”
—All right, I guess. If you don’t mind, I think I’ll begin napping early because I’m just a nervous wreck.
—Of the eternally vigilant variety.
—Call me when the biscuits are being served.