If there’s one day in the year I have to play second fiddle, it seems to be Fathers’ Day.
That’s when The Boss gets all this attention and nobody has much time for me, which is disappointing.
It started the day before, on Saturday, when I could see the grandchildren – “the possums” as The Boss calls them – making up cards with coloured drawings and messages. They were whispering a lot….and ignoring me.
This was doubly disappointing when it came to Sunday. Ever since the possums turned up for some home schooling at the beginning of the Lockdown, I have been able to rely on them for the pats, rubs and scratches The Boss ought to be offering but which he seems to have delegated.
In fact, the longer this Lockdown goes on, the better.
The weekend is of some importance because there’s no school work to be done and I can claim their attention more or less when I want to. And sometimes when I don’t want to – say, when I might enjoy a quite snooze after a hearty breakfast.
I’ve had trouble instructing them that an intelligent, active hound like myself needs frequent periods of rest – but it is a trifling complaint in the scheme of things and I have learned how to nap amidst a certain amount of noise, even while they are watching cartoons or yelling over board games.
But back to the indignity of playing second fiddle. Sunday morning, they present The Boss with his cards and a box, all properly wrapped up... and I’m watching while he carefully opens it.
Out comes this blue ball – and balls are the kind of thing I like. Why would they give him a ball?
There’s some instructions with it and he eventually figures out how to unscrew the ball into two halves and puts one half on a charger. Why would he want to do that? Now it is two half-balls and of limited interest as far as I am concerned.
Later in the afternoon though, he calls me inside and has this silly look on his face – the kind of look I instantly recognise as being shifty and up to no good.
The ball is back in one piece now and he puts in on the floor, where it starts flashing.
I’m onto it in an instant – though it turns out to be a very hard ball, rather than softer like a tennis ball.
I push it under the table to examine it and suddenly it starts shuddering. This surprised me a little and I dropped it.
Then it rolled away from me, flashing red and bouncing off the table leg.
I went straight after it and nailed it - managed to quieten it down – then it rattled violently against my teeth. Another surprise – if I had fillings it would have shaken them out and I dropped it.
Off it went again. Queenie was barking at it by now and the Golden Leave-it-There cleared out of the room in terror.
Naturally I had to take control of the situation and jumped on it again but it slipped out from under my paw and speared off towards the dishwasher, flashing and vibrating.
I was sliding around the floor in pursuit but finally subdued it and it went quiet. Then, just as I was feeling pleased with myself, it suddenly started rattling my teeth again and all I could do was hang on gamely.
I looked up to see The Boss and the possums standing there with tears in their eyes and laughing their heads off.
It occurred to me in that instant that it wasn’t a present for The Boss so much as a present for me – but not in a nice way.
It’s called a Wicked Ball and I don’t like balls solely designed to humiliate me. I’ll bide my time: if I can lay my teeth into it when no-one is looking, I’m going to tear it apart.