Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Evening Soundtrack

Chloe's toenails tick slowly across the kitchen linoleum. She pads quietly across the living room carpet and flops down against the couch with a groaning sigh. Seconds later she jolts upright, leans to her left and begins frantically trying to scratch her ear with her hind foot. Alas, the enormous blue Elizabethan collar I've given her to prevent her chewing at a hot spot on her backside blocks her foot from making contact. Her toenails scratch futilely across the transparent plastic ringing her head, her tags jingling a desperate rhythm to her thumping leg. She gives up in a few seconds and stares balefully at me awhile before stalking back into the kitchen and lying down mournfully with her head under a dining chair.

Rain sluices down the gutters and patters onto the sidewalk next to the house. The single-pane windows do little to block the sound, and the resulting high volume of the incessant downpour keeps convincing me that there's a leak in the house.

Mr. Thel explores XM stations on his laptop across the living room. He plays air drums with a Rush song, and busts out a falsetto to sing along with Peter Gabriel a minute later.

Chloe has managed to get ahold of her tail and fiercely nibbles on it, an obnoxious repetitive chewing sound. "No, boo-boo," I warn her softly. Chew chew chew chew chew. "Chloe, no," I say sternly. Chew chew chew chew chew chew chew. "Hey! Stop it!" I command her. She stops her tail-gnawing and turns her collared head to glare at me in silence.

"Oh my," Mr. Thel marvels. When I make an encouraging, "Mmm?" he says softly, "It's a 1962 Stratocaster!" He holds up his laptop to show me the picture. Chloe perks up at the voice of her beloved, and starts across the room to be near him. Her plastic collar sticks agains the arm of the couch--she scrapes along it anyway, only to collide with the coffee table with a thunk. She backs up, tries again, and smacks the edge of the collar against the leg of the piano. Panting with frustration, she backs up, tosses her head, scrapes loudly down the coffee table, and finally sidles through the gap to press herself against his leg.