Our oldest Sheltie, Déjà Vu, had a touch of insomnia last night and decided to roam the house every hour or so.
Déjà's our Queen Mum and behaves accordingly. As de facto Equerry to The Queen, it is my responsibility to insure her nocturnal excursions are without incident.
Obstacles must be removed from her royal, impromptu itinerary. A cat sleeping at the top of the cellar stairs, blocking Her Majesty's path? It must be physically moved out of Her way, a potentially hazardous chore and one that typically elicits a succint feline opinion on the validity of canine royalty.
A sheltie of lesser rank in a potential napping area? Verbal orders are generally sufficient. The younger ones move quickly, without comment. The older ladies grumble under their breath. Especially Lady Lucia, just a year younger then Déjà and a down-to-earth old girl with the swagger of a bordello madame and an attitude to match. She moves out of the Queen's way resentfully, a hint of a snarl on her lips. "Pretentious old bitch," Lucy mutters in a Scottish canine dialect that is surprisingly easy for even a human to understand.
In the midst of this Dance of the Lesser Mammals, I sneaked into the refrigerator and snagged a piece of cold pizza, which I ate quickly to avoid being sacked by the five Furballs of the Apocalypse. Double pepperoni and a bit spicy, I knew I would pay later.
At dawn, Déjà was still asleep, but the others wanted to begin their morning constitutionals. I let them out, then stared blankly though the screen door. My stomach rumbled, starting a chain reaction that began a relentless, gaseous descent.
Then it hit, a truly impressive, multi-second burst of trumpeting flatulence that stopped the shelties dead in their tracks, even though they had wandered to the far end of the yard.
A minute later, the electronic shrieking began.
I first thought it was a smoke alarm, but remembered I had pulled the one in my office while I was replacing some suspended ceiling panels. This sound was coming from the corner of the laundry room, on the shelving unit that held old paint cans, assorted hardware, and... the carbon monoxide/ natural gas alarm.
I was appalled and impressed, at both myself and the alarm.
Finally silencing the unit, I went back to the cellar door to find four shelties quizically staring up at me. I let them in. They circled me warily, nostrils flared, then headed back upstairs.
All except Lucy, who sat at my feet, giving me the same sneer she had given Déjà a few hours earlier. "If you had shared the pizza, you wouldn't have this problem," she growled/grumbled.
The gas detector gave a last condescending chirp. With a final "grrplegrrpleruff," Lucy sauntered out of the laundry room and headed for the dog bed under my desk.
Another rumble from my stomach. Another growl from under the desk.
It's going to be that kind of day.