Josiah, Punch, and Snipes sit crowded together under that very small table for what seems like a very long time. Finally, restless as a small dog gets, Punch asks, “what are we waiting for?”
“You wanted my help, I’m giving it,” answers Josiah. “Hush.”
Punch says, “you don’t have to be so rude all the time!”
Josiah huffs, “and you didn’t have to blackmail me into leaving me napping spot!”
“You’re a Presidential Pet,” counters Punch. “It’s your job to help!”
“It’s my job to help when the Room says as much,” says Josiah.
Snipes gives them both a sharp peck to the shoulder. “Someone’s coming! Someone’s coming!”
The door opens a moment later and in walks Alice. Her face is blotchy and red. She’s clearly been crying lately.
In a whisper, Punch asks, “is that her?”
Josiah nods. “That’s her alright.”
Snipes drops his voice to a creaking warble when he asks, “now what are we supposed to do?”
That is the question of the year, isn’t it? They might have figured out the source of the problem, but they still needed a solution. Punch and Snipes weren’t supposed to be seen by young miss Alice. They didn’t belong in this building after all. They didn’t even belong in this year!
That means the bulk of the problem really is on Josiah to solve. With a heavy sigh, he tells the other two animals, “you lot stay put. I’ll be right back.”
“Wait,” hisses Punch. “What are you going to do?”
Josiah doesn’t bother with an answer. Instead, he pushes out from under the tablecloth and out into the room at large. Alice yelps, nearly dropping the cup of tea she’d been holding.
“Oh! It’s just you. You gave me a nasty fright, Josiah. I thought someone might have found out about my secret break room,” says Alice.
Everyone knows about your secret break room, thinks Josiah. Humans can’t understand animals, so he keeps that thought to himself. Instead, he walks over and presses his nose into Alice’s leg.
She looks very, very confused. It’s an honest reaction. Mostly, Josiah only shows up when he plans on nipping people on their heels. Today, he gently herds Alice into the nearby chair.
Alice sits down, awkwardly lifting her feet off the ground to prevent them from being nipped at. She says, “be a good little critter, Josiah. I don’t think I can stand being bitten today.”
“I’m not going to bite you,” says Josiah, even though he knows that Alice isn’t going to understand. “But we need to have a little chat.”
Alice wisely sits her tea down on the nearby table. She holds her hand down for Josiah to sniff. “Let’s just be friends today, alright?”
Josiah presses his nose against her palm. “That’s exactly what we’re going to do, Alice.”
Katelynn E Koontz – Author