“I… well, I… um. I don’t usually talk about, you know, that kind of thing,” Franny stammered an answer to Douglas’s question about her political beliefs. Douglas and Marilyn nodded jerkily, like puppets.
And then Franny’s vision narrowed into a kind of tunnel. Dark around the edges, and in the too-bright center, Douglas and Marilyn seemed frozen in place. Franny experienced a kind of whistling in her ears. A crackle of electricity followed.
“That’s right, Franny.” The voice was squeaky and harsh, as if it hadn’t been used in a while. Franny looked around the room in a dizzy panic, trying to find its source. “I’m over here.”
“P…P…Precious?” Franny gaped at the dog.
“Who else?” Precious stood, wagged her plume of a tail, and strutted toward Franny. “Relax. If you think about it long enough, you’ll realize we dogs have been in charge of things for a very long time.”
“You have?” Franny could only ask ridiculous questions. “But… what about…”
Precious snapped the rest of the scone off Franny’s plate, chewing it as she sat and fixed her brown eyes disconcertingly on Franny. “I know what you’re thinking. What about the cats? We like to let it appear as though the cats control you humans. Your focus on their antics gives us great political cover.”
Franny thought this would be news to every cat she’d ever known. Precious went on.
“I’m going to give you a message, Franny, and in a moment you’ll forget all about this conversation you and I are having, but the message will remain in your unconscious mind. You’ve been chosen as a conduit for this critical information that will change human kind forever.”
“Um, okay.” As her heart rate slowed back down, Franny stifled the urge to giggle. Precious was still a scraggly beast of a little dog, and the serious look on her face struck Franny as comical. Still, probably best not to burst out laughing at a talking dog who appeared able to freeze other humans at a moment in time. “What’s the message?”
Precious wagged her plume of a tail, whispered in her squeaky harsh voice, and Franny smiled.