Summer’s Not Here


“There are people singing and dancing in the street. It’s so awful!” Yes, dancing in the street is an awful thing. But not as bad as….

“A guy’s dancing by a pole with his shirt pulled up over his head.” It’s the great Cornholio!


“There’s a lady standing here holding a sign saying, ‘Circumcision Makes Mary Sad.'” Now, I’m fairly well-informed about theological issues, but that’s a new one to me.

Speaking of things that are new to me…


Wow, people tell me to get a thicker skin, but I didn’t know it was, like, possible. I just need to evolve some more.


For some reason, Facebook has been sending me posts from 3 years ago, which was my first year of operation in this format. I assume this means they want me to pass them along to you, so I have been dutifully doing so. Reading back over them, I’d like to think I’ve become more mature since then, but that is arguable. Especially since I know a couple people who like to argue.

Speaking of which, Hey, Nick! Do you want me to tell you a story?

“When would I ever not want that?” he inquires, rather testily. Which brings us to–


Nick is sprawled on the floor at  my feet. I’m feeling a bit testy myself, having been charged with implementing the sleep-deprivation program. It’s supposed to make him easier to deal with, but so far, the opposite seems to be the case.

“I’m bored,” he says, rolling onto his back. I’m always amazed he can do that without breaking his wings. As it is, they are splayed out on either side of him. He’s made himself quite the spectacle, but this does not trouble him. He has a great deal of pride, but very little dignity. I consider tickling him. That would keep him awake.

“I said I’m bored! Are you deaf?” He twists his neck around so he can look at me upside-down.

“Are you being insubordinate?”

“I’m merely requesting information. Insubordination implies action, or a lack thereof. Since you just answered me, I will assume that you are not, in fact, deaf.”

I’m beginning to feel less sorry for his sleepless state.

“It’s not my fault that there are no criminals for you to chase and–”

“And eat?!” He jumps up eagerly.

“No! Eating humans is the Worst Bad Thing! Don’t you remember reading the Book of Rules?”

“I can’t read! Don’t you remember–you read it to me? And I sat behind you and looked at the pictures? And then you said I was making you paranoid? And then–”

“OK, OK! Just…be quiet a moment, OK?”

He turns around and crouches down, with his back to me to express his displeasure. He does not like being quiet. And silence is having an effect–his head droops down and down, his breathing slows…is that the beginning of a snore? I reach down and give his tail a good yank. And he whirls and clamps his teeth on my leg.

I scream, and he lets go at once. He looks as shocked as I am. I stare at him unbelievingly, and he slowly flattens himself to the floor, trembling from his scaly snout to the barbed tip of his tail.

What to do next? Biting a dispatcher isn’t the Worst Bad Thing, but it is a Very Bad Thing indeed. A beast that can’t be safely handled might require…well, I can barely stand to think about euthanasia, and I’m certainly not going to speak of it to him. Plus, reporting the incident might raise questions about my competence as a handler.

I have an idea. An appropriate idea.

“I’m not going to report this,” I tell him. He starts to raise his head. “But–“ he lays it back down–“I have to do something.” He swivels his ears toward me, which makes him look a bit like a worried dog. “I hereby add to the enchantment on you.” The ears are laid back. “I decree you are now unable to speak. You shall be mute like other beasts until I decide otherwise.”

I almost decide otherwise on the spot, because his sudden alarm is pitiful. He jumps up and starts pawing at his mouth, but no sound comes out. I harden my heart–it’s for the best, at least temporarily. Time will tell, as it always does.

So now I have a big bite mark on my leg. I’m glad I never decided to make him venomous. He refuses to look at it–flips his tail over his eyes, in fact–leading me to wonder if he’s capable of guilt. For that matter, is he really unable to speak, or just convinced he can’t? Mysteries abound.