TDWS | E12: Humans Say, No Means Yes

The Dog We Stole is the definitive biography of Her Majesty Begum Pathumma. Read earlier episodes of the series on the TDWS page.

On second thought, before I let the human continue, a quick note on my love for insects. It’s true. I am partial towards insects. If the choice were between eating mud out of pots in the garden and chasing insects, I would choose insects every day of the week!

The thing with insects is that they always have a story. Sure, the mud tastes nice and I get to leave my pawprints on the carpet and the couch. If I am lucky enough to have the humans chase me yelling, “Noooo Paaathuuu”, then I even leave some cool paw designs on their bedsheet! 

But the perks of chasing an insect are under researched in my opinion. Since most of them can fly, chasing them is incredibly eventful. I get to jump on the sofa, sniff the kitchen counter, peer down the bathroom drain and hike through the wire jungle under the TV. They disappear from their spot on the wall only to reappear on the handle of a chair. True magicians, they are.

Insects are gypsies who have been everywhere. They have incredible stories to tell. Some have just returned from a flower, some live in the tree outside, some live under a loose tile in the bathroom, others appear when it rains outside and still others live in the bottle prisons that hold provisions.

Just the other day, I was in the kitchen minding my own business when a moth, a yellow one with shiny brown dots came by my nose. Careful not to startle him, I slowly lifted my bum off the floor to a standing position. There I was, standing in a downward dog pose, with my nose to the ground. The humans began laughing instantly but I ignored them as it was paramount that the moth didn’t think I was moving. Also the humans laugh at anything. Including when I yawn harmonically. I’ll never know why they find things funny. 

Anyway, back to the moth. The moth flitted around, landing on a cabinet handle, now on a washcloth, without a care in the world. I followed him with my nose, wagging my tail furiously to indicate my interest in playing with him. Then I lunged at him and missed. He was a sly one. He smiled back at me as he flew up onto the counter. I am not allowed to look on the counter. I don’t know why. The second my paws touch the kitchen counter, one of the humans will begin chanting, like clockwork, “down Pathu, Pathu down.” But I was not one to give up. I channeled the ninja warrior within me and stood up on my hind legs like a circus dog and eyed the moth. Technically, I was not touching the counter, you see.

He was a pompous moth who liked the attention and wanted to show off his flying skills. He was soon airborne again, only to lower himself onto the dustbin this time. I didn’t miss a heartbeat leaping at the dustbin. The next thing I know, the dustbin is rolling on the floor, its contents spread across the floor, jeering at me.   

Without warning, the humans get angry. “No Pathu!” One of them yelled across the kitchen as if that would straighten the dustbin. I was sent out of the room immediately. As I settled down right outside, counting all the kitchen wonders I was missing out on, I noticed a yellow movement through the corner of my eye. He had flown out of the kitchen with me! I didn’t care about the kitchen anymore.

If the hours I’ve wasted watching TV with the humans has taught me anything, it is that people say ‘no’ when they actually mean ‘yes’.

He smelt like whiskey. Like old barrels with a hint of wet wood. He told me that he lived in the tree outside my balcony. He flew around me, showing off his colourful wings in slow motion. Politely, in the universally accepted language of the paw, I asked him if he wanted to play. He turned up his antennae and ignored me. 

I wasn’t asking for much, was I? All I wanted was to be friends with him. If the hours I’ve wasted watching TV with the humans has taught me anything, it is that people say ‘no’ when they actually mean ‘yes’. So I taunted him by hitting him lightly. I missed him the first time but the second time I hit him, he fell to the floor. Now he was ready to play with me. We were playing a game of tag, where he would try to run away from me and I would catch him. I loved this game. But he wasn’t very good at this. I guess the humans were wrong. ‘No’ does mean ‘no’. Always. 

Before long, I was bored. So I ate him.

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