I hurry down the slope to the creek, which is as wide and white as I’ve ever seen it due to rain, conquering a couple of feet of soft ,sloping grass on each bank and rolling determinedly down to the Sawmill River. And there’s Henry, 12-pound Henry, standing on the rock above the water looking down.
“Jump! Jump!” Aussie yells again, circling happily behind him, ready to give him a kindly shove.
She did that a few weeks ago when Henry had trustingly followed her, walking gingerly on heavy tree limbs crisscrossing pools of water, and Aussie pushed him over with her nose, a wicked grin on her face. She howled with laughter while he indignantly got up on his small legs and hurried up to dry ground, rolling over and over on the leaves to get dry.
“Not so funny,” he muttered.
“Hysterical!” Aussie said.
Now I pull her away. She’s not going to throw him into the creek this time, it’s deep in places and the water is roiling around, all white.
“Just think,” says she. “If he fell in, we might find his body in the river as it curls right under the house.” She sighs. “I should only be so lucky!”
“Aussie, if you ever harm that little dog you’ll be in big, big trouble.”
“No, I won’t. The Donald will pardon me.”
“You’re right, that’s probably what will happen. He pardons lots of people.”
“Only those who’re guilty. And he prefers big guilt, nothing small, if you know what I mean. If you lie to people or call something fraudulent, that’s small change, he can’t be bothered with that. Throwing an illegal chihuahua like Henry into the river is big-time; he’ll issue a pardon immediately. They say he’s pardoning every member of his family except for Melania. What’s wrong with Melania?”
“She probably didn’t do anything criminal, Auss.”
“That’s too bad. It’s a badge of honor to be pardoned by the Donald. Watch me toss Henry into the river.”
“You’ll do no such thing, Aussie!”
“Watch me pee in the back seat of the car.”
“Not on your life.”
“I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING BAD, OTHERWISE I DON’T GET PARDONED! Maybe I’ll ambush some birds now that the feeders are out for winter. Got three of them last year. I bet Donald pardons me for that right away.”
“At least you’re planning to commit a crime to get pardoned, Aussie. I hear he’s thinking of pardoning people who haven’t yet been accused of doing anything wrong.”
“You mean a just-in-case pardon? Like just in case they’re accused of doing something wrong, only you can’t accuse them of doing something wrong because they’re already pardoned?”
“Something like that.”
“HE IS SUCH A GENIUS! Only the Donald could think of a contingency pardon. There’s only one problem with a just-in-case pardon.”
“What’s that, Aussie?”
“THE FUN IS ALL ABOUT DOING SOMETHING WRONG! If you get pardoned beforehand, why do anything, know what I mean?”
“This is getting too complicated for me, Aussie.”
“I want to drown Henry in the creek and then get a pardon from the President. Getting a pardon from the President without drowning Henry in the creek is no fun at all!”
“I wonder if he ever considered this, Aussie.”
“Probably not, golf is very demanding.”
“Maybe Donald is giving out pardons just for thinking about doing bad things, Aussie.”
“Thinking about doing bad things is no big deal, everybody does it. It takes guts to actually do them.”
“Think, Aussie. What’s positively the worst thing you can imagine doing without doing it and then get a pardon?”
“Ambush and kill every single bird, squirrel, and chipmunk in the back yard.”
“Eat the entire roast chicken you made this morning.”
“You’re pardoned, Auss!”
“Get Henry deported.”
“Leave Henry out of it, Auss.”
“You said to imagine anything, right?”
“Right. You’re pardoned.”
“Jump out the open window of the car and run away to Leeann’s house.”
“You’re pardoned, Aussie.”
“Bite the vet! Kill Ruby the German Shepherd!”
“You’re pardoned, Aussie! You’re pardoned!”
“But this is no fun! Pardons are only fun after you do something and there’s a big whatchamacallit—”
“—and you’re found guilty, and they’re going to kill you—and then you get pardoned! “
“I never thought of that, Aussie.”
“You know what I think? A Just-in-Case Pardon is for wimps. Just don’t tell Donald I said so.”