MOVE-COUNTERMOVE

Item from the Montague Police Log, as reported in the Montague Reporter:

“Wednesday, 6/11

10:32 pm. Caller from Randall Wood Drive advises that their miniature pinscher got loose earlier this evening. Caller reports that dog is uncatchable; MPD may receive some complaints that dog is barking and running around the neighborhood. They do not want an officer to respond because they know that they will not be able to catch the dog; this has happened before, and she will come back eventually. Officer advised.”

 

“You win again, Aussie.”

“That’s 4-0, girl!”

“4-0?”

“Twice I managed to run away through the side gate by the garage before you even noticed.”

“You moved, and I counter-moved. I wired that gate shut!”

“So I counter-counter-moved, and ran through the other gate that the gardener was using. At first she was being careful, opening and shutting the gate behind her as soon as she was finished, but I watched and watched; I was sure that eventually she’d make a mistake. Sure enough, she left it open when she took her wheelbarrow through and I went for it. Check!”

“So I pulled our big ladder over and leaned it against the shut gate so that nobody could open it again, Auss. And then this morning I was getting ready to take you guys to the preserve. I put Harry’s collar on and then I looked for you so that I could put yours on, and you weren’t there. I opened the front door and there you were.”

“Checkmate! You looked so silly, with that surprised look on your face. What are you doing in front of the house, Aussie? you asked. Is that a dumb question, or what? I’m free, is what I said. I’m free to run where I please.”

“But how did you get out, Auss?”

“I won’t say.”

“I notice a widening hole in that big tree in the corner, but it’s not big enough for you to get through.”

“I won’t say, I won’t say.”

“Later on I examined the gate and noticed that while the ladder was still leaning against it, the latch was now open. Don’t tell me that you were able to jump over the ladder and lift up the latch all at the same time!”

“I won’t say.”

“You’re doing better than the US women’s soccer team, Auss. Do you know that there’s a koan about I won’t say? A Zen master and student pass by a coffin with a corpse in it. The student knocks on the coffin and asks the teacher: Is it dead or alive? Guess what the Zen master says.”

I won’t say, I won’t say.”

“Exactly, Aussie. And why wouldn’t he say?”

“For the same reason that I won’t tell you how I manage to break out. If I do, you’ll go right to the spot and fix it, tie it up, make adjustments, and shut me in again. No, your practice is to keep on looking and looking and looking. You can’t take anything for granted.”

“And what’s your practice, Auss?”

“To find the hole in the fence. Never stop looking for the hole in the fence–or in the tree.”