THE ENTREPRENEUR

I WON’T TELL YOU HOW I RUN AWAY!

“Where are you going, Aussie?”

“I’m running, Harry, outta here. It’s time.”

“What about the fence? They fixed it up the other day when the Boss came back—”

“Don’t make me laugh, Harry. Ain’t no human keeping me inside for long. You see the rock behind the laundry lines? You see how the fence dips behind it?”

“So?”

“So, numbskull, that’s how I clear the fence. Running jump to rock, big leap, and up and over.”

“But what will the Boss say, Aussie?”

“The Boss can’t say anything, she’s hoarse. Lies in bed most of the day coughing.”

“She’s sick, Aussie. She went to Urgent Care yesterday—”

“Yadda yadda yadda.”

“What’s yadda yadda yadda?”

“Asthma, breathing problems, I’ve heard it all, Harry. Point is, she isn’t doing much for us.”

“She feeds us.”

“But is she taking us out for walks? Car rides? She just lies there. What good is that, Harry?”

“It’s not great, but—”

“I also think she’s losing her mind. She went out to the back yard today. ‘Aussie,’ says she, ‘show me where you went through the fence two nights in a row.’ Puts her hand under my chin, tries to extract that info from me. You know what I think, Harry? She’s coming down with dementia.”

“Aussie, do you care about the Boss?”

“Sure I care about her.”

“I mean, do you care about her if she can’t do all the things she usually does for us?”

“Don’t be a romantic, Harry. Why do you think we dogs got together with humans? Because they did things for us! We wag our tails, we open our eyes wide and give them puppy looks—and they melt and give us everything we need. This is the deal we made with them long ago.”

“But what happens if she can’t do it all?”

“Then it’s time to go!”

“Go where, Aussie?”

“You know Lorraine up the street? She looks like she could use some company, all she has is that stringy cat, you and I could take care of it pretty quick. Once she gets to know us, she’ll love us.”

“I don’t want to go to Lorraine, Aussie.”

“And she’s younger than the Boss, Harry. The Boss had a big birthday, don’t forget. She’ll get weaker in the legs, she won’t be able to handle the bag of dog food, she won’t remember our feeding times. Harry, it’s downhill from here, so we better skedaddle. Lorraine’s our answer.”

“You know, Aussie, the last two nights while you were having your adventures and the Boss worried about where you were, I snuggled next to her in bed. She needed some comfort.”

“Harry, you’re such a wimp I could cry only I never cry. Don’t confuse sentiment with facts. Our job is to get a bigger, better life. And we can do it. I’m the smart one around here, always on the lookout for escapes and new opportunities. In fact, you know what I am, Harry? I’m an entrepreneur.”

“What’s that, Aussie?”

“An entrepreneur takes risks! An entrepreneur never rests but always seeks bigger, better things. I’m the engine that makes things go.”

“And what am I, Aussie?”

“You’ve yet to grow a brain, Harry, but you’re also kind of cute with those beseeching eyes of yours. That makes us a perfect pair. We leave the patient tonight and go on our way. I’ll identify some potential new Bosses, look through the window, sniff in the trash to see what they’re eating, get their attention, and when they open their doors you’ll do those pleading whines you’re so good at and look up at them with those starving eyes—and we’re home free. Steak and chicken soup and walks and car rides—here we come!”

“When do you want to do this, Aussie?”

“We leave tonight!”

“But the Boss, Aussie! What happens to the Boss?”

“Don’t worry about her. The meds she takes put her out, she won’t know a thing till tomorrow morning, and by then we’ll be far gone.”

“She’ll miss us, Aussie. Let’s wait till tomorrow night.”

“Tonight, Harry! Listen to your entrepreneur! Harry, where are you going?”

“Snuggle first, run away later.”