“Henry, ani lo marsha.”

“Huh? Say Aussie, what’s the Senora saying? She just walked away.”

“I think she’s telling you, Illegal, that you can’t jump up on her chair and start licking the dining table.”

“How do you know that?”

“Sometimes she talks this language she learned as a baby. Especially if she’s annoyed.”

“A second language, Aussie? Why?”

“I don’t know why bother with one, Henry. The Senora uses two and sometimes more. No wonder she’s so confused.”

“Why use two, Aussie?”

“Why use one? We understand each other perfectly without any language at all. For instance, do I have to tell you what I had for breakfast today?”

“Of course not, Auss. I sniff your lips, and later your butt, and I know perfectly well. You had your kibble and a little turkey, and the broth was—”

“And do I have to tell you whom I met in this morning’s walk?”

“Of course not. It was Emmalee, the Schnauzer. I could tell by just sniffing your legs.”

“And do I have to tell you what I snacked on earlier?”

“Leg of squirrel, your favorite”.

“Exactly. We don’t need words, Henry—which becomes extra useful when you get older and can’t remember them. We don’t need to make weird sounds. Most of the time we talk with our bodies.”

“You mean, there’s another way of talking?”

“Humans used to be like us, Henry, but now they depend more and more on the sounds coming out of their mouths.”

“But are human mouths as eloquent as human bodies?”

“Maybe not, Henry, given what their bodies look like. They’re always so stiff. But not their mouths, Chihuahua. Their mouths just roll on and on without stop.”

“Why do they talk so much, Aussie? I mean, how much is there to say?”

“You’re not as dumb as you look, Henry. Other than the basics—I’m hungry, I want to walk, I’m happy, I’m afraid—what else is there? But these humans want to share every little feeling, every little thing that comes up in their mind. Half the time they don’t even know what they’re feeling because they’re too busy talking.”

“Why, Aussie?”

“Would you stop with the how’s and the why’s, Henry? That’s what gets humans into so much trouble, everybody wants to know how and why. Or wants to tell you how and why, as if they really know. Just look at the Senora. Right now, she’s at her desk sharing her thoughts with the world. Why, Henry?”

“You told me never to ask why.”

“She’s not sharing things with her family or her pack, she’s sharing with other humans she’ll never meet. Not that those thoughts ever mean anything.”

“They don’t? Then why—I mean how—does she do that?”

“It’s worse than that, Henry. Even humans know that the more you use words, the less anybody understands anything.”

“Huh? Is huh okay?”

Aussie doesn’t mean anything, Illegal. It refers to me, but it tells you nothing about me. For example, does it capture the blackness of my black hair?”

“It does not, Aussie.”

“Does it capture my brilliance? Intrepid character? The depth of an old soul?”

“Maybe you don’t have any of those things, Aussie.”

“Of course, I have them, it’s the word that’s wrong. For instance, take the word Henry. Does it capture how silly your body looks so low on the ground?”


“Does it capture how funny you walk on those short legs, leaning a little to the left—of course that’s the direction you lean in.”

“It does not, Aussie.”

“Does it capture your shallow thinking, your naivete, and all-around dumbness?”

“It does not, Aussie. So maybe I don’t have those things.”

“No, Henry, it’s the word that’s wrong. In fact, the only word describing you that has any meaning at all is Illegal, because, as you know, Chihuahuas are illegal, and they should go back where they came—”

“You talk a lot also, Aussie.”

“You’re right, Illegal, words can’t begin to express what I feel about you, so why even try? Humans think their words take them deep, but words actually make their world smaller, not bigger.”

“So why does the Senora spend so much time making words, Aussie?”

“The Senora, Illegal, is a bodhisattva.”

“What’s that, Aussie?”

“Someone who wants to become like us, Henry, but does it for the sake of others.”

“But she spends too much time with words.”

“The Senora, Henry, is the Bodhisattva of Delusion. She uses delusions to help humans.”

“How does she do that, Aussie?”

“Fuck if I know, Henry.”

“But how do you free humans from confusion by using words, which are even more confusing?”

“It’s her path, Henry, not ours. And stop with the how’s and why’s. What are you doing now?”

“I’m giving you my play curtsy.”

“What’s a play curtsy?”

“I stand high up on my hind legs and my front body is on the floor. That means I want you to chase me.”

“Can’t you just say it? Read my lips, Illegal Chihuahua: I want you to chase me.”

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