Translation by Adrian Krajewski
Mary Anne rolled like a ball through one of the main streets in town. Behind her, in single file, followed two dogs, both as obese as she was. First walked Theodore, a Dachshund, who was practically sweeping the pavement with his belly. He was preoccupied with his never-ending digestion and looked as if he was snoozing. He watched the world through the slits between his eyelids, which were open only slightly so as to avoid bumping into things. Because of this fixed expression, he looked as if he judged everything and everyone. Right behind him walked shaggy Katherine – a mixture of spaniel and something very fluffy. She paced as gracefully as she could and looked around with her large black eyes, which were surrounded by dark eyelash curtains. Despite her graceful stride and insightful look, she appeared comical because of the four long and stick-like legs that poked out from her round body.
Mary Anne walked into the Vanilla Cafe as a part of her morning routine. She emerged after a moment and put two doughnuts in front of each of her dogs. She looked at both animals with tenderness and disappeared once again behind the cafe door. For another hour or so, she would indulge herself in eating sweet treats and sipping strong black coffee.
Theodore and Katherine bit into their doughnuts and made themselves comfortable in front of the cafe. Every now and then, their owner knocked on the window and waved at them through the glass.
The Dachshund was licking at the icing of his ring doughnut in a state of ecstasy and smearing his ears with the sticky goo. Katherine nibbled at her custard doughnut with her front teeth, much like those who try to hide their voracity behind false restraint. Ideally, she would gulp it down in two bites. Having eaten her portion, Katherine started to watch passers-by and the traffic, while Theodore was trying to lick the icing off his long ears, with little or no success.
Mary Anne’s feast took longer than usual because she met a friend and had to chat through a backlog of gossip. Nevertheless, she did not forget about her pets and took two meringues outside for them, each as big as the palm of her hand. The meringues were eaten in a flash, and the pavement was licked clean.
Every few moments kids accompanied by their parents stopped by the two dogs and wanted to pet them. Theodore bared his teeth because he felt he was half-human and resented the undignified patting of his head and the pulling of his tail and ears. He was looking at Katherine with contempt. She begged, gave her paw and listened to compliments with delight.
Finally, Mary Anne left the cafe, and they all went to the park. After all, it was the main reason that they left home. The dogs had to have a decent spell of exercise at least once a day. When Theodore felt the lush, green grass under his paws, it woke the beast in him. He charged at a nearby stick and frantically started to shred it into slivers. Then he chased a squirrel, and when it ran up a tree, he continued to yap. Meanwhile, Kathryn watched two hounds racing the wind on a huge lawn, and she thought that she could do that too, if only she wanted to. Mary Anne, having her pets in sight, sat on her usual bench, took the book out of her bag and started to read. The dogs had some time off.
Theodore, who was almost hoarse because of his barking, directed one final growl at the squirrel, which was sitting safely on its branch, to let it know that this was not over yet and that he would keep an eye out for it. Then he moved to the pond. He waded in the shallow water and, just like every other day, he became frustrated at his inability to catch any of the small waves hitting the shore, so he walked towards some picnic blankets spread under nearby trees. He had perfected his system of begging for food. The trick was not to appear pushy and to steer the situation in such way that the human believed that they had initiated the feeding. He sat at a distance, tried to look as friendly as he could and patiently watched the humans eat. Sooner or later somebody would notice him and try to lure him by holding some treat in their hands. Theodore, seemingly hesitant, would then move closer and slowly relish the treat. He would take a tour of all of the picnics, always returning to the one which fed best. Afterwards, he would happily lie down under Mary Anne’s bench to doze on the grass until it was time to go home.
Katherine tried to use her time more actively. First, she would take the round through all the alleys. Here and there she trotted for a few metres to stay fit. Only then, once she was sufficiently tired and felt that she had earned it, would she start looking for something tasty to eat. On hot summer days like this one, she looked for kids with ice cream. She approached them and played with them gently, and when their parents looked away for just a tiny second, she stared at the child’s ice cream and waved her tail vigorously. The happy toddler would immediately get the idea and always gave some to Katherine while making sure the parent wasn’t looking. When they turned to see their baby licking the delicacy and the dog wallowing in the grass, all appeared to be well. Katherine and the children stuck together.
It was nearly dinner time and about time to go home. Mary Anne and the dogs marched back through the city in file, just as they did in the morning. After the dinner, the dogs cleaned their bowls and asked for more. And then another more. During his siesta, Theodore napped on the couch while Katherine sat comfortably on the pillow, watching pedestrians, dogs and cars through the window. In the evening Sofia, who was Mary Anne’s friend, would come over and they would watch various tv series together. She usually had some dog treats, but this time she brought a ball. Theodore fetched twice but got tired, so he pushed the ball under the wardrobe with his nose, pretending it was an accident, and he did so in such way that nobody could recover the toy.
At night Theodore slept under the duvet at the end of the bed. It was roasting hot and there was no air to breathe, but that’s how he liked it. Katherine lay on the cold floor because she always felt hot thanks to her thick fur. Both dogs dreamt of what treats tomorrow would bring, drooling and wagging their tails. Occasionally, they would wake up, but seeing it was still dark, they would stretch out and fall back into dreamland, where the doughnuts, the custard and the icing never ended.
Photo by me, cake made by Adrian Krajewski 😉