The Dog and the Bone

Hi, I’m Maximillian Mouse and if you’ve got a problem you want solving – just give me a call

The neat Calibri font popped up expectantly on the screen in front of me as I wracked my brains as to how to continue the opening chapter of my new book, The Dog and the Bone.

I gazed vacantly out of the window over the top of my monitor and twiddled my hair between my thumb and two fingers. A pair of snails slid into my consciousness as they made their way effortlessly up the side of the wall. Hamilton and Rosberg battling for first place at the chequered hanging basket. I groaned inwardly in glum anticipation of the half-eaten leaves I would have to pull off later. But how wrong I was! Onwards and upwards they perpetuated their glide, way past the basket, and I wondered where they were going. The same place as my planning for this story I guessed – nowhere in particular.

Where’s Aesop when you want him?

I know… I could write about the person I share a job with. Nah. She’s frustrating, annoying, a vinegar-filled sandwich, unpleasant – not at all the sort of person anyone wants to share a job with.

I could write about my girls, generous and affable, a multi-layered chocolate cake, not sickly sweet – exactly the sort of people anyone would want to share a job with. I could write about their childhood and about how gorgeous our first-born looked on her wedding day, how beautiful our youngest will be on hers – but that story would need far more than five hundred words…

I looked up at the wall. The snails were nowhere to be seen. I scratched my head and tried to concentrate. Think!

Well, I could write about MY childhood: about how I couldn’t do games at school and spent most of my days fighting for breath. Most people wouldn’t guess that I was a cripplingly asthmatic child when they see me chasing around these days. But I still hate sport – except maybe Formula One, in short doses.

Wait! Here they come again. Where have they been? Peeping through the upstairs windows? The roof? A top-up of Shell? Still racing I see…

Our lovely ginger-haired Lhasa-Apso. Yes, definitely worth a mention. I say ‘our’. He was our daughter’s before he became ours, belonged to her fiancé before that and his ex-wife before him! He’s a family dog all right – extended family. He likes us – we love him. Well I do, at least, and my husband does – secretly. He has a character all of his own, especially when he lies wantonly upside-down like a dead fly, legs splayed, fast asleep. The dog that is, not my husband.

So, my job? Hmm. That could be of interest? I’m a teacher. Whenever I’m asked what I teach, I want to say “Children”, because it’s too embarrassing and impossible to list just how many hats I’ve worn over the years. A jack-of-all subjects: Maths, English, Humanities, Science, Spanish, French, Information & Communication Technology, not to mention teaching children how to write stories…

What? How? When here I am, sitting fingers poised for action in front of my laptop, mind blank, not able to think of a single thing to write! Hang on in there Maximillian…

Good grief! The snails are on for another lap! Here they come, back up the wall.

Thinking of what to write next is driving me right up it!


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