Mom, Inc.

Snack Time

It’s worth all the trouble

By Renee Phile

They’re all watching me. I can’t move. I have to sit here until they don’t notice me anymore. I have to look casual, disinterested. The older boy plays his game; the younger one whines. If they would just stop looking at me, stop talking to me, I could get to it. I stand up, yawn for effect, and creep to the door of the bedroom.

“Bailey, no!” Mom says. My nails on the wood floor. Might as well be a car alarm. I lie down beside the door. Patience. It will have to wait. But I can’t wait! What if it’s gone by the time I get there? Libby will get it — that blasted cat. The worst day of my life was when they brought her home. She’s ridiculous and thinks she owns the place.

They stop paying attention. It was only a matter of time. I stand up. No one notices. Mom is cooking dinner (it smells good; I wonder if I will get a bite). Dad is working on his computer.

I tiptoe inside the doorway. Damn nails. “Bailey girl! What are you doing? Bailey!” The younger boy plops himself right down on me. It’s annoying, but being the patient Rottweiler that I am, I endure it.

“Kevin, get off her,” Mom says. Thank you, Mom. Kevin saunters off and I put my head down. I’ll try again in five minutes. Maybe four. Maybe three. The dinner smells so good, and Dad is still working on his computer, and the other boy is still playing his game, talking loudly in his headset to someone as he sits in front of the TV.

I stand up. No sudden moves. No one notices. Good. I inch inside the bedroom. No one sees me. Yeeeeessss! There she sits, like the queen she thinks she is — on the bed. I’m not allowed on the bed. She stares at me, and I think she is going to hiss at me, but she just stares. I stare back and inch forward, stop, inch some more until I get to the bathroom door.

“Where’s Bailey?” I hear Dad say. Oh no. They’re looking for me. I’m through the door. I’m in. There it is: Libby’s food. She never eats much of it anyway. I like to think she leaves it for me. Wait, she hates me. Either way, it’s mine.

Someone is moving in the kitchen.

“Is she outside?” Mom asks.

“I don’t think so,” I hear Dad say.

I gobble up all the food I can, not even taking a breath, like one of those pie eating contests. There it is. The bottom of the bowl. I scamper out, food still in my mouth, and lay down on the bedroom floor as nonchalant as you please. Been there for hours. The cat looks at me in disgust, and Dad comes into the room.

“Bailey? Did you eat the cat food?” How does he always, and I mean always, know? I look up at him with my eyes, but keep my head down. I don’t want him to smell the hairball formula on my breath. He walks past me and looks into the bathroom at the empty cat bowl.

“Come on. You know you’re in trouble,” he says, and I know, because, honestly, this has happened before. But, I don’t care that I have to sit in my crate for an hour. Solitary. I stand up and head to my crate while Dad follows. It’s all worth it, you see, as I lick my lips and glare at Libby, who looks at me with that strange smile.  PS

Renee Phile loves being a teacher, even if it doesn’t show at certain moments.

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