A Tail of Two Dogs

October 5, 2009

Han padded into the downstairs family room, searching for his sister, Mitsu.  As usual, she lay in the center of the room, flat on her back, as their human, Duncan, typed away on his computer in front of her.  Han’s miniature dachshund body did not have far to go as he plopped down next to his sister and yawned.

“Hey.  ‘Sup?”

“Not much.  I licked Duncan’s foot earlier until he started laughing and shooed me away, but otherwise nothing.”

“Oh.”  Han looked around.  Duncan was sitting in his big black chair and moving his fingers over some clickity-thing.  The little dog tilted his head.  “Hmm.  What do you think he’s doing up there?”

Mitsu looked at their human without turning her neck.  Her eyes were comically showing a lot of white as they stretched to see.  “Dunno,” she replied.  “Probably has something to do with communicating with other humans.”

Han was puzzled.  “Why do you say that?”

Mitsu looked back at her brother.  “That’s what humans are always doing.  Mass communicating.”

Han again was at a loss for words.  “What’s that?” he asked.

Mitsu rolled over to face him.  “Mass communication.  Humans are weird.  It’s a process of communicating ideas or messages to a group of other humans, using visual techniques like waving those pretty flags around or a broadcast through those glowing boxes called Tee-Vee’s.  Or, it could be through aural techniques like horn blowing or when one of the humans gets up and speaks to a bunch of other ones.”

Han lay his head down, pondering such strange words as “broadcast” and “aural.”  “I think I get it,” he mumbled.  “But how do they get those messages out?  I could never bark as far as they seem to go.”

Mitsu licked her nose before continuing.  “It’s called mass media.  They’re channels through which messages are sent to groups of humans.  It could be music or a Tee-Vee news human talking on one of those networks.  You know that one song that Duncan loves so much?  I think it’s his favorite one.”

“The Cinema Show.  Yeah, by that band Genesis.  He loves that one.  And, and,”  Han replied, working himself up with this flash of insight, “that thing on the clickity-box!  The Onion News Network!”

“Mmm-hmm.  He always laughs at those guys.”

The two dogs lay still for a moment, the intense brain activity having exhausted them for the time being.  Han broke the silence.  “How did you know all that stuff?  That’s human stuff.”

Mitsu rolled on to her stomach and sniffed the carpet, then proceeded to lick it.  “I dunno,” she said between licks, “I just pick it up since I always follow Duncan around.”

“Hey!  Mitsu, stop licking the carpet,” came a booming voice from above.  The miniature dachshunds snapped to attention.  Duncan had paused his clicking and was looking down at the little dog.  She reluctantly stopped and flopped on to her side.  As he turned back to what he was doing, Han commented,

“Man, I love humans but you’re right, they’re weird.  They can communicate with each other over such long distances through all those different channels, but they can’t understand why we have to do what we do.”

“Yeah.  Oh well,”  his sister replied, closing her eyes for a nap.  Han sighed and got up, going off to sniff for crumbs in the kitchen.

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