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Ways and Means
by Matthew Charles
Matthew Charles -- all rights reserved
 

"You lying shit!"

She throws something at me - a book, I think. I side-step, but it catches me on the paw. Damn, but she's got a mean aim. I drop down to my belly, muzzle level with the ground, eyes wide and mournful, and make keening noises - a picture of hurt innocence.

Her handbag hits me on the nose. She isn't buying it.

I knew this had to happen sooner or later - I just wish I'd had more time. I hate making quick getaways; preparation makes things a hell of a lot easier. Plus, she'll be onto me; word'll go around and I won't be able to find a new place near here. Sneaking away in the middle of the night would've been much smoother. Still, I won't be going empty-handed. I pick up her bag in my mouth and scoot out the front door. She starts running after me, but there's no way she'll catch up. Could've been a whole lot worse.

It's frustrating, though. I mean, how was I to know she'd pop back like that? She was supposed to be at work all day. Okay, I knew it was a risk - but you would not believe how sick you can get of dog food. I order out for pizza once - just once - and she chooses that exact moment to walk in the door. Jeezus! Talk about your bad luck. All that effort going through the mail and removing anything about the new credit cards, and I'll never get to use any of them. It was such a cute trick, too - "My dog's clever enough to fetch the mail for me!" Damn.

She didn't fall for the "mysterious intruder" switch either. It sounds corny, but it's worked before - owner sees an unknown SCAB using her phone and clutching her credit card. SCAB sees owner, and ducks out the room. By the time owner follows, all she sees is a wide-open front door and good ol' Fido barking up a storm. Okay, it's a bit of a give-away that Fido and Mysterious SCAB are the same breed, but who's gonna believe their dog is smart enough to dial out for pizza?

Not this time, though. I s'pose I should've shifted further, but it's a hell of a lot of effort even going 'morphic. In theory I could've reached the point of being a hairy man, but what's the point in treating yourself if you have to make yourself sick doing it?

Aw, to hell with it. There's bound to be enough money in her bag for a decent lunch, and I'm sure I can find a pair of pants somewhere. Life would sure be easier if shops didn't insist on you wearing them; I hate having to rustle up clothes every time I go out. What's the point, if you're only gonna have them on for a few minutes?

Anyway. A decent meal - I can't even remember the last time I ate something hot - and then I'd better find a new home. It'll have to be on the other side of town where there's no chance of running into one of my old "owners" who's wise to me. Maybe someone older this time, somebody who isn't gonna put two and two together so quickly. A granny - I feel like being spoiled for a while. Sure, having your tummy tickled by an arthritic widow isn't quite the same as getting it from a hot, sweet twenty-something, but beggars can't be choosers. I'll settle for free food, no work and a spot by the fire.

Plus, the little old ladies are so much easier to charm - the sad, wide-eyed, all-alone-on-your-doorstep look gets them every time. You'd be amazed how much meaner housewives can be. And last but definitely not least, there's always the hope of a friendly granddaughter in red bringing goodies.

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