“Jim,” he said all in a rush, “I need help. They’re escaping. All over the United States, from all the supersecret locations. I’ve got reports. They’re all escaping.”
“Who’s escaping?” Baker asked. But he knew. Baker always knew.
He hated even having to say the words. “The Dog-people,” he finally whispered into the receiver.
But once he’d gotten that out, the dam burst. He was babbling, telling Baker that he had to drop everything, it didn’t matter what, and come back and help him just one more time. Help him take care of the Dog-people, he couldn’t do it alone, he was sorry, he —
Baker was silent a long time. When he spoke, it was in a voice of incredulous disgust.
“Why, you pooch-fucker,” Baker said.
He hung up the phone, distracted and fretful.
He knew he ought to work. Bosnia, Herzegovina — oh, hell, they’d still be there tomorrow. He threw down the pencil; he knew what the matter was. It was always like this when he was under stress.
He needed some A-1 pooch-time.
But where could he get one? The pound was closed. Maybe just — hadn’t the Mex grandkids been watching Lassie? But then he’d have to ask somebody how to work the VCR. He felt frantic.
Then he saw her. Those eyes, so loyal, so trusting. That lolling tongue. He knew he’d be breaking every promise he’d ever made to himself. Oh, dammit! Of all the Oval Offices in all the White Houses in the world, why did she have to be lying under the desk in his?
“Millie?” he whispered.
She licked his hand. He stealthily disrobed.
It wasn’t the dog’s fault. It was — him! It was it. It was his it. It wouldn’t — well, it wouldn’t. The performance thing. The hard part. And the dog was there, waiting. He whimpered, and the dog looked over her shoulder at him.
Could things get worse? The door creaked open. And there was the dog, and him standing there, with one hand full of useless poppycock.
“I don’t care what you say,” Bar said. “If you’ve already done what it looks like you’re trying to do, that bitch is getting an abortion.”