Pocket has been getting up early and going somewhere for
the last couple of weeks. When I ask her where she has been, she says
just for a walk. I didn't believe that for a second. She was having
fun without me, and I could not stand it. I had to follow her.
I knew as soon as I got outside that I was not as prepared as Pocket. I had chosen to wear my eight-year-old body, which was comfortable but carries a few extra pounds. Pocket picked her puppy body and lengthened the distance between us, causing me to do the most dreadful activity: Running.
Pocket came to a mud puddle with a round log over it. Because of her diminutive size, she was able to scurry across. I had to move more carefully, and when I came to a slick spot in the middle, I slid off into the mud covering my body.
I stood and tried to clean myself off, although nothing would cleanse my humiliation. I followed Pocket's path for a minute and saw her smelling a tree trunk. Were these directions to whatever fun place she was going? When she scampered forward, I walked ahead to smell the tree. It said to follow the light. I looked up, took a few steps towards the sun, and fell down a gopher hole.
Darn the dreaded luck; I began to claw my way to the top when I felt the teeth of an angry gopher sinking into my tail. He let go long enough to call me a hole invader. I used that opportunity to pull myself out. I looked back and saw a chunk of my tail was missing.
At that point, a wise angel would have gone home, But I have always been too curious for my good. I picked up Pocket's scent and saw her burrowing under some thick brambles. I waited for her to clear the thorns then followed. They dug into my skin and the burrs stuck to my skin. I got one on the bottom of my paw, which made every step painful. I considered giving up but heard Pocket barking happily.
Now I had her.
I burst through the woods into the clearing where I expected to find her. Instead, a surfeit of skunks confronted me. Before I could speak, they hit me with multiple blasts of skunk spray.
I gave up and began to walk home covered in mud, thorns, burrs, and skunk spray. I.was limping, missing part of my tail, and unrecognizable. Those who did notice me provided a wide berth. They were less able to tolerate my odor than I was.
I arrived home to find Pocket blithely sitting on the picnic table licking her paw. I asked where she had been. "You should know," she said sagely. "You have been following me."
I tried to feign ignorance. "The truth is written all over your face," she said," or at least your fur. You fell in the mud chasing me over a log, fell into a gopher hole trying to sniff my tree, got the cuts from the brambles I climbed under, and my skunk friends sprayed you."
"How did you know?" I asked anxiously.
"Because I led you there," she said. "I wanted to teach you a lesson about sticking your nose where it doesn't belong. How did it go?"
I was furious and vowed my revenge, but deep down, I was proud of her.
I had taught her well.