Jim entered the kitchen whistling, pulling the large dog on a string. Immediately Katona screeched and jumped out the window: Noah was about to follow but Ingrid grabbed him and locked him safely in the lounge. The dog barked loudly then began sniffing round the bin. Jim tried to put his bag on the table; unfortunately the table contained dirty plates (some, he noted, from breakfast), glasses, cups, the fruitless fruit bowl, and a dirty nappy. For a nanosecond he visualised himself sweeping all the detritus away with one strong arm: instead he put the bag down on the lino, stacked the dish-washer, chucked the nappy in the bin and set the bag on the small patch of space he had created. Finally Ingrid looked up from her Kindle and waited for an explanation: Jim didn't feel like giving her one.
“So," she said at last, "you come home with a – four-footed killing machine and there’s nothing to explain?”
Jim had actually had a most illuminating discussion with the Celt and agreed to take the mutt off his hands. The tramp described the dog as "a bullet that can turn corners" - that sounded just the ticket. Having a dog would not only give him a good excuse to go out nights; he’d also have a faithful companion who never questioned his motives, past, future and certainly not his presence. It was win-win.
“I just thought we needed a dog,” he said. “Besides, I can take him for walks, and he can be company for you, and... and...”
Jim tailed off: the dog, as yet unnamed, ripped a bin liner to pieces, snarling.
“Ah, he’ll be fine,” said Jim. “Walk him every day, feed him, he’ll be a great addition to the family. Anyway he’s – protection.”
“Yes,” said Ingrid, in a mournful tone, “But who will protect us from him?”
Jim watched as the dog growlingly devoured leftovers, its gargantuan canine schlong all too apparent. He looked closer. They weren't leftovers: it had somehow opened the fridge and extracted a roast chicken. Its balls were like grapefruits. He shuddered.