“ … So you see, children,” Roper was having Story Time with the twins in his office. “That’s why you should never, ever get close to an Armadillo.” He dusted the pop-grub crumbs from his sweater and wiped his paws on the grub-linen napkin draped across his lap.
His 3 month old pups, Griff and Taffy, sat on the other side of his desk on a sofa upholstered in the softest grubshmere. They clapped excitedly as Roper finished his cautionary tale about Armadillos. “Oh, please, tell us more, Pa Pa!” they cried.
Roper glanced at the clock mounted on the wall. “Well, we really don’t have time today, children, for another story. You’re Au Pair will be here in a few minutes to take you to your welding class. We’ll have another story tomorrow, I promise. Maybe you’d like to hear the story of how your Pa Pa came into the world?”
“Oh yes, Pa Pa!” the twins exclaimed.
“Very well,” said Roper, pleased the children were so interested in what he had to say. He really enjoyed all the times they spent listening intently while he told story after story about himself and his life and achievements. It was so wonderful to share this quality time with them. He really should remember to tell Fluffy how grateful he was that she didn’t allow him to sell the twins when they were born, he thought to himself.
Then there was a sharp rap on his office door. “Yes, enter,” Roper called out.
Granny Cookie, the graying toy poodle toddled into the office and approached the twins. She looked at Roper. “Uhhnn,” she said.
“Yes, I know we ran a bit long today, Cookie,” Roper said. “We just enjoy hearing these stories of my life so very much, don’t we children?” The twins nodded.
“Well, anyway, they’re all yours,” he motioned toward Cookie. To the twins he said, “Be good at welding and remember to take deep shallow breaths.”
“Cookie, Fluffy and I have dinner plans – an important political event – this evening. We’ll be late getting home so make sure the children have their bath and recite their Pledge of The Under Dome Allegiance before bed,” he said to the poodle.
“Uhhnn.” Cookie replied.
“Okay, then,” Roper said. “See you later, children. Thank you Cookie.”
“Uhhnn.” Cookie and the twins exited the office.
“Cookie certainly seems like she’s in a good mood today,” Roper said to himself after the door had closed behind them.
I don’t know how long this meeting with Harry will last, he thought. Maybe I should dress for tonight’s event before I leave. I’ll just have to be extra careful not to spill anything on myself before Fluffy and I have to be at the Center for Vole Enlightenment fundraising dinner.
He rose from his desk chair and walked to the large walk in closet near his executive washroom. Entering, he flipped the switch just inside the door and light flooded the cavernous room, revealing row after row of hats, shoes, vests, fur coats in varying lengths, styles and colors as well as jewel encrusted jumpsuits and accessories.
“Let’s see,” Roper mumbled. “What to wear, what to wear …” He perused the rows of clothing, touching an item occasionally and pulling out different outfits and holding them up in front of himself at the full length mirrors covering one end of the room. He finally settled on a scarlet silk vest with a peacock embroidered across the back, a matching wide-brimmed hat and a teal green cravat studded with glittering stones. He carefully selected trousers of the same green color, but made from soft vole-velvet – a synthetic fabric made from grubs, but imitating the velvet like texture of the vole’s fur. It was one of the most popular fabrics made from grubs, as many voles found themselves facing premature pattern baldness on their bodies as they aged and they were happy to wear ‘vole-suits’ over their own thinning fur. Slipping on the pants, he admired himself in the mirror. He loved the way the pant legs puffed out at the haunches and then narrowed to a snug, narrow cuff at the knee, making his backside appear even more splendid. He next located the scarlet shoe-boots with pointed, bejeweled toes, a minimal 1 inch heel and a shiny grub shaped buckle across the top. He quickly stepped into the shoes and twirled in front of the mirror again. Checking to see that his hat was perched just right, he switched off the light, closed the door to the closet and zipped out the door of his office, on his way to meet Harry at the Southside Café.