What was last week’s human idiom with which Carl had difficulty? “Making a mountain out of a molehill.” Reason? To Carl, a molehill is a mountain—and a mountain is a mountain. No difference.
Carl had warned me to be ready for an interview. I wasn’t worried about this—until I started seeing the paw printed signs posted around the house. On the refrigerator: “The Carl Report—I sniff out the stories that humans miss.” On the woodstove: “The Carl Report—A nose for the news.” On the bathroom door, (my personal favorite), “The Carl Report—One world, one crisis, one dog.”
It was abundantly clear, from the tone of these trial balloons, that the interview would not be a fluff piece extolling the wonders of my book, “The Five Names.” This would be hardball journalism. Knowing that Carl might catapult off in some unhealthy direction, I needed an advantage. A piece of string, a Ziploc bag and a premium treat should do the trick. I prepared the materials and awaited the interview.
The music blared, the drums pounded out an increasingly brisk pace. The announcer’s voice belted out: “The Carl Report—Setting the world right, one expose at a time.”
Carl, an unusually stern look on his face, addressed t he camera, “Today we have with us the presumed author of the book, going by the presumed title, ‘The Five Names.’”
This is going badly. “Yes, I am the author.”
“So you claim. But we shall see where the facts lead us. The question must be asked, ‘What is the name of your main character?’”
“Why, it’s Inkie.”
“Then you admit it!”
“That you pilfered your protagonist’s name from the liquid inside a ballpoint pen!”
It was time for the contingency plan. I reached behind my back. Unzipping the bag, I waved my hand to produce air movement. I would have to keep my cool until the effect kicked in. “Actually the name just popped into my head—one of those mystery-of-creativity things.”
“And we’re supposed to believe that….that your creative mind could come up with….with a name as good as that?” Carl’s eyes took on the slightest glaze. He seemed to fight off the malaise. “Is there any other evidence that you are able to select good names? What about the name: Korko and Ludas and Mironica and Blatan? From where did you illegally adopt those…?” Carl’s nose twitched, sampling the air.
It was time to make my move. I retrieved the plastic sandwich bag and removed the biscuit with the string attached. Holding the end of the string, I waved the biscuit before his face.
Carl’s head swiveled in time with the movement. He staggered, appearing dizzy, but managed a few words, “I implore you…come clean…confess….” He leaned so close that the swaying biscuit brushed his nose with each pass. He shook his head, apparently to gather his words for a last blast. “That’s it for today’s installment of “The Carl—ah—Retort—I mean Report!”
In the end, no harm was done. Carl got his premium biscuit and my book sales suffered no appreciable adjustment. As for, “The Carl Report,” I am uncertain of its status. The only one who knows has a Corgi’s heart.