Aleksandra has issues with her voice. Stress makes her stutter, and her life is one of stress. She can only speak clearly on stage, freed by the words of the character she plays. Then, when Aleksandra befriends her new neighbour Megan, and through her meets charming, handsome Ruben, it seems she has discovered a doorway into a different world, and a different Alek. But Ruben wants Aleksandra to play a particular role for him, and it is one that will come close to destroying her.
Cone or not cone that’s the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the insults of ointment, hydrogen peroxide, and the arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against Umi and fight to scatter her. Border and Bard share the same consonants. We are both English and Poets. Maybe he went to the aesthetic surgeon too instead of to the vet like me.
And yes! As far as my ear bitten by a pittbull is concerned Umi is doing “much ado for nothing”. And I, the Border from Stradford-upon-Adige, have enough of it. If I don’t pay attention the hole in the ear could open? Ok I will wear an earring! Like Will or Drake the Pirate did, or if you prefer like the sailors who survived to Cape Horn, where the ocean fight! I rounded Cape-of-Good-Hope-they-leave-me-in-peace and it do the same!
And, as my life was a sheakspearean tragedy there is also the scratching prohibition. Umi issued an edict: “any dog (as if we were a lot! ) scratching itself will be punished with a shout” that will pierce the eardrums but save the ear pavilion. When don’t wear the collar I must clean myself and being a Border I clean my hair. I don’t stink and then the “family jewels” must be well kept. No great strategist would ever won a battle if the artillery wasn’t properly oiled and the cannon-balls well polished.
Switching from tragedy to comedy like it happened at Will’s Globe, Umi and I met a man in the street who asked if I’m a male (what a question!). He has a little dog at leash, wearing a black&pink coat, I didn’t see at all, let’s figure to guess what it was!
He stood and gesticulate, he talked nonsense and Umi nodded patiently while I’m thrilling unpatiently…. and she kept on smiling doltish. Believe me, that man rounded Cape Horn twice but head down and he had even a screw loose.
I’m asking myself: should we be nice with every mad we meet? Under that pink coat he has a wheeled plastic duck , I tell you!
Let’s go Milady, please… For heaven’s sake, Umi, put it off!
Sheepdog, sheep, flock control are part of a Border Collie work, and yet Brick slights them. He likes to taste the sheep poop pralines and to bark to the hens in the near fence. He barks offensively aloud to the horses but he is not interested in the sheep. At least this is Umi’s idea after a few sheep control lessons that she and Bryce did together.
But other thoughts go through young Brick’s mind, while he rests dirty and tired.
“I ask myself: why should I gather 4 afraid sheep? Ok, I’m a border and if you take me to a farm in a boundless moor with a flock to be led to a sheepfold I could bustle. But in a fence, with the sheep I feel myself uncomfortable then the poor animals are fed up to give lessons to a dog, the teacher explains to the people what to do and they do it, they improvise themselves shepherds and dogs engage and some even try to bite the sheep. The dogs, the ordinary ones, don’t know that during serious sheepdog competitions biting the sheep shank is a serious penalty. They can even be disqualified only for a bite! I don’t want to be the jaguar’s friend or rewrite Tom and Jerry subverting the things natural order, but I’m sorry for those wooly heads, all day long going around foolishly in a fence, going in and out the gates risking the shanks only to entertain humans! We, the borders, control the sheep with our look, our eyes give order…. let German Shepherd join the Police and leave us the dirty job! Paws get muddy, hair puffs up and our magnetic eyes order the rebel sheep to go back to the flock. That happens in Scotland or in the Alp pastures, not in the riding school fence behind the house. There you annoy the hens because a serious border has mostly a nuisance nature. He is irreverent, virtually scoundrel, and extremely clever to understand when a human needs to be cuddled. We, the borders, love to converse with horses, they have great empathy and irony, we gladly exchange a few jokes when we met. As far as the pralines are concerned… everyone has his own weaknesses and tastes… and it’s real vegan food!
It’s raining, I just came back, the rain makes me completely humid. I was well dried and rubbed. Now I’m lying on then carpet by the fire burning in the fireplace. I hear Umi working in the kitchen but I know I don’t need to get up because according to my brothers when she is there she only plays with the chemistry set…
Therefore I keep watching at the fire! Rain reminds me at something I don’t know but that is in me somewhere. It doesn’t bother me to have wet hair, my undercoat keeps me warm and dry. I love running in the rain, it makes me electric! If I close my eyes, stung by the flames’heat, I can imagine myself working on my canine ancestors’cold hills, I hear the shepherds’ whistles, the mud soaking my paws while I rally big and nervous sheeps. My young body’s energy busts in the control and gathering work, and overcomes cold and danger and even the stony ground scratching my fingertips.
I open my eyes on my pack, the pack I love like only dogs can do. My human brother, that I wake up every morning with my humid nose, that I push out of the door and follow with my eyes till he leaves the house alleyway (not for nothing, but if he looses the bus I must “keep it” till we take him downtown to the school). To wake up my other brother I must jump on him with all my four paws! But… how much do the humans sleep? Then there is Umi… you can’t even imagine how much patience I need with her! She stops to talk with an old couple: the lady has a stick, the dog has not… but I’m sure it would be useful to him too… Umi softens and every time is almost moved: the dog was her husband’s, who died some years ago. The ambulance came to talk him and since then the dog doesn’t bear the siren’s sound. Before dying at the hospital the old man was worried about his dog’s future and since then his wife always keeps the dog by her side as she was the husband. Life, old age, and death: that’s the way it goes. Stop moving every time! I close my eyes and let the fire heat warm my hair and bones. The rain smell is still in my nostrils… I could be elsewhere, there, where my nature would like to be… but I’m here and here I’m useful.
I’m a border collie then I’m a herding dog. I gather the sheep on the Scottish highlands, I run with a lower tail, my body stretched forward and alert eyes. Nothing shrink my look and when the shepherd whistles I run like an arrow. That’s what is told about me and what is written in my DNA. Not all Border collies work in Scotland with sheep, some of us are excellent athletes or Civil Protection volunteers both in the UK and in other countries.
And then there is me and my Umi.
Well, she is not a real natural disaster and nevertheless she is a hard work, turning me in a watchdog (and being a border this is very disheartening). To make matters worse Umi is a real wrangler. At the park if a careless human let his dog dirty she attacks like a Rottweiler. And she never argues with the little dogs’ owners, I had to deal with a long haired German Shepherd… okay, it was enough to bark at him that I would tear his fur with my bites and I would spit his braided hair like a David Crockett’s hat and he immediately settled down quietly. But not all dogs are borders. Besides I must get food and therefore I let my human brother teach me some tricks (some stupid games). I’m learning “sbam”: I should lay down as if I was dead. I think to eat a pair of that Frankfurter packages, that he uses as positive reinforcement, before showing him a perfect “sbam”. However, as far as food is concerned you must trust only Granny, although being a cat lover eel she is very wise. While Umi was cutting some cheese on the chopping board to prepare pizza I was sniffing it… I was sniffing and drooling. It’s not my fault if I’m a shepherd… for a big piece of cheese I would do a perfect “sbam” at the first shot. In short I was sniffing that Sardinian cheese laying only a inch far away from my nose but dangerously near the table edge. Umi stated: “He is a good dog, he would never steal it” (deluded human) and Granny said: “He is a family dog (you can bet I’m), he doesn’t think to steal it but simply to take it (I’m not a thief). Put yourself in his border head (but yet it’s difficult to soar so much)…food belongs to the pack: like your son opens the fridge to take a coke so Brik would take the cheese”.
That’s why I love her even though she is a cat lover. I don’t have opposable thumbs to take the fridge handle yet I have opposable jaws for the cheese and this doesn’t mean to steal but to take with elegance!
My Granny, half French and half Roman, is part of my pack. Each morning she arrives trotting cheerfully. I founded the “5 paws movement” for the protection of the home dog’s rights with my human brothers. We put Umi immediately in the minority making any opposition of hers fall, while Granny is the extremist fringe of the opposition resistance. She uses a rolled newspaper as a weapon to threaten me when I wallow on the lounge carpet to scratch myself. Should I pretend to be afraid? As If I didn’t know a newspaper can be reduced to coriander… Naive like a flower-power girl!
Granny always reads with a cat on her lap. She thinks cats are always right and I’m always wrong. I can’t jump on the bed while cats can; I can’t sit on the couch, they can sleep on it for hours; they can even use me as a pillow but I can’t play with them: because I frighten them!
When I have to pee is a war: “not on the hydrangeas”, “not in the rock garden side” “not on the sage” shouts Granny! And I must jump to the oleander, while the cats… they pee everywhere to mark their territory, they delimit our garden’s perimeters to keep the neighborhood cats out. Which simply means they pee wherever they want.
Granny is a eel: if she comes to the market with us, she escapes and slips among the benches and I get mad to find her, to launch the “lost granny” alarm and bring Umi on her trace.
And yet… Granny is corruptible! She thinks to be able to open the cookie jar preventing me to hear her. I always catch her red-handed and then I have my insatiable revenge: I look at her, I stare at her following the sweet movement of the sugar free cookies she dips in her tea (I’m always a border collie, I control the sheep alone with my look and I’m an hypnosis master). My eyes make her feel guilty, they make her feel a fat, old human starving a sad malnourished dog. And being a great artist I let a thread of drool fall on the ground, I’m like a spider weaving its web. Therefore every time she surrenders and with a guilty feeling and some disgust she gives me a cookie. We shouldn’t eat cookies because I’m allergic to cereals and she has a bad relationship with her glycemic index, but none of us will ever say a word to Umi.
At the end Granny gets angry with Umi and she reproaches her for the anarchy reigning in our pack. It’s not real anarchy: the cats rule. But I keep this opinion only for myself.
Vive la république!
This morning Umi and I were going out for our quite daily walk, but my human brother lost once again the bus to school, so we rushed in the car to pick and bring him to school. Yet I should pee but I told to myself… I could keep it for a while.
I didn’t like car rides but by now I’m used to and when we go downtown I look out of the window. My brother put some music on, Umi’s loved one, to relax her. He uses Billy Joel like I use my dog smile and happy wag to be forgiven. We stopped and I saw a human who was oddly dressed. Her face was black like a tree bark, had a crooked expression and wore two trousers together and she limped. She stretched her hand towards me and I licked the window…
Meanwhile I should still pee… but at the next stop there was another human. She was tall with rear shining and high heel “lift-paws”. On her body without fur she wore a red jacket and skirt (border can memorize up to 1000 words: it’s scientifically tested). She had such shining and black hairs, that according to me they put pure salmon oil also in her kibbles. Then she had two dark frisbees on her eyes, they were so big they hid half of her face. Once in a cableway they put me a muzzle, perhaps those frisbee are a sort of human one… in front of the school there were a lot of young human specimen: sweet, all looking alike, all smelling milk and cigarettes. Humans without furs are odd: they disguise themselves as they like and however I should still pee…
My Umi always wears old trekking trousers, t-shirt and sneakers, now she has short hairs and it’s said she looks like a little artichoke ( by the way, what is it a little artichoke? I don’t know this word). But Umi smell good and scent of mom and I like her! Damned music, damn young human: I’m softening! … hey brother next time let’s listen to AC/DC otherwise I loose bite!
Meanwhile we arrived at the park: finally I opened the bulkheads, opened my hydrant and I was flooding the world!