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  • James Glover

Story 11: Dante has a strange day

Updated: Aug 23


It was not even lunch time and already, Dante thought, it was turning out to be a very funny “peculiar” not ‘haha’ day. DeDe had woken him up early, so early in fact, it wasn’t even light. She’d had a bad dream and needed a cuddle to feel safe. At the very moment they’d both dozed off again the furless two legs turned on the lights and got up much earlier than usual. Dante was not happy about the early start, didn’t they know DeDe had interrupted his sleep?

After a stretch, he ambled downstairs expecting breakfast to be ready and waiting. To his shock his bowl was empty, and there was no sign of anyone doing anything about filling it. While muttering something about poor service he went into the garden for his routine inspection and security check.


Dante appreciates his routine and prefers to stick to it. So an unexpected early car ride was doing nothing to help his mood.

When the garden inspections were completed and he’d come inside, there was still no breakfast and still no sign of it being prepared. With another firm grunt he went and sat down by the fire. He must have dozed off because the next thing he knew he was being lifted into the car and taken who knows where?


Dante appreciates his routine and prefers to stick to it, so an unexpected early car ride was doing nothing to help his mood. They hadn’t gone far when the car stopped and the furless two legs walked him into what looked like a shop. The place had a counter with furless two legs behind it, but he couldn’t see what they were selling.


After looking around for a minute he smelt a very familiar smell. Dante didn’t like the smell at all because it reminded him of another visit to a similar place where someone had given him a painful sharp injection he hadn’t appreciated.


After waiting a few minutes he heard his name being called and he was taken into another room, where he was met by a furless two legs in a white coat. Without so much as a ‘hello, would you like a treat’ he was lifted onto the table. Two very big hands grabbed his face and rudely opened his mouth. “Yes, that’s certainly a cracked tooth” he heard a voice say. Everything after that was a bit of a blur. The next thing he knew, he was being driven home with a rather sore mouth.

When he walked through the door, DeDe was pleased to see him although his breath smelt terrible, and she preferred he didn’t come too close. This was a little unfair, after all he had done to help her get over her bad dream. Surely she could put up with a little smelly breath and be kind? Couldn’t she see his legs were wobbly? Feeling a little hurt, he took himself off to find a comfy spot by the fire.


By early afternoon he was feeling a little better, but not that much better to go to the beach. He suggested they might have a gentle walk into town and do a little shopping. Perhaps they could stop off at the cafe and treat themselves?


DeDe was suspicious of Dante’s suggestion because he never offers to go shopping with her. The one time they had gone shopping, he complained she did too much looking and not enough buying. Dante can never understand why the looking takes so much longer than the buying. In his eyes shops are not a place for loitering.


As they walked up the High Street DeDe went straight to the coat shop. She’d seen glossy photographs of the new waisted jackets from the Miss Darcy range, and was keen to try all of them on. By the time she’d taken the fourth jacket off the rail Dante was fidgety, so told her he was going to the cafe. He knew she hadn’t heard him, because she didn’t take her eyes away from the mirror as she turned this way, then that way, to see how she looked.


At the cafe, there was nobody sitting at his favourite table by the window, so he quickly jumped on a chair to wait for his biscuit. His favourite waitress Juliette, always remembers his order, and he never has to wait too long. The moment the biscuit arrived he took one big bite. “OUCH”,he said loudly, “That hurt!”


As the pain subsided he took a sip of water and began to feel quite sorry for himself. So sorry in fact that he thought he was about to cry. Nothing had gone right all day and he really didn’t think this was fair.


After a while he noticed a very smart ‘non-doodle’ sitting at the table at the other side of the room. On noticing that Dante was sad he got up and walked over towards him. “Pleeassse can Izzze joinez-vous and squattez la?” he said.


Before Dante could open his mouth the smart non-doodle had sat down. After a sigh Dante started to tell him what a terrible day he was having. How he was so hungry, and how the biscuit was painful to eat. As they chatted Dante began to notice the non-doodle’s eyes glaze over as if he couldn’t understand a word he was saying.


Perhaps the non-doodle was deaf thought Dante, so he began to talk louder. This didn’t seem to make any difference, other than cause the non-doodle to splutter as if he’d smelt a rather bad smell. Dante then remembered what DeDe had said about his breath, so he moved to the other end of the table. Dante then wondered if he talked slower the non-doodle might understand him a little better. He started with, my……mouth…….is….sore……and…….I….am…..hungry……as……..I…….didn’t……..have……. breakfast.


"Oooooh la la" said the non-doodle, "la biscuit is no good for you. Have you thought of eating something soft like a croissant avec confiture ou un souffle peut etre?" What sort of speaking was this? Ooooh la la? Avec confiture? The day was getting worse thought Dante.


Now Dante knows it’s rude to ask personal questions, but because it had been such a very strange day, he decided he could be excused. “Why are you talking so strangely? Have you had a tooth out today?” he said.


“Oh no” said the non-doodle, “I have all my teeth merci beaucoup. I always talk like this, I am French! I am here in your country to learnings English. Today I learns many new words, such as ham and pickle, pie and chips, gin and tonic and the phrase ‘bright n breezy’. I like that one very much”


"How do you do, my name is Dante and I’m a Camberdoodle. What is your name?"

"Je m’appelle Benoit, spelt with a ’t’ at the end, but pronounced Benwah!" Dante thought this was very strange. Although his spelling wasn’t as good as it should be, he did wonder why Benoit had a ’t’ when it didn’t need one. Dante was spelt with a ’t’ and it certainly needed it. In fact his name needed all its letters.

Luckily, as he was thinking what to say next, DeDe arrived and sat down next to him. Dante pointed at the non-doodle and whispered “he’s French!”


With a broad smile DeDe turned and without a flicker said “Bonjour monsieur, Je m’appelle DeDe, est-ce-que vous etez en vacances?” “Mais non” explained the non-doodle, “Je suis un etudant a Hastings et Je m’appelle Benoit Herve”. Although he wasn’t a doodle, DeDe did think he was very handsome, so dropped her gaze to show her vulnerable but attractive side. Benoit seemed to like this and started talking very fast. In no time at all the room was filled with so many “oh la la’s” and “mais oui’s” it was embarrassing.


After what seemed ages of talk Dante didn’t understand, he decided he’d had quite enough of today and just wanted to go home, so interrupted their conversation and suggested it was time they left. DeDe replied that the afternoon was still young and she was in no way ready to leave. He’d never heard her say the afternoon was still young before and didn’t understand what she meant. How could afternoons be either young or old? Scratching his head he left for home.


Half the way up the hill, he started to feel really miserable again. What a terrible day he’d had. He’d been woken up early, not given any breakfast and was short of one tooth by lunch time. The afternoon hadn’t been any better either. He’d tried to eat a hard biscuit which had been painful, and been interrupted by a French non-doodle who spoke little English. As if that wasn’t enough DeDe hadn’t wanted to walk home with him. He felt small and just wanted to curl up in the warm.


As he opened the front door the smell of roast beef and gravy came flooding into his nostrils. The smell became stronger the nearer he got to the kitchen. When he saw the juicy meat piled in his bowl he couldn’t believe it After finishing every morsel and licking his lips, he sat down by the fire and thought, perhaps things might be looking up!



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