Okay, so I go over to my sister's house on Christmas afternoon because I haven't seen her or my niece, nephew, or brother-in-law in many months. I get there and discover that they have to go over to the sister-in-law's for a little while. I'm cool -- I'm also tired, hungry, and have a headache; so they take off, I eat some leftovers, take some medicine for my headache, and settle down in front of the television to watch a Christopher Titus stand-up special.

My cell phone rings. It's my sister.

"Forgot to tell you; it's okay for Bela to play with her stuffed monkey, but don't let her do anything else or she'll drive you crazy."


Okay. Bela (named after the Twilight protagonist, but I spell it as per "Lugosi" because I can't bear to think I'm addressing an animal named after the central character of the worst affront to imaginative literature that has been seen this century) ... where was I? Oh, yes, Bela.

Bela is a small grey lively Yorkie. She has this stuffed monkey that she likes to chew on and play catch with.

I should mention that Bela is also fixed.

So I play catch with Bela and her monkey for a while, and then I lay back my head and try to catch a bit of a nap. I did not take the monkey away from Bela.

I am awakened a few minutes later by this violent vibrating to my left. I blink myself awake, turn my head, and see this tiny fuzzy grey jackhammer going at this stuffed monkey like nobody's business.

I now realize why my sister warned me to not let Bela do anything more than play catch with the monkey.

I cannot help but stare. Bela is going at this monkey with a passion that borders on the furious. It was both frightening and fascinating ... and there was no way I was going to reach under the dog and take away the monkey. "She'll tucker out in a few minutes," I tell myself, and go into the kitchen to fix cup of coffee.

45 minutes later the pace has not ebbed; the damn dog hasn't even stopped to take a breath, and from the wheezing noises she's making, I worry she's going to pass out. So I bite the bullet, reach down, and yank the monkey away.

Bela whirls on me, teeth bared.

"Don't hump the monkey," I tell her. 

Yes, I actually spoke that sentence to a dog in a tone of voice that wold suggest to bystanders that I expect for her to understand. (God, I need a social life.)

I put the monkey away. Bela is grumpy, but eventually forgives me. I nap out again. Several minutes later, I am awakened by what I think is a migraine headache pounding in the left side of my head.

Nope. It's Bela, who is hallucinating and now believes my ear is the monkey. I'll give you a moment to try and get that disturbing visual to of your mind. Yeah, didn't think so. Imagine the PTSD I have to look forward to.

In the end, I had no choice but to give her back her monkey. And marvel at how she damn near broke the sound barrier.

Please do not tell my sister. But if I learned nothing else this Christmas, I learned this: Always let the dog hump the monkey. Trust me when I tell you this. Fa-la-la-la-la.

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