This morning started like any other. I'd used the "at" command last night to have the computer play an MP3 of loud hideous music recorded live in hell so that I could get my ass out of bed. The music goes off, I scrabble frantically for the stereo volume knob, and sit up on my futon, naked, vulnerable, and sleepy.

As I'm gathering my scattered wits for use in yet another day, I hear a scary noise behind me--almost like dog toenails on a hardwood floor. I jump up about three feet in the air (not bad, considering I was sitting down with my legs out in front of me) and see a dog run away out of the corner of my eye.

The double-shot of adrenalin has woken me up somewhat, and I recognize the dog as one Ya-Ya, the pet of a friend of mine who's going away for the weekend. I called Ya-Ya back in a reassuring voice and she came over for some good loving.

My roommate, it transpires, has agreed to watch Ya-Ya for the weekend. So for the next few days I get to have a canine companion in the house, and--this is the best part--I get to give it back afterwards.

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