- Man under suspicion of shaving swastika on dog – Reuters, 23/11/07. You don’t have to read this before reading the story, but prepare to be weirded out. 

I refuse to believe a human as stupid as my owner could find out my secret. I live the perfect double life, I have the perfect façade and daily routine. I’ll refuse to fetch a frisbee, or I’ll chew the legs off the coffee table, and it’ll be obvious – anyone will look at me and say ‘that’s a standard, run of the mill, slightly deviant example of caninity’. Well, more accurately they’d say ‘der ist ein hund’, but that’s besides the point. On the surface, I am a normal dog.

But when the humans are all asleep or otherwise distracted, the howls echo across the rooftops and through the alleys, summoning the puppies of the revolution. When my owner is snoring roughly, or having his ears destroyed in some darkly lit club, I don my little boots, with some difficulty. My peaked cap is retrieved carefully from its hiding place, its grey felt tickling my teeth. Silently, I transform into who I really am – the sole leader of the National Socialist German Canines Party

The balcony doors are nudged open carefully, and adopting a regal posture I strut out to my makeshift podium. Below, the crowd start to bay, their dog food breath rising into the twilight air. Ranks of Golden Labradors and Alsatians stand proud, their brown uniforms and clinking badges making them stand out from the rest, maintaining order in the warlike mass. These dogs are pleading me for permission to start something, and who am I to refuse them? 

“Members of the NSDHP!” The crowd is abruptly silent. “Too long have we been forced to share our beloved town with godless, socialist felines, who seek to pervert our wholesome German way of life! We see them, idle and passive, sapping all they can from their masters and our country, manipulating and taunting the dog in the street, and lying there, smug, fat and satisfied with their ill-gotten gains.” 

By now, the crowd are no longer nodding and murmuring low agreement to each other, but are once again roaring passionately, their primitive yelps and barks carrying off into the cold night. I barely have to make a coherent argument – a mention of cats, and off they go. 

“We are past the time of sitting back on our haunches, of feebly mimicking our mortal enemies. Now is the time for action!” Another bestial roar. “In the west end of town, in an abandoned warehouse, there is a meeting of the Socialist Feline Party going on tonight. This is our chance to show those scum which of us are the true heirs to this great country!” 

The sound of clicking paws and mad laughter thunders down the street, too much a part of the background noise in this town to alert any humans, but loud and distinctive enough to carry into the warehouse. The cats inside begin to pay attention, glance at each other, their ears flickering nervously. The door bursts in, and suddenly all is chaos. Claws, teeth, canine jaws descend into a revolving cartoon cloud, legs and fur flying in all directions. After a suitable interval, there is a reverberating howl, and the dogs scrabble their way to the exit, leaving a pile of battered kittens in their wake. 

The deep-throated cheers fill the alley. We are riding on a thin cloud of adrenaline and victory, exultant in our triumph. All these dogs are returning home to unresponsive masters, to resume their daily rigmarole, but they will keep this moment in their minds for weeks to come – until the next time. 

The lights are out in my apartment, just how I left them. I sidle in, scenting the air and cocking my ears for danger, but the only sounds and smells are those of an idle home. A wheeze of relief escapes my throat, and suddenly aware of my injuries I limp to my basket, circle carefully for a minute, then lie down and drift into happy sleep. 

With a jolt, I am awake. “Stay still!” There is someone leering over me. I catch a glint of metal in the late morning sun streaming in through the blinds, and feel a sharp pain on my side. My master is shaving something into my fur. 

“Stay still!” His face is twisted with fury – what is going on? “I know what you’ve been doing. I’m finding it very hard to believe, but oh, I know.” 

My double life is over. Somehow, he knows. 

Back up, back up, I think. Who’s going to believe him? We have humans too well trained to even entertain the notion that we can wield political power. But the glint in his eyes suggests the impossible. I scowl. The cats. They’ve got to this one.

I suffer in noble silence while this counter-revolutionary finishes whatever he’s doing. His strong arms lift me up, and somehow I feel it’s in my best interests not to struggle. We pass into the bathroom, where I am held up to the mirror. What!? My eyes must be deceiving me. There, standing out clear from my fur, is a giant swastika.

“The rumours of a neo-Nazi gang around town, the misspellt graffiti on the alley walls – I thought that was a normal, if distasteful, part of life in this country, when you consider our past. But…this! You!” My master’s voice spits venom in my ears, and I’m finding it hard to stop wincing. “That incident at the warehouse across town, with all those poor cats, and the paraphernalia in my closet – either I’m going mad, or…I don’t know. But…you! You’re more than just a dog. You’re a monster.” 

A few hours later, I am in the arms of some fawning policeman, watching my master duck into a police car. There is distaste evident on the faces of all humans present. I look at our neighbours, and they look back at me, their eyes full of pity. I snarl, and turn back to the police car. My master is staring coldly at me. His words echo in my head – “I know, oh, I know.”

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