"It's freaking hot," Davey complained, as we drove home in his truck, my new car battery safely in the bed. "I want to put Aidan in the sink and give him a bath to cool him down."
"Do you want me to do it while you put in my battery?" I asked, helpfully.
"Okay..." said Davey, his lower lip popping out into a subtle pout of its own volition, thwarting Davey's attempt to pretend like he did not care. I could see he was experiencing a great deal of turmoil on the inside. Should he do what he pleased, or bend to my capricious whims?
"You can do it if you want," I said.
"Okay," said Davey, his lower lip sliding back in and his emotional balance restored.
When we got home, though, I guess putting my car battery back in was promising to be more difficult than anticipated, because he popped his head into the house and told me I'd better do it. I scampered off to change out of my dress into dirty clothes and then found the dog.
He wagged his tail at me and looked at me adoringly. I smiled at him duplicitously and snapped off his color.
"Hey, that's my neck thing!" Aidan protested, trying to get it back. "My Dad gave me that! If I don't wear it, he'll forget he loves me and I'll have to live at a gas station again!"
"Oh, pooh," I dismissed, scooping him up and dumping him in the sink.
Aidan immediately forgot his collar dilemma. "I've been in here before..." he said, ominously. "Something bad happened here... But what?"
I jogged his memory by turning on the water and spraying him with the dish hose thing. Aidan wilted.
"That's what happened," he said, crowding against the sink to get away from the cold, refreshing water. "I expected this from Daddy, but not from you."
"Pffft," I said, covering him in shampoo. "I washed you with the hose last month."
Once he was washed and rinsed, I scooped him out of the sink before he could shake all over the clean dishes in the drainer and, carried him to the screen door. He lay in my arms like a baby, sopping wet and miserable, giving me huge eyes. Davey opened to door for me and cooed at the pug, who dripped like a leaky faucet. I set him down and he shook water everywhere, then began to run around the yard like a madman, rolling in the grass and crawling across the lawn like a commando, grunting and snorting happily.
I decided with one pet down and the other one snowing dandruff, I would go ahead and get Rex into the sink next. This would be a new adventure, since previously I had always washed Rex in the bathtub. We would sit in there together with the shower door closed so Rex couldn't get out and take our time. Rex would always cry and look miserable, resigned to the prison of water we had become trapped in. This time, we did not have an enclosed bathtub, and the sink it would be.
Rex had ascertained the moment he saw Aidan go under the faucet that he would be next, whether I knew it or not. When I came back inside from watching Aidan undo his bath, I couldn't find the cat anywhere. Finally I located him behind the couch, and after a five minute battle I managed to pull him out and get him into the sink.
"Why did you put me into this basin?" he asked, lying to himself about what was about to happen.
I turned on the water. He tried to jump out, but I restrained him.
"Mom! Stop it!" he whined, trying to escape onto the clean dishes.
"Shhhhhhhh," I soothed. "We'll be done soon."
But we weren't. Rex's daring attempts at escape were many, and I had to keep my wits about me to keep him in the sink long enough to rinse out the soap. It didn't help that Aidan was doing his very best to jump up on the counter and be a part of the activities. I couldn't tell if he was curious, if he wanted to morally support the cat, or if he was trying to get into the sink with him for a second bath so he could get a piece of the attention. Aidan's throwing himself towards the counter top only furthered Rex's desperation to get out of the sink. When we were finally done I relaxed my guard and Rex managed to get up so he was draped across my chest, clinging to me like a baby monkey. He hadn't clawed me, but I suspected he might dig in if I put any more water on him. I poured one more cup of water in him. He latched into my skin and scrabbled over my shoulder and down my back, lacerating my hide and finally escaping the cruel embrace of chilled H2O.
He was hiding behind the bookshelf, the water cascading from his fur. I had to crawl behind the coffee table to get in there with a dishtowel and lift him out before he turned the carpet into a swamp. He pouted as I rubbed him down with the dish towel.
I'm a strong believer that pets deserve to get a snack after being subjected to a bathing, and so I gave Aidan a milkbone after he had dried off. He took it politely and ran off with it, presumably to devour it. Then I went to tempt Rex out from behind the couch with cat treats. I got the bag out of Rex's drawer. Before I could turn and go play the serpent, Aidan launched himself at me and tried to grab the bag of treats out of my hands. His eyes were wild.
"Give me those tidbits!" he cried.
"These are for Rex," I said, holding them away.
Aidan made another lunge for them.
I put them away. "I'll just get Rex out the old-fashioned way."
As I went to put them back in the drawer I spotted something next to Aidan on the easy chair. I picked it up.
"Why haven't you eaten your milk bone?"
Aidan took it delicately out of my hand. "Oh, a milk bone. Thank you. I'll just go eat this now," he said, turning his back on me and setting down the milk bone. He turned back. "I ate it."
I pursed my lips at his bald faced lie but said nothing.
After Rex's bath, as he sat on the couch licking his fur back into shape, I went to retrieve his treats again. I pulled them out. Rex stopped licking and looked at the bag in anticipation. Aidan barreled into my shins and tried to leap up and snag the bag out of my hands.
"TIDDLY BIDDLIES!" he shrieked. I had never seen him this nutso over a snack.
I went to go give them to Rex but Aidan, clever pug that he is, anticipated my intended destination and bounded up onto the couch next to Rex, who bolted, well aware of the dangers posed by excited Aidan's gyrating butt. I put the bag of treats away and regifted Aidan the uneaten milk bone.
"Oh, a milk bone. How lovely," he said, taking it delicately and pretending he would eat it.
I pulled it out a third time when Rex reappeared 20 minutes later. Like before, Aidan flipped out.
"Do you really want a cat treat that bad?" I asked, reaching in to grab him a handful.
"No!" said Davey, wary of Aidan's health.
"Are you sure? I mean, he won't even eat his milk bone," I said, picking it up to show Davey. Unbidden, Aidan took it out of my hand with that look of insincere gratitude, and set it down behind him.
"Give him the treats," said Davey.
I pulled out a few tidbits and held them out for Aidan. He looked at them suspiciously. "I don't know if I want them anymore..."
(In the end, Aidan and Rex both enjoyed a serving of cat treats.)
For more pictures of the boys post-bath, check out my flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cosmonautkarkar