Hello. My name is Skip. I don’t look like most dogs. Instead, I look like a mix of dogs. In fact, I look as if the contents of a skip have been jumbled up and then stuck together any-old-how. And that’s why they called me Skip.
My keeper is called Frank. He’s a precision engineer by training but he didn’t fancy working in a factory all his life – so he turned his hand to other things: for a while he worked as a plumber; then he helped in conservation projects – restoring derelict churches and grand old mansions – that sort of thing; now he’s a carpenter and odd-job man.
Frank is OK really; at least, he’s OK most of the time – but he’s unreliable. He likes his lager too. His unreliability coupled with his lager came to a head earlier today. Here’s why:
Frank decided that it was time he and I went for a walk. I say ‘walk’ but that’s misleading; it’s more like I run about whilst Frank listens to music in his car. Frank doesn’t exactly walk; he just sits. Anyway, Frank got out his old Citroen (it’s green and ends in the word Pallas) and I jumped into the back. We drove through some of the usual neighbourhood streets and then Frank set off for the country. We passed through unfamiliar dog territories until we came to a large open field. Frank parked his Citroen right in the middle of that field. I got out of the car and raced around for a while. I could see Frank (he’d left the car door open) – and I could see him drinking a can of lager (or was that two?). As he sipped his lager he listened, as usual, to some music on the car stereo. This time, he was listening to Dido – which is great because Dido rhymes with Fido – and Fido was the great mythical and heroic dog from which all dogs, including me, are descended. Then Frank dozed off. I carried on exploring the new landscape. Sometimes I came back to the car to see what’s what – but every time I came back Frank was still far-away in the land of dreams.
At last I saw Frank begin to stir and, little by little, he started to wake up. Then he looked at his watch and he started to go crazy. “Jesus Christ,” yelled Frank: “I’m supposed to be at home looking after the kids.”
So he started his car in a frenzy and just blasted off out of that field. Frank had forgotten me. I raced along after the car but Frank was heading for home. I ran as fast as I could but soon Frank’s Citroen disappeared from view.
Where was I? I had no idea. I wandered about hoping that I might find my way home. But, no: I was completely lost. Every place was strange – and I felt terribly abandoned.
Later that evening I was picked up as a stray dog and taken to a police station. The trouble is, I don’t know how to tell them that my name is Skip – nor can I tell them where I come from. I haven’t a collar or a name tag or any other means of identification. They’ve given me a name. At first they wanted to call me ‘Licorice’ because, as one of the policemen said, I looked like ‘Allsorts’. But then they decided to call me ‘Tip’ because they thought I resembled a ‘tip’. It almost made me laugh because ‘Tip’ is so close to ‘Skip’.
So, here I am, locked in a prison cell – hoping to God that Frank has the wherewithal to find me.