It is early evening, and the man in the park is throwing a Frisbee to his dog.
In true Minnesota fashion, the temperature has dropped a crisp 20 degrees; and while the air remains humidly saturated to a hair-frizzying degree, the afternoon’s deluge has washed the dust off the city, brought it alive in a dozen shades of green and blue.
I watch from the porch.
The dog, a lean black blend of sleek and exciteable, races to leap into the air. Mouth open, his body joyously twists as he misses the catch; and he rolls to the ground to claim his prize. Tail wagging feverishly, he runs back to his master with the same measure of exuberance.
He is clearly a good boy.
His master feints right, then left, swats at the dog’s rear quarters as he streaks by, only to have him circle back again and again. Finally, tongue lolling to one side, the dog plants his front legs on the ground, butt high, his tail a wagging metronome to a summer’s evening.
The man leans over, kisses the dog on the forehead and throws the Frisbee again.
It is then that I look down, discover Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, sitting on my lap. She, too, is watching the dog and his master.
Liza Bean, freelance cream-licker and small-pawed disrespecter of personal space, appears to have been there for quite some time.
How does she do that?
“Hmm,” she purrs. “Now what’s gotten in to him?”
“They’re playing,” I say.
The cat’s bright green eyes widen, then narrow to slits. “You don’t say.”
In the park, the dog returns once again with the Frisbee. His master kneels down, appears to speak. The dog raises a paw, and the man takes it. They shake.
Liza Bean rises from my lap, jumps up onto the table. “Such a display,” she says. “I think I’ve had about all I can handle of this. I’m going in.”
And then she smiles, a disconcerting row of adorably white, adorably tiny teeth. Sitting, she extends a paw toward me. “
Pearl,” she says, nodding briskly. “Until we meet again.”
And we shake.