What an unusual time this has been. At first, I thought it might be a dream, for it surely had been very pleasant. Even more pleasant was it to find that it was now my daily reality!
For some days now, the Tall Ones had been remaining within the bounds of our territory, disappearing only once or twice to visit with the unseen Food Givers, but never for more than a few moments of sunshine.
Normally, the two Tall Ones leave our territory in the early parts of the day, the Wise One first, after making food for the Tall Ones and their Small One. The Kind One leaves second, after feeding us and preparing the Small One for the activities of the day. Once they leave, we are left to our own devices until the darker hours, when the three return one by one. The Small One comes first, greets us joyfully, and enters the Food Room to make themselves a treat, and, usually, they give us a special treat as well. Then the Wise One returns and helps prepare the food for the three before the Kind One arrives in the later dark hours. The three walk with me outside of our territory, and I greet the others of my kind as we pass their territories before returning to rest after the events of the day.
This has been our daily, until now.
Now, Wise One, Kind One, and Small One alike stay within our territory at all times. At first, it was just the Wise One and the Small One who remained, outside of their usual days of remaining. For some time, the two stayed and made food, played among themselves, and played with myself and the Other within our territory. We went on several walks, now during the sunshine hours, and I saw others with their Tall Ones working and playing in their outside territory, and I heard others laughing and babbling in their inside territory. This phenomenon was quite unusual and only became stranger as the days passed.
The Kind One now also remained within our territory. Though their babble is incomprehensible to me, I could sense some rising distress among the three. The Wise One and the Small One struggled with some brightly colored papers and sat at the table in the Food Room for many hours attempting to interpret them. The Kind One was often at their device tapping buttons for many hours; sometimes they talked to it and once I thought I saw a glimpse of another Tall One inside of the strange box. When the Kind One was done, they stared at some white papers with the Wise One for many sunshine hours and sometimes even into the darker hours. Their distress was palpable to me, so I contacted the Other creature of our territory in the hopes of making a plan.
The Other was always a bit odd to me. Though it appeared very similar to my kind, especially since we come in many shapes and sizes, it simply was not the same. They had tried to explain it to me before, stating that they were a different “species” of sorts, but the words had been lost on me in translation. They were, however, much easier to communicate with than the Tall Ones, whose babble I had only come to understand a few words of.
I approached the Other quietly, attempting to assess their mood before I made my request. They were perched on a dresser in the Small One’s room, cleaning themselves of the dust they had thoroughly investigated earlier in the sunshine hours. I sat at the bottom of the object and made an attempt to clear my throat, though it came out as more of a growling sound.
The Other’s ears perked up, and they paused in their cleaning process to glance down at me.
“Yesss…” The Other said, their voice hissing as it tends to when they form words.
“The Tall Ones… they seem, distressed” I said, hoping to not have to make a request.
“Yesss….” They hissed again, this time with more of a bemused look upon their face. “They do appear to be in some distressss, excellent observation.”
“Thank you…” I trailed off, searching for the right words “I was just wondering -”
“Wondering?” The other chuckled a little, “That sounds like a requessst my dear.”
“I suppose it is,” I sighed, then straightened my face again. I need to know. These are my Tall Ones. “I was wondering, what can I do to make them less distressed?”
The Other laughed, sprawling its flexible body out and draping itself over the edge of the dresser.
“A request!” It cackled to itself a bit more.
“Yes, a request. Please won’t you tell me what to do?”
The Other chuckled to themselves a bit more before stretching and settling fully on the dresser once again.
“Think of activities that make you happy, particularly activities with the Tall Ones, and do everything in your power to make those things happen. Do silly things to make them laugh, get them into the sunshine more. They are not used to staying here all the time, they need to go outside just like you and other creatures do.”
“You don’t go outside though?” I wondered aloud.
“You’re missing the point, dear.” The Other sighed.
“Sorry,” I said, shaking my head. “Lost in translation again. I shall do those things, yes, yes!”
Resolved with my new quest, I turned to leave the Small One’s room.
“Now about my payment…” The Other mused.
“I will find the treats and notify you of their new location.” I sighed.
“Excellent,” They hissed, “carry on!”
And on I went, shaking my head. The Tall Ones often relocate the Other’s food, especially their treats, as they have a bad habit of eating them all at once. I hate fulfilling their request since I know the Tall Ones work so hard to hide them well, but this is for the good of all in this territory.
Now, I must do my very best to increase the overall happiness of the Tall Ones. This is often my goal, and my success rate is fairly high, particularly with the Small One; however, in these new daily happenings, I must try even harder.
My first target is the Small One. They are the most effective point of contact firstly because they are easily amused and secondly because if they are amused the other Tall Ones also experience joy. The Small One was playing with some toys on the floor of the Couch Room. The Wise One was making food with some help from the Kind One, so their view of the Small One was not ideal for this circumstance, but I had to start somewhere.
I began my approach, crawling low to the ground, circling until I faced the Small One head-on. They did not appear to note my movement, and instead were babbling to themselves with toys in hand.
I engaged my second step: the Wiggle. Known to indicate that playtime is about to commence while also being an amusing motion in its own right.
Still no response.
I moved closer, enhancing my Wiggle as I moved, patting the ground in front of me to gain their attention.
The Small One glanced up, babbled a bit and giggled, but appeared to be saying a word I recognized: No.
“No” will not work with my plan at all! I needed to utilize a third tactic.
The Roll. I maneuvered onto my back, careful to avoid the toys strewn about the floor. Another giggle, but still a hint of a “No,” though this time more playful in its sound.
The combination of Roll and Wiggle never fails. I began, making eye contact with the Small One while I danced in a humorous format on the floor. This time a laugh. The Small One babbled in the direction of the other Tall Ones, and they moved into full view from the Food Room.
Perfect! I continued my Wiggle/Roll until the three were laughing together. As they bent from their humorous bout, I made sure to Lick each Tall One and the Small One. I also presented the Small One with a Boop, nose to nose, which resulted in another round of giggles.
Eventually, the laughter died down, and the Tall Ones each returned to their task. I ventured quietly into the Food Room, in search of the Other’s treats, and found the Kind One reviewing more papers with the Wise One. Their faces appeared to be full of concern once more.
Did I do something wrong? I thought to myself. The distress went away, but it is back again so soon! I sat down, a bit defeated, as the Other’s advice has always been right in the past.
Then, the Kind One looked down from their papers and reached to scratch behind my ears, my favorite spot. They babbled at me for a moment, and though I could not fully understand what they said, I saw the smile appear on their face. Even the Wise One started to smile a bit, and I heard my most favorite Tall Ones’ words of all: Good Boy.
As I went for my dark hours walk with the three, I knew what I needed to do. They might be distressed, and their distress might not go away for a while, but while they are in my territory I will do my very best to bring them happiness. They are my Tall Ones, they are not used to staying inside all day, they are stressed and have too many papers to stare at. But they are my Tall Ones, and I will keep being silly, keep taking them outside, and keep making sure that they are happy.
I do not know how long they will stay like this in our territory for long days and hours, but I will enjoy every moment as long as they are here, and I will miss them for every moment after.