A Job Offer

I definitely was not going crazy.

Nevermind the fact that I was standing on a deer trail, in the middle of nowhere, talking to a small dog, a pug actually, wrapped in a blanket.

Oh, and it was talking back to me.

“So, let me get this straight, your name is Dio Gee?” I asked.

“That’s right,” Dio replied. His voice sounded very much like what I imagined Scooby Doo would sound like if Scooby Doo was being serious.

“And you need my help in order to…”

“Finish my how-to book.”

“Right, right…” I walked around a bit, running my hand through my hair because, well I’ve seen many people in movies and such dealing with extremely unusual circumstances and they seemed to frequently run at least one hand through their hair. I never understood why.

Made perfect sense now.

“Why do you need my help again?”

“Have you ever seen a typewriter? Do you know how difficult it is for a dog to use a typewriter?”

Dio had an excellent point.

“What about voice recognition programs? Don’t they have computers that can listen to your voice and type out what you are saying?”

“Yeah, yeah,” I did not know until that exact moment that a pug was able to roll its eyes. “But, I’m a purist. I don’t believe in all of that technology. There’s something special about a story written on a good old manual typewriter.”

I laughed because, again, I was clearly not going crazy. And to any sane person, this scenario would be humorous.

“You’re not going crazy,” Dio reassured me.

“I know that!” I wasn’t sure why hearing the talking dog confirm that I was not going crazy seemed to upset me so much. “This is just a lot to deal with. Like, this doesn’t happen to me every day.”

“Understood, understood. Take your time.”

I put my hand at my hips, taking a deep breath.

“So, if you need my help to finish a book, that would imply that you had already started it.”

“I have. I’m a good three fourths of the way through it.”

“How have you made it that far if you can’t use a typewriter?”

“You are aware you are not the only human on this planet, right? I mean, you know that there are other humans who have seen typewriters and know how to use them?”

I looked at the pug with a mixture of frustration and acknowledgment that I understood the point it was making.

“You know, you kind of look like Lou Costello right now,” Dio commented.

I felt a little like Lou Costello right now.

“Okay, so, what happened to your last human typing machine?”

“They died.”

“Oh… Oh, I’m sorry.”

I did not know until that exact moment that a pug was able to shrug its shoulders.

“It happens.”

“What happened?”

“They were hit by a train.”

I blinked. I had never spoken to anyone who personally knew somebody that had been hit by a train.

“Well… That’s horrible.”

“Yeah, it was a nasty bit of business. But, the last guy had a real penchant for drinking cheap scotch after a night of writing. Liquor store was located on the other side of the railroad tracks… Was a late night, sun was coming up, mist was still on the rails… Was probably inevitable.”

I just stood there shaking my head for a moment.

“Anyway,” Dio broke the silence, “what do you say? I don’t have all day.”

“A few more questions?”

Dio just nodded.

“Is this like a real job? Like, I mean, am I getting paid? Do I get a W-2?”

“Yes and yes. We will agree on the hours you will be available, up to 40 each week, base level of $17 per hour, and if I’m feeling particularly in the groove, you’ll have the option for overtime. You will be paid twice monthly, you’ll get a W-2, your taxes will be withheld accurately.”

“Wow. Okay. I was not expecting that.”

“What were you expecting?”

“I have no idea,” I said matter-of-factly. “Second question, why me? I’ve never even really done any kind of professional typing.”

“Look at our current scenario,” Dio looked around us. “You’re standing in the middle of the woods, talking to a sentient dog that needs a blanket to stay warm, and is asking you to help finish typing out a book. Now, let me point out the most pertinent fact in that sentence: You’re still standing in the middle of the woods! And, you’re reasonably certain that this is a possibility in your reality and that you have not gone crazy.”

“Fair point,” I had to admit that Dio was right. It made sense that the ability to accept the rather unusual happenings must greatly outweigh any specific skill set any human would have.

“So, are you in then?” Dio looked up at me. I wasn’t sure if he was intentionally making puppy dog eyes at me, or if that is just the way a sentient pug naturally looks.

“Yeah, I think I am,” I chuckled, starting to reach out my hand.

“I don’t shake… Or rollover.”

“Oh, right, okay, of course not.”

“I kid!” Dio lifted his paw. “I speak, of course I shake and rollover!”

I laughed, bending over and shaking on the agreement.

“Okay then. So, when do I start?”

“Tomorrow night if you’re available.”

“I am! What kind of how to book is it that you are writing, anyway?”

“How to play the violin like a master.”

I had no idea if Dio was serious or not. But I was now certain that I knew exactly how Lou Costello felt.

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