As the Matthews drove home from the animal shelter Patrick sat in the backseat with Nibbles, the newest addition to the family.
“How’s Nibbles enjoying the ride back there? The way he’s chewing on that toy it looks like you’re going to have a pretty good excuse for losing your homework, am I right?”
“Mark, I don’t think you should encourage him to not do his homework. That’s not why we got the dog. We got it so that we could ward off the squirrels that keep pulling the carrots out of my vegetable garden and stealing them.”
“I know that, Carla. I was just making a joke so that Patrick would be more excited about the dog. We need him to help take care of it so I wanted him to be enthusiastic about having it.”
“Yeah, but I’m just saying, Mrs. Rogers said that Patrick is falling really behind in school and with his learning disorder and all, I just don’t think we should be letting the new dog eat his homework.”
“Jesus Christ, Carla, I don’t literally want the dog to eat Patrick’s homework. I understand that it will only be eating carrots.”
“No Mark! He is supposed to protect the carrots from the squirrels. If he eats the carrots himself that defeats the entire purpose of getting a dog.”
“That’s what I meant. Damnit! I was just getting all worked up and accidentally said that the dog would eat the carrots. I know he has to protect them. God forbid we lose another carrot. I make $300,000 a year. I think we’ll survive the winter if a couple carrots go missing!”
Carla repeatedly rolled the passenger side window down an inch and then rolled it back up while humming a quiet tune through her gritted teeth. Mark then smelled the air and looked back and said, “Smells like our new friend might be having some gas issues,” then let out a forced chuckle, but Patrick knew the smell actually came from Mark. He always farts when he gets worked up about Carla.
“Looks like a storm in the distance,” Mark commented with an air of confidence after a few moments of silence.
“How would you even know?” Carla didn’t even face Mark as she asked the question. She just continued to stare out the window.
“I don’t know,” Mark seethed. “There are just a lot of clouds. Can you maybe not question everything I say?”
“Whatever. Let’s just get home.”
Patrick quietly laughed to himself and turned to Nibbles.
“That’s just Mark and Carla. You’ll get used to them,” he said before pulling a carrot out of his pocket and feeding it to the dog.
They pulled into the driveway and Carla remarked that she needed to buy some more seeds for her vegetable garden.
Mark turned to face Patrick.
“Hey, Pat, would you mind driving your sister to the store so she can get her seeds?”
“Yeah, no problem, dad. I’m just going to grab a beer and watch the game. I’ll take her at halftime.”