Chelsea, the puppy, grabs ragged, reliable MonkeyToy, runs toward me at high velocity, and veers away at the last possible second.
This sets off a chase. We careen down the hall to the dining room, where Chelsea defies the laws of physics, taking curves at impossible speed. She lunges toward the sunny day room, her paws skidding on the slick parquet floor. She dives under the low coffee table, then angles back toward the bedrooms.
I follow, my slippers flopping and my housecoat flapping in the wind.
Chelsea doubles back, becoming a blur of liquid gold. She skitters around the corner, huffing and puffing like a dragon, and heads for the kitchen. Our paths trace a figure-eight: around the breakfast table, between the cabinets and the island, and back again.
Ultimately, even the cats get in on the act. Tiger hides in the dining room chairs; as Chelsea lunges past, Tiger drops down like a commando. Lilly, the more sedate player, lounges atop the dayroom couch … but each time the puppy passes, she indulges us with a few well-timed swats.
I cannot match Chelsea’s speed or endurance; fortunately, I have a bigger brain. I hide behind walls and furniture, charging out like a rabid St. Bernard at the least provocation.
Chelsea flattens herself, presses her ears back, and streaks off in yet another direction … as fast as a week on vacation, as fleeting as the days of my youth.