What we are up to

Dog Days #1

by Nathan Jones

Dog Days is a serial about the plight of a dog walker, Richie Pen, and Kenny, his dog.

Dear Bob,

Today, when I was walking Kenny, someone asked me to look in their mouth, so I peered in. But as usual, all I could make out was a wet dark cave. This is what you always see looking in someone's mouth. (It's completely black in there! You want to say.) Unless someone is telling you to look at the colour of their tongue, but then they stick it outside their mouth for a look. It's frustrating, and you just have to go "Oh, yes. No, it's not that big". Because everyone thinks that things that are in their mouth are massive, so you are on safe ground there even though you are staring into an abyss.

This is what I was thinking afterwards, while I walked the dog down the muddy bit: why does everyone have an enlarged impression of what goes on in their mouths? I have a lingering awareness that my front teeth are nearly as wide as dice, and the roof of my mouth is the same size as a cupped palm. The tongue. It's incorrigible. Perhaps the brain overestimates the size of the tongue that does the searching? I think perhaps so. Or the tip of the tongue is a poor operator, fit only for licking and moving meat from one side to the other? A stupid mole-type character. But actually moles have very sensitive noses. Hideous, sensitive, handlike noses that make you queasy to look at them. I know it's not an illusion that other people's tongues are bigger than mine, because usually they can touch their noses with it and I can't get anywhere near. Unless I have an inflexible tongue. I have a subtle tongue, I would say, but it is still a poor estimator. Are blind people's tongues better at estimating size and shape? The drummer in Dave's jazz band at The Caledonia has a huge tongue. If he has a hole in his tooth he probably gets afraid that a sprout will fall down inside it, I think, that big bastard.




    • Nathan Jones

    Those are two very pertinent enquiries. The dog hasn’t had time to form an opinion of the ’tongue business’. I imagine actually his tongue is very good at knowing what size his mouth is. Don’t know why. I like the way his tongue can be used like a bucket coming up from a well to get him a drink.

    Actually yes! Kenny was in Kenni the other day, when I was walking him up to the train station over there. And that’s his petshop not far from there too. Apparently it’s nice around there now, but some guy told me he is like a rat and made as if to stamp on him.

    At first I thought I was getting treatment like that because I was wearing a bobble hat, but then I realised that all the scallies have bobble hats on now. What’s that about? Did Mr Liverpool sport a bobble hat one time? Anyway, I told the guy Yes he is a bit like a rat and carried on going.

    Other things about Kenni are those boarded up windows - will they get painted over now before they go all peely? And that everyone automatically thinks its a posh place when you talk to people outside Liverpool, which is some sort of consolation I suppose.

    • Anonymous

    Have you ever walked Kenny in Kensington? What are the dog’s thoughts on this tongue business?