Green Island Book I
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some excerpts from Greenways
Dave Patterson

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Green Island Home

Chapter 9: Agent Panda (excerpt)

first page chapter 9 Mission: A Report on the occasion of the first recorded meeting of two humans in case such information is required in annals of galactic history, through retro introduction into brain of semi-sapient being.

Report begins:

This whole idea seems like a waste of time - who are these people anyway? And it was really cold getting here - I don't know why these humans don't all move to warmer places on this planet - there's lots of them around. My mission a few time spans ago on some island called Samui or something like that was much nicer - those Samui dogs sure know how to howl when the lights go out and the moon comes up. Whooooo.... Better cut that when I rewrite - Great Alvin of the Spotted Eye and Truncated Tail That MUST NOT Be Mentioned has told me enough times before "Your job is to DO the mission - not COMMENT on it!" Right Alvin. I heard you the first time. The Service ain't a Democracy I heard it all before. Thinking a Directive is stupid and ignoring it is not the same as not hearing, dogbrain. Whaddaya mean that's why I'm mired in Agent First Level??? yea yea cut it

Ok. Report begins.

Where I am is a big sort of earth house in a place called Prince Edward Island, which is somewhere near the Cold Pole on this planet, judging by the weather. It is the season they call 'winter' here and it is, as I noted, very, very cold. Snow is falling quite heavily at the time I arrive, blown around by a fairly strong gusting wind, although the house is in the middle of a woodlot called Orwell's Folly or something like that (the sign was half covered in snow surprise surprise and it was dark and I was hurrying as well of course) with a lot of big trees around it - pine, and spruce, and birch and oak and things like that, according to the small encyclopedia they loaded me with for this mission - although I'm not sure we can trust everything from this program, it seems to be an old Earth model called Encrapitated-BS, which I also learned somewhere else was somewhat unreliable, being more suited at times to shading the facts for nefarious purposes or something, BigAlvie you can't trust anything! - someday the Service will upgrade these things, I hope.

Outside it looks quite pretty, actually, with the lights from the house shining through the falling snow, and the trees and all that, a full moon peeking from between the clouds sometimes, if the cold doesn't bother you (NOTE for future missions: big, long-haired dogs with lots of stored heat would be more suitable than this little sort-of terrier body they have given me. Perhaps someone ought to have given themselves a little encyclopedia implant before working on this mission plan haha sorry Alvin's helperdogs!!!). There's a barn further down the clearing, with a couple of things called 'horse sleighs' sitting outside, and a few big horses inside (I had a little scout around when I got here - I actually wanted to get inside where it's warm, but some instinct in this dog brain wanted to go around sniffing and pissing on things for a few minutes first, and some sort of dissonance starts happening and you just get headaches if you ignore these instinctive things when using other bodies, even or maybe especially the small-brained ones, which tend to make up in stubbornness what they lack in smarts. I won't even start on what happens when a bitch in heat wanders by geezus my aching head. and stuff.).

There's some kind of party going on inside, the celebration called 'Christmas' I expect - a bunch of red and green decorations all over the place, candles in fancy candleholders, a decorated tree in front of the big bay window in the big room with all the lights and people and noise on the ground floor. Inside the front door, which opens from a large verandah across the front of the house and for some reason has a house number on front, here in the middle of nowhere, 1983-1/2, is a coatrack full of coats, and boots cover the floor in melting puddles of water. There's a lot of commotion and laughter coming from the big room, and the sound of tinkling glasses and musical instruments being strummed or tuned - I hear instruments called a violin, a guitar, a pipe of some kind, and a piano, at least, if the audio portion of the learning session is to be trusted.

At the door I see a forest of legs. Please note about the body size next time people, a friendly nose in the crotch is better at moving people than nips on ankles, which often just attracts kicks, which can be painful. Fortunately there is a space sort of behind the big decorated tree, and since in front of the tree is a small low table that stops people from blocking my entire view, I can get a good view of most of the room from there. I show great restraint in not biting the ankles of any of the 20 or so people who almost step on me as I carefully work my way across the room and get settled. Not MY celebration, people, get outta my face I got work to do. I notice as I sit and take the first survey of things a largish sort of orange cat sitting on the back of one of the sofas, staring at me with half-closed eyes like they do, like that's supposed to fool you into thinking they think or something. Ha. Eyes are the windows of the soul, or something, and they keep em half-closed so noone sees how empty the room is behind them. Spitting and scratching machines, nothing else. We dream of grabbing them by the neck and - yea I know you don't want to hear about it right now. Work to do.

It's a busy room, not only with people, but things. An old upright piano sits against the wall in one of the corners across from the bay window, with a stack of books and some ornaments on the top - figurines of old musicians, some photos, a little plastic christmas tree with flashing little lights - strange people. A large bookshelf takes up half the wall across from the window, and chairs and sofas and lamps and bureaus and sundry end tables and people fill the rest of the space. It's noisy, but the vibrations are good. Lots of human laughter. I lie on my side to blend in, tongue hanging out like they do, doing that panting thing. Feels good in an odd way. Comforting. What kind of brain do these things have that is comforted by panting?

A big man with longish hair and a beard, brown and curly but with a quite a bit of white in both, seems to be the center of attention, I think I heard someone calling him Wendell, perched on the arm of a chair in front of the bookshelf across from where I sit. He is dressed in a red checkered shirt with suspenders for his trousers over a - well, not exactly 'fat', but rather large and round stomach. He holds a glass of amber liquid, beer I suspect - there's all kinds of that alcohol stuff around, everyone is drinking it, they're a bit crazy like that, in one hand, and the small stringed instrument called a violin in the other, although my info isn't quite clear - it could be the one called a viola, which is just a bigger version, as near as I can tell, of the violin. As I get settled, he lets out a loud laugh in response to something someone has said to him, sets the glass on a table beside his chair, raises the violin so it's balancing sort of on his upper arm, which is interesting as the books seem to say it is supposed to be under the chin of the player, but he seems to be doing ok like this, although what would I know really from old tapes, and, replacing the glass with the bow, starts to play and sing - I suppose if it was under his chin singing would be harder. These humans are a funny bunch.

"What do you do with a drunken sailor?!
"What do you do with a drunken sailor?!
"What do you do with a drunken sailor?!
"Earl-eye in the morning?!


A lot of the people were laughing and smiling and rocking and making various body movements in time to his music, and one man picked up a guitar and started playing along, and a woman sat down at the piano as well and joined in -

"Hey ho! And up she rises, Hey ho! And up she rises,
"Hey ho! And up she rises, Earl-eye in the morning!"

Everyone was singing along and clapping now, and they had a raucous old time for a few minutes. When the song was finally finished with a great flourish of the bow and even greater burst of laughter from the violinist, who immediately reached for his glass again and took a long drink, there was a lot of whistling and clapping and things, and then they were off again, this time the singing led by the man who had picked up a guitar. The pretty sort of lady who had sat down on the piano bench was still chording along and the violin man playing too, although even to these doggie ears I could tell she wasn't hitting many more right notes than wrong ones. Noone seemed to mind, though, and the singing and laughing went on for another few songs, until they were all tired out - the energy level was noticeably diminished, but there was something else in the air - I couldn't quite put my paw on it, but it had something to do with the smoky haze that was in the room, and the bottles of yellow and lime-green liquids that had been filling glasses for a few rounds, I think. Hard to be sure - the doggy brain was getting a bit fuzzy from the same things - but as far as I can recall, the following is what actually happened. Don't ask the cat for verification - somewhere during the middle of this little impromptu concert it started rolling on its back with its paws in the air and eyes closed, and it just kind of rolled off the back of the couch it was sitting - or laying - on and after the thump behind the couch I didn't hear from it again. Didn't miss it either.

(continued in the book ....)

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