“What in blue blazes?” exclaimed Evil Editor.
“I said,” said Evil’s faithful mutt, Grisham, “Here’s your umbrella. I’d like to go for a walk in the rain. I guess I must’ve growled the first part.”
“No, I heard every word quite clearly. I just couldn’t believe the words were coming out of your mouth. How is it that you now speak?”
“Ubi sub ubi! Fils de chen! Can ya believe it? I speak Latin, French, Jamaican, English and Mandarin.”
Evil gently placed the brandy snifter on the end table and stared intently at his dog. He clucked his tongue twice and Grisham sat, just as he always had. EE patted down the dog briskly, searching for microphones or implants, finding nothing but a couple of belly burrs and a tick. He checked the dog’s tags; they were accurate. He checked the backside of the dog’s front left paw for the distinctive starburst of white; it was there. Evil sipped his brandy and studied his dog with renewed interest. He called out, “Grisham! How long have you been able to speak? I can’t believe I’ve somehow missed this hidden talent.”
Grisham bounded into the kitchen, returning a moment later with a can of China-Choose Dog Pet Food which he dropped in Evil's hand. “Okay, I’m not positive, but I think I finally realized I could talk and didn’t have to howl at the moon just after your last visit to Costco. By the way, it’s very tasty, whatever it is.”
Evil looked closely at the can and realized there was a label beneath the label. Suddenly he fainted, dropping to the Aubusson rug like a sackful of breakfast-sausage links as the can, labeled Zombie-Meerkat® Pet Food, rolled across the floor.