It’s Good to be the Queen


Dramatis Personae: Me and Emily the Dog. Place: our sunroom, where my favorite arm chair for working is located. Local temperature: 54 degrees. I am sitting in the arm chair (squishy brown leather, able to hold two adults, tightly, or one adult and one child, or two children, or one human and one dog).

Me (shivering): Brrrrr.

Emily (moseying into the room): Hey, let’s cuddle. (Lopes up into chair, shoulders her way into 3/4 of the space)That’s better.

Me: Hey, I was sitting here. Share.

Emily (expanding more than a 40 pound dog could reasonably be expected to do): This is sharing.

I push back. Skirmish ensues, at the end of which we are each in possession of roughly half the chair. Resigned to temporary sharing, Emily noses her head under my left arm and begins to radiate warmth. I can feel my fingers begin to loosen up. I write for a while, check email. Occasionally Emily sighs gustily; with each sigh she expands slightly. At the end of an hour I realize that she is now in possession of something like 3/4 of the chair, and my right hip, jammed into the arm of the chair, is beginning to go numb.

Me: Shove over, Em.

Emily: Urgghhh. (This is a sound roughly resembling that of Lurch on The Addams Family when asked to do something.)

Me: No, really, doggle. Move. (I shift slightly to the left, attempting to reclaim the chair.)

Emily: Yawn. So comfy. Ignoring you.

Me: Come on, Em-dog. Share.

Emily opens one eye, regards me balefully, shifts infinitesimally to the left, then ruins the effect by sighing again and expanding rightward. There follows a five minute battle of shoves and settling, at the end of which Emily is roughly in control of 2/3 of the chair.

Emily: You are unreasonable. Urrrgh.

Me: I’m losing the circulation in my hip, dog.

Emily: Starts to sigh.

Me: And don’t start with the sighing again!

Emily: So cruel. My chair.

Me (reasonably, I hope): I was here first.

Emily: Now that‘s just childish.

Me: I’m getting a cup of tea. When I come back we will discuss childishness.

I make a pot of Lapsang Souchong, return to the chair, to find Emily sprawled, her legs straight out in front of her, occupying the entire chair with her head draped gracefully off the edge. She opens one eye and regards me with a mingling of triumph and apprehension.

Emily: Too bad. (She would be smirking if her face allowed for it.)

Me: You know, it’s my house and my chair. (I put down the tea and bodily move the dog.)

Emily: Urrrghhh. Don’t you realize who I am?

Me: You’re the dog. I’m the human. Read your manual. My chair.

Emily (with hauteur): I am the dog. I have long teeth. I am WOLF! You bow before me. I don’t understand your failure to understand this; you must be really stupid.

Me: ‘Scuse me? Wolf? You’re more likely to lick me to death than use those long teeth. Move. (I lift her legs up, flipping her onto her back, clearing half the chair and settling in it.) That’s better.

Emily (bitterly): You don’t understand. I am the dog. I rule. I sigh. (She sighs.) I am ill-used.

Me: Right. No one has ever suffered as you suffer. My heart goes out to you. (I croon baby-talk.) Who’s a stupid animal then? Who is the dumbest and most vicious dog in the world? Who’s the most put upon animal in the whole wide world? Who doesn’t get fed or taken to the park or walked or cuddled?
Emily (expanding outward): Why, that’s me! Totally ill-used.

Me: Of course it is.  (I sigh.  It doesn’t work the same for me as it does for her.)

Emily sighs again, showing me how and increasing her share of the real estate to roughly 7/8s. My tea is cold.


About Madeleine E. Robins

Madeleine Robins is the author of The Stone War, Point of Honour, Petty Treason, and The Sleeping Partner (the third Sarah Tolerance mystery, available from Plus One Press). Her Regency romances, Althea, My Dear Jenny, The Heiress Companion, Lady John, and The Spanish Marriage are now available from Book View Café. Sold for Endless Rue , an historical novel set in medieval Italy, was published in May 2013 by Forge Books


It’s Good to be the Queen — 7 Comments

  1. I have long wondered how an 8 lb cat (Siamese) can occupy 7/8 of king sized bed–down the center of course.

    • By stretching out sideways, of course! It is worse, however, with multiple animals. In these cold winters, not only do I get to share the bed with one spouse and three cats, the cats sometimes have territorial issues. The most desirable space is between Mom and Dad. Second most desirable is next to my stomach (Tobey always cops this spot). Third best is on top of my husband’s head, always dangerous because he tends to push the feline off.

    • Y’know, I was going to write a smug reply about how cats are sooo much smaller than dogs and don’t take up nearly as much room. And then I remembered recently waking with my right leg in a painful spasm because I had become wedged into a midnight sandwich between spouse and cat-god and couldn’t move (guess who was taking up most of the bed?).

      Scratch that…

  2. She’s not an enormous dog, and is capable of compacting herself to about the size of a dinner platter, as when she lies on her dog bed. It is when she shares that the Eminent Domain problem begins.

  3. I have often wondered the mystery of physics that permits two ten pound dogs to take up 9/10s of a bed. Or how one can go to sleep with them sedately curled on top of the covers, at the foot of the bed, and wake up with the dogs under the covers, taking up all the prime real estate.

  4. I once had two roommates, one with a dog and the other with two cats (plus, at the time, a litter of kittens). Both of them went away on the same weekend, leaving me with all the pets. The dog ended up sprawled in the middle of the bed. The male cat, who hated the dog and didn’t like me much, but hated being alone more, was curled up on the other side of me. And the female cat spent the entire night going “mrr, mrr, mrr” as she chased one of her kittens around the room because, you know, there was a DOG in there. After that I told my roommates that if they both went out of town at the same time they had to make provisions for the pets. I could handle either the dog or the cats, but not the combination.

    • When I was six, a friend of my parents came for dinner, and brought, as a “hostess gift,” a puppy. In fact, she and her husband had come upon an abandoned litter at a gas station–the mother had been hit by a car–and so they took it on themselves to find homes for the dogs. So Bagel (he was a beagle) came to live with us. For six weeks, at the end of which time my mother (who was not a dog person. Or a cat person) announced that she could have two small children and no dog, or one dog and one small child, but not all three.

      I lobbied fiercely to get rid of my brother and keep the dog. Oddly, no one but me found this a good idea.