Trotting on tip toes through the Spanish style archways of Caltech, Turbo mused on his peregrinations.
“I am no longer a tourist here” thought the little brown and black Yorkshire terrier. “I’ve left behind the dank dark undergrowth of Wimbledon common, and the smells of rabbits and squirrels for the sunshine. Clear open lawns, fountains and lakes, lots of running area. And no incumbency of the lead.”
Turbo had travelled across the Atlantic at the age of two, in a wooden pet carrier box, to accompany his British owners to America. He’d emigrated. Now his daily walks were on the University Campus. Cheery Americans recognized him. They found him very gentle and well mannered so extremely picturesque, he was extremely pictured.
The physics students and chemistry professors, all in jeans were humble fellows. Not as remote and stony-faced was the occasional acquaintance he’d met on the English walks. Here he was accepted as part of the local scene. A professional. What’s more he acquired knowledge from his surroundings.
He’d bark at the librarian from the window who was correct shelf – stacking. Or he’d jump onto the cement edge of the ornamental and fish ponds and gaze as a toad blinked up at him from the safe shade of a lily leaf. Most days he’d enjoy at least one’s chasing a harassed student careering through campus on a bicycle, or would embarrass his owner by rolling on his back in an iris bed and then bark at the exasperated gardeners.
“They’re cool here though” mused Turbo. No – one screams out that I ‘m crushing the plants. Did I say ‘cool’ “I’m getting quite American!”
He upped and gave himself a shake. Enough for to day. Some highbrow professors were spilling out of the lab. Time to go home. He beat a retreat, and found himself a little Chinese plumber, his pipes and instruments carefully piled on the front of his bike. The little fellow was sipping a coke as he rode.
For some reason, Turbo saw red. The plumber was not part of the local scene. He threw himself vociferously in front of the bike. The Chinaman knocked his drink onto his trousers. He swerved, dropped his tools and crashed to the ground. Turbo tore round the accident he’d just caused, picked up the Chinaman’s hat and raced up and down with it in his mouth.
At last he paused for reflection. The professors were facing him with sneers and smiles. The Chinese plumber was assuring his mistress he’d got no broken bones. He had a rapt audience.
Embarrassed, his owner was snapping on his lead. Turbo winked, raised an ear, and weekly allowed himself to be led away.
He’d made his name at Caltech.