Last night at 2:00 a.m., in a suburban neighborhood northeast of Sacramento, California, the following happened.
A woman--large, squishy, middle-age-ish, climbs into the king-sized bed she shares with her spouse of 34 years, and immediately realizes something is missing.
"Mate," she says hesitantly, "Where's the fuckin' dogs?"
"Wha?" he replies.
"Why are there no dogs in this bed?"
"I dunno. Geoffie! Get up here!"
There is excited wagging, scrabbling, and some whining at the base of the bed, and then, in a desperately brave leap, the 10 lb potato with fur scrabbles for safe purchase on a veritable sea of cotton bedspread.
"That's my baby," the woman croons, and the potato proceeds to lick her face in the dark before disappearing under the covers. "Where's the other one?" the woman asks her spouse.
"I don't know," he responds, sounding puzzled. "Johnnie? Johnnie?"
From under the bed, there is heard a pathetic whine.
"Johnnie? Come here, boy. Come on!" the woman cries, desperate to get to sleep.
The dog is heard whining below the bed, playing a terrible game of "the floor is lava" as he attempts to gain access to the mattress by no pathway that makes sense.
"What's he doing?" the woman asks.
"He's not coming up any of the ways there's something to step on," her husband replies. "It's like..." He gets out his phone and shines some light on the situation. "OH."
"There is a cat."
They sit in silence for a moment, contemplating the dilemma. And then the woman--an insensitive broad by all accounts, starts calling, "Here, Johnnie--c'mon, grow a sac and get the hell up here!"
And the man, easily led, joins her in her terrible dare. "Johnnie, come on! Come on, Johnnie! You can make it! She won't get you!"
Together the beg, plead, and desperately urge the poor animal into a colossal act of bravery. With a whine and a scurry, he scrabbles his way to the top of the mattress, to be greeted like the hero he is.
"Good boy, Johnnie--good boy! You didn't let that terrible cat get you, right? You're such a good boy! We love you baby! Come on, get under the covers! Good dog! Such a good dog!"
The dog slinks into his place of nighttime repose, at the feet of the people who asked him to risk almost certain death at the claws of the Terrible Cat.
He was, indeed, the Saddest Dog in all the World.