Once outside the front door Ben stood and waited for Alpesh while Roffa sniffed and snuffled about her.
She was not too sure why she was off on an adventure today but she thought that Ben had said it was to “Show her tail” and that sounded a very good idea to Roffa. Roffa knew that she had an excellent tail, it was just the right length and had a proper furry heft to it.
She had accidentally once knocked over a very large and badly placed jar in the kitchen simply while wagging her tail. The lid came off the jar and the insides had spilled out onto the kitchen floor. And they had been DOGGY TREATS!!
Roffa thought that her tail had special magic powers to find treats and even though the incident had never been repeated she remained a fervent tail wagger. Just in case.
Ben turned as Alpesh came out of the house next door. He appeared to be wearing a brightly coloured football over his head, with the front cut out so he could see where he was going.
“Football…?”, Ben asked uncertainly.
“Io. Moon of Jupiter and the most geologically active object in the Solar System,” said Alpesh.
“It’s very … yellow. And round.”
Alpesh sighed, “Mum’s writing a book on moons and she has got as far as Jupiter so she made me this for …”
They sighed as one, “Book Day”.
“She’s just wearing her uniform and going as a secret agent,” Ben said.
“I’ve got Roffa. Lots of book about dogs having adventures. Finding smugglers, ghosts, secret passages. Roffa is going to be one of those dogs.”
Alpesh looked doubtful. It was true that Roffa had a lot of adventures but they were not usually ones you wrote about. She always meant well but the tag on her collar which said “DO NOT LET ME DRIVE YOUR CAR” was there for a reason. Roffa’s adventures were the kind you wrote apologetic letters about afterwards.
They walked towards the bus stop, Roffa bouncing between their legs.
They heard a clattering noise behind them. It was Ade who was trying to carry a bow, a quiver, a school bag and a bundle of green cloth all at the same time.
“Robin Hood?” asked Ben.
“Robin Hood. But I am not putting on that Lincoln green cloak until I am forced to,” said Ade forcefully and looking determined. A look which was then immediately ruined as he dropped the bow.
Roffa turned at the sound of the bow hitting the ground. It was a stick. A stick. A STICK!!!. Roffa bounced over and took the bow in her mouth.
“Well that’s one less thing to carry,” Ade smiled.
“Just watch your ankles,” warned Ben as Roffa wagged her head from side to side and pranced proudly with her stick.
“I think we’d better walk. Not sure your moon or Roffa’s stick will fit on the bus.”
“It’s a bow!”
“It was a bow but now it’s Roffa’s stick. Roffa Hood, she steals from the rich and gives to the paw.”
The three of them set off together, Roffa clearing the way in front.
Alphesh sighed, “I love reading but why do we have to dress up as characters from books? The adults never do.”
“Natasha reckons it is because they are too old to play dress up with dolls so they play dress up with us, their children,” said Ben.
They collectively sighed at the strangeness of grownups and walked on towards school.