The demon dog toy got me again. But this was the last time.

It most recently had resided on top the of the bedroom bookcase, high out of Cowboy’s reach and any prospective victim’s path. Always hard to see because it’s flat like a whoopee cushion and brown like everything else around here, it had startled me many times with its unsettling squawk.

It often got me on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, left in the path with questionable innocence by my canine comedian sidekick, Cowboy. One of the highpoints in its residence was Cowboy himself yelping and leaping skyward after stepping on the unseen thing in the after hours – possibly on a mission to once again alarm me.

I spotted it this morning atop the bookshelf, where I’d last hidden it, and decided that disposal should be the better part of valor. Why keep the thing around if I’m constantly moving it out of the way? Thanks to Cowboy, I have found it lying in wait inside and outside, on paths to and from the bed and the route to the bird water — on the floor, on chairs and in the bed.

No more.

So, this morning it went into the trash. Of course, an hour later I added something to the plastic bin, forgetting what lay beneath, and pushed down on the accumulated, non-recyclable waste. The demon toy protested with a veritable last laugh.

I’d long been reluctant to get rid of it. It was well-meaning present to Cowboy from our young friend Sophia, niece of neighbor Lori. I’m sure it was not demonically possessed when Sophia got it. It just turned out to be a too convenient partner for Cowboy in household pranks that were amusing only to him.

So, sorry to do away with your years-ago gift, Sophia. But Cowboy was there for the ceremony. And rest assured that we still have another of your presents — the beaded peace sign — which causes no trouble and helps keep birds away from the living room windows.

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