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Prissy was talking to her cousin Mitzi when Crump brought Prince into their bedroom. After Crump left with the dog, Prissy called her cousin back.
"I hope I didn't scare you," Prissy said, her voice a pitch higher than normal.
"Oh you scared the life out of me! What happened?" Mitzi replied, her voice tense.
Prissy, still shaken said, "Ron brought Prince home from the genetics institute...and..., oh my god!"
"What?" Mitzi almost yelled.
A bit calmer, Prissy answered, "you wouldn't believe how that dog looks out of his eyes and when it speaks, well, it just scares me to death."
"It can talk? Can it understand what you say to it?" Mitzi asked.
"Yes it can talk if you would call it talking and according to Ron it behaves perfectly now - will do whatever you tell it." Prissy answered.
"Wow," Mitzi said in a voice not as enthusiastic as her word implied, "I wish we could afford to get Flap smartened up."
"Your Cocker Spaniel?" Prissy asked.
"Hub's Cocker Spaniel," Mitzi answered quickly. "I'm not claiming him because he's too much trouble." Dumb, dumb dog. If we forget to take him outside, even for a little bit, he doesn't go to the door wanting out, he just shits in the floor." She added, "Are you going to bring Puff Puff to the penthouse now that Prince will obey commands?"
"NO!" Prissy said emphatically. "I don't trust that dog and anyway Puff Puff is scared of it."
"Aw, that poor, sweet little poodle. It has to stay alone all the time?" Mitzi said wistfully.
Prissy said, "not all the time. I do spend some time at my apartment." And she added, "I have to go now, I think Ron wants to talk to me."
Crump did want to talk to Prissy. He told her he wanted to throw a big party and show Prince off to his friends.
"If you think it is safe," Prissy said.
"Safe!" Crump exclaimed irritably. "Of course it is safe. He's got a scary voice and maybe he looks a little scary out of his eyes but he's a Doberman, not a wimpy poodle."
Crump knew she was fond of the poodle and immediately regretted what he had said. It occurred to him that one of the things that might be bothering her about Prince was the idea of a talking dog.
Crump sighed and said, "aw, I'm sorry baby...look, we'll get Puff Puff smartened up."
Prissy smiled a little and said, "she would probably talk my ear off."
Crump did throw a big party. Although none of his guests screamed in terror, some told Crump to never bring that dog into their presence again. Others thought the dog was great and inquired how they could get the same thing done for their dog. The most enthusiastic of the admirers was Crump's friend, Mason Woodrich. He had a bulldog named Smash.
When Woodrich brought Smash to the institute, Gregory refused saying that he was not comfortable with Prince's behavior. Woodrich said he would take full responsibility for whatever happened and offered Gregory an exorbitant fee. Gregory told him he would reconsider at some future date but he would not agree now especially with another aggressive dog.
When Woodrich told Crump what the administrator had said, Crump said, "hell, if he wants wimpy dogs I'll send him Prissy's poodle and her cousin's Cocker Spaniel. And he did.
Gregory went to talk to Harvey Lester.
He found Harvey studying different parts of a frog's brain on his 3D monitors.
"What are you working on?" Gregory asked.
"I'm trying to teach Froggy to hum Beethoven's 5th," Harvey answered.
"Any luck?" Gregory asked and tried not to roll his eyes.
"Some," Harvey replied. "Now he's doing DA DA DA DOM, ribbet, ribbet."
Even after many years, Gregory still could not always tell when Harvey was or was not joking.
Gregory told him about his latest offer - the poodle and Cocker Spaniel - and ask Harvey what he thought.
Harvey replied, "people wanting intelligent animals and talking animals will not just go away. Not only that but there are production genetic facilities producing food and such. Considering the money being offered to enhance these dogs, those facilities will soon begin experimentation."
He was silent for a moment, then concluded, "the best way to avoid catastrophe, is with understanding, not ignorance."
One of the things the institute had learned from Bugsy was that animals wanted to communicate with humans as much as humans wanted to communicate with them. Beginning with Prince, the first lesson in Morse Code was taught after the initial brain enhancement. With Prince, the staff questioned whether this assertion of Bugsy's was universally true. The dog had only coded a few times. He would code "no" when anyone changed the channel on the 3DTV if he were watching. His longest code was when he coded he did not like soy based food and wanted meat - raw.
The dogs, Puff Puff and Flap soon restored the staff's belief in the work they were doing. The dogs were like playful children. They would obey but occasionally got into mischief as they became curious about the world around them. They did have something of a problem with Puff Puff. Prissy's words had been prophetic.
Dan complained first. "Puff Puff never stops coding. This morning when I went into the dogs' room, Flap was trying to sleep with his paws over his ears. Puff Puff was standing beside him stamping the floor and blinking her eyes. She was coding about the dress some celebrity was wearing on Dancing with the Stars.
The administrator, somewhat harried, (Puff Puff was now at his feet stamping and blinking), said, "get Flap some ear plugs...on second thought, get us all some ear plugs."