The First Time Bongo Marie Manipulated Me
by Sally Blanchard
Once she was tame enough to let me pick her up, I would often put Bongo Marie on the arm of my chair as I watched television. When I wanted to skritch her head, I would say “wanna skritch?” and she would lower her head. It didn’t take long for her to ask me to pet her by waddling over to me, lowering her head and saying, “skritch, skritch, skritch” in a slightly possessed little voice. She had that slow, deliberate walk with her head lowered that always looked to me as if she was stalking something. Combined with her funky little body, she was quite a sight.
One evening, I was far too involved in a TV show for Bongo’s liking. She came over with her normal invitation for me to scratch her head but I ignored her. After a minute or so, she became impatient and walked over and pinched me on the side of my breast. I was shocked and gave her a quick evil eye. She shuffled over the edge of the arm of the chair and sulked while I continued to ignore her but watched her out of the corner of my eye. After a few minutes, she sidestepped over to me with her head down. She placed the side of her face against the same area she had bitten me and then looked up at me with her head kind of upside down. In her softest voice, she whispered, “I wuv you.” I melted. I had softly said that to her a zillion times with correct pronunciation but I didn't care how she said it. Did I take this to mean she really loved me or that she was apologizing? Maybe, but I did realize that she had learned that these special words could easily manipulate me.