It was yesterday, two days before Christmas, and I was cleaning the house after returning from being away for five and a half days. There was a knock at the door. Ray's girlfriend, Cindy, was dropping off a present and a card for us. Ray stuck his head into the bag from which Cindy had withdrawn the gift, looking to see if she had maybe forgotten his. She hadn't. There wasn't anything. I dragged the dog out of the bag.
"Are you guys going to be around for Christmas?" I asked. "If you are, we should get together."
"Sounds great!" replied Cindy. "But tomorrow someone's coming over, and Christmas day we're going to my parents."
"How 'bout tonight?" I said. "Why don't you and Bill come for cocktails? I'm cleaning the house. I hate to waste a perfectly good, clean house. I'll see if anyone else is available."
Cindy agreed and left. I called around and rounded up our usual suspects for an impromptu cocktail party. Maddie, the Cocker Spaniel's parents (Dick and Sandra) and Halle, the Greyhound's grandparents (Deborah and Steven). Dick and Sandra were bringing their son and his wife as well; a good group for such short notice.
I finished cleaning the house while Gregg went to get a few provisions for the 5:30 party.
By the time 5:30 rolled around, Ray was asleep in his spot on the couch. Although I had cleaned the rooms and removed all the dog throws, I had left his spot untouched, hoping that he would stay comfily ensconced on his bed of pillows. It was a nice thought.
At the first knock on the door, Ray was up to greet his first guests. I was stowing gifts and coats and Gregg was taking drink orders when the second couple arrived. I went to answer the door and saw a distracted Ray in the front hall with his head down, picking at something. It was the mozzarella, basil, prosciutto roll. They were on sale at the supermarket and Gregg just couldn't resist. He'd had it on the counter until the first guests arrived, then quickly plopped it on the coffee table just as the front door opened. Ray was trying to pick off the mozzarella to get at the good stuff.
I grabbed the roll out from under his nose and whisked it to the kitchen to rinse it off. Gregg cut off the half with the teethmarks in it, waited until all the guests arrived and we could keep an eye on it, then set it back out on the table.