Mrs Smith is delighted with her new bag.
She can't help smiling every time she looks at it. Which is fairly often. Times have been rough lately, but Norman has finally come up trumps with this gift. Red leather with lots of brassy bits. Plenty of room inside for everything a girl needs to carry.
She feels like everyone on the beach must surely notice her brand new leather bag as they walk by.
Pete the Pins and Tom, the three-legged labrador pass by. But, to tell the truth, neither of them notice Mrs Smith's brand new bag or have any idea what a sacrifice good old Norman has made to show that he still loves his wife after all.
The fact is, Pete the Pins is somewhat pre-occupied.
For some reason he hasn't been appointed as acupuncturist for the Laurels Clinic. He runs the interview back through his mind like a film trying to identify where his interview technique might have let him down.
Disconsolately, Pete lobs a pebble into the sea.
Tom lurches into the sea and comes up with a pebble in his mouth which he deposits at his master's feet. Pete chucks it back in again. Tom flounders after it. Pete wonders if it really is the same pebble that the dog brings back. Can dogs, amazing and sensitive creatures that they are, detect smell under water?
Pete lobs another pebble into the sea. The dog, all smiles and slobber, brings it back. Lob, pebble, slobber, lob, pebble, slobber over and over. A pointless, mechanical game. An hour goes by before Pete wearies of the sport.
Tom looks game for another two hours at least.
Pete walks back the way they had came towards a beach café. The dog follows, water dripping from its coat and tail.
Neither of them stop to admire Mrs Smith's brand new red leather bag.
Pete orders a cup of tea. The dog lies outside, slobbering. Pete drinks his tea and runs the interview through his mind once more. A pointless, mechanical way of thinking that the dog certainly wouldn't have bothered with for more than a minute.
But Pete looks game for another two hours at least.
Pete orders another tea. The dog lurches to his three feet and walks towards the beach. Pete's not unduly worried. He knows the dog won't go far.
The dog heads towards Mrs Smith and her brand new bag. The bag is open because Mrs Smith can't help looking inside it every three minutes or so. A pointless, mechanical activity she never grows tired of.
Right now, she's looking out to sea and wondering how she can ever thank Norman for this beautiful gift.
Tom reaches the bag, sniffs the contents and starts going through that weird doggie convulsion that is a preliminary to vomiting.
The dog pukes around three gallons of sea water into Mrs Smith's lovely brand new red leather bag.
Mrs Smith screams.
'Who owns this dog?'
Pete decides to linger on in the café for a bit longer after all.