“Don’t you know you shouldn’t sneak up behind someone? You might get socked, or something,” she said.
“I didn’t sneak anywhere. I was just walking my dog.”
She slowly turned in a circle before raising her eyebrows in question. “Your dog? Is he a ghost?”
“What is this fascination you have with ghosts? There are no such thing as ghosts.”
“Okay, if it makes you happy to believe that, go for it.”
“It does, because it’s fact.”
“Okaaay, then, where’s your dog?”
“Your dog. The one you said you were walking. I don’t see any dog, so I just thought he must be a ghost. I guess he could be a figment of your imagination, but I don’t really know you well enough to declare you crazy.”
“Let me get this straight. If I said I had a ghost dog, I wouldn’t be crazy, but if I said that the dog was a figment of my imagination, I would?”
“Yeh.” When he made a noise that was somewhat of a cross between a growl and horribly-put-upon sigh, she laughed.
“Do you know my father?”
“If you had accompanied that noise with rolling eyes, you would have perfectly imitated him. I didn’t know anyone else actually made that kind of sound.”
“I understand his pain,” he mumbled.
“I heard that! Yeesh, clone-alert.” She turned back to check her equipment, examining the image captured on the LCD. “EEEEEEEEEEEE!”
“What? What’s wrong?”
“YOU MADE ME MISS MY SHOT!”
“Is that all? God, I thought something bit you, or stung you, or . . .”
“Is that all?”
“Well, there’s always another sunrise, isn’t there?”
“Now, I know you must be a long, lost relative on my father’s side of the family.”
“There’s always another sunrise. It’s not like it’s a real job,” she responded. “Isn’t that what you mean?”
“I’ll have you know, this is my job. I’m a professional photographer.”
“A professional? You mean you get paid to take photographs?”
“Yeh, that’s right. Don’t know what to say now, do you. It’s different when there’s money involved, isn’t it? Yes, I get paid to take photographs. I have a contract with a publisher for a book that I’m finishing, and I display at several galleries.”
“Galleries. You mean like an artist? Well, I guess that explains the ghost thing then.”
“Oh, because I’m an artist, I’m a flake?”
“You said it, I didn’t.”
“Well, I’m not the one walking an invisible dog.”
“She’s not invisible.”
“Really, because I still don’t see any sign of her. Perhaps I was too hasty in deciding your mental faculties are intact.”
“She’s not invisible. She’s just exploring.” He placed two fingers in his mouth, and shrilled out a whistle.
He whistled again then turned toward what sounded like a horse at full gallop coming from the other side of the dune.