Politics of the bone (a very short play)

The scene: It is early morning. Kharma is on the bed, a well loved marrow bone close to her paws – she is apparently ignoring it but in reality it is well attended to. Zak is sitting at the foot of the bed watching the bone which he regards as his.

Kharma, please?!

Kharma, please?!

Zak: Please! Please let me have my bone!

Kharma: No.

Zak: But you are not even chewing it! He makes a whine and moves towards the bone.

Kharma: Just try.

Zak backs off, sits and barks. The human enters through the door near the head of the bed.

Human: What’s wrong Zak, won’t she let you have your bone?

Zak, giving the human his most pleading look: No, how selfish is that?

Human: I can’t blame her, you should try being nice to her more often.

Zak: But I am, I am! Please help me!

Kharma, moves head fractionally towards the bone and raises her right eyebrow. Says nothing. Her tail is uncharacteristically quiet.

Human moves to cupboard to get camera. Zak agitates and barks again. Please Kharma!

Kharma. Go on. Test me.

Human sits on bed near the pillow and takes a photo.

Zak: Come on, help me here.

Human: No ways dude, this is your problem to fix. Kharma’s the boss here.

Zak circles to the top of the bed, jumps up and sitting down backs into the human, all the time intently focused on the bone: Come on dude, it’s a boy solidarity thing. Help me out, I need that bone!

Kharma says nothing.

Human (laughing): Dude, Kharma is just making her point, be patient and she will eventually let you have it.

Zak (jumping off the bed). Awww. You are no help at all. I need that bone now.



Human puts away the camera and leaves to get ready for work.

Author’s note: Variations on this theme play out every Sunday morning when the dogs get their bones. Kharma will devour hers first and then browbeat Zak off his just to show that she can.

My first Rhodesian Ridgeback, Kim, was an uncharacteristically unemotional dog but when she’d finished her bone (always in the same place on the front lawn) she’d play bow to it, tail wagging furiously, do a little dance around it and then pick it up and go and bury it. She was very self-conscious about all this and wouldn’t do it if she thought I was watching.

Jenni would always bury her bones, sometimes eaten, sometimes not. Again, if she thought I was watching she would go somewhere else. The bones did reappear from time to time but I was never sure if they ALL reappeared.

Before Zak, Kharma was relatively indifferent to her bone. I was never sure if it was going to be chewed or ignored – sometimes permanently. That has all changed and she devours her bones if she can. I think she has some hyena genes in her because sometimes the bones really are eaten and they are not insignificant bones!