Max: Bubba, wake up—wake up.
Bubba: Huh? Wha . . .? Snuff. Snort. Is it dinner time?
Max: No, we just had breakfast a few minutes ago.
Bubba: That doesn't mean it couldn't be dinner time. Sometimes they forget.
Max: Bubba, I'm worried.
Bubba: That it's not dinner time yet? Mellow out adventure dog. Dad'll spill something soon.
Max: That's just it. I think Dad's gone round the bend.
Bubba: Max, relax. He started at "round the bend." What makes you think he's gotten any weirder?
Max: He's (in a hushed voice) talking to himself.
Bubba: Are you sure he's talking to himself? Maybe he's talking to Mom and she's ignoring him. Happens a lot, you know.
Max: No, uh uh. Negatory. He does it even when she's not at home.
Bubba: Hmmm. This could be serious. What kinds of things is he saying?
Max: Just the other day I was laying on the couch next to him and he jumped to his feet and bellowed . . .
Max: Yeah, real loud. (Clears throat and projects) "And now I remember me. His name is Falstaff. And if that man be lewdly given, he deceiveth me, for I see virtue in his look."
Bubba: Deceiveth. Oh crap. Not good. This is really not good. Not good at all.
Max: What? What? What?
Bubba: Have you noticed his face lately?
Max: (laughs) Oh, yeah. With that big nose and the eyebrows that grow together in the middle and . . .
Bubba: No, I mean the whiskers. He hasn't shaved for a couple of weeks. I think he's growing a beard.
Max: Don't be silly, why would he grow a beard?
Bubba: And the other day, when the phone rang, I heard him answer it by saying Hark!
Max: Hark? Hark?
Bubba: (glumly) Hark. There's no getting around it Max. The conclusion is inescapable. Our Dad aka the big thing sprawled on the couch is practicing to be in a play.
Max: Play? I love to play. Are we going to play toss the stuffed squirrel down the stairs and run go get it?
Bubba: No. Not playing but performing in a play. Shakespeare.
Max: Huh. Wha . . .? Shakes who?
Bubba: Speare. He wrote a whole bunch of words nobody understands but pretend they do. In his plays, people stand close together and pretend theiy're somebody else and say stuff like "Forsooth" and "Hey nonny nonny" and maybe fight with wooden swords.
Max: Get the woof out of here!!! (He licks his dingle, then looks up) You made that up.
Bubba: I swear to Lassie, it's the truth. And other people watch them and clap and laugh or sometimes boo and throw fruit.
Max: What happens then?
Bubba: After the play is over and the audience leaves, Dad and the rest of the actors will stand around and say things to each other like (steps forward and wags her tail) Enough about you, let's talk about me.
Max: Sounds pretty bogus to me. What's Mom think about the whole thing?
Bubba: She says Dad will really chew up the scenery.
Max: Hey, I could help do that. Is any of it shaped like a squirrel?
Bubba: Keep thinking Max, that's what you're good at.
Max: Is Mom planning to go watch him perform?
Bubba: I dunno, but I did see her come home with a bag of really ripe apples.