James whipped the Frisbee downrange with all his might. His arm was starting to hurt, and he was very conscious of being watched.
The dog bounded off after the disc, head up, at a completely unreasonable speed. He was under the Frisbee in seconds, waiting for it to drop within reach. When it did the dog leapt gracefully and caught it in his mouth.
There was a wash of polite applause from the crowd behind the police line. When it died down, the crowd was perfectly silent once again.
As the dog trotted leisurely back from across the field, another assistant ran up behind James and spoke in his ear: “That’s an even hundred. Has he said anything?”
“Nope. Small talk. A couple compliments on my throwing arm”
“The Secretary would like you to ask him…”
“I’m not asking him anything. He’s having a good time.”
The assistant sighed. “Okay, but I’m just telling you what I’m supposed to tell you, because if I go back over there and say…”
“All right, all right. What does he want me to ask?” The suits, and a few uniforms, stood in a small group under a tree. The Secretary had the bench, of course, but he had invited James’ girlfriend to sit beside him.
“Has he given any more thought to the possibility of a technological or cultural exchange?”
“I really doubt he has, but I’ll see if I can work it in. Now go away, here he comes.”
The dog trotted up, dropped the Frisbee at James’ feet, and sat panting happily beside it.
“That was a good one.” James offered, as he bent to pick up the disc.
“Thanks! I’m really getting the hang of it,” The dog exclaimed. When he spoke his mouth contorted strangely, not at all doglike. “What did he want?”
“Oh,” answered James, “They want me to ask you some stuff, I guess.”
“Knock yourself out. Gotta catch my breath anyway.”
“Well, stuff about trade. You know. They’re looking for an angle.”
The laugh was like a bark. “I’m sure!”
“How about a cultural exchange?”
“What’s that mean?”
“Like, movies; music; novels. I assume that’s what he means.”
“The man on the bench.”
“Yeah. The Secretary.”
The dog looked over, head cocked to one side. “He’s talking to your mate.”
“Will he steal her from you?”
James laughed out loud. “He’s a little old. And not her type. Anyway, we’re Democrats.”
After a moment, the dog stood. “Okay, let’s go again!”
James obliged by winding up and letting the Frisbee fly again. It sailed out over the green expanse, across the path, and halfway to the parked ship, the dog under it all the way.
When he had caught it and brought it back to James’ feet again, the dog said, “I’m sure there’s something we’ll trade for. There always is. We’ll make sure you get a piece of it, whatever it is.”
“Hey, thanks,” James said.
“No problem. Sorry about landing on your dog.”