Once upon a time, two fleas came to live on the Chihuahua known as Carlos Bandidos. They were not ordinary fleas, small, stupid and parasitic, spending their lives scratching a living out of a dog. They were special fleas.
One was a Tough Flea.
He could survive a bath in toxic-to-fleas shampoo. He worked out with weights and was very strong. He was descended from Aztec warrior fleas who had evolved with the Chihuahua breed of dog in ancient Mexico. He was a professional athlete, skilled in jumping, diving, swimming and weight lifting and a winner of many gold medals at the Flealympics.
The other was a very SmartFlea.
She was educated by her mother, who had learned from her mother and so on back to the original SmartFlea. That flea had lived on an Oxford scholar's dog and thereby obtained a University education. SmartFlea's mother had migrated with her English Setter to Australia. When SmartFlea grew up, the Setter visited the owners of a Chihuahua. She had already decided she would be a scientist and needed a big antennae-eared breed of dog, so when she saw Carlos Bandidos, she made the leap and took him as her dog. She established her observatory in his right ear and lived there alone for many months.
TufFlea had also been born on another dog, Chiquita Banana, the mother of Carlos. TufFlea was born at the same time as Carlos. When Carlos Bandidos was 6 weeks old, TufFlea was winning many Flealympics medals. When Carlos was 10 weeks old and old enough to go to his new owner, TufFlea made his first giant leap and claimed Carlos for his own.
TufFlea landed on the tail of his new dog and spent the first night camped in the fur forest at the base of the tail on carlos' back. This spot is particularly thick and hairy so TufFlea was safe and warm but after the first night he went exploring. He wandered through days through the hills and valleys, the jungles and deserts, the nooks and crannies of his puppy's body. At last after much exploring and mapmaking, he made his home in the thick fur between Carlos and his two front legs. This gave him a good space for a Fleanasium and put him within striking distance of the last great exploration in front of him: the dog's head.
TufFlea made his way to the belly and spent some time there. When ever the puppy lay down to sleep, TufFlea jumped off and explored the puppy box. He found several pieces of dry dog food and fashioned them into dumbbells and barbells. Then he began his daily workouts as he had been trained by his father in the tradition of the Aztec warrior fleas.
SmartFlea had stayed on the puppy's head for she already knew that she was destined to a life of scientific exploration. She made herself a comfortable seat just at the back of the puppy's floppy brown right ear and when the puppy moved about, she scrambled up the ear where she could take notes and make observations. She soon established a comfortable routine and was satisfied with her life, but at night she felt lonesome and alone. She wanted someone to talk to and share her dream. She wanted a strong flea to help her build a Fleanomic Observatory from which she could make observations of the stars when her puppy's ear assumed its adult upright open ear posture. But, alas, she was alone on her dog and there was no one with whom she could share her life.
TufFlea also felt deep inside that something was missing from his life. He had adventure, true enough, and he was putting together a gymnasium of Flealympian proportions, but what was it all worth if he did not have children to share it all with? Who would he compete with for medals? So he left the comfort of his dog's belly and went out in search of a mate. He made a club from a dog bisquit in case he met a hostile flea-tribe. "I'll just steal a suitable maidenflea and go back to my own territory" he thought, "like my Aztec ancestors."
TufFlea headed north, working his way through the thick fur over the ribs and up to the backbone. It was exhausting work, for the fur formed a jungle, with each hair a giant tree to the tiny flea. But TufFlea didn't mind. He had a goal and was single mindedly pursuing it. He hacked his way forward till he reached the ridgetop, then climbed the tallest hair till he could see in all directions. Ahead of him was his goal: the head of his dog. If there were any tribal fleas already inhabiting this dog, that's where they would be.
TufFlea rested that night, than began the neck assault. He fashioned ropes from guard hairs and struggled upwards. All day he climbed till at last he reached the left ear. He entered cautiously, looking for guards or signs of inhabitants, but he found nothing. He went into the cave formed where the puppy ear still flopped forward and was soon asleep, exhausted by the day's ordeal.
Suddenly the puppy was picked up and plunged into warm water. TufFlea woke with a start and grabbed on to the nearest hairs. He took a deep breath and went in to the flea-bath trance he had learned from his father. Generations of Aztec warrior fleas had used it to survive the chili baths employed by Mexicans to rid their chihuahuas of fleas and it worked for TufFlea now.
SmartFlea had not been caught unawares. She had been up on her ear, taking notes, and had seen the hand coming. As soon as the puppy sailed over the bath towel on the way to the sink, SmartFlea abandoned dog. She leapt into the bath towel, secure in the knowledge that puppies go from bath to towel as surely as the earth goes round the sun. Sure enough, a few minutes later a soggy but clean Carlos Bandidos was plunked down on the towel.
It wasn't easy getting back to her ear. The puppy was being rubbed vigorously with the towel and SmartFlea was tossed back and forth. She kept her wits and waited for the right moment. Suddenly an ear went by her bit of towel and she grabbed on with six legs at once. She pulled herself under the ear flap just as TufFlea emerged from his trance...
After the days of lonely adventuring, it was love at first sight. TufFlea opened his eyes to the most beautiful Flea he had seen since he left his mother. In fact she looked just like his young, beautiful mother, except for the academic robes and the glasses of course. TufFlea was gobsmacked.
SmartFlea in turn, couldn't believe what she was seeing. There in front of her was the most perfectly gorgeous flea she had ever laid eyes on. He had a huge chest, small hips and the most muscly legs she could have imagined. He was holding two huges weights as if they were nothing. He made the soft academic fleas of her childhood look like wimps. She was smitten. She was also at a total loss for words, something that happened only about twice in her entire life. She simpered and looked away. TufFlea grunted. Then he hit her over the head with his club and dragged her away.
He didn't hit her hard and instead of hurting, it made SmartFlea excited. He didn't need to drag her hard. She was running beside him, clasping his claw back as hard as he held hers. He took her into the safety of the dog ear, clasped her in four strong claws and kissed her passionately. SmartFlea melted into his arms and gave herself to him competely...
…and that is why, no matter how often Carlos Bandidos' human owner washed her dog in toxic-to-fleas shampoo, there were always more fleas in a few days time…