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October 8, 2013

A Poodle

March 2009

I was sitting on the concrete base of a light pole in the mall parking lot smoking a cigarette. The parking space by the pole was empty.

As I sat there enjoying a few moments of quiet. a large, black, suburban assault vehicle pulled into the space, screeching to a halt just inches short of where I sat. The doors popped open and a 30-something couple emerged. They both started immediately coughing and retching and waving their hands in front of their faces while glaring with shock and horror at the small tube of tobacco in my hand.

I've seen their type before and just ignored them, knowing that if I didn't engage, they'd go find something else to be critical of. They did. rolling their windows down a bit ... which I found unusual considering the offense they had taken at my gall to have a habit of which they did not approve, they slammed the doors and went off to buy something more.

I watched them leave and was returning to my reverie when my eye was caught by some motion in the mini-monster truck. A sharp nose and bright eyes peered from between the seats, disappeared, then a standard poodle leaped over the seat backs and into the front passenger seat.

It looked at me, and I thought I detected a sense of commiseration. We nodded at each other companionably. Then the poodle opened its mouth and, tongue lolling out briefly, seemed to laugh.

As I watched, it moved to the driver's seat ... and squatted.

I field-stripped the last of the cigarette, put the filter in my pocket, and strolled past the open driver's window. A quick glance inside confirmed my suspicions. There was a small mound and a pool of liquid in the center of the seat.

Suddenly the poodle's head pushed out of the opening. I patted it for a moment and went in to get back to work.