A New Friend
Picture - #10
Disclaimer: Story and characters are mine.
“I hate the holidays,” Sabrina grumbled to her co-worker. “It just sucks to be alone, you know? And it sucks even more that work is the only saving grace for me on Christmas Eve and we close early.”
The pimply-faced, skinny, black-haired boy wiped his nose with the back of his sleeve. “Whatever.”
“You’re lucky! You have family to go home to and you probably have a really good dinner, too.”
Brian just rolled his eyes.
“Someday, I hope you know just how lucky you are.” Sabrina looked at the clock. It was 30 minutes to closing and she figured she could handle the few remaining customers inside the pet supply store. “Go home to your family, kid. This is not the place for you to be tonight.”
Brian lazily shrugged and walked away. He stopped and yelled back at her. “Check out Aisle 12.”
Brian shrugged again. “Dog. Been there a long time.”
Sabrina mumbled under her breath about dumb teenagers who never told anyone anything and strode there quickly to see what he was talking about. There was a little dog, a puppy, in a shopping cart with an ugly ‘70s avocado-green, yellowish, floral print bag next to him. He was in a red harness. He had a distinctly miserable look on his little face.
“What’s up boy, huh? Where’s your owner?”
Of course, he sat there without replying. He weakly licked Sabrina’s hand and whimpered. She quickly looked around to see if there was anyone around. Across the walkway and up an aisle, there was another shopper, but that shopper had a cart and her own doggie inside. Still, Sabrina stopped the lady. “Do you have any idea whose dog this is? Did you see anyone nearby?”
The lady looked at Sabrina kind of startled and shook her head.
“Okay. Thank you,” Sabrina replied.
She picked up the puppy and, seeing that his leash was attached to the cart, she put him down and let him trot alongside while she pushed the cart to the cashier’s counter. She turned on the PA system. “Attention, shoppers. It is ten minutes till closing time.” She paused. “If anyone has lost a yellow lab puppy in Aisle 12, please come pick him up at the register.”
All of the customers eventually checked out, and at 2 in the afternoon, Sabrina promptly locked the doors. She checked all the restrooms, checked all the aisles, and looked everywhere a human could possibly be, but there was nobody, just her and the puppy.
“Well, boy, what’re we gonna do with you? No tags or anything.” She noticed a folded note lying near the top of the bag. Still, she hesitated to go through customers’ belongings. She finally grabbed the note and read it. I lost my home. Please take care of him. It was unsigned. Beneath where the note had been, there were some cans of wet puppy food, a bowl, and two stuffed animals.
“Damn it!!!!!!!!” Sabrina suddenly roared, startling the puppy who yelped. “There sure as hell better be change in this country! People are losing their homes and people are abandoning their animals! And there are still people breeding dogs?! Are they freakin’ nuts?!”
Sabrina took a few breaths and rubbed the puppy’s head. She looked at him. “It’s not your fault, boy.” She saw the mess he just made on the floor. “Hold on.”
She went to the back room and got some paper towels and cleaner, and cleaned up his mess. “Still, I don’t know what to do with you. Maybe you’ll just have to come home with me tonight because I’m certainly *not* going to let you spend Christmas Eve in the animal shelter.”
Sabrina picked up a dog blanket, a pet mattress, and the ugly bag. She unhooked the puppy’s leash from the shopping cart. She suddenly stopped and looked down at him when she realized something. “Hey! I’ll have a little company for Christmas!” She smiled widely. “Let’s go home, Buddy.”
Story by: THE BARD OF NEW MEXICO
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