Dog Walking

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
A beautiful girl, a little dog and unintended consequences!

Submitted: February 27, 2008

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Submitted: February 27, 2008

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It was about four in the afternoon. The January sun was setting. The sunset was a piercing, rapid descent: the kind of sunset that stings the eyes if you lift your head to look up at it.

Brian Grabowski left his house, went down the block and made a right at the corner onto the main street of the town.
Yesterday's snowfall was still on the ground and it was turning grayer, slushier and nastier by the second as the passing traffic slowly worked it into sludge. A hardened layer of permafrost had formed atop the unshoveled snow on the sidewalk.
Brian shuffled gingerly along the sidewalk. Balance had never been one of his strong points. He slid along on the ice, sliding one foot precariously in front of another, with his head held down, he glided cautiously along the narrow shoveled paths on the sidewalks. If another pedestrian came from the other direction, either Brian or that other person had to take a step to their left or right and crack the permafrost. This caused one of them to sink their foot into six inches of frozen snow while the other person ambled past. Usually it was Brian whose feet ended up frozen in the hardened snow, while he stood off to the side and waited for somebody else to pass.
He had a four hundred dollar signed check in his pocket—a week's pay and Brian was walking to the bank with it. As Brian walked in the direction of the bank, he made a mental note to keep in mind that the corner bar was five blocks in the other direction. He kept that fact in mind for after he had cashed his check.
He shuffled along the sidewalk with his head down, baseball cap pulled low over his eyes and his hands shoved in the pockets of his jacket because he'd lost his gloves somewhere, he couldn't remember where. It was the third pair that Brian had lost this winter already.
After fifteen minutes of walking, Brain reached the bank. It had been a treacherous fifteen minutes!
As he opened the glass door to the bank something across the street caught his eye—a young woman, twenty something, about Brian's age, walking a small dog on a thin leash.
She strode along with confidence; ignoring and seemingly impervious to all the ice and snow. Man—was she good looking! With her head tilted back, blonde ponytail caught in the cold wind, and wearing a white scarf and ear muffs with white furry boots to match—Brain couldn't take his eyes off her.
Brian stood still for a minute transfixed by the young woman, but then he shook his head rapidly like a mutt drying off after it comes out of the bath, in order to refocus He turned around, put his bare hand on the glass door to the bank and pulled it open as he regarded his own unshaven reflection that stared back at him.
"Hey, hey Brian Grabowski?!" He heard a woman's voice say from behind him. Brian froze and turned in his tracks. To his amazement, the girl with the white scarf, white ear muffs and white furry boots to match was walking across the street and towards him!
 The small dog she was walking, also white, poked its nose down along the ground as she walked with long strides across the asphalt. "Is that you? Brian Grabowski, is that you?" Her voice was loud and high and piercing like the sunset.
She nearly got run over by a UPS truck and a Nissan minivan in her scamper across the street, but she paid them no mind.
For a second, Brian stood frozen. He wondered why he couldn't seem to remember who she was. She obviously remembered him. He began to wonder if all the alcohol he'd drank over the years had done more damage to his brain cells than he'd previously thought.
Her and her dog walked up onto the sidewalk on Brian's side of the street. Brian, finally moving from his daze, walked down the short two steps that led to up to the door of the bank to greet the girl and her dog. She parked herself on the shoveled part of the sidewalk. The dog poked its little white fuzzy head around a clump of gray ice. Brian stood with his feet sunk into the frozen snow.
"Brian! Oh my God! It is you!" She squealed.
"Hey," Brian tentatively said in reply. He was still unable to think of the girl's name.
"Oh my God," she repeated, squealing, "it's been so long. Since high school," she said.
She hugged him. She hugged him and said the words "since high school" and that's when it clicked. This was Stephanie Klytemnestra, beautiful, blonde-haired—and the class Valedictorian. Mostly she had ignored Brian when they were in high school, though come to think of it, he did have vague memories of once having invited her to a party that he threw at his house one day. If Brian remembered correctly, there was lots of drinking, some beer-pong and then he thought that he remembered that  he blacked out at some point during the party.
"What have you been doing?" Stephanie said with a smile on her face that looked like it was permanently plastered there.
"Oh, you know, same old. You?" Brian asked as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other, right to left, left to right in an effort to keep warm while he stood in the snow. 
"Oh I've been so busy!" She said. Not only had Stephanie been Valedictorian of their high school class, but she'd also been in the drama society, gotten all the lead roles in all the school plays and ruled the school performances of "Little Shop of Horrors", or "Annie Get Your Gun" or whatever it happened to be that particular year, with an iron fist.
Brian looked down at his frozen feet planted in the hard snow. Stephanie's little white dog began to inch closer to Brian. She didn't seem to be paying any attention to the little dog—didn't even seem to remember she was walking a dog on a leash anymore. She stood there and waited for Brian to say something, to ask her a question. Stephanie loved answering questions about herself.
Brian regarded the dog and asked, "Busy? Oh yeah? Whatcha been doing?"
"Oh you know, just getting married. All the planning, the dress, the hall, the invitations—it's SOOO much work," she said. Stephanie put a hand up to her forehead to emphasize how busy, and how exhausting planning her wedding was. Drama Queen, in more ways than one.
"Oh yeah?," Brian said indifferently. "Getting married, huh?"
If Brian remembered correctly, back then in high school, Stephanie's boyfriend's were always in their thirties. He vaguely recalled that her date for the Senior prom had gray hairs along his temples. He couldn't remember much else about Stephanie, except indistinctly, as if in a dream, that one time she had shown up at that party of his when they had been 18? 17? Seventeen was it? Yeah, seventeen, that was it. But even his memories of that seemed foggy as he stood there in the winter sunset.
Stephanie looked at Brian. She was surprised he hadn't said anything more.Then again, most of the other people that Stephanie talked to now, aside from her fiancé Chris were young women her own age.
"Chris is wonderful!" Stephanie blurted out as she clapped her hands together. "You should have seen him propose to me! It was so romantic," she said and squealed with joy.
Brian shifted from one foot to the other. "Oh yeah? That sounds cool," he said. "How old is he?"
Stephanie stopped smiling. The smile vanished from her face.  Obviously, that smile wasn't plastered there permanently after all. She even shifted her white ear muffs a little as if she were about to uncover her ears because she thought she hadn't heard correctly. "What?" She said. not without a little irritation in her voice. "Why would you ask that? He's my age," she said defensively.
"Oh no, reason," Brian said as he took his hands out of his pockets, "just wondering, that's all." Brian stood in the snow. The winter wind caught Stephanie's ponytail and little wisps of her hair trailed in the breeze. "So," Brian said, "what's up?"
"I'm getting married," she said. "Isn't that big news?"
"Yeah, it is."
The little dog by this time started to growl at Brian. It continued to walk around him, but for some reason, it no longer did so playfully, but now it growled. Its little white body would scurry around in circles at his feet, careful to avoid the snow, and then poke its little white head with two black beady eyes up at Brian and grrrr….grrrrr…grrr. The dog made its sounds, not loudly, but menacingly. The little growling sounds that came from the little dog were like the sounds an old car engine makes on a cold morning, or the humming of a ceiling fan—not sinister sounds, but not sounds that are too pleasing to hear when you do actually notice them. Brian noticed the constant low sound that was emanating from the little dog and was secretly starting to get a little pissed off by the thing. Stephanie seemed to be oblivious, or at least inured to it. She didn't pay it any mind.
"What have you been up to, Brian Grabowski?" Stephanie asked. Brian wondered why she used his whole name. She must know a lot of Brian's, he thought.
"Nothing much," he said, "just going to the bank." Brian figured that if he mentioned what he had been doing when she came over to talk to him, then maybe he could break off this awkward conversation and get away from the creepy little dog that she was walking. He was afraid, also, that either one or both of his feet would be frost bitten when he took them out of the snow. Stephanie had been a lot prettier before Brian found out that he knew who she was.
The plastered smile came back on Stephanie's face. "Still drinking like you used too?" She asked with that smile.
"Like I used too?" Brian asked with surprise. "I didn't drink like I do now back when I was in high school," he said with conviction as if he were stating a fact that was not only true, but one that was also good—a  fact that he should be proud of. 
"That's not what I remember," she said without losing that smile.
"W-what do you mean?" Brian asked as he looked down at the little dog apprehensively. He tried to keep one eye on the dog and one eye on the dog's walker at the same time. Keeping each eye focused on a different object was a difficult thing for him to do while his feet froze off in the snow.
"Remember that party you threw at your house, that summer after Junior year?" Stephanie said. As Brian looked at her with one eye, he wondered if she just winked when she said that, or not, Maybe so much of his attention had been focused on that little white dog that it had only appeared that she'd winked is what he thought. She had winked.
"Yeah, you were so drunk that you and me hooked-up," Stephanie said, and there the smile disappeared once more.
"We did?" Brian said as he lowered a hand to try and pet the growling little beast.
Stephanie looked down, let some of the slack go on her dog's leash and then said, "Oh, you don't remember?"
Brian kept his eyes focused on the little dog now, whose growl had gotten louder when he bent down to pet it. "N-n-no, sorry. I don't.:
"Oh," Stephanie said, and the dog went closer and closer to Brian. The little dog was in the snow now. "That's okay, you were drunk. That's why I said that anyway," Stephanie said as she tossed her blonde ponytail in the wind and that plaster smile returned to her face.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Brian said as he shifted his feet from left to right to keep from freezing, "but what about this dog?"
Stephanie's face perked up right away. That plaster smile appeared again. The blonde ponytail looked perky, and the whole deal, with her face glowing and that smile appearing happened once more. "Oh!" she exclaimed, "Mimie? She's a Bichon Frise" Stephanie declared.
"Oh yeah? A Bichon Frise?" Brian asked with apprehension. In case you were wondering, in American that is pronounced Bitchin Freeze. And rather than say, "Bichon Frise," that's exactly what Brian said, "Bitchin Freeze?"
"Yes, she is," Stephanie said, "Chris got her for me as an engagement present."
Just then, the little white bitchin freeze locked its teeth on Brian's leg. The little white beast just wouldn't let go. First, its teeth locked onto the denim of Brian's jeans, and then getting caught there, it sunk its teeth in deeper, into Brian's flesh. Brian kicked around furiously cursing, "Hey come on, you fucking little dog," but no matter how much he cursed, and no matter how much he thrashed around, the little white dog just wouldn't relinquish the grip it had on the meaty flesh of Brian's calf.
Brian fell back and landed ass first in the deep frozen pile of snow. "Let go of my fucking leg," he screamed at the little white dog.
Eventually, after he kicked his leg around frantically, the small Bitchin freeze let go of the grip it had on Brian's leg. "Damn," Brian said as he rolled up his jeans and rubbed the red spot where the dog's teeth had sunk into his flesh.
"Brian Grabowski," Stephanie yelled, "you were a bastard ten years ago and you're still a bastard today!"
Then she led her little bitch of a dog away on its thin leash and walked across the street. Brian sat in the snow for a minute, with his jeans rolled up to the knee and rubbed the sore spot on his leg. After a few minutes of doing that, he got up and walked back to the entrance to the bank. He pulled open the door to the bank and noted his unshaven reflection staring back at him in the glass door. By this time, Stephanie had walked off back across the street and he couldn't see her anymore.
As he entered the bank and cashed his check, Brian made sure to note that the corner bar was only five blocks away, in the other direction. That mental note was about to come in handy.


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