Keeping it simple he headed to the Riverside, lines be damned. It looked like a grinder he could drop the dog into and someone would know someone who knew someone. Gray Ponytail is plugged in somehow. You can’t have that many fogies in one place and not have an orgy of gossip going on. Grab a cinnamon roll, coffee, drop a hook, back for dinner to check the bait. It was a damn well trained mutt. It was somebody’s. Morning crush gone, the restaurant was about half empty. Walking directly to yesterday’s table he sits down. Gray Ponytail is working another table with a foursome of older gentlemen. After a flourish with her pen she comes toward him. He watches her walk. The floor is a trampoline and she bounces with each step, ponytail bobbing. “Same-same?” She asks.
“Yup, and a large OJ.”
Nodding, she is gone, leaving only a hole in the air. Gray hair. Odd. Got to ask about that. Maybe it was a political statement. Or…well there was a reason somewhere. First things first. The dog. Hey, anyone you know missing a dog? Nope. I was wondering if you knew anyone missing a…nope, nope, nope. How do you start a conversation about finding somebody’s dog? Maybe just drop it in like an ‘oh yes, this happened’. Looking up at her made him feel small and out of control. Nobody talks up to somebody about stuff. You stand eye to eye. Maybe he should stand up. Or he could wait until he was leaving and then they would be eye to eye. Could go over and talk to to the tea party guys but they were discussing healthcare or medicare or something and sounded like they were getting pissed off.
A small coaster skims across the table and a glass of orange juice lands on it. “Rest will be out in a minute,” turning to leave she starts away.
“Hey,” he says. She stops. “I found a dog.” Out of ammo he lets it hang there; nothing more to say.
“Good for you.” Staring. “Were you looking for one?” Faint smile.
“No, no. I just..it..” His brain skipped teeth on his speech sprocket. “It just wandered into my motel room.”
Head tilt. Ponytail swings. “You just leave your door open and let things wander in?”
Dammit. “The door won’t always latch and I went back and there was this dog in my room.” Silence. She was sharp. Speak now or get spoken to. “He’s a little rat terrier or something. About 10 pounds. White and brown.”
“Sounds nice.” A step backward and away.
“No, wait! It just showed up and I think it’s somebody’s and I need to have you ask around.”
Pause. “You got a picture of it?” He looks stumped, stupid.
Exasperation. “Like on your phone? Did you take a picture with your phone?”
Shit. “Nope.” He is hoping the dog is gone when he gets back to room, that the problem is solved by the math that caused it. “I’ll get one. Maybe you could Facebook it or Snapchat it around.”
“Sure.” Eyes darting to the four old guys, then locking on his, “Anything for a regular. You are a regular right?”
“Yes. Sure. Of course. I’m a regular–now.”