Friday, November 29, 2019

#FridayFlash - No Good Deed

Alicia ended the call and looked down at the Lab. "Are you ready to go back to your dad, Remy?" The dog blinked and moved closer to the woman. She picked up her valhund Thor's leash and clipped it to the black Lab's collar before heading out the door.

"Slow down, honey." Alicia laughed, impressed by how much energy the dog had even after half an hour playing with her valhund. Remy trotted at the end of the lease, tail wagging lazily, but did stop straining to run ahead.

"Let's cross here." Alicia treated the strange dog like her own, and Remy surprisingly behaved like she understood. The woman couldn't help but be impressed, wondering if she was a secret dog whisperer.

Across the field was a man in a fluorescent hoodie, walking with an odd gait. How far had he walked? Why not drive over? Remy could have gotten miles from home in the couple days she'd been missing.

He noticed them at the same time, started cutting across the grass. Remy saw and started pulling again, eager to be back with her owner. Alicia laughed as she unclipped the leash. "Go get him then." The Lab ran ahead, tail wagging.

Remy made it to her owner, bounced and licked him, then frolicked away. Alicia smiled and approached the man, trying to remember his name. Rob or Matt or Rick, or something equally generic.

"Thank you so much," he said, watching his dog. He hadn't made eye contact, and he kept shifting his position. Alicia thought she might be the same if Thor had gone missing, but something about this guy put her off.

"No worries. She's a good girl, and she looked like she just wanted to go home." She prepared to offer her hand in proper introduction, but he just stood with his hands at his side. The moment drug out, became awkward.

He finally looked away from Remy and to Alicia, then stuck out his hand to shake. "I'm Jeff. Thank you again." They shook, and her discomfort grew. "She's been out a couple of days and I just didn't know where to look."

"No worries. I got her some food and water, and the vet used her rabies ID to call your ex, who got a hold of you..." Alicia let her voice trail off, realizing he wasn't really listening to her.

He began making his way across the field, toward her house. "I can't figure out how she got out of the second story."

"Maybe she asked real nice." They laughed, and Alicia gestured further down the street. "So, are you in the apartments? In case I need to bring her back in the future."

"Oh, no. The house right there, with the sail boat." Jeff called to the Lab, but made no effort to clip his own leash on.

"Really?" Alicia frowned, hiding her sudden spike of unease. She knew the house he was talking about. Everyone on the street did. Suspected dope dealers, there'd been sheriffs on the property numerous times, and strange visitors at late hours on too many nights.

And it was across the street from her.

She knew she hadn't heard anyone calling for a missing dog. Alicia also knew Remy had been nearby for at least two hours, in all the nearby yards, and Jeff hadn't noticed. Hadn't looked outside.

Remy looked happy and healthy enough, wasn't abused or tortured, but Alicia couldn't suppress the feeling that Jeff didn't deserve the dog. It wasn't her place to intervene, though, just keep her eyes open and help if necessary.

Seems good deeds really didn't go unpunished.

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