Damien was running down the street, and for a man who never runs and has a few extra pounds, it was quite a sight. The combination of a tie flying over his shoulder, his jacket in flight behind him, and a bright red face all told people ahead of him to get out of his path or deal with the aftermath. He almost didn’t hear the muffled yelps as he turned a corner but stopped fast enough to make a group of nearby children liken him to a cartoon character.
As he followed the cry for help, he checked his watch and knew he was already going to be late, a few more minutes wouldn’t hurt. He followed the sad whimpers until they led him to a small alley. He discovered the poor little guy, a tiny Scottie limping around in a circle and tearing up.
“Hey there boy,” he said in his calmest voice, forcing his heavy breathing aside for a moment. “What’s the matter?” The pup looked up at him with the saddest eyes he’d ever seen, even including the poster of the sick puppy he had on the wall of the office in his veterinary practice. It didn’t take long for him to spot the small twig wedged into the jet-black dog’s paw and he pet the little guy to calm him down.
“Don’t worry little fella. Let’s check your tag.” He let the dog sniff his scent and then checked the dangling gold emblem attached to the collar. “Duffy, huh? Okay Duffy we’ll have you fixed up in a jiff.” The dog reacted positively to hearing his name, barked and then rolled over, offering the damaged paw to the doctor.
He had the twig out in a few seconds and Duffy jumped up, barked twice, and took off.
“Guess you won’t be paying me,” Damien said to no one in particular. He started a bit as he checked his watch. His friend who set them up specifically told him not to be late, and it was 7:07, a few minutes past the appointed meeting time. He ran to the alley’s edge and hailed a cab.
As he checked himself in the window of the small restaurant, his eyes refocused on the single woman sitting alone in the restaurant, his date. He panicked. Her strawberry-blonde hair, beautiful eyes, amazing body, he focused back on his reflection and knew he never had a chance, even if he had been punctual.
He was better off standing her up than facing rejection again. Another taxi later and he was on his way home.