A woman and her dog go for a walk.
Connie glanced back as subtly as she could. She had noticed this car before; it had driven past her house a few times, very slowly. There were very few puke-green Gremlins in existence that she knew of.
Her terrier lifted his leg on a tree, forcing her to stop.
The car slowed and waited.
“Come on, come, Toot! I’m trying to lose this guy.”
Connie had gotten the dog two weeks earlier. She named him Toot because she discovered he was a notorious gas-passer.
“Come on already, Toot.” She pulled the leash.
Why would this stranger be following her? She had no enemies. Well, maybe a few. No admirers that she knew of. Older women didn't have a large fan base.
Maybe it's a case of mistaken identity.
Connie used to be mistaken for a famous actress, back in the day, named Hedy Lamarr. No one even knew who Hedy was now unless they watched one of her old movies, and even then, maybe not. And, anyway, Hedy was dead. So very depressing.
Connie had been depressed for a long time. Since she got Toot, she was doing better. She now had someone to love, as well as a purpose in life.
“Let’s go home, Toot. I have to pee,” she said as she turned and guided her terrier in the opposite direction. “It’ll take this mystery man a few minutes to get that hunk-a-junk turned around.”
The Gremlin came to a sudden stop and the driver got out.
“You can’t run from me, Mrs. Duncan.”
“How do you know my name?”
“I have my ways,” this paunchy, balding stranger said. “That’s my dog!”
“This is my dog!” she said. “Come on, Toot.”
“Toot? What kind of name is Toot?”
“If he were really your dog, you would know.”
“Because he’s a gas-passer, you humiliate him with that name?” The old man walked closer. “You stole him from the dog park. I saw you so don’t deny it.”
That part was true.
“I did no such thing!” she countered. “Come on, Toot. Let’s go home.”
She pulled on the leash to make him obey. He kept looking at the man.
“You know me, don’t you Buster?”
The terrier wagged his tail and barked.
“Undo the leash. If he runs to me, that is the proof. If he doesn’t, he is yours.”
“He’ll run out in the street.”
“Deal, Mrs. Duncan? Or I can call the cops.”
After a bit, she said, “Deal”, and leaned over to undo the leash.
“Look, Toot, I love you. Please don’t run to that bad old man.”
She undid the leash.
“Come here, Buster,” the man said, and the terrier ran toward him, jumped up and down, and started licking him.
The old woman began sobbing.
“I think I have proven my point,” he said as he attached his leash to the dog’s collar. “I won’t press charges. In fact, I know of a puppy that needs a good home.”
“Why would you do that? I stole your dog, or so you say.”
“Because I felt lonely and unloved before Buster came along.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“I’m Ed, by the way.” He led the dog over to her. “He would like to say goodbye.”
Connie gave the dog a hug. “Toot, I mean Buster, you be a good boy for your daddy.”
“I’ll bring the puppy by later today if you’ll be home.”
“I’ll be waiting.”
He led Buster to the Gremlin. “Oh, and I have it from knowledgeable sources that you can name your new puppy Toot.”
Ed drove off with Buster; Connie hurried home to get everything ready for the arrival of the new Toot.