Added on by Stuart Bowden.

It takes me three hundred steps to get to the convenience store from my apartment. On the two hundred and sixty seventh step, I stop. No, I don’t just stop - I’m stopped. A woman tugs at my sleeve. “Excuse me, sorry to bother you”. I don’t mind being stopped but I don’t really want to commit to anything right now, I just want to buy some lamb mince and go home. I turn around to see a small lady with straight glossy brown hair. “Have you seen a small dog around?” she pleads desperately. I really don’t want to admit that I am in fact a small dog disguised as a man, but I can’t think of a lie quick enough.

“How can I help you?” I timidly reply trying not to give too much away as my tail slightly retreats between my legs. I push my paws hard in my pockets, tightening my trench coat around me. I really don’t want to get dragged into this.

“Well, I need a small dog to keep me company as winter slowly trails loneliness through my house”, her eyes are darting from shadow to shadow. 

“Ideally you need a companion, by the sounds of things, anything will do really”. I point at an empty soft drink can, it’s not very convincing really. It’s quite a stupid looking can, lying pathetically dinted, beside the lamp pole. I try desperately to convince her. I pick up the can.“It’s not perfect but at least it’s a project”. I offer, like a sales pitch.

She smiles, cradling the can in her palm. It looks up at her, full of hope. 

I step away, thirty three steps, I buy the mince, three hundred more steps and I’m safe, back in my empty apartment, relieved. That was close.