Two Goobs, One Pup



Scene Title Two Goobs, One Pup
Synopsis While finishing up work at the botanica, Joaquin finds a lost friend in need.
Date November 27, 2019

Outside of Botanica La Romana, Red Hook

Leading with one hand covered in maroon red glove, Joaquin pushes open the back-side door to the store. In his other hand, an unwieldy black plastic trash bag sagging with the weight of accumulated discards. He’s underestimated the chill bite of the autumn air, but it’s decisively too late now to retreat back into the warmth of the store. “Ay, it’s cold,” he mutters to himself, briefly pausing to watch the plume of breath that billows out into the air. “Okay, come on.” He’s talking to the trash now, or maybe himself. Either way, the heavy bag gets lifted off the wood flooring and swings only a mere inch or so off the ground as he makes his way to the bigger dumpster a few feet away.

As he approaches the dumpster, there is the sound of claws against plastic, before a bottle goes rolling across the ground. It comes from a couple of trashcan not too far down the alley. Where a big dog is currently hovers, growling with hackles raised on its brindled back.

The war left the streets of the Safe Zone filled with abandoned pets forced to fend for themselves in this harsh new world. Right now, it seems one found its way to the alley of Joaquin’s workplace and has potentially found a meal there.

Lips pull back from an impressive set of teeth as it snarls, unaware of the human nearby, and lunging at the cans, clearly after something. When it comes away empty jawed, it paces around the trash intent on whatever is in there.

This is when Joaquin realizes that he can hear a soft scared cry of another dog.

Normal routine interrupted, Joaquin squints as the bottle rolls along, looking past it to the shadows. The yellowed lighting of the botanica casts his long shadow outward to add to those of the side alley. "Who's ther— oh shit!" He drops the trash bag in his hand with a clunk of noise, not having expected a large dog to practically materialize from the dark.

Nor does he expect to hear the softer cry of another, and that plaintive noise gets his attention even moreso than the first dog's growling. He screws up his courage, straightening so that he looks taller and bigger. "Oy! Get outta here!" shouts Joaquin at the big brindle. He casts about for something more to defend with, and aha! finds the broom he uses to sweep the back steps of the botanica with.

Thus is it said that Man sought to control nature by his use of tools. Joaquin jab-swats the swishy end of the broom towards the brindle dog, seeking to discourage it away.

Started by the shout, the big dog’s snaps towards Joaquin taking attention off whatever was in the trash pile. However, the shouting is met with a growl, teeth bared at the young man intruding. Even lunges when the broom is brandished, jaws snapping at the bristly end.

Luckily for Joaquin, the broom bristles bite into the tender parts of the dogs mouth making it yelp in surprise. Shaking it’s head and giving a hard sneeze, the brindle backs up and then takes off away from the broom wielding man. Nothing was worth that kind of discomfort.

Joaquin is left alone with the soft whining. Slowly, sensing a potential friend… a smallish dog heavily limps from behind the trash can. Eyes lifting up at his saviour with a small cautious wag of his tail.

"Yeah, go on! Fuera de aquí!" Broad swipes and jabs. Joaquin isn't trying to get the broom bitten either, but better it than him or the victim of the hungry big dog's attack. Thankfully, the threat is brief. The man's bravado gives way once the brindle's trotted off, and he exhales a heavy, nerve-stabilizing sigh of relief. He leans the broom back against the alley wall.

It's followed by the approach of the much smaller dog, and immediately Joaquin gasps for the sight of the injured creature. "Oh man," he says as he lurches forward in the initial urge to help. He catches himself before getting more than a couple of steps, a reminder somewhere in the back of his mind not to approach stray and injured animals even in spite of friendly appearances.

So instead he stoops down, making himself smaller, outstretching his hand. "Come here, I'm not gonna hurt you. You're a good dog." The tail wag is a good sign, he assumes.

When Joaquin starts forward, the dog startles and freezes with wide eyes watching him. It was clear the dog was scared, tongue licking his jaw, which seems darker than the rest. But in the dark alley it could just be a dark patch of fur. The crouch is enough to send the pup darting back into his hiding spot. The he sits watching the young man, his eyes flashing in the shadows.

Oops, that’s the opposite of what Joaquin was expecting when he stooped to get on the dog’s eye level. “No, no, you’re okay, you’re good,” he says softly, repeating in a gentler tone than his previous shouts. This time, he remains where he is instead of crowding the animal. Eventually his words drop off as he tries to spot the dog in the dark. A thought strikes, and his brows and tone lift. “Are you hungry? I bet you are. Come on, I’ll get you some food. What do you like? Maybe a burger?” At the mention of that, he turns to look back to the open door of the botanica briefly, and then looks back to the pup.

“Don’t go anywhere, stay,” he tries out the command, palms out in gesticulated motion. Maybe the dog will understand, or not. Joaquin backs up, not turning his back to the scared dog, but gets back to the door and disappears inside. He may have forgotten about the trash bag he was going to dump. But he should be back, right?

Joaquin doesn’t see it, but one word catches the dog’s attention: Food.

Half flopped ears pop forward so fast that one ear stands for a brief moment before falling back into its natural position. However, he doesn’t move out of his shelter until the man disappears into the doorway again. The gnawing hunger and potential to satisfy it is a huge motivator. Three legs carry him forward, head and belly low; watching for his earlier attacker.

Snuffling around the discarded bag, the injured dog starts looking for this promised food stuff..

There’s also enticing discards in the trash bag, but it’s mixed in with other confusing, heady scents. The botanica, being a store full of candles and spices and other strange and foreign objects used in esoteric practices, has some strange smelling trash. And for all his promises made to the dog, Joaquin makes good on one half of it at least. Footsteps herald his return along with the much more enticing scent of a steaming, briefly microwaved sandwich. “Ok so it’s not a burger,” he says to the pup as he stands in the doorway. “But it is roast beef and cheddar. Or, the deli guy said it was. I kind of wonder if they didn’t blend something else in… you know what, I’m not going to think too hard on it right now.”

Slowly, he slides down to a sitting position, legs bent at the knees, half in and half out of the door. He tears a bit of the sandwich off, all while not taking his eyes off the dog for very long. It’s this little bite that he holds out. That, and hope.

For a moment it looks like the dog is going to bolt again, but the smell of food overrides any senses it has for self preservation. That and this person doesn’t seem too bad. Clearly, whatever happened to him, may have been at the hands of humans.

Slowly, the dog inches towards the offered food, with neck stretched as far is it can go and belly slung close to the ground. After a few flinches, the brown pup snags the bite and retreats a few steps to devour it in one quick gulp, lest this person changes their mind.

First bite taken, he turns back to the human and gives an expectant swish of his tail. More yes? He almost seems to ask it as he takes a few steps closer to Joaquin.

For one brief moment, it’s like Joaquin is more afraid of the dog than the animal is afraid of him - when the teeth flash out and grab the sandwich bit. “Whoa, okay, you’re good,” he remarks as soothingly as he can while watching the pup practically inhale the bite. He scoots back a little bit further into the shop. Fingers tear off another bit, this one bigger and more like a quarter of the sandwich than a measly treat, and holds it out again.

“Come on, you want to get in out of the cold right?” He waggles the sandwich enticingly in one hand, bracing himself on the other, hoping that with the dog coming in closer to the lighted shop he can see if there’s a collar and a name tag. As unlikely now as that may be, given the conditions of today.

Again Goober repeats the same move, but this time he sticks closer. The light of the shop reveals the bloodied lower jaw and that one foot is held up, a sign that something happened to him. When his head stretches out for another bit, there is a flash of red weaving. He has a collar at least, but no noticeable tag.

The third piece of sandwich disappears and he just stands there waiting expectantly. Doesn’t flee or flinch, but watches the man’s hand and that sandwich.

Joaquin notices the blood, a soft gasp of sympathy taken. “Oh look at you what happened? Someone got you, but you’re lost, huh?” he sighs resoundingly, and with the disappearing of the sandwich bit and expectant look from the dog, he nods. If anything, that seals his decision tight. Slowly so as to not alarm the skittish canine, he shifts his legs and rolls up to a crouch first, then stands. The last half of sandwich waggles out for Goober. “Come on boy, you need some TLC too. Come on, it’s cold out here.” He backs in just enough and side steps, giving the dog a clear path into the shop.

Though the dogs startles at the movement, the pup doesn’t run. He keeps low watching this human or more… that sandwich. When it is obvious that the warm place is being opened to him, the shaggy mutt’s ears come forward with interest. Nose to the ground, he snuffles his way across the threshold. There are clearly good things here.

Overwhelmed by smells and things to sniff the dog, starts trotting through the business sniffing this and that, even backtracking to re-sniff something of particular interest. Only to sneeze heavily at another item and give himself a shake, which makes him stumble on three legs. Giving a small yip of pain when he jostles the leg, laying down to lick at the offending paw.

Gently, Joaquin closes the door behind the dog once they’re both inside and out of the cold. The sandwich completely surrendered to the animal, and leaned against the wall beside the jam, Joaquin sighs in relief that he hasn’t completely scared the canine to pieces. His heart jumps to somewhere in his throat at the yip of pain, and suddenly he’s reminded of what had happened minutes before. His eyes widen, and he shakes his head in disbelief. That bigger dog could’ve really hurt him with those teeth. And all the bacteria that could have been in a stray’s mouth.

Running his hand through his hair, Joaquin exhales deeply and looks down to the dog. “Pobrecito,” he says, head shaking slowly, thinking as he watches the dog lick at the injured leg. “Well I’m not studying to be a vet, but, I’ll see who I can reach out to and get you some help,” he promises. “And I hope you’re not too afraid of the doctor.” He leans over, giving the dog a quick head scratch before he straightens up and goes to grab his phone behind the cashier stand.

“Hey, it’s Joaquin. Could I ask you a favor? Yeah, listen… I found a dog…”

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