- Author: James Livingood
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Copyright © 2019 James Livingood
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When people envision being robbed, they never think about the crooks taking their dog. People usually think of their trusty hound barking or biting the assailants. As Jacob Almeter looked up, his mouth full of muddy water, he saw his dog was wagging its tail being led away to who knew where. Jacob had been accused of stealing their dog and was beaten into the ground. His lip pulsed and bled, and all he could think was that his dog was such a traitor. It was perfectly happy to be led off by strangers.
After Jacob could no longer hear the group, he got up and looked for his shoe. He found it, submerged in another puddle. He drained the shoe like it was a cup and tied it to his foot. He limped away, thinking about how he should have brought a weapon when walking his dog. He had never considered this area as dangerous, but now every shadow held threat. He got odd looks at a crosswalk, but no one asked questions. He fumbled in his jacket and pulled out his apartment key. He turned the lock and let himself into his safe home.
Sitting on the couch, playing a video game, was his best friend. They had become close because they were both skinny and intellectual. They shared similar interests, including music and video games. As Jacob slid his feet in and locked the door, his friend looked over in terror.
“What happened?!” Robert said, throwing his arms up, then down as he dramatically pressed the pause button. The controller was gently set aside before he walked over to Jacob.
"I was … I was robbed," Jacob said, almost bursting into a sob.
“What! When? Where’s Sir Licks-a-lot?” Robert said, looking around Jacob’s feet.
"They took him. They accused me of stealing their dog and roughed me up. I don't know what I could have done differently. They were on me before I had a chance to even… before I could even… I don't know what." Jacob said, trying to suck in a breath.
"You need to cancel your credit cards, immediately," Robert said, not quite catching the emotional cue.
“They didn’t take my wallet… they just took my dog. I can’t believe they took my dog. Why would they want my dog?” Jacob mumbled, sniffing more and more.
Robert disliked emotions as they were hard to figure out. He knew he should hug his friend, but that felt weird. Instead, he did a side hug and then tried to help his friend out of his jacket.
“How about you clean up, then we’ll call the cops, ok? Maybe we just keep a watch on the pounds or vets and see if they bring in your dog?” Robert said helpfully.
After a short shower and phone call with the police, Jacob had an idea of what to do next. He called every nearby pound and vet and gave his dog's description. He went online and changed his pet's chip identification to read stolen. He then built posters saying that his dog was taken.
"Can you come with me? To put these up?" Jacob asked his friend. His friend agreed, and soon the local neighborhood had posters all around declaring the dog was stolen.
The next couple of days saw Jacob a bit sadder than usual. He had a routine with his dog, and now that routine was broken. He was hoping to receive a flood of tips about his stolen dog, but that was not the case. He had one ray of light among all the frustration. Someone had texted him saying that they might have his dog. They asked for a place to meet up and talk. Jacob sent out the address to the local coffee shop and agreed to meet them there. Robert went with him, just in case.
Jacob walked to the local coffee shop, looking around for threats on the way. Robert went too, giving his friend small remarks about how clues can grow into more significant clues. Jacob's mouth was wide open when he saw one of the muggers standing outside the coffee shop with his dog. The man was thin and had pants that didn’t quite fit, slightly showing off his red underwear. The man’s grey sweat pants matched a grey hoodie, though his wrinkled shirt made it look like he just got out of bed. He was traditionally handsome, with stubble adorning strongly cut cheek bones. He had dark circles around his eyes and was scratching his stubble. His eyes were bloodshot and almost looked sad and apologetic.
Jacob took a few steps towards him, hesitantly. He shot a quick look to Robert and caught a glimpse of fear. He didn’t seem like a druggie, or a dealer, perhaps because he was just too handsome. The man threw out his hand in a gesture of trying to shake hands. The quickness of the movement made Jacob flinch and take a step back.
"Hey, I am Zan. Listen, I thought this was my dog. I tied the dog up, turned around, and it was gone. I then see you walking away with the same looking dog. I didn't know." The man said.
Jacob nodded and mumbled out, "Honest mistake." He did not mention how they had beat him up. However, he kept his eyes darting between the dog and the man. The dog had its tongue out, smiling, as if it was happy to be anywhere.
“Yeah, so… here!” the man said, thrusting the leash towards Jacob. Again he flinched, but then slowly took the strap.
Robert and Jacob began walking towards the other side of the street in silence when they heard the guy's voice one more time.
"Oh, you forgot one more thing," Zan said.
Jacob turned around, confused about what he had forgotten. The answer was a