UNITED STATES—This is a story about dogs.
I was walking my two dogs on a Saturday evening in Hollywood. I was on my way to Yucca Supermarket and I remembered the teaching of one holy man–such as occasionally inhabit these streets–imparted when I was very new to having a dog. Seeing the tension produced when my chihuahua terrier tugged abruptly on the leash he got luxuriantly transfixed by an exotic scent, producing a halt in our walk’s progress that was contrary to my agenda, and which could and still can turn my into a raving maniac in a heartbeat, the holy man said, “Follow the dogs where they go, you know not where they’re taking you at the sharp, unexpected snap of a leash, “They are watching out for you with all their sensitive apparatus. And wherever you’re going you can be sure it’s a place you are supposed to be.”
So I came down Yucca walking in a westerly route, and instead on entering the mall via the usual driveway by Panda Express, I noted that the dogs snouts were being lead by the sidewalk that goes up Cahuenga. I indulged the dogs, this time, and we went by way of the Cahuenga driveway, passing the Vietnamese restaurant and the smoke shop.
The thought occurred to me to get a cigar, but I quickly deemed that it would be “better for me,” not to get a cigar, even though it was a balmy night and the milestone of my daughter’s graduation was barely a day behind.
In bringing the dogs past the smoke shop and toward the supermarket, I was ready to lasso them both to the handicapped parking sign pole. Even though it’s a dog friendly store, it can be a bit much to shop with two mutts in tow.
I saw some folded paper on the sidewalk; it was like green origami. While handling two leashes and a poop bag, I lunged for that green of a particular shade and grabbed what turned out to be currency. Grab first, ask questions later.
There was simultaneously a man pulling up to the handicapped parking space in a black BMW. He got out of the car, stepped up onto the sidewalk and said a little disappointed:
“I was going to get that.”
He was not joking or dejected or even upset. In him predominated a touch of wistfulness.
I said, “I think there’s a enough for both of us.”
This, even before I had unfolded the find. Well, it turned out to be a twenty. I happened to have two fives in my wallet–that was lucky. I offered the two fives and pocketed the twenty.
“Nice doing business with you,” the man said.
This idea came from my heart, not my head. After sharing the loot, I was filled by joy. There are those of you who may have done totally differently and reacted according to the law of finders keepers. Sure, I could have kept it all, but what I did epitomized my way. What was sure was what I felt was more than the dollars relinquished.
This guy was taking his kids to Panda Express; he needed that money and me: who’d passed the smoke shop and rejected the idea of getting a cigar, reasoning it would be “good for me,” to forego it, could now stroll into the smoke shop humidor and get a Dominican cigar.
Oh, joy, it was meant to be. Thank the dogs.
Humorist Grady Miller is the author of “Later Bloomer: Tales from Darkest Hollywood” (on Amazon.