Lunch in the Park
by Maureen McLena
(Pewaukee, WI USA)
It's a gorgeous day for lunch in the park, Holly decided. Today was the perfect day, perfect weather, perfect last day working in the district attorney's office, perfect last case tried for the City of New York and the perfect first day as a self-employed writer of crime stories and it was only noon. Today was a day for celebrating with a tuna sub sandwich, chips, soda and a cookie. Sitting herself down on the wall of the fountain in the bright sunshine, Holly unwrapped her sandwich, took a big bite and almost choked on it as a large black horse-sized dog came running past her chasing a squirrel and dragging its leash behind it. The dog abruptly stopped and ran back towards Holly. Seeing the dog reverse directions and starting to charge towards her, Holly jumped up on the wall, holding her sandwich above her head out of reach of the panting, drooling mouth of the giant dog.
A voice out of nowhere shouted just a tad too late, "Tiny, sit!" as Tiny jumped on Holly pushing her and her sandwich into the bubbling water of the fountain. Tiny was now in the fountain gobbling up the sandwich that had somehow managed not to get as wet as its owner.
"Tiny, that was naughty, drop the sandwich and heel," a male voice came from above Holly somewhere. With a guilty look Tiny quickly swallowed the sub and jumped out of the water to sit close to the giant man who was now holding out his rather large hand to Holly.
Taking the proffered hand, Holly let the man pull her out of the fountain. Looking down at her ruined suit, Holly started to get angry. This was her favorite suit. She had bought the suit at a time she could ill afford to be spending that kind of money. It was the suit she wore to her first day working in the district attorneys office and she had felt that it was appropriate that she wear it on her last day as a kind of closure to the life she was so anxious to start five years ago. As she again looked down at her clothes and shoes, she caught a glimpse of the shaggy black mountain of a dog now sitting politely beside the mountain of a man. Tiny was holding out her right paw with an eager look of friendliness on her face, and all the anger went of Holly. How could you stay mad at such a face?
"I am so sorry that Tiny pushed you into the fountain, Miss. If there is anything I can do to make it up to you, get your suit cleaned, buy you new shoes, whatever, please let me know," said the giant man with the soft southern accent so reminiscent of a voice she'd heard growing up on her grandmother's farm in Georgia.
Finally looking up Holly laughed out loud. "Bobby Green from Barrysville High School. I should have known. You and I always seemed to 'bump' into each other in the oddest places. I thought you were a big time football player somewhere in Wisconsin. What are you doing in New York?"
"Holly, is that really you? I heard you were in New York. I was hoping once I got settled here I would find you but I never dreamed our first meeting would be like this. By the way it's ex-football star. I decided that I wanted to do more with my life then get stomped on by 300-pound guys every week. So, can I buy you lunch? Let me guess, tuna fish, right?"
"Right, but how did you know and why did you name your dog Tiny?"
"It's the only sandwich Tiny goes crazy for and she was the runt of the litter when I got her." As they walked side by side with Tiny between them out of the park, Bobby asked, "Did you know I was a little bit in love with you in high school?"
Definitely a perfect day, Holy thought.