It was April and the sun had not been out for more than a day so far this year. I pulled my jacket in tighter to help slow the ice cold wind from slicing through the fleece. I had broken the zipper off the day before while scurrying out the door. I think the cliché is "They don’t make them like they used to". Except that my last fleece jacket did the same thing, so either it was the zipper or it was me. I like to imagine it all goes back to the zippers and the sweatshop manufacturing but it probably is a fair share of me. Either way it was 35 degrees and raining. Of course I had cleaned my car out, removing my umbrella, the week before. So I hustled across the parking lot and headed into the store, managing to only get half soaked. I shivered as I walked into the slightly cool mega store and tried to figure out where I needed to go. I had decided to buy some new casual pants to wear to work and around town (mainly wanting them to not be jeans). I figured since I was in there that it was my duty to have a look around. After all you never know what type of deal you might find on the one thing you never knew you needed. I owed it to myself to spend a little money, after all I had paid my bills and who needs a savings account. Even more fulfilling was the knowledge that my spending was helping to fight an economic slump and those damn terrorists. I can’t tell you how but that is what the news told me and it is after all the news.
So I was lost in a plethora of mini purchasing options and my heart was beating fast as I thought greedily of what I didn’t need but would soon be mine. After all I had a couple of spots to tuck things in my room (I could still see the floor). I was walking through the toy section (you never know when you might need a GI Joe action figure in a pinch) and I came across a little robot dog in the middle of the aisle. Naturally I was intrigued so I picked it up and the tail started wagging and it barked at me happily. I patted the little guy on the head and looked at the tag expecting to see a price but instead the tag read "I am now yours. Take me home." Thinking I had merely stumbled across some cute new marketing gimmick I put the dog back down on the floor and started to walk away. I could hear the patter of his feet behind me so I stopped and cast a glance over my shoulder. It hovered mid-stride with it’s tail wagging and it whined at me. Brushing this off as another clever marketing ploy I kept walking toward the electronics section and it started following me. I was starting to get a little paranoid but I couldn't just start running in fear away from a little toy dog. Even if that was what I wanted to do, run toward the exit, screaming my head off while waving my arms around and crying hysterically. I tried to focus on other things, like what movies were on sale but I could feel the dog’s eyes on me. Watching and waiting for me to take it home.
"Hey Mr.!" This kid in a bright yellow outfit yelled at me. "Where did you get that wicked dog! I want to get me one of those dogs!"
I looked back at the dog sitting there by my ankle looking at me with rather large, sad puppy dog eyes. I started trying to remember if the little electronic dog had looked like that when I had picked him up but I waved off the idea in fear of falling into madness. I turned to the kid who reminded me of a caution sign and I told him I had found him in the toy section and the kid ran off. In fact, a whole group of kids ran off toward the section. I had not realized how many people were paying attention to me and my dog until that point. It was also at that point that I acknowledged what I already knew to be true, that he was my dog. I looked down at the dog and told him "Come along" as I headed to the men’s clothing section. I liked the pitter patter of his little metal legs on the linoleum flooring, for some odd reason it was soothing.
I picked out the pants I wanted as I saw a whole gaggle of upset parents dragging whiny kids away from the toy section. I overheard the caution sign kid say "But he said he got the dog over there! And there was not any little robot dogs over there!" I heard a terse reply to his complaints but the words were not said very loudly and I could not make it out exactly but I recognized the tone. I bent down at this point to look at the tag again and to my surprise the words had changed. "I will ring up at the price of 9.99 but there is no dog like me in this store. I am one of a kind, even if you decide not to take me home I will end up there. I am yours now." I blinked a lot after I got done reading but I tucked this little dog under my arm and I grabbed the slacks and I headed toward the register. At the register he rang up at 9.99 and the writing had changed to a bar scan symbol. I walked out of the store with him and proceeded to buckle him into the passenger seat of my car. I glanced at his tag and it read "I need a name."
"I'll call you Slick." The dog barked his affirmation.