Don’t You Feel Goodies, Sweetheart? By Gene K. Garrison

My sister, Linda, middle-aged and unmarried, centers her life around her poodle, Lou-Lou. The dog excitedly looks forward to Linda’s arrival home from work every day, and all the chatter that goes on as they drive to the park for a run.

On this particular day at the exercise session Lou-Lou wasn’t as lively as usual. Linda was saying, in a high-pitched baby-talk voice, “What’s the matter with Lou-Lou today? Don’t you feel goodies, Sweetheart?” Lou-Lou looked at her and wagged her tail slowly.

Linda remembered something she had in the car. “I got you a present today,” she said, exuding excitement. “Let’s go get it.”

Lou-Lou perked up and the two of them trotted spritely to the car where Linda brought out a gift-wrapped package, chatting all the time as she and Lou-Lou opened it.

An old man with a dour expression sat on a nearby bench, watching the action.

Lou-Lou’s eyes sparkled and her tail wagged at a faster tempo as the contents became visible. Linda gave her a little extra help. “Here you are, Sweetheart — a rubber shoe that squeaks!” She grinned broadly as Lou-Lou grabbed the toy and shook it.

The next thing Linda knew, a weather-beaten finger was being shaken in her face. The old man squinted at her and, with all the conviction he could muster, and it was a considerable amount, he delivered his well-thought-out message: “They should take away your food stamps!”

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