Paw-hand in hand-paw, Florence and Fluffikins stroll-limped down the boulevard, gazing into shop windows.
“I wonder what sort of money they use around here,” said Florence, who had already spied five items to add to her wish list:
- A cookie cutter set in the shape of dog bones
- A pair of sunglasses to hook over top of her dog ears
- Special toe-nail clippers, designed for part-nails, part-claws
- A scritcher on a stick (to give to Fluffikins on one of his birthdays)
- An umbrella on a belt
The boulevard went on for miles, each window more enticing than the last. Florence kept looking and wanting.
Fluffikins sighed. Everything except deathtrap pogo sticks cost money. Without money, this would be a kitty-litter of a holiday.
Forget shows and restaurants and theme parks. This was their lot.
“We need to find a grassy ditch.” Fluffikins yawned. “I am slightly injured and very extremely and utterly tired. I cannot walk any further tonight.”
There were no grassy ditches along the boulevard. Just miles of concrete, with the odd park bench cemented into the ground. The park benches looked as cold and hard as the concrete. They would have to leave the city to find comfort.
“We could go back to the beach?”
“And get sucked into the sand? I don’t wanna be sucked into sand!”
“Got any better ideas?”
“We could bed down in the strip of tropical jungle between the boulevard and the beach, like that family of parrots we tripped into.”
Florence agreed to this. They could make a dog nest out of fallen leaves.
But when they retraced their steps they could not find the gap back into the jungle. The alleyway between the clothing store and the supermarket had disappeared! Perhaps that, too, had been sucked into non-existence.
With scabby knees and aching elbows, Fluffikins sat down, sheltered from the breeze by the alcove entrance of a shop. He shrugged off his coat and spread it out, serving as one very thin mattress for himself and Florence.
“If we cuddle up tight it won’t be so bad,” Fluffikins said. From their draughty nest they could see the bin of deathtrap pogo sticks.
A shame I’m such a jam tin on those pogo-sticks. We might have hopped to somewhere excellent. But I splatted right off.
Florence did not want to lie down in a shop doorway but once she had curled herself into a dog ball she realised she was tired.
Exhausted as he was, Fluffy’s eyes would not stay shut. He spotted a wisp of a cloud floating above and wondered if it might rain. A motor vehicle zoomed past, somewhere in the distance. He thought he heard scuttling.
He sat bolt upright.
The scuttling stopped.
Florence snored softly and smacked her chops. She was probably dreaming of sausages again.
Those stars in the sky, they were definitely winking at him. He sensed they were being watched. It must be those mannequins in the shop window. The ones modelling Lycra For Every Body.
Fluffikins got up from the coat mattress, cupped his paw-hands against the glass and examined the lizard mannequin. The thing was sure to blink, if it were a blinker.
It didn’t blink.
“There!” Fluffikins yelled, accidentally waking Florence from her sausage dream. “I knew it! You are alive!”
Florence rubbed her eyes and looked through the window. “He’s kinda cute.”
“Come on, Florence. We’re off.”
“Not me. I’m going back to sleep.”
“I can’t sleep here. Not with that lizard gawking at us. Look at that beady-eyed guy. He bores a hole straight through you!”
“Aw, you must be staring at him, or you wouldn’t know he’s staring at you.”
“Well he’s asking to be looked at, isn’t he? He’s in a window display.”
Fluffy turned swiftly to the lizard, hoping to catch him mid-gawk.
But the lizard wasn’t there.