Madge tried, she did, but neighbors just didn’t seem to like her. They’d wave, but not invite her to gatherings. She often heard neighborly get-togethers—their laughing, chattering, clinking glasses in toasts. If only the yards weren’t so close together. Then she wouldn’t hear. However, she was outside one fortuitous day, hanging laundry—alone—not a human sound anywhere— when she heard the pathetic whine. She understood that sound. Beneath one rosebush huddled the bedraggled dog. One look told her it needed her. Smiling, she lifted and comforted it, took it inside, and closed her door on her neighborhood.
Eric stood at the jewelry counter in K-Mart`trying to make up his mind. Trudy deserved a gift for all the crap she put up with. Twelve-hour days, minimum wage, pushing the store credit card, wrapping one t-shirt after another. Then she came home to a messy efficiency and him (on his third beer by then). She was a good gal. But what to get her? Salvation arrived—some guy in a letter jacket from his old high school! Their girlfriends were probably lots alike. Eric would wait and watch. Whatever that guy bought was Trudy’s, too.