Jason has been on the Walk-a-Roo app for a year without a long term commitment. Has his chance for a match gone to the dogs?
Jason had been on the app for a year, but he had yet to meet his match. His hands gripped the steering wheel of his yellow Mini as he wove his way through the congested streets of Atlanta like a bee in a crowded hive.
He stopped the car in front of a red brick townhome in Inman Park. The theme song from James Bond echoed in his mind, this was the toughest case in the agencies’ roster. None of the other members would agree to accept the assignment. They took one look at her description and swiped left. But Jason had a knack for difficult cases. He stared at the picture on his phone, there was a sweetness in her soft, brown eyes. Challenge accepted.
He opened the door and entered the foyer. Abstract art decorated the white walls, a dining room table, a large, comfy couch and two chairs were the only pieces of furniture in the house.
“Princess, where are you?” Jason called out. She eyed him warily through the bars of a large, metal cage.
“Hey, girl, let’s set you free,” Jason kept his voice soft, his movements slow. He inched the latch on the cage open and out flowed a hundred and forty pounds of muscle, hair and a whole lotta love. The beast tackled Jason and knocked him to the floor.
“I’ve been slimed!” he cried as the Saint Bernard stood on his shoulders and covered his face in ropes of drool.
“Go for a walk?” Jason asked from the prone position.
Princess released him and bounded for the front door. The floor shook with every footfall.
“Good luck,” read a note stuck to the wall next to her leash.
“I got this,” Jason scoffed at the note. He clipped the leash to Princess’ collar and held tight as she yanked him out the door.
A bag of treats and one sweaty hour later, Jason and Princess returned to the townhome. Jason escorted Princess to her crate, kissed her head and left a note by her leash.
“Hey baby girl, how’d your date go?” Meg let Princess out of her crate and scratched her ears. She was surprised she hadn’t received an email or call telling her Princess was out of control and she needed to find another dog walking agency. “What’s this?” She looked at the note Jason left telling her what a wonderful dog she had and gave her instructions on how to walk Princess without her pulling on the leash. “We’ll see about that.”
After the walk, Meg sat on the couch with Princess next to her. Meg patted the dog’s massive head and looked into her big, chocolate-colored eyes.
“So, what’s this guy look like?” She read the reviews about Jason when she downloaded the Walk-a-Roo app but didn’t pay attention to his picture. Meg picked up her phone and scrolled to the bio of the dog walker. Nice hazel eyes, messy dark hair, a chipped front tooth made his smile adorable not flawed. Cute and good with dogs, Meg was intrigued.
The next day Jason returned for Princess’ afternoon walk. A note was anchored by a brown paper bag on the dining room table. “Treats for Princess, yours are on top of the refrigerator. It was nice to walk Princess without my arm being pulled out of the socket. Thank you.”
Jason gave Princess a treat and went into the kitchen. On top of the fridge, he saw a paper bag with his name written on it. He opened the bag. The decadent aroma of chocolate chip cookies engulfed his senses. Meg must have made them that morning, his mouth filled with warm chocolate, vanilla and sugar. What kind of angel or demon could make something so delicious? He looked at the photos stuck to the fridge. Strawberry blonde hair, freckles and green eyes. His favorite one caught Meg in mid laugh as Princess swabbed her face with her giant tongue.
Jason couldn’t stop thinking about Meg. He let Princess out of her crate and took another dog treat out of the bag. Impressed, he realized they were also homemade. Princess let loose a deep growl as he tried to taste her biscuit.
“Princess, today we’re going to learn manners,” Jason crammed his pockets full of treats and picked up her leash.
When Meg came home, she read the note Jason left for her next to a sprig of wildflowers.
“Thank you for the cookies. I’m not sure which were better, mine or Princess’. I ate all of them.”
Meg giggled and read the instructions for the ‘leave it’ command. She grabbed a few of Princess’ treats and headed out of the door. On the walk Meg said, ‘leave it’ and was surprised when Princess actually turned away from a chicken bone lying in the street and kept walking.
Jason was going above and beyond normal dog walking duties. Although the bar was set pretty low because most dog walkers took one look at Princess and cancelled. It reminded Meg of some blind dates and dating apps she had been on. Jason was the first to limbo under that bar and win the dance contest with Princess. Maybe she should swipe right on Jason.
The next day, Jason showed up at the townhome for his scheduled walk with Princess. The scent of fresh baked bread and strawberries made him feel faint with food lust.
“Whoever she’s cooking for is the luckiest creature alive,” he said as he walked in the door. “I sure wish it was me.”
“Your wish is granted,” Meg came out of the kitchen holding a wicker picnic basket. She was even more beautiful in person. “I thought all of us could go for a walk today. I made strawberry pop tarts and bought a cheap bottle of wine.”
It took Jason a moment to say something, in his mind he was already busy ring shopping. “Sounds like a perfect match,” he smiled.
He took the leash off the hook near the door.
“Actually, hold this,” Meg handed him the picnic basket. “I’ll take Princess.”
By Jyll Thomas
Jyll Thomas is an Atlanta writer and live literature performer. Her work has been featured on NPR, in various magazines such as Atlanta Intown, included in the anthology We Wrote a Book and online platforms such as Palm Sized Press. She has performed at Write Club and other local productions. You can find her work on Medium.com and Instagram @bigdedorahbakes.