PUG DOG: What? Are you embarrassed to be seen walking through the streets holding hands with a pug dog?
WOMAN: What will people think?
PD: This is San Francisco, do you think that in this epicenter of depravity, the sight of a beautiful woman hand in hand with a pug dog would turn anyone’s head.
W: Well, I…
PD: It is perfectly acceptable for a woman to hold hands with a friend who happens to be a pug dog.
PD: If anyone asks, you can tell them that I am an old family friend who is going through a traumatic time in his life right now. No one will question that pug dog’s also need the comfort of physical contact when they are feeling down.
W: [Pause] I just feel embarrassed.
PD: If anyone asks, you can just say you are blind, and I am your seeing-eye pug dog who leads you by the hand. No decent person would question the necessity of holding your seeing-eye pug dog’s hand.
W: I mean embarrassed to be holding hands with anyone.
PD: If you do not want to hold my hand, then by all means don’t hold my hand. But I’ll tell you this right now, it will look considerably worse for us to walk side by side and not be holding hands. People will talk. People will say, “Oh that woman. She means to assert superiority over that poor pug dog by making him walk at her heal like an animal. Though he is a pug dog, is he not just as human as the rest of us?”
W: [The girl smiles and takes the pug’s paw]
PD: There is that so ghastly?
W: No, it’s nice.
[The couple strolls hand in paw, pointing and laughing at the garments and gadgets of the street side merchants, not a care between them of the gawks and whispers that inevitably pursue the pairing of girl and pug]
PD: You know my dove, there is a question that soon I will be meaning to ask you?
W: What is it?
PD: Not yet, I do not wish to spoil the moment.
[Later. The afternoon sun creeps around a drawn shade, the girl lies fast asleep. Yellow sheets expose her bare shoulder, and a smile of contentedness stretches across her beaming cheeks. The pug sits at the desk in the room smoking a cigarette. Slowly he looks over to ensure that the girl is not awake, then dips one paw into her floral purse, emerging with her wallet.]
PD: [Softly] The question, my fawn, is this: How does it feel to be played by a PUG DOG?