But there was something different about her, I sensed. Don’t we all become a bit different over the years? It seemed that life in the big city might have taken something from her, challenged and beaten out the innocence; the city woman had buried the girl under an opaque maturity of stress. Or maybe it was my glandular imagination that needed a bit of dusting off. No. She seemed wounded. Lost. A feminine creature wandering through hazy days. I knew that all I had to do was clomp my boots over there and see if she remembered me: the once lowlife, grease-gun totin’, muscle-car drivin’, smokin’ man, who only wanted a chance of what she had to offer the lucky peasant in a rare moment of morality-induced philanthropy to a tongue-lolling male who’d got up on his hind legs and raised a paw to her. And she would pat the head, offer a treat with, Here ya go, boy. Such a nice fellow. And when the treat was devoured to her satisfaction, she would don that thousand-dollar dress, brush the wrinkles away, straighten her back to push out the nubs on her still swollen chest, swipe her hands together to remove the crumbs of weakness from her palms while saying, What a good boy you are. Then quirk that superior grin, give a head pat and go on her way. The sad fact was, I could feel my paw itching to lift for a little friendly shake….