The dog was in the alley again, sniffing around the empty trash bins for scraps she wasn’t going to find. Martha would be late for work if she fed her again, but she couldn’t bear to let the animal suffer. The mutt huddled behind the bar-coded trash bins as Martha put out a dish of microwave rice and a bowl of water. She’d have to remember to pick up some real dog food on the way home.
“Come on, girl,” Martha said, wiping her brow. It was already ninety-eight degrees and getting hotter. “This is for you.”
The mutt, a scrawny little thing, hesitated. God only knew what troubles she had been through.
Something skittered behind her—a rat—and they both jumped. And when she turned back around, the dog was gone.
“You’d better come eat this,” she said to the empty alley, “before the rats do.”
You can read the whole thing here, or you can listen to a podcast narrated by the fabulous Kate Baker here.