the lamb, on. While Penguin learned the happiness of outdoor excretion and the sad loneliness of peeing on the rug, Terry and Tribble woke up under an overpass, dusted in bat droppings, next to the dessicated carcass of a 'possum.
The first night was maybe the worst, that's what Terry told himself, over and over, all night long until the sun came up turning the black to gray to golden. And loud. The world around them turned loud with early morning commerce, boisterous, busy with cars and people, moving to and fro.
Terry had spent just $1.29 of his hoarded cash, but now he was hungry, so was Tribble, and the diner on the corner opposite the overpass looked just like the one up the street from N.B.'s house. He'd have to spend his money wisely, he reminded himself. Maybe there'd be a cook there like Mr. Milbran, who routinely fed the two boys extra large helpings of coconut cake when it was on the menu.
"Yer gonna' have to leave your dawg at the curb, there lil' man." The woman behind the cash register looked mean, but she spoke with a voice similar to N.B.'s momma, a southerner.
"Can you watch him if I tie him up?"
"Sure, lil' feller." She looked over her glasses at him, her chins doubling then tripling with the tilt of her head. "Where's yer folks?"
Shit. Terry hadn't thought about the obvious: that some adult would wonder why a little boy and a dog would be out alone. He'd have to work on that.
"They're around the corner, shopping, and told me to meet them here." He looked her dead in the eye. "Could you get them two coffees while I wait?"
"And could I sit near the door?" She looked at him sideways. "So I can watch my dog." And her look softened some.
"Sure," she smiled. "How 'bout some flap-jacks, Mister?"
She brought him juice and then pancakes and sausages and bacon--she even took Tribble some water and sausage scraps. Terry reminded himself that he should eat quickly, leave some money, and run at the first opportunity.
Tribble ate all his food in one gulp, then fell asleep next to his bowl.