23 Ways to Stray

Two men came into Stray with a sprightly dog. The Jack Russell jumped up onto a stool like it was going to order a drink. Suddenly I pictured a room full of sprightly dogs, jumping all over the leather and aggressively playing. I realized Stray's rules are there for a reason. Sometimes you have to put your foot down.

Lenny's friend seemed to resign himself to the idea that I wasn't going to take on his roommate. My refusal apparently meant that Lenny might have to live on the streets. Ten years ago I would have felt really bad and taken him in anyway, and worked hard to help him find a job, and given him food. But I am older now, and less of a bleeding heart. I know that I cannot save everyone.

I tried to come up with something having to do with the number 23 to tie the whole evening up in a bow and make myself feel better. I needed a sign that I had made the right decision. Two plus three is five, and there were five of us out at Stray. Not much of a revelation. Finally I decided that ending up at a place called Stray was ironic enough: Not everyone can find a home.

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