The Dog Heaven Mini Mart

I was walking in Durham, North Carolina with my friend Ralph Savarese on Saturday night last, the two of us with guide dog Nira. We decided to buy bottled water in a convenience store, one of those places that once was a gasoline station but now lives on without pumps, it’s windows barricaded with cages, a stripped bicycle leaning beside the front door. Entering the place we became instant characters in the drama of poverty meets disability, a show one never really gets used to.

Proscenium: sparse.

Man behind counter. Ralph. Steve. Yellow Lab with highly recognizable guide dog harness. Second employee with mop.

Counter Man: “That’s one of them Hero Dogs!”

Ralph: “Yeah, that’s a guide dog.”

Counter Man: “That’s one of them Hero Dogs!”

Ralph fetches water.

Counter Man: “That is the dog who goes to Heaven. Only one dog goes to Heaven, but Allah lets the one dog go because he hides the people from the rock.”

Mop Man: “That’s a SERVICE DOG! That’s a SERVICE DOG! Yep! That’s a SERVICE DOG!”

Counter Man keeps talking about Mohammed and rocks. Both employees are very happy in their respective ways.

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