Triste leaned to the right and whispered in Alegre's ear as a businessman carried a fig tree past them down the sidewalk.  Alegre climbed to her feet, stepped over Triste's leash and limped up the block. Triste settled her chin back on the mat outside the door of the coffee shop.

Out of the corner of her eye, Triste watched the miniature train approach beneath the glass sidewalk. When it reached her paws, she lifted, then slammed them down. She enjoyed the cracks of fear cutting across the faces of the Minipeeps on the train. Bloody tourists. She watched one tiny woman shake her fist and drooled in response, huge slimy drops over the chugging train. The Minipeeps just stuck their tongues out at her this time. Triste dropped her head back on her paws and awaited the next train.

The train tracks below the glass sidewalk ran along the backbone of a mountain range. Triste could see down the north side of the mountain, from the flowers and grass that grew alongside the tracks then darkened into an evergreen forest which dived into a snow-covered valley. The far side of the valley was hemmed in by a gigantic cliff which shot straight back up to sidewalk level. Patches of bright pink and orange and yellow covered the cliff sides. The patches crept across the face of the cliff. Triste had no idea what they were, animal or vegetable. Or maybe even mineral. But they were constantly moving, albeit extremely slowly.

Triste pulled herself up, walked a few steps to the water bowl, lapped then returned to her mat. A toddler stumbled up to her, sticking her chubby fingers into her fur and yanking. Triste rolled her eyes and looked up at the mother who came to snatch her child away.

"Treat the doggie nicely, Emi. No touching unless the doggie is friendly. See? Hold out your hand like this." The mother crouched beside her child and held out her hand in front of Triste's nose. Triste sniffed it, then bared her teeth and growled so that only the mother could hear. The woman backed away and hurried off down the sidewalk, tugging a surprised and whining child with her.

"Why'd ya do that, Triste?" asked a pug leashed to the tree a few feet away. "She might've fed you or something."

"I don't suck up to idiots just to get things, like some do," Triste said, looking at a chickadee which had perched on the deck. The pug growled but was drowned out by the whistle of the miniature train. Both dogs glanced down.



The End

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