Lola was a gorgeous pug. No pug looked better than she did when the wind blew her short hair not a centimeter out of place. Her swagger was legendary; her wrinkles envied. There was just one problem.
She couldn’t run.
Oh, she’d tried, but her stubby legs would get caught up in each other and send her tumbling down slopes of grass and into flower beds, or muddy puddles, or asphalt, or worse. One time she tripped into her own poo. Her little legs couldn’t spin fast enough for her to go any faster than a gavant, and her gavanting looked stupid. Lola was not one to look stupid. Lola wanted to look fabulous.
This caused problems with her owner, Brittany. Brittany liked to jog in the morning with Lola at the end of a leash, but anything more than a saunter would leave Lola on the ground and Brittany yanked back several yards, so she learned to walk-jog with Lola in the morning, then go out later for a full run. Lola would watch her leave from the front window, fogged up with her doggy breath, with the saddest eyes she could create. But Brittany wouldn’t look back, and by the time she came home, Lola’s breath had so fogged up the interior that she couldn’t see Lola’s face.
Of all the animals who made fun of Lola’s plight, none angered her more than that of Teddy the greyhound. His toothpick legs looked goofy, until he used them to dash at incredible speeds, often circling around and around Lola until the latter’s face would get so red from shame that she’d bury it in the ground, pretending to eat the grass. Teddy was a capital ‘A’ asshole. Even Mixi the cat thought so, and cats are jerks.
Lola had tried several approaches to make up for her lack of running ability. One time, she’d even ridden a skateboard some kid had left too close to her curious nose. That episode did not end well. Nor did another one involving roller skates.
If not for Teddy, Lola might have made peace with the fact that she couldn’t run, but that lickshit made that one flaw stick out as awfully as if she’d been born with some deformity such as happened to Wilbur, the pet goat with no beard and one eye. At least Wilbur could ram his head against Teddy’s spindly legs and make the jerk fall down; Lola had no such means of revenge.
One day, while travelling her usual route through the park, she came upon a new scent. Following it led her to a dog she’d never met before, and a pug, at that.
“Good afternoon, sir,” she said.
The dog looked up at her, but all it said was, “Ruff!”
“I notice that you are new to these parts. Might I inquire as to what your name is?”
“My name is Lola. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Art.”
Art responded by sniffing Lola’s butt.
On a walk through the neighborhood, she discovered that Art lived in the McCoy’s old house. Also, he could run. Oh could he run! Even though his little legs were just as little as Lola’s, they never got tangled as hers did. She tried to learn the secret of his running abilities from him, but she either got a nose in the butt or a tongue in the face, and that’s when Art was feeling communicative. So instead, she decided to watch him the next time he ran.
That opportunity came the following week, at the dog park. Unfortunately, Teddy was there, prancing around like one of Santa’s reindeer, showing off his legs to some young thing with unnaturally curly hair. At least he was ignoring Lola, so that she could concentrate on running. Good thing, too, as she fell on her first attempt. And her second one. And her third. After seven tries, she gave up. Art made it look easy, but running was hard.
That’s when she saw the kangaroo in the wheelchair.
Now, Lola had never seen a kangaroo in a wheelchair before. In fact, she’d never seen a wheelchair. As a reader, you may ask why a kangaroo would be in a wheelchair, and if that means the story takes place in Australia, to which I would answer, “Have you ever seen a kangaroo in a wheelchair ANYWHERE?”
But back to Lola. She saw the kangaroo in the wheelchair and had an idea. Certainly this was a better idea that the skateboard and roller skates, since steering had been the issue then. Then again, neither of those forms of locomotion had come with kangaroos. Strange that Lola ignored this fact.
The kangaroo, however, did not ignore Lola as she jumped up on the wheelchair.
“What the heck?” it said.
“I’m terribly sorry,” Lola replied, “but I can’t run, and I thought that taking a ride on your device would be the closest I’d ever come to running.”
“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” said the kangaroo. “I’m in this wheelchair because I can’t walk.”
“And I’m in this wheelchair because I can’t run.”
The kangaroo thought about it for a minute, then shrugged and said, “What the heck. Let’s do it.”
Sadly, the wheelchair was not one of the ones that attains tops speeds anywhere near the speed of a run, but for a dog with tiny legs, it was faster than any speed she could achieve.
And so, while Lola the pug still can’t run, for that one moment, she forgot that she couldn’t, and let her fabulous tongue flap in the imaginary breeze.