The disabled woman, who is a kleptomaniac, calls the German woman's new boyfriend 'The Man Who Carries The Dog' because he usually walks a few paces behind his German girlfriend, carrying in his arms her toy dachshund, which is female but has a masculine-sounding German name.

I've heard that German is his second language though I've never heard him speak German. I've rarely heard him say anything--even in English. When I asked if he and his girlfriend had a good Christmas eve, however, he surprised me by saying, "Yes, but nothing I can speak about," which made me wonder if this seemingly meek, morose Englishman had a wild side he kept hidden, unlike the disabled woman who hid nothing but the things she stole.

In fact, it was easier to imagine the disabled woman (who was uninhibited and lively despite her disability) having wild sex than it was to imagine the meek, morose Englishman having any sex, especially after he wound up in the hospital with

1) gallstones

2) a bleeding pancreas and

3) a mild heart attack, at which point, he seemed to give up hope, leading me to believe that the disabled woman's disability and kleptomania were preferable to the sickness and depression of 'The Man Who Carries The Dog' though no one has asked me to choose.

Copyright 2009

Author's Bio: Roberta Allen is the author of eight books, including two flash collections, THE TRAVELING WOMAN and CERTAIN PEOPLE, praised by The New York Times Book Review, and the writing guide FAST FICTION. She teaches at The New School and in private workshops.