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Two men and a dog.

Let me tell you a story. A story of two men and a little dog.

The front yard fence had been replaced by a newer, sturdier design. Long, horizontal slats of wood had been nailed to posts after careful measurements. But Minnie’s dad was still worried. From her past misadventures, he was sure she’d squeeze between the fence’s pickets and hightail it to the McDonald’s nearby. He wanted to be certain it was corgi-proof. The Handyman — who’d been extra thorough in his estimations — assured him it was. But Dad wasn’t convinced. So he set up a test.

The Handyman waved a sandwich at Minnie from the other side of the fence. Her jaw dropped. An entire sandwich for her? With no strings attached? Had Christmas come early?

Then her eyes narrowed. Was there a catch? Was this a bribe, so she’d go to the groomer? She looked around, but the car was inside the garage, and Dad wasn’t wearing shoes. All was good! She couldn’t believe her luck!

So Minnie drooled and pawed at the fence. She hopped excitedly and ran a frenzied lap before trying to squish her belly through the slats. The sandwich was right there; hers for the taking! Cheesy deliciousness! Yum!

Much scuffling ensued. A minute passed, then two. No luck. She was too big. The fence had passed the test! The Handyman smirked. Dad threw up his hands and cheered. Money was exchanged, goodbyes were said, and that was that.

The Handyman dusted off his hands and nodded with satisfaction. He grabbed his tools and was walking back to his truck when he heard something. A loud something. Now, he was a hardy guy, accustomed to working long hours in all kinds of weather. Nothing much fazed him. But right then, his heart sank. Because he knew what that noise was.

He turned around to see Minnie halfway through the fence slats. She was a hardy little girl herself, and no dumb piece of wood would keep her from her true love. She borked loudly, shoved one last time, and came flying through the fence in a cloud of drool and fur.

A pig-like grunt. A monch. Some loud chewing. The sandwich disappeared down her throat, and she licked her lips before letting out a series of happy borks.

Hearing the commotion, Dad ran out into the yard. He saw Minnie on the WRONG side of the fence and the empty place where the sandwich had been. It didn’t take a genius to put two and two together.

Across the street, the Handyman stood, stunned and slack-jawed. He’d patched countless leaky roofs, a shingle at a time. Battled warped doors and uneven decks. He’d even worked for days in an old house, which the locals had insisted was haunted. Nothing much fazed him. But as he stared at the little dog rolling around on the grass and snorting like a piggie, something broke inside him.

The following day, he fixed the fence. Even the skinniest chihuahua would have trouble squeezing through the slats. He was offered extra money, but he waved a callused hand and refused. Dad carried Minnie, and they walked him to his truck. Dad waved, then lifted Minnie’s paw and mimed goodbye from her, too.

As the Handyman drove away from the house, he couldn’t help but peek in the rearview mirror. And even though he won’t ever admit it to anyone, he’s convinced this happened.

He could swear Minnie was staring back at him, her lips curled up in a sinister grin.

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