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Jerry And Arlo And The Good Idea
by William Kitcher

When Jerry walks his dog, he carries a plastic bag with him. Those who see him think he's one of those responsible people who cleans up after his pet. Jerry has no intention of cleaning up after Arlo. He thinks that, if the time comes when someone sees Arlo dump on a lawn, thinks that's bad, and is going to yell at Jerry, he'll be able to talk his way out of it by saying that he didn't realize Arlo had done anything. Then he will ask the person if he can prove it's Arlo's. Jerry doubted that the casual passerby would carry scientific instruments of that nature, and, since the prospect of someone taking Jerry to court over dog dirt seemed very small, Jerry thought that carrying a plastic bag was the perfect solution. Jerry also felt comfortable because Arlo weighed 80 pounds and he was more than twice that, so who was going to hassle them? And Jerry thought no more about what was, after all, almost the only thing Arlo did well. Which, compared to human waste, was not so much, so why were Arlo's leavings an issue anyway?

(Jerry had been trying for 8 years to get Arlo to search out lawns of dark houses, or parking lots, or alleys, while he himself was practising quick getaways, but he, meaning both Jerry and Arlo, sometimes forgot to do so.)

So there was Arlo, squatting on a nicely groomed lawn, while the owners of the house sat on their porch. Jerry stood on the sidewalk, scratching, and studying the branches of an oak tree. The people started screaming and yelling, and Jerry turned quickly to see the unfortunate scene. He immediately dissociated himself from any knowledge of Arlo, and, casually but quickly, he walked down the street. Arlo continued to squeeze and produced about 3 pounds, shaped like a soft ice cream cone. Then he was off running, through a hedge, and over the lawns of the neighbourhood.

"Hey you, is that your dog?"

Jerry owned up to the dog, but dared the people to prove that Arlo had done the deed. Arlo bounded over, and the man bellowed at him, "Did you do that?!"

Even Jerry had to admit that Arlo looked guilty.

And did.

He put a hand inside the plastic bag and, as he picked up the steaming pile, discovering that his 8-year-old bag had a hole in the end of it, thought twice about implementing any more of his bright ideas.