Their tails wagged whenever they saw her emerging from the building entrance, she was their only benefactor.
A permanent scowl adorned her face. The people in her building avoided speaking to her. And they hated her penchant for feeding assorted stray dogs who loitered around, barking at all and sundry. They had never heard her speaking in a socially acceptable manner with anyone except the strays. The building watchmen were the worst affected. Many abandoned their stints without completing their stints, thanks to her sharp tongue. Their hatred multiplied when they found her talking sweetly to the street dogs while feeding them with her own hands.
So there she came, a scowl writ large on her face, carrying a steel container which contained an aromatic mixture of hot, marinated chicken legs. No guesses for whom this feast was meant. Raghav watchman, who had joined recently but had already seen this routine twice before, blocked her path.
“Madam, no. Feeding stray dogs is no longer allowed by the Society”, he requested assertively.
“Strays! You nincompoop, my Jimmy is not a stray. That Sonny is not a stray. This Victoria is like my own daughter. Those are her children. How dare you call them strays…”, and a string of choicest expletives escaped from her mouth. And though Raghav towered over her, she just thrust her way forward, her shoulder boring into his chest. As he staggered backwards, she stormed outside in her high heels. He panicked. He couldn’t lose his job by not following the Society orders, especially not because of a puny, acidic tongued woman. Balancing himself, he went in her pursuit with a baton in hand.
Outside, she had already opened the container and was hand feeding the gang of hungry dogs, talking sweetly to them.
“Here Jimmy. The biggest one is for you, darling…ouch, ouch. What have you done, naughty boy,. You bit me. See, I am bleeding. You should be more careful, beta…”, she was talking to the strays in mock anger when Raghav came from behind and caught hold of her arm.
“You bastard, how dare you touch me”, she exploded. With a strong jerk to her arm, she escaped from his grasp and stood facing Raghav. In the melee she injured her wrist further. The wound caused by Jimmy opened up, the blood trickled out, droplets falling on the street and on the chicken leg being eaten by Jimmy.
“You bastard, see what you have done. I will go to the police now. I will make sure, you won’t get a job again. You will spend your remaining days behind bars…aaaahhhh…nooo, Jimmy nooo. Get back, shoo…Vicky, nooo Vicky…eeaayyaaa…”.
The baton fell from a shell-shocked Raghav’s hand as he saw the macabre sight of blood-thirsty dogs set upon a small woman, with their bared fangs, tearing her bleeding hand from her body, their bloodshot eyes shining in the fluorescent light of the building.
photo credit- Heshan Weeramanthri and unsplash.com