“Ooh,” Jackie said, looking at a shop window. “It’s a magic shop. Slash herbalist? Hm.”
“Herbalist?” Colby asked, rolling his eyes. “That’s not a real thing.”
“Stop being grumpy. Let’s go inside.”
Colby wasn’t being grumpy. He’d just misunderstood when Jackie said he wanted to go for a walk. He’d thought they’d be going for a real walk, especially since he had his collar on and everything. But they’d just been walking through the city so Colby had to walk like a person and it was annoying. “Why?”
Jackie shrugged. “Maybe we can get weed in there.”
“We can get weed at a dispensary. There’s one like ten minutes that way.”
“Yeah, but maybe we can get good weed in here,” Jackie said, pulling Colby into the stupid magic shop.
It was cluttered but clean, staffed by a guy behind the counter near the door, with long reddish hair and a tight shirt. “Hi,” he said brightly.
“Hi,” said Jackie, already looking around at all the kitschy magic shit. There was a table with stones and some crystal balls and stuff, and it looked like there were amulets and other junk at the back. There was a sign advertising tarot readings, and a witch on staff for consultations. Colby sighed and went over to look at the books. Maybe they’d find something cool.
“You looking for anything special?” asked the clerk.
“No, just browsing. Maybe some herbs,” Jackie said casually. “But I’m not sure yet.”
The guy nodded. “Just let me know.”
As he said that, another guy, thin and dressed in a loose-fitting t-shirt and shorts, came out from the back room. “Ron, I need you to order more dandelion root…hey, you can’t have a dog in here.”
Colby blinked, looking up. The guy was looking right at Jackie. “Huh?” Jackie asked.
“I said, you can’t have a dog in here,” the new guy said, nodding at Colby. “He needs to be on a leash and you can tie him to post there by the door. If he’s a service dog you can have him with you, but he still should be on a leash.”
Colby was flushed with embarrassment but also…pride, maybe? This guy just saw him and that was really cool. Colby put the book he’d been holding down and without Jackie even telling him do, he knelt down on the floor by the post, looking at him.
“Well, okay,” Jackie said, pulling Colby’s leash out of his pocket. “Sorry about that.”
“It’s fine. I just don’t want him making a mess.” He went behind the counter, and gave Ron the clerk a swat on the ass. “I told you to go order more dandelion root. I meant now.”
“Sorry, sir,” said Ron. He hurried off into the back room.
“Does he always not wear pants behind that counter?” Jackie asked, finishing with Colby’s leash and patting his head. Colby hadn’t even noticed that; his eye level hadn’t been high enough to see Ron as he’d departed.
The new guy—obviously the owner—shrugged. “No, usually he behaves so I don’t need to punish him in public. Your puppy is housebroken, right?”
“Course he is. Do you guys sell weed?”
“We have some brownies left, I think,” said the owner. “They tend to sell fast, so there might only be a few. They’re over here.”
Jackie followed him away, and Colby shifted, trying not to whinge when he couldn’t see Jackie anymore. He could hear his voice, and that was good enough to know he wasn’t alone. Neither of them looked at him the whole rest of the time they were in the shop, but that was okay too. Because Colby knew they saw him and that mattered so much more.