So we eye the women who teeter past us on too-high heels.
Even on a good day, we never look at the men.
We know our limits.
Lunch hour's over. Workers hurry back to their offices. A lingerer fusses with her phone, oblivious to the bundle of rags and fur that is ourselves. Alleydog grabs her ankle, but she doesn't even stumble, much less fall, or drop her bag.
'You only need to ask,' she snaps instead, looking at us irritably, and opens her purse. A treasure trove of credit cards and cash. We drool. Then she puts it away, zips her bag shut and we recoil into our unwashedness as she crouches in front of us.
'Dad,' she whispers and her breath tastes of peppermint. 'Mother kicked you out, but I won't. And yes, you can bring the mutt.' Then she's away, back to her job before her boss gets the grumps, and I'm left looking at the business card she's just pressed into my hand. Her address is printed on the back, her handwriting unchanged since high school, before she ran away from hell. Now she lives in one of those new houses on the better side of town where the dustbins yield luxury dinners every night of the week. Although I don't think that's quite what she has in mind.
I creak to my feet. 'Come on, Alleydog,' I say, tugging his leash. 'Kiddo's offering us the opportunity of a lifetime.'