In Our Previous Installment… The Master Scoopers made an unusual discovery during their first scheduled pooper scooper service with the Howling Family… despite the several demolition grade garbage bags of dog poop removed from the yard, the Howlings only have 2 chihuahuas?! Find out what happens next!

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Four weeks have passed, and Ivan is back in Highland Park, just as scheduled. As he walks to the yard, he peers over to see if Irene is outside like the last time. Her yard looks serene, with a couple of sparrows hopping and picking the ground. “Better get to it,” he thinks to himself, as he spots a big pile of poop in the corner, just like the last time. 

“I’ll meet you when you’re done,” Diane says, loud enough so he can hear, as she steps out of the parked car.

See, Ivan was still confused about what Irene told her last time, about the Howlings only having 2 chihuahuas. To figure out what was going on, they called Florence and asked how many dogs were going to be present at their next play date.

Florence warmly apologized for the confusion and invited her for coffee, both to explain their situation in further detail and get to know the providers of this pooper scooper service. And here she was now, ringing the doorbell.

Florence opens the door and greets her with a big smile.

“Hello, you must be Diane! Please come in!”

The entryway opens to a spacious living room full of light coming in from the huge windows looking onto the yard. A low mid century couch and two armchairs are positioned at the end of the room, overlooking the garden. There are a number of modern oil paintings decorating the space.

“I love these!” Diane exclaims, as Florence leads her to the seating area. “You must know your art – these are fascinating!” 

“Well, dealing with artists, sometimes I’m able to keep the work I really like!”

“Ah, so you own a gallery?”

“I used to, when we were in Jefferson Park. Now I just represent some artist friends. Actually, they are the ones who frequent our parties! But first, what can I offer you? Coffee?”

“Coffee would be wonderful, thank you.”

“Back in a minute.”

“She really has great taste, and she seems like a very gentle person,” Diane thinks to herself, almost completely forgetting the dog poop mystery that occasioned this meeting in the first place. She hears tiny paws hurriedly coming down the stairs when a treat box is shaken in the kitchen.

Two tiny chihuahuas, one brown-white and other black-white, rush towards the kitchen, half sliding on the hardwood floors as they run. “Kali and Loki,” Diane remembers… and suddenly the riddle is back in her mind.

Florence comes returns from the kitchen with a tray carrying a coffee pot, two cups and a creamer. The doggies are walking right behind her, with a mix of satisfaction and anticipation in their eyes, swagging their tiny tails. Florence sets the tray on the oval coffee table, pours coffee in each cup, and sits back on her chair.

“Oh, I totally forgot, do you take sugar?” she asks with a minor panic. “No, no, thank you,” Diane says comfortingly. 

“See, we try to keep the kids off the sugar, so we don’t keep it around the house at all. It’s so bad for their system. But please, let’s continue our chat. Are you into art at all?”

“Absolutely! I adore it. I grew up with artists, some of my best friends are working artists.”

“How incredible is that! I’ve been dying to meet more artists in Chicago. This is an unbelievable coincidence! Diane, I know that we were supposed to talk about dog poop, but this is just so much more interesting!”

“I can’t help but agree. So you said you throw parties for your artist friends?”

“Oh yes, it’s a monthly thing, it’s great networking and community building, you know? We have to look out for each other, and what better way to do that then share food and make new friends and  memories? And I love my garden here so much, it’d be a waste to shut ourselves indoors when we could enjoy the outdoor air like this.”

Kali and Loki are already dozing off by Florence’s feet. You can tell that they have complete trust in her. They are making small snoring noises as their bellies rise and fall with their breath. Diane spots Ivan in the yard, doing the work of a pooper scooper service. 

“I know it must have sounded insane,” Florence starts talking again. “See, Irene must be confused because the dogs – I mean, our guests with dogs came to the party way after she left. You know how artists are, night owls, no standard schedule to follow. So they come in when they do, and I really don’t mind, as long as everyone’s having a good time and enjoying the moonlight.”