There once was a man named Charlie who wore a striped coat with white dots on it. He liked his coat very much, even though it was too big for him, and even though his landlady, his barber, and the children who played at the park across the street from his house made fun of him for it.
They would see Charlie coming home from work, or leaving for it, wearing that big thing, looking happy as can be, and they would laugh. He would greet them with a big smile, assuming they were happy to see him just as he was happy to see them. “Howdy, neighbor!” he would say enthusiastically to whomever he met, whether it was indeed a neighbor, or instead his landlady or the children at the park.
“Howdy, Charlie!” they would respond. At first, they thought Charlie look foolish, with his dopey grin and his almost circus-like fashion sense. At first, they thought he was a little weird. But with each successive day, and with each successive encounter, they learned something about Charlie: his positive mood never wavered. He always greeted them with the same sunny disposition… and with the same oversized, strange-looking coat.
“Hey, Charlie,” one of the park kids once asked him, “Why do you always wear that silly coat?”
Charlie regarded his attire with a look approaching shock. “You mean this? This here, this is a vintage coat. I have had it very many years and it has never failed me once. Not a one time! It keeps me warm, it has great pockets, and it’s comfortable. I love this thing!” And he would smile, just as assured of himself as if he was strolling down the sidewalk dressed to the nines.
One day his landlady, who had gotten to know Charlie’s unrelentingly cheerful ways and learned to like them, just as the kids at the park did, was happy that she had a good tenant occupying the house she rented next to the park. Even if he was a bit of a… character. Character or no, he paid his rent on time, kept the house relatively clean and tidy, and wore a constant smile on his face. Plus, the neighborhood liked him.
She really had nothing to complain about. Aside from a little eccentricity–which she could hardly fault all that much, she tended to march to her own beat as well–Charlie was in many ways the ideal tenant.
Until the day of the dog.