This is part 1 of a multi-part story. They each stand alone, but also work together. You can read part 2 here!
Once upon a time, there was Florentine dog named Stepano. He was a shaggy, neurotic dog, who roamed the streets of Venice after having traveled by boat to the great city. Though he knew how to swim, he didn’t often like to do so, and he learned to navigate the odd bi-secting and meandering streets and bridges with ease. Even after learning the city’s layout, he found great joy in finding new, untrodden paths, and getting lost for several hours in the hot afternoon sun.
While exploring such a path, he came across a small patch of dirt in a side street. Not knowing what to make of it, he approached, and saw a small green shoot sticking up; he wasn’t sure what it was, but it had traveled from much farther away than he, growing in a barely-there, unplanned garden, and the street saw so little traffic that it hadn’t been disturbed. Even so, Stepano gathered the dirt to the side, shoring up the little asparagus as best he could. He pulled all the dirt he could find in towards it, and though it wasn’t much, it was a start.