Updated: Nov 9
When Good Girl and Down first brought me to their home I thought there was another dog here. After dozens of fruitless attempts of butt sniffing I discovered this was something called a “mirror,“ which shows you what you look like. So I’m frizzy, good-meal poop colored hair, a splash of sunshine on my chest, ears big enough to hear every worth hearing, and a nose long enough to be nosy. And apparently I’m a rescue. That’s what Good Girl and Down always say when they introduced me to someone. “She’s rescue,” they say. So I always figured it meant a type of dog, a dog like me. “That’s me,” I’d think when I looked into the mirror, “That’s what a rescue looks like.“
Which was why I was so surprised when Down also introduced the Cat as a rescue. The Cat looked nothing like me. First, well, not a dog. And I know what you’re thinking – maybe “rescue“ is a word for good-meal poop color. But the Cat was bad-meal poop colored. Very bad-meal poop. Like a blaze of Autumn leaves.
So rescue didn’t mean looked like me.
I didn’t have the best puppyhood. It’s always tough for an orphan, finding their way, hoping someone sees the real them behind the whiskers. I never knew my birth parents, and my first adoptive family – Dammit, Goddamnit, and their son Get off me - never really accepted me. Then something called “fucking digital” happened so they no longer had a newspaper to roll up and hit me with, so one day they bundled me up into the go for a drive, took me to jail, and left me there.
I didn’t think I’d been a bad girl.
But maybe that’s what “rescue“ meant.
That would explain the gun.
I stayed up late that night, waiting for the Cat to return. Good Girl and Down were long asleep when the blaze slipped through the half opened window, onto the counter, and lazily looked around before noiselessly leaping to the kitchen floor, and slinking to its bed in the Living Room.
I envied its ability to leap noiselessly. My own leaping up onto or down from anything was accompanied by my own huffing and thumping. But it was the Cat’s light movement that made me realize it was no longer carrying the gun.
This eased my mind a bit, as my primary concern was that the Cat planned to murder Good Girl and Down to get her paws on their stash of catnip. It was high on the shelf in a jar that required thumbs to open, but it was clear whenever the jar came out that the Cat was a hopeless addict. Seeing the gleam in its eye, watching its grotesque writhing when in the grip of the nip almost - almost - made me pity it. Maybe its rescue crime had been unknowingly committed in a nip haze, maybe it was a theft to get enough kibble to afford the next hit. Who knows.
The next day Good Girl and Down went to their Gotta Fucking Goes, and the only sound of the apartment was the sound box they turned on each morning when they left. They seem to think it would ease the loneliness, but embodied voices are just spooky.
Pretending to be asleep, I watched the Cat with half-open eyes. Waiting. It had risen with the two, and as it did every morning it had tried to trip and kill them as they prepared to leave. But they had again survived and now the Cat, thwarted, was planning its next murder attempt.
The Cat stretched innocently, looking about, and then darn its silent little paws leapt onto the counter and slipped out of the window. My attempt to follow it was not as silent, but after scattering some inconveniently placed bowls I was on the counter and had squeezed through the open window as well before I realized I had made a fundamental miscalculation. We do not live on the first floor.
Teetering on the narrow ledge I could see the cat below as it left the narrow alley. Not wanting to fail in my pursuit I heedlessly flung myself into a massive trash container that had doubtless been the Cat’s means of escape as well. Clamboring out I made my way to the street just in time to see the Cat turn the corner.
I turned the corner and saw the Cat half a block ahead. It walked with a calm purpose, and scarcely drew a second glance. I followed at a distance, pausing only to sparingly mark the light poles along my way. I had no idea how many twists and turns this tail would take, and I did not want to run dry.
I had also never been out and off-leash like this so I, too, tried to be nonchalant, not wanting to draw attention. I’d seen other dogs off-leash, and they seemed to be split between two types: scared, or determined; shivering and lost, or going someplace. The scared dogs got attention, were chased and caught, but the ones who clearly had agendas and places to go were treated as fellow pedestrians. As the Cat crossed street I also noticed it only stepped into the intersection when a certain light flashed, and everyone else crossed. Smooth, very smooth. Once, on a LET’S GO TO THE PARK!! I’d slipped my leash and darted into the street. Everything came to a screeching halt, noise and shouts, and all eyes on me before Down could scoop me up and back to safety on the sidewalk. But the Cat drew no eyes to it, and I followed its example. Like those determined off-leash dogs I had somewhere to go.
A left, a right, a left, a block, another left, and the Cat stopped. I ducked behind one of those metal boxes where a man hands out No You Can’t Have A Hotdogs, and peeking I saw the Cat pause, take in everything and nothing, then step quickly into a dark alley. I knew it might be a trap, but I’d come this far, and I was running out of pee. it was now or never.
I entered the alley, and through a maze of garbage cans and boxes I could just make out the figure of the Cat between two large crates. The Cat seemed to be covering something with its back legs, the way it did in the box of sand in bathroom when burying one of its irresistible treats. It finished, and made its way to the far end of the alley. Yes, I should’ve followed, but first I needed to know what it had buried in the dark between the crates. Another treat, or something more sinister? As quietly as possible, I made my way along the alley until I was at the spot. A broken bit of pavement in the shadows, and dirt. I started to dig, but it was only a moment before I had uncovered it. Shallowly buried gunmetal fitfully reflected the filtered sunlight. I stared down at the gun between my paws, contemplating my next move.
That’s when I heard it. Softly, and behind me: