Current word count: 1919
I'm still counting this as day one, even though I'm half an hour late. I haven't gone to bed yet.
Soup and juice in arm, I walked home to nurse my ailing roomie back to health. The trek home had become trickier with each passing day as large autumn spiders built webs spanning the sidewalk and the city blocked off corners of each block for repaving. I would have marched fearlessly down the middle of the street if there weren’t so many careless drivers in the neighborhood. My heart stopped every time a car and a bicycle met at an intersection.
Walking afforded me the luxury of greeting the neighborhood cats. There were so many roaming the area. Some had collars; some did not. Some primarily stuck to one house or one corner; some roamed freely in a much wider perimeter. My favorite was a tubby Maine Coon with a gravelly meow whom Katie and I had nicknamed Don Gato. Don Gato spent his days on the stoop of a small brick house three blocks east of our apartment, but each time he was spotted roaming about, a black cat with one white paw flanked his side. Other cats diverted their gaze in response to his arrival. He had always been friendly to me, but he had a way of snarling hello that made it very clear to me that I was to pet him and give him attention or pay the price.
“Don Gato is the Catfather,” Katie had announced aftrt passing him one afternoon. “And that little black cat is his consigliere.”
That particular evening I was balancing the groceries precariously in one hand while simultaneously attempting to answer the phone with the other. I didn’t see Don Gato raise his head in acknowledgement. I didn’t hear Don Gato’s scratchy greeting. I was distracted by Katie’s incessant texts and trying not to be irritated with her since I knew she was genuinely ill. I didn’t see Don Gato hop down from his throne and amble toward the sidewalk.
I looked up just in time to witness Don Gato stepping in his own poop.
It is a rare occasion to see a cat step in poop. The look of shock on Don Gato’s face was unmistakable as he leapt backward with a shriek.
I laughed. I couldn’t help it. A macho cat stepped in poop and jumped two feet in the air and was clearly embarrassed by the whole situation, slinking off with his tail between his legs, and I laughed.
I tried to apologize, but Don Gato didn’t even turn around. He crawled into his furry little cat cave and was gone.
When I finished recounting the event to Katie, she was not laughing.
“You better watch your back,” she croaked. “Don Gato may put a hit out on you. You caught him in a moment of weakness.”
“It was hilarious! How many times have you seen a cat step in its own poop? Cats don’t do that! And he jumped back,” I demonstrated, including sound effects, before doubling over in giggles again.
“I’m serious. He and his minions will come after you.” She smiled at that. “He stepped in his own poop. Haha. It wouldn’t have been so bad if you’d seen it and just kept walking.”