A Cat From Canada by Bassam Imam - HTML preview

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AMIGO

I managed to gallop in a circuitous manner for several minutes before spotting the peripheral of the rainforest.

Suddenly, I heard the humming of an airplane engine. Just a moment later, I‟d exited the rainforest.

At 9:40 A.M. I spotted a chubby, dark complexioned man. He had greasy hair, wore workman‟s clothing and kept scanning the area with his shifty black eyes. His scanning appeared to be done out of fear and apprehension. I could tell because beads of fear sweat were dribbling down his face. His blue pocket T-shirt was drenched in sweat too.

“Chip, is that you?”

“Roberto, that‟s your name right?”

“Yes, I‟m so glad to meet you, Amigo. Can I call you Amigo?”

21

“Yes, Roberto, that‟s acceptable. You can call me anything you want to so long as it‟s for a good reason and the name isn‟t insulting. You‟re doing this for security reasons, right?”

“Yes, Amigo, just in case the authorities hear us talking to each other or maybe there could be a federal agent within our ranks.

However, for now, things are okay. You‟ve lucked out.

You‟re the only passenger on this double engine plane. The pilot will be flying at a very low altitude.

You see, this is a secret flight. You must not reveal this event to anyone even to your best friend in the whole world.

We‟re shipping „special merchandise‟ to a secret location. After you‟re dropped off near the U.S. border, the pilot will continue on route to his secret destination.

I must ask you to give me your word of honour that you won‟t tell anyone. Be forewarned, if you tell anyone I cannot help or protect you. There are some really dangerous people involved in this trafficking ... I mean the delivery of special merchandise.”

“No problem, Roberto, I give you my word of honour as a proud cat. I just wanna get back to the U.S. Here‟s your $200

and just get me across the freaking border. If you help me do that I‟ll be thankful to you for the rest of my life. Why would I betray you after what you‟ve done for me? The amount of money you‟re asking me for is minimal. No flight, even one without any service would be this cheap. Yes, my word of honour stands and I shall not break it even if I‟m tortured or killed to reveal it.”

“Amigo, I love you. I wish I had a son exactly like you, I mean it a real cat and all. You see, I‟m still a bachelor. In my line of work I‟m always on the move and looking over my shoulder.

Because you‟re the only passenger the pilot can leave immediately.”

Roberto‟s eyes were bloodshot. He looked like he was about to cry. Although I felt for him I had to board the plane.

After saying goodbye to Roberto I ran to the plane, leaped into it and then took a seat.

The pilot gave Roberto a smile and a thumbs-up then he did the same to me.

As expected, the pilot was borderline obese. Flying for extended periods of time without exercise can do that to you.

The pilot pointed to the seat next to me just before he entered the cockpit.

As soon as I looked I noticed a container. In my haste to leap onto a seat I hadn‟t noticed it.

Then, the pilot spoke on the intercom.

22

“Kitty, don‟t open the container until we‟ve levelled off and I announce it on the intercom.”

I did as told. I fastened my seat belt and anxiously waited for the plane to take off.

The pilot drove the plane down a bumpy tarmac for a short distance, paused and then drove it down a flat but dusty runway.

A short while later we were off, but not before I heard a volley of machinegun fire. Someone was firing at us.

I looked out the window only to see military personnel and vehicles in the area. I guess someone had tipped them off.

As for the special merchandise, I knew exactly what it was.

Apparently, Roberto and the pilot had forgotten how acute a feline‟s senses are. The contents in the cargo consisted primarily of cocaine, but also contained heroin, opium and hashish. The cocaine was from the Americas, no doubt. However, the other drugs had probably arrived through a circuitous path, indeed. Anyway, I wasn‟t going to spend the entire flight pondering about it. I patiently waited for the pilot‟s announcement.

For some unknown reason I suddenly fell asleep. It was unusual for me to do so. Shockingly, when I came too I saw a mini-parachute dangling from the backrest in front of me.

The inscription on it read, “Chip, as soon as you awaken bail out of the plane. The special merchandise was catapulted from the cargo section of the plane. We got a tipoff that the feds were on our tail. This is a relatively slow plane. The pilot (yours truly) parachuted out of the plane. Sorry to „gas you‟ but we had to make sure that you weren‟t one of the feds in disguise. As you probably know, the feds hire cats too.” The top of the trees were barely feet below the plane‟s altitude. I snatched the mini-parachute and bailed out.

Luckily I descended into a bald patch. This particular patch was rectangular shaped, perhaps the length of two football fields. Boy was I lucky.

Upon landing, I tossed the mini-parachute and then ran.

However, a short distance later I backtracked, fearing that the feds would locate my mini-parachute it would be a dead giveaway that I was previously there.

I took the mini-parachute to a corner, dug a deep hole, tossed the mini-parachute inside it and then sealed it. There was now no trace of my being in that particular spot.

Thankfully, the forested area was minute in size compared to the Amazon rainforest.

In fact, after walking a short distance I reached the town of Morales, Mexico. I was a close distance to where I was supposed to meet Domingo.

23

As soon as I entered Morales I took notice of a Mexican Taco Restaurant. An obese fellow wearing a Sombrero hat exited the restaurant. He was carrying a large bag of tacos in his right hand and two large bottles of pop in the other.

I slowly approached him, not to fight but to speak to him.

But the obese fellow thought that I was attempting a mugging.

“Amigo, please, I‟m just an obese fellow who only has money for food. My name is Alejandro and ... please don‟t hurt me.

Amigo, take my food but just don‟t scratch or bite me, please. I don‟t have a wife or kids. No woman would ever want a fatso like me. I‟m lonely and scared.”

“Please, Alejandro, I just wanted to ask you if the food in this restaurant is good. Don‟t worry, I have plenty of money. In fact, why don‟t you wait up for me, we‟ll eat our meal together on that bench over there behind that dying tree.”

“Amigo, yes, I‟d love to eat my tacos and drink my pops with a beautiful kitty like you. Wait, you‟re a gringo, right?”

“Yes, I‟m a gringo, and a Canadian gringo at that.”

“Amigo, then you better not drink the water or drink any of the beverages in this town. Here, when you exit the restaurant I‟ll give you one of my two beverages. These pops are from the U.S. I brought them back with me from southern California.

Amigo, if you drink the water or beverages in this town you‟ll puke your brains out and have diarrhoea for several days.

But things may get even worse. You may end up with a serious parasitic problem or whatever. Amigo, I‟m not a doctor, you understand?”

“Yes, Alejandro I certainly do.”

Alejandro was so obese even talking made him sweat. He looked like the typical obese guy sweating profusely on a hot sticky day in a Mexican town. I could see the outline of his sagging breasts and the curvature of his stomach. This guy needed a friend really badly.

I entered the taco restaurant and then ordered six large tacos. I paid for my food with American currency. Naturally, it was accepted.

As soon as I left the taco restaurant with my order a shocking thought occurred to me. If I couldn‟t drink the water, how could I eat the meat? Maybe, the meat was contaminated too.

I walked over to Alejandro. He was seated on the bench near the dying tree.

“Alejandro, do you think I can eat the meat in these tacos?”

“Amigo, I don‟t know. Gringos always complain to me about the water. No one ever said anything about the tacos or the meat in Morales. I guess you can, but use your incredible feline 24

senses to determine the cleanliness of the taco shells and everything in them.”

After careful observation I came to the conclusion that my tacos were eatable.

Alejandro and I began to eat our food in earnest. He was a man of his word. He gave me one of his one litre pops and thereafter everything went just fine.

After the main course Alejandro gave me a giant Mexican cookie. It was sweet but had a touch of peppery hotness to it giving it an incredible taste. It was like eating a super gingerbread cookie mixed with a secret Mexican ingredient.

“Amigo, I‟ve been around these parts all my life. In fact, I was born in that shack over there. It‟s next to the garbage dump. Do you see it?”

I nodded in the affirmative and then gently pawed Alejandro‟s hands. Underneath the sweat were tears of sadness. I wanted to raise his spirits. I knew exactly how to cheer him up.

But before I could say anything Alejandro dropped a bombshell on me.

“Amigo, please forgive me. I know who you are and I know that you‟re supposed to meet a man named Domingo. Domingo is my cousin.

It‟s P.M. You have another eighteen hours until your rendezvous with Domingo. You must meet him at 10:00 A.M. in that spot over there. Look straight ahead to the left of the hill.

Domingo will be right there, he and the others.”

“What should I do until then?”

“Amigo, if you have money for a hotel for the night there‟s a place right there at the corner of the street. You see, the sign reads „The Morales Hotel‟.

It will cost you ten gringos ... I mean ten American dollars per day. I hope that‟s not too much for you?”

“No, Alejandro, it‟s not. But excuse me for a second or two. I need to do something behind those trees over there.

Please wait for me.”

I dashed to the area behind a congregation of trees and then pulled out my copying machine. Afterwards, I punched in the equivalent of five hundred thousand U.S. Dollars in Mexican Pesos.

The pile was so large I had to return and pick up Alejandro‟s food bag to fill it with Mexican Pesos. And that I did.

I gave Alejandro the bag and told him to take it home immediately and to guard it with his life. I also told him that he was set for life. He would have no more monetary problems.

“Amigo, what‟s in this sack?”

“Okay, Alejandro, take a peek.”

25

“Oh, Dios, I can‟t believe it! There must be a billion Pesos in this sack.”

“Well, not quite a billion, Alejandro, but certainly many Pesos.”

Alejandro‟s face filled with joy. But, there were also tears in his eyes. We both knew that our rendezvous would have to be cut short because I needed my rest before the next day‟s journey.

Alejandro hugged me ever so tightly and then he gave me a big Mexican kiss on each of my cheeks. The sweat on his face and body had now increased. Some of it rubbed onto me. Normally, cats don‟t like to be wetted by human sweat, but I made an exception this time.

Time had flown by like a jet. It was now 6:00 P.M. and the sun was beginning to set. We said our final goodbyes and then I walked to the Morales Hotel.

My walk to the hotel was depressing. I‟d just lost a dear friend likely never seeing him again because there was no way in hell I was gonna ever leave North America again. I was, in a sense, a die-hard gringo cat. Everything about me was gringo, my language, culture and beliefs. My stripes were never gonna change, or even be altered for that matter.

The facade of the Morales Hotel was shabby and dusty. I didn‟t expect much from a town out in the middle of nowhere.

I‟d ignored everyone else in town up to this point. But now, I had to speak to the hotel attendant about getting a room for the night.

As I entered the hotel I heard creaking underneath my paws.

The floor was cheaply designed and cracking in some areas.

A thin man wearing a cap was standing behind the counter.

He was smoking a cigarette. Aside from the two prostitutes standing near the counter there was nothing special about this situation.

As soon as the hotel attendant took notice of me I took four quick steps towards the counter and then leaped onto it.

Now, I was face-to-face with what appeared to be an ingrate. He really had the look of an idiot.

“Amigo, you see the rule posted on the wall behind me and to my right?

Rule number seven reads „no predatory animals are allowed herein‟. We can‟t be responsible for accidents or fights.”

“I‟m not a bobcat. I‟m a domesticated housecat.”

“Amigo, my apologies, you look so strong and dignified. I, I mean I thought that you were a bobcat. I knew you weren‟t from around these parts. Actually, I figured you were a gringo bobcat.”

26

“You were half right. Now, I‟d like a room for the night. I must leave tomorrow because I have a special rendezvous.” The hotel attendant and both prostitutes smiled at me and then winked. Then, they glanced at each other and looked back at me. Apparently, they knew what my personal business was.

One of the prostitutes, a bleached haired blond reached out and began to pet me. Judging from the expression on her face she was amazed.

“Amigo, baby, you‟re so soft and beautiful. How do you keep your coat so wonderfully shiny, soft and elegant?”

“I exercise and eat right.”

The other prostitute, perhaps only sixteen years-old began to pet me also. Both prostitutes were smiling.

After they‟d finished petting me the hotel attendant gently lifted my right paw and kissed it.

“Amigo, I can give you room #21 for ten U.S. dollars per day. Checkout time is at noon, but that won‟t be a problem for you because you have a morning rendezvous.” I paid for my room then the hotel attendant pulled out my room key from behind the counter. He motioned towards the staircase.

I leaped onto the floor and then ran to the staircase and then quickly climbed the steps to the 2nd floor. I waited patiently for the hotel attendant.

I noticed a hole in one of the steps. Thankfully, I‟d managed to run around it. Otherwise I would‟ve fallen into an abyss of sorts.

The hotel attendant slowly climbed the staircase making sure that he walked around the hole. But when he got to within three steps of reaching the second floor his knees buckled and then he almost fell.

The guy was panting like a dog and sweating profusely. I thought he was gonna have a heart attack. But, my suspicions were proven wrong, instantly.

“Amigo, sorry, but, I have to have a cigarette.”

“Jeepers, what the hell do you think you‟re doing? Enough with the stupid cigarettes, c‟mon, you know they‟ll kill you.

Okay, just toss them out!”

The hotel attendant put on a laboured smiled then he shocked me. In an act of outright defiance, not against me but against his cigarettes, he dropped a pack of Mexican brand cigarettes and then smothered them with his shoe.

After taking a deep breath the hotel attendant resumed climbing the staircase. As soon as he reached the 2nd floor he raised his hands high above his head and walked in place, like a boxer who‟d just won a world title match.

27

Afterwards the hotel attendant escorted me to my room and then wished me well.

I thanked him and then gently closed the door behind me. My room was basic; a worn-out bed, tiny restroom, an overhead fan, a couple of chairs, an old table and a lamp, and of course roaches.

I slowly approached the window, when I got close enough I leaped onto the window panel. My first attempt was a failure. I guess I was exhausted from my long journey, although it was by no means over.

On my second attempt my face became smothered against the window. I raised the window halfway open and then leaped back onto the floor.

After rescanning my room I realized that there was nothing therein to occupy my time. So, I did what any kitty in my

„shoes‟ would do, I leaped onto the bed and then closed my eyes.

I was hoping to awaken the following day all refreshed.

Instantly, I fell into a deep sleep, having one dream after another. Being in kitty REM (Rapid Eye Movement) mode was very refreshing. Dreams can be fantastic.

Sadly, it all came to a sudden end. I felt an incredible sharp needle-like pain throughout my body. It was enough to jolt me out of my bed and land onto the table that was several feet away.

I shook my body violently then licked my sides. I‟d endured a serious case of a bed bug attack. There must‟ve been hundreds of those ugly critters sucking my blood; my beautiful body, hair, dandruff and whatever.

Thankfully, I‟d managed to shake them off before they dug in really deep and held their ground in their trenches.

It was my luck that I landed on the only table in the hotel room. The table was certainly free of bed bugs and other bed creatures.

I closed my eyes to continue sleeping. I was able to sleep a few more hours before being awakened by a middle-aged man with hair down to his shoulders.

“Amigo, I‟m sorry to awaken you from your sleep. I understand that it‟s only 8:00 A.M. and you‟re still half asleep. However, I must inform you that there has been an abrupt change in plans.

Apparently, there was a high-jacking and downing of a plane recently. Rio Grande Airlines flight #356 was found in pieces.

Mexican authorities called in their American counterparts and an international team to investigate the matter.

What I heard on the news was that there was a sole survivor and he or she was believed to be the culprit. All the 28

authorities have to do is found out who he/she is. Interpol will then alert the major police forces of the world.

As a result, U.S. border patrol is as tight as can be.

Every person, including you, Amigo must be extra careful. I heard from the grapevine that border patrol‟s in a very bad, noxious mood. Although they‟re looking for a terrorist of sorts they‟ll vent their anger and frustration on the illegal enterers.

Amigo, it‟s time to go. Please, we must leave immediately or else the rest of the men, women and children will leave without us.”

I had to ensure that the man speaking to me wasn‟t a federal agent or criminal of sorts. So, I asked him the only question that came to mind.

“Excuse me, I‟ll go with you but first you must tell me what your name is.”

“Don‟t worry, Amigo, I‟m the real McCoy. My name is Domingo.”

I bolted to the door and then opened it. Afterwards, I motioned to Domingo to follow me out of the hotel.

Before leaving The Morales Hotel I turned in my key and thanked the hotel attendant for his kindness. However, I did tell him about the bedbugs. He shrugged his shoulders and then rolled up his sleeves. Gosh, he‟d been bitten by numerous bed bugs and other night critters that lurk in peoples beds.

Domingo and I left The Morales Hotel. Upon crossing the street Domingo waved to a young man perhaps eighteen years old who was wearing a dirty gray cap. This young man had an incredible tan. Although he was naturally brown skinned the sun had baked his skin to a light blackish colour. No doubt, this guy did much of this kind of work.

The young man was roughly twenty yards from us. He waved us over while he steadily walked to a crusty old pickup.

As soon as we got into the pickup the young man turned on the ignition and drove off. The trip took us ten minutes.

We arrived at the mouth of a long dirt road. A nearby bus was full of men, women and children waiting to go to the land of opportunity, that‟s the U.S.

Domingo spoke to the young man in Spanish, shook his hand and then waved goodbye. That was our cue to exit the pickup. So we ran to the bus, entered it sitting in the front row seats.

The bus driver scanned the area and then paused for a short while. Then, he turned on the ignition and began his drive towards the border.

“Amigo, I don‟t like to be too blunt or up front but could you give me my payment right now. We‟re on our way and I promise to get you across the border even if it kills me.” 29

I opened my pouch then handed Domingo a total of $200 U.S.

In response, he grinned at me and then closed his eyes to sleep.

I was so nerve racked I couldn‟t even take a short nap. If the border patrol had a manifest of the passengers on our flight, and by chance they captured me, well I would‟ve been sent to Guantanamo, or any of those secret prisons that the U.S.

Government has. In that regard, they could make me confess to being anything they wanted me to be; a Feline Supremacist, a Human Killer, an Al-Qaida Operative, a Neo-Nazi, a KKK kitty, a Commie or whatever.

They‟d have no mercy on a kitty like me. I was pondering about a solution when suddenly the driver pulled over and asked Domingo to wake up.

As soon as Domingo awakened he asked everyone to exit the bus. I could see America! We were that close. Thankfully, our bus was placed in a good location. A border patrolman or patrolwoman could not see us even with the aid of binoculars. It was my incredible feline vision that enabled me to see America.

As soon as we exited the bus Domingo gave instructions to the passengers to split up into three groups. Family members would have to stay together, though.

“Amigo, listen to me carefully. You look too much like a WASP.”

“Huh, I‟m not a flying insect!”

“No, Amigo, I mean you look like los gringos. If they catch us you‟ll stand out like a sore thumb. You don‟t look like us.”

“Oh, I now understand what you mean.”

“Maria, please come here for a second. I need you to „brown up‟ our beloved gringo friend.”

A hefty woman, perhaps in her mid-fifties wearing a beautiful Mexican dress and much makeup approached us. She looked me over for a few seconds and then tried to bend her fat body to pet me but couldn‟t.

Domingo then knelt over, gently hoisted me to a nearby stone. He grinned then motioned for me to stay still. He then motioned Maria to begin her work.

Domingo knelt down and scooped some clean dirt with both hands. He then handed the chunks to Maria.

“Amigo, I‟m Maria Santiago and I must insist that you stay still and close your eyes while I do my work. It‟s imperative that we get this job over with quickly.”

Maria pasted my face and then the rest of my body with the clean dirt.

When she finished her work she told me to slowly open my eyes. Maria was holding a mirror in front of my face. I was amazed. I really looked like a brown kitty. Now, we could resume our trek.

30

But in all the haste, I‟d totally blocked off the memory of the border fence between Mexico and the U.S.

Domingo grinned, as if he knew what was on my mind. He then pointed northwest to a specific spot of the fence. After zooming in on that spot I noticed an opening. Yes, that opening was carved out for people like Domingo and me.

We began our trek in earnest zooming in on our target. It only took us a short while to get there. But to tell you the truth, my feline extinct went into danger mode. Something wasn‟t right.

“Domingo, I sense that something isn‟t right. See that mound over there? It is thirty feet high and fifty feet wide. It appears out of place. Furthermore, it was man-made. I mean, it is not a natural part of this terrain. The area surrounding it is flat and barren. Domingo, I smell a rat.”

“Amigo, take it easy. I‟ve been doing this for ages. What you have is a case of the jitters. I use to get the jitters at first and thankfully, they faded away over time.

Amigo, don‟t worry, I‟ll keep an eye on that mound.” We approached the opening and then entered through it one at a time. The other groups apparently had their own openings to enter through because they walked on the peripheral of the border fence in opposite directions.

As soon as every member of our group was on the U.S. side of the border we briskly walked due north. Amigo was leading the pack, and we certainly didn‟t want to question his wisdom regarding where and in what direction we should trek in.

The large mound was located to our right. And as soon as we passed it all hell broke loose.

We heard a loud voice emanating from a blow horn. This however, was a special blow horn as the sound was amplified by several large speakers.

“Listen up very carefully. This is the U.S. Border Patrol.

I am Commander Williams and I order you to stop in the name of the law. You are violating U.S. Port of Entry and Immigration Law. Each and every one of you has committed a very serious crime against the Government of the United States and its citizens.”

Instantly, we began to run like crazy; our group looked like a stampeding herd of wildebeest. But for some reason I stayed near Domingo. The other members of our group dispersed like scattered flying insects.

But U.S. Border Patrol was ready this time. It was like they were expecting us. Some officers chased after us on foot while others drove vehicles. I really thought that we were dead meat.

31

Domingo and I ran as fast as we could but the U.S. Border Patrolmen in the vehicles were fast approaching us.

“Amigo, don‟t stop running! Just maintain your speed for a short while. There‟s good news up ahead. Look, there‟s a sandstorm fast approaching. We can lose these goons and be home free.

Amigo as soon as I say „now‟, stop running immediately and then turn and face the U.S. Border Patrolmen. This way the sand won‟t blow in your face. Wait a few seconds and then try your utmost to walk backwards. Understand that as soon as the sandstorm clears we must be out of their range.” Domingo and I continued running but then Commander Williams called in two choppers and ordered more vehicles on our tail. In addition, three mounted officers were ordered to chase us down.

Thankfully, Domingo gave me the „now‟ command, so I stopped running. But, the temptation to enrage and humiliate Commander Williams was too great.

Right before the sandstorm reached us I pointed my right paw at Commander Williams and then I shouted „Na Na Nanny Goat Can‟t Catch a Billy Goat!‟

Then, to add insult to injury, I stuck my tongue out.

Commander Williams reacted instantly. He really took me off guard.

“Everyone stop what you‟re doing right now! Take out your firearms, point them at that kitty over there and commence firing; fire at will. This is a shoot to maim or kill command.” I was so shocked I felt like pooping. In fact, a large blob of fecal matter was only a millimetre from being dropped onto the ground. However what had ensued changed matters instantly.

I made direct eye contact with Commander Williams. He whispered some very horrifying words to me. I needn‟t hear the words because I was easily able to read his lips. He exaggerated the motion of his lips to ensure that would happen.

“Kitty, you‟re going to Guantanamo. We‟ve got a special cage for you and I will be your special interrogator.” Instantly, a large blob of poop left my body but before it landed onto the hot sandy ground the sandstorm swept it away in the direction of the U.S. Border Patrolmen. And with my luck, it was heading straight towards Commander Williams.

When the sandstorm passed me I soon lost visibility. But a few seconds later I heard a splashing sound. Then a gulp sound.

“Damn you, Kitty! I‟m going to call the President, Head of the CIA and the Director of the FBI! You‟re going to Guantanamo!”

Apparently my poop hit Commander Williams, right in the face some got into his mouth and up his nostrils. In a reflexive action he swallowed the poop that entered his mouth.

32

In all the commotion I‟d forgotten to walk backwards. I picked up my pace with deep earnest until I caught up with Domingo. Although I couldn‟t see him I could hear his faint voice.

“Amigo, the sandstorm has almost passed us.” But as he spoke those words there were several thundering sounds and two shrieks from horses. I didn‟t know what the heck had happened so I waited until Domingo could tell me.

Wouldn‟t you know it, the sandstorm soon abated? As such, we were able to stop running.

We slowed down to a walking pace and then stopped and turned to see who was on our tail.

Thankfully, the coast was clear. Several choppers had crashed and two horses were lying on their side. Then we heard a couple of gunshots. The horses were immediately put down. They sustained severe injuries during the sandstorm. Although I really felt sorry for the horses, if they‟d caught up to us Domingo and I would‟ve been apprehended or shot. There were no acceptable case scenarios except a clean escape.

Because what‟d happened had become obvious I did not feel a need to question Domingo about how we were able to escape.

“Amigo, we need to walk ... Amigo, I‟m very tired. I can‟t make it.”

Domingo fell onto the ground. I quickly pushed him over onto his back and then gently pawed his face.

“Amigo, I can‟t make it. You see, I feel massive pain in my chest and down my arm. Heart problems run strong on both sides of my family. Please, just leave me alone so I can die in peace.

You must now care for yourself.

Amigo, my left front pocket contains the $200 that you gave me. Please take it. I‟m going to die and to tell you the truth, you‟re a special kitty. As my last will and testament I give you all my belongings and I make you my best friend in the whole world.”

Domingo‟s eyes closed and then his tongue dangled from the side. I tried to feel a pulse but it was nowhere to be found.

This was a very sad moment for me. But even if you‟re sad the Earth doesn‟t mourn or feel sorry for you. Neither do many of its creatures.

“Domingo, I love you! Please don‟t die on me. I have a nice mini-mansion in California. I‟m kind of an American? This is kind of my country. You can live with me for the rest of your life, for free. Please, don‟t die on me.

My words and actions brought no change to the facts on the ground. Domingo, my best friend in the whole world had died in my paws. I was now alone. I also figured my pretend parents died 33

in the plane crash. So, who else was there left to love? But there were more problems on the horizon.

Up above, in the sky were four anxious vultures. They‟d been watching us since the sandstorm had passed. These birds are professionals at what they do. They‟ve seen sickness and death from all sorts of species. Now, they‟re intent on chomping down on human flesh. I surely wasn‟t going to let them do that.

“You‟re not going to eat Domingo! No way in hell!” The vultures grinned at me, as if telling me that I was dreaming and that the real world gave them the right to the carcass on the hot sandy ground. Being a kitty, I knew how to thwart their plans.

Before beginning with my plan I removed the $200 that Domingo had given me and then I put it in my pouch. After glancing up at the vultures, I dug an incredibly deep hole in the ground. After pushing Domingo into the hole I sealed it up.

Shockingly, I‟d forgotten to measure my own actions regarding energy use versus available energy. I was overly weak, exhausted and famished. I glanced up at the vultures and yes, they were still there. However, they‟d reduced their altitude in half. It became apparent to me that that is why they were really grinning at me. They‟d seen this case scenario before. I was now in dire straits. Where the heck was I going to find food, water and shelter?

Regardless of my situation, I had to continue walking.

Sooner or later I‟d find safety, or would I? In this world for every danger that you see there‟s probably security nearby. It‟s only a matter of finding it.

I walked through the blistering sun. Thankfully, it wasn‟t shining directly in my face, but it was still shining. The California sun can be a killer in the literal sense.

I must‟ve walked for another hour before noticing something strange. I was sweating throughout my body, not only in designated areas. I‟d become too humanized, even sweating like them.

By now, my mouth was full of dry froth, so much so a chunk was dangling from my mouth. Although it must‟ve looking really gruesome I didn‟t want to waste the energy in shaking it off.

Later on, I paused, scanned the entire area and then took notice of a silhouette on the horizon, straight ahead.

Thankfully, it wasn‟t that of a human. It was too tall to be a dog or a cougar and too slim and streamlined to be a bear, not that I expected to see any of the aforementioned animals therein but just to be on the safe side.

I took a deep sniff and miraculously the scent of water was in the air and it was in the direction of the silhouetted animal.

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I had no choice but to approach the waterhole or whatever it was. I was heading north anyway.

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