Monday, November 20, 2006

A Cat, Some Townies and The Check Cashing Place

I'm driving home Friday night, and I'm stuck in traffic, and I hit a cat. It doesn't just go under the tire, though, it gets dragged along for quite a way first. And it's right in front of my house, so I can't just take off like they tell you.

All these people come running out of the check cashing place. There's the 18year old chick running the place, the 50 year old woman getting a check cashed, and a UMR student in a rusty Bronco. As I'm sitting there in traffic waiting to be able to circle the block, the idiot in the Bronco is writing down my license plate, like there's been a hit-and-run or something. I circle the block and pull in the parking lot to see if there's anything I can do about it, and so they won't call the cops.

I pull up at the check cashing place and get out.

Me: "That's twice this week!"

UMR student: "You hit that cat?"

Me: "It hit me." I wasn't admitting anything.

UMR Student: "Help me get it out of the road."

It was out of the road so far it was leaning up against the curb, meowling and clawing at the air.

Me: "It's a wild animal. It's hurt. If you touch it, it's going to attack you."

UMR Student: "OK, whatever. Fine."

50 Year Old Woman Cashing Check: "I have the animal shelter on speed dial. Here:" She hands me a cell phone that's calling someone, and I wonder briefly how many cats she has hit that she has the shelter on speed dial.

Woman on phone: "Rolla Animal Shelter."

Me: "A cat ran under my car."

Woman: "You hit a cat? That isn't very humane."

Me: "It hit me. And I know - those are new tires he could've popped."

Woman: "Is it dead?"

Me: I look over at the cat, which is only clawing with one claw at this point. "Yeah, mostly."

Just then the UMR student starts poking me in the arm.

Me: "What?"

UMR Student: "Step on its tail. I'm going to run over its head with my truck."

Woman on phone: "What, once wasn't enough? Don't run over its head. It makes them harder to pick up later."

Me: "I know. Don't worry - I'll stop him."

50 year old woman breaks down in tears.

Me: "Do you have grief counseling available for something like this?"

Woman on phone: "Are you really that traumatized by this? I mean...It's a cat."

Me: Yeah, I'm the sane one here. I think I'm going to be fine. I was just asking for these crazy bystanders."

Me (to the crazy bystanders): She says there's no grief counseling.

The crazy bystanders shook their heads in sorrowful acceptance.

Woman on phone: "Let me get the information and we'll send someone out to get it."

Me: "Bryan Thompson"

Woman on phone: "The cat's name is Bryan Thompson?"

Me: "No, that's me."

Woman on phone: "Not your information. Tell me where the dead cat is."

Me: "It's leaning against a sign that says "63 Hwy and Elm". Right in front of a check cashing place full of the craziest people you've ever seen. It has one paw up in the air, like he's trying to catch your attention."

Woman on phone: "What color is it?"

Me: "Grey. Is that only half-bad luck?"

Woman on phone. "For the cat it was mostly all bad luck."

Me: "For me too, I guess."

Woman on phone: "Thanks for calling. We'll send someone out."

I hang up and hand the phone back to the person cashing the check.

50 year old woman cashing check: "Are you going to be alright?" Like I'm traumatized from this.

Me (looking under car): "I dunno, I think he may have scratched the paint or torn something loose under here."

UMR Student: "My girlfriend and I ran over a bunny once. We picked it up and nursed it back to health."

Me: "Did you run over its head?"

UMR Student: "I tried, but she wouldn't let me."

Me: "You figure it's about dead?" Referring to the cat.

UMR Student: "Yeah, I guess we can go."

I felt kinda bad about the cat afterward. Thinking back, it was the biggest thing that ever ran under my car. No, that isn't the cat.

The End


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