Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cat on a mission

Late Wednesday morning, LT ran into the living room where Peep was having her morning bath. “I just heard the Daddy on the phone and he said something about seeing the Mommy, and now he’s getting ready to leave. I’m going to try to go with him.”

Peep jumped up, joy mixing with concern. “Does this mean the Mommy is coming home, or is he going away again? I couldn’t stand for him to go away again.”

“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.” LT ran out the cat door to be able to see the Daddy when he came out of the house. The Daddy headed back towards the garage, which surprised LT. Usually he took the little truck unless he was working, but maybe the Mommy’s car was broken down. LT sat down and watched for an opportunity. The Daddy opened the back of the big truck and walked into the garage. In an instant LT ran to the truck and jumped inside.

LT looked around the truck interior for a place to hide. There were a lot of nasty smelling machines in the truck, and LT would have preferred to hide somewhere that smelled better. “Beggars can't be choosers,” LT thought to himself. He squeezed in behind some large dangerous looking thing, and hoped that it was well secured, as it seemed very heavy.

The Daddy came back to the truck, muttering about breaks or something. He tossed something into the truck and slammed the back door closed. LT felt and heard the truck start, and tried to brace himself. The floor of the truck was metal, and LT couldn’t dig his claws into anything. He would prefer not to slide into the smelly machine, but if the Daddy went around any corners too fast, he probably would.

It seemed like an eternity to LT until the truck stopped and was turned off. There had been a few false hopes, when the truck stopped for a minute or two, but then it started moving again. LT waited for the Daddy to open the back door so that he could go out and see the Mommy. The door didn’t open for what seemed like a long time to LT sitting there in the odiferous darkness. The smell of oil and grease was getting to him, and he felt somewhat nauseous.

Finally he heard the Daddy’s voice saying, “I’m not sure that I have the right pads for your breaks in my truck. I grabbed what I had from the last time your company called, but this isn’t the same rig.”

LT had no clue what he was talking about. Breaks, pads? He had paw pads, but they were soft and couldn’t break. He knew from experience that they could get cut or sore, but there was nothing to break. He must be talking about something other than a cat, and he didn’t know what a rig was.

The door opened, and the bright sun blinded LT, even behind the machine. The Daddy reached in and pulled out what he’d tossed in before he left and walked away. LT let his eyes adjust and then crept out from behind the machine. He had no idea where he was, and there was no Mommy in sight. There was a gigantic truck, though, and the Daddy was looking at it and talking to a man in ratty jeans and a t-shirt.

Maybe he’d made a mistake? He knew he’d heard the Daddy say something about seeing the Mommy right before he said he was leaving. What other conclusion could LT draw? She had to be here somewhere, but LT was afraid that the Daddy might leave without him. He jumped down from the inside of the truck, slipped underneath it and prowled, looking to all sides for the Mommy.

No Mommy, but so many trucks! From the inside, he could just see that one truck, but from down here he could see dozens of them. Maybe the Mommy had gotten a ride home from a truck driver? He decided he needed to prowl around a bit, but keep an eye on the Daddy’s truck.

LT ran from truck to truck, keeping out of sight as much as possible. No sign of the Mommy, and few women at all. He couldn’t see much from his current viewpoint, and LT decided he needed to get up higher to see what was going on. He prowled between the trucks until he found a spot where he could get on top of one of the trucks. He jumped up and walked around the top of the truck, looking for the Mommy. LT didn’t realize that it might be viewed as odd for a cat to be walking on top of a truck.

A man called out, “Hey, lookie the cat on that truck!” Everyone in the area looked at the truck he was pointing at. The Daddy had his head in his own truck, so didn’t realize what was going on for a minute. When he emerged, he found everyone staring at the tiger cat on the white bagel truck.

“Do your cats normally sit on top of your trucks?” asked the Daddy.

“Heck, we don’t have any cats here, and I don’t know where this one came from. This is a huge industrial park, and I’ve never seen cats anywhere here,” replied one of the drivers.

The Daddy walked closer to the truck and LT turned and looked at him. “Uh-oh,” thought LT. He’d been spotted.

“LT, is that you?” The Daddy called out to the cat on the truck. “What are you doing here, and what the heck are you doing on top of that truck?”

LT walked to the edge of the truck and looked down into the Daddy’s face. “Funny meeting you here…” LT said hesitantly, but all the Daddy heard was “Meow.”

The Daddy reached up and gently lifted LT from the top of the truck. “Come on old man. This is not a good place for a cat to be, and how did you get here anyway?” Noticing the oil on his fur and LT’s smell of gasoline, the Daddy figured out that the cat must have hitched a ride in the back of the truck.

“Frank, I’m going to have to get you those pads anyway before I can do your job. I think I’ll take this furball home, pick up the pads and come back. Sorry for the delay.” The Daddy walked to his own truck with LT.

The Daddy gently put LT down on the front seat and went around to the other side and climbed in. “You’re riding up front with me, buddy. It must have been horrible back there, what with the grease and oil. Just promise me you’ll stay on your side of the car. “

LT settled in and purred a little. He’d never had a ride in this truck before, and it was so lovely to ride on a soft seat that he could put his claws into keep him from sliding around. Much better than a cat carrier. LT thought.

When they got home, the Daddy took a wet cloth with a little soap and washed the oil from LT’s fur. It left him a bit damp, but at least he smelled a lot better.

“Did you find the Mommy, LT?” Peep asked.

“No, but I got to see where the Daddy goes when he works. There were lots of trucks, no cats and nothing to eat, that I could see. Boring. I think we’re just going to have to wait and see what happens, Peep. Now leave me be, please. I need my sleep.” LT closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep. His last thought was that he’d liked seeing where the Daddy worked, but he wouldn’t want to go back again.

Photo courtesy of bsktcase -

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