Transitioning From Web Developer to Comic Book Author:

The Cat Came Back

So my doorbell rings while we’re watching a movie and I run down the stairs with ambivalence. It’s either someone with info about my lost cat or another newspaper salesman. I start mentally preparing my speech, which I’ve given a few times and always results in a quick end to the sales pitch. It’s simple and to the point:
“Newspapers are old technology. I read the news online, the day before it goes to print. It’s a waste of resources and it’s not as good as the free alternative.”
Although I’ve been tempted, I’ve never offered what I suspect would be a catchy and accurate new slogan for the printed press, “Yesterday’s News, Today!”
My goal is never to make enemies, just to make them go away.
Opening the door, I’m shocked to see a guy holding a black cat.
“Hey, I saw the posters up.”
“Is that…” I reach out for it, pulling the cat in for a closer look. “Oh, is that… it’s… wait…. it’s not him. He’s too small. A little young. But he looks so much like him…”
I set the cat on the ground and meet my neighbor, who’s name I instantly place wrong in my memory, later calling him Jake instead of Dave.
I thank him for bringing the cat anyway, “I wonder who’s he is, anyway…” I watch the cat as it sniffs around my porch.
After closing the door and running back upstairs, I tell Lena about the encounter.
“Are you sure it wasn’t him? Maybe he just lost a lot of weight.”
“I’m sure it wasn’t him, he was too young and different. It looked a lot like him though… Like Thor 3 or 4 years ago. I’ll go back and get him so you can see.”
I run back outside and see the cat across the street, sniffing at a tree. I pick him up and bring him inside. “You aren’t Thor. You’re too small and young. You smell different, too.”
I show Lena and she almost convinces me that it might be Thor, traumatized and different, lighter and more spry from the shock and activity of stray life for four days.
Cassiopeia hisses and the new cat is way too playful to be Thor. He smells around the house and doesn’t understand the cat door leading into the garage without my help, holding it open for him. He eats and plays, very friendly and looking comfortable but unfamiliar the whole while. It’s not him. But what do we do? He doesn’t have a collar. He might be a stray. He might be someone’s lost cat, just like our Thor. Maybe the people who lost him took our cat in by mistake. They look remarkable alike. We could take him to the shelter and tell them if nobody claims him to call us… then we could figure out what to do with him… damn, it’s Sunday and the shelter is closed. Why do they make it so difficult?
“Maybe I can take it outside and follow it around back to it’s house…”
“OK”, Lena is too tired with an ear infection.
I take the cat out and for a while he doesn’t do anything but circle a car parked in front of our house, weaving in and out of the tires and occasionally coming back to our porch to sniff around some more. Eventually, I urge him to follow me away from the car. He strolls over noncommittally to the fence across the way, exploring all the while, battering rocks and sticks, chewing on twigs and doing Parkour around the fence and telephone polls. Several times he leaps onto a phone poll, straddling it with his forepaws outstretched and jumps to get higher in little bursts of bear hug furry. He’s certainly wild. He knows how to work the outside. Darting in and out of a hole in the fence, he shows me around the area. I lose him for a while as he travels the other side of it so I run around the block. Maybe he lives in that house. I could ask them. When I get to the house, there is a man coming home.
“Do you have a black cat?” I ask.
“No, there are some posters though.”
“Yeah, that ones mine, but I saw another one that’s too small and doesn’t have a collar. I just want to make sure he has a home. Oh, there he is.” The little cat runs from the back yard of the neighboring house up to me.
“Where?” the man looks around, not seeing the cat.
“Right there.” I point to it as he runs up into my arms.
The man still doesn’t see the cat around but congratulates me on finding it and says “good luck” finding my other cat.
I thank him and take the cat back. Every few houses, he makes a curious sound and I set him down to walk alongside me. He doesn’t run away, just along. We get back to my house and he comes inside when I open the door. He plays with yarn and we wonder how we can manage taking him to the shelter since they close at 6pm. After a while, I decide to take him out again.
It’s darker so I bring a flashlight and a laser pointer.
This time, the cat heads over in the other direction. I follow him to the back parking area of the townhouses behind us. He makes a daring jump onto a high fence and I follow him with the flashlight as he goes to0 far for me to follow. After losing track of him, I get a little worried and run around the block to the other side of the fence. There’s a lot of space back there and I circle the houses around that area until I’m sure he must have gone back to where we started. Again, I run around the block, this time exhausted as I approach my house.
Out of the corner of my eye, behind a fire hydrant, next to the hole in the fence, I see him.
“puuRreow”, I call but he begins to retreat into the hole as I approach. “Hey, come on, where you goin’?”
I get closer and I notice he looks a little tense and scared. He’s different. He looks bigger, bigger eyes, different meow. I reach down and pick him up and I’m fully certain. This is Thor. The other cat is nowhere in sight and I take my cat home.

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