Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A lost lady and a (not) dead cat

As my friend Dino dropped me off after another humiliating basketball defeat, a car drove up and stopped in the middle of the road--a middle aged lady needing directions.

I told her to pull to the side of the road. And she did--sort of. She was looking for the San Rafael Bridge which was so far away I had no idea how to get her there at first. Plus, the lady was not very smart, so I knew my directions would have to be more detailed than they might be if I was talking to a smart person.

Just then my friend Dino ran into the middle of the street. A cat had just been hit by a car.

"A cat has just been hit by a car!" I told the lady. "I'll be right back."

The cat didn't look like a cat anymore. It was black, and it's legs twisted up in the air unnaturally, like it's spine had been twisted. It's mouth was the only part visible of it's head; the jaw was open in a smiling grimace. We watched as it twitched and my wife, Jake, came running out.

"Call the police!" Dino said

"Or animal control!" I said. "And how do you get to the San Rafael Bridge?!"

Too late. Jake had gone inside. The cat lay in the middle of Broadway, a long busy street. Dino and I stood over the cat waving frantically at cars speeding towards us. Cars eventually stopped and then crept around us, but each time there was a scary moment as if we too would join the cat as some distracted (or angry) driver struck us.

Jake came outside again. "I called the police! Animal control is closed." Apparantly, animals do not injure themselves after business hours.

"This cat's dead," Dino said.

Leaving Dino to fend for himself--and the dead cat, a rushed back to the (somewhat) parked car of the middle-aged lady.

"Is the cat okay?" she asked.

"It's pretty messed up," I replied.

"Oh, that's too bad. I don't know how I got here. I was trying to get to 880..."

"You want to turn around and go to 24..."

"But I don't want to go to 24."

"That's how you get to the San Rafael Bridge. Jake! How do you get to the San Rafael Bridge?"

"Hey, this cat is moving!" Dino cried, a car downshifting to a stop just before him.

"It's off of the 80!" Jake shouted from the porch.

"Look," I told the lady, "Go to 24 then to 80 west and from there you'll see signs for the Bridge."

The lady looked at me like I had just given her a receipe instead of directions. "Well how did I get here?"

"Just go to the 24..."

"This cat is moving!!"

" the 80. To the Bridge."

"There was a split, and I took one way.."

"24. 80. Bridge."

And with that I ran off into the middle of the street to see the remains of the dead (dying) cat. The cat had indeed moved. It's legs were now under it and it's head was moving around. One eye was bloody but looked intact. We couldn't tell how badly it was injured. But surely it had broken bones.

And then it got up and walked off into the bushes. It was like the Terminator, pulling itself back together and moving on just as strong. Well, maybe not--it lay down in the middle of the sidewalk as if these were the last movements of a dying (injured) animal. We watched apprhensively: me, Dino, my brother who had joined the scene, my wife, and the middle-aged lady from the car (who was talking to herself).

Then the cat got up again and wobbled off. We followed it, and it ran across the front of the middle-aged lady's car; she had turned around to head to the 24 on-ramp. She did not hit the cat.

The cat wandered up the street and disappeared down an alley way between houses; somehow there was a remarkable resemblence in the way this cat and the car moved out of sight, drunkenly, as if both were in fact not dying nor drunk nor defeated but merely confused and slightly or severely fucked-up by the sudden crashing of the world around them.


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