Interlude: The Black Cat in the Tower

Are black cats evil? Harbingers of doom? Or just a regular feline bemoaning that their food dishes are one-eighth empty?

Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash

With new neighbors sometimes come new four legged friends.

It had been a week since the mid-size U-Haul had taken up the prime street parking spot right in front of my building. A steady rotation of nondescript friends marched to and from the vehicle, carrying boxes one by one, or larger furniture in pairs. I gave the van a quick, surreptitious glance to check for zombies and ghosts (there were none. Hooray!), then hurried into my unit to think about school work and writing.

The new neighbors were pushed from my mind for the next couple of days. It’s easy to forget people who aren’t obnoxiously noisy, but a little harder to ignore a small, plaintive cry for help. This is especially true when the source of the cry is small, fluffy, and with large lantern eyes conveying a silent plea to match the plaintive mews.

Rufus – as I later heard his person call out in frustration – balanced on the thick concrete rail of his second story unit. He shifted his weight from one front paw to the other as I walked away from the parking lot and towards the units. He had a medium-pitched whine of a meow with just the slightest hint of gravel, and the cry grew steadily louder and insistent as I approached.

He let out a final, extended wail as I closed the distance between my car and his unit. The sound cut off abruptly as an unseen person beyond the sliding door let out an expletive, followed by, “The neighbors aren’t going to feed you, Rufus! Come inside now.”

Rufus glanced at me.

“Sorry, buddy,” I said, “I don’t have any treats on me.”

He disappeared from my line of sight, dropping to the balcony on silent paws. The vertical blinds of his unit shifted in the same manner as my own move when my cat decides to look outside at the precise moment I’m getting dressed.

Another pitiful meow sounded, this time from inside the apartment. It was met with a firm human voice saying, “You have two hours before dinner” and then the door slid closed, cutting off any further laments from my new furry neighbor.

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