Chapter 19: The Car

Nobody fucked with The Cat.

The Cat ran the place, plain and simple. He came and went as he pleased, getting respect from the inmates and guards alike.

He would sit outside the chow hall mooching for them, meowing loudly. When he would jump and catch the odd bit of food, we would cheer. Once, a Tango kicked him. He was dropped less than two hours later.

Nobody fucked with The Cat.

I was sitting on the warm rec yard slab, contemplating the water tower, just outside the fence. It had a giant “Come to Sea World!” advertisement painted huge on its side.

“Irony, you are a motherfucker,” I told the water tower.

I lay back. I watched the buzzards circle lazily in the sun. They were nesting in the high power lines that crisscrossed the area above the unit. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something small and grey moving through the razor wire at the base of the fence. It was The Cat. He would use the razor wire as his own personal walkway thorough the unit. I would often see him on the way to chow hall, perched on the corner of a fence, peeking out of the sharp loops.

The cat was getting closer. His tail made straight, the tip turned slightly down into a question mark. He had slight patches of fur missing, most likely from his brushes against the razor wire. I noticed a buzzard sitting a few feet down the fence. I watched as the cat trotted down the wire, the buzzard took notice. The buzzard jumped off of the fence to the ground to get a closer look.

The Cat stopped, made himself big and hissed at the buzzard. The buzzard made a lunge at The Cat. With a flash, the buzzard’s head was caught in The Cat’s capable claws. The buzzard lunged further forward, and got tangled in the razor wire. The buzzard struggled in the wire. The Cat stepped back and sat down licking himself, watching the buzzard slowly bleed to death.

Nobody fucked with The Cat.

He came into the rec yard. I skritched his chin, comforted by his purr. There were fleas, I did not mind. I noticed that “he” was actually a “she,” and kept this as my personal secret, until it was made public by a litter of kittens born outside the chow hall.

One of the guards adopted The Cat and her litter. We were universally sad and happy at he same time.

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