One day I had gone to visit one of them, Rick. I don't remember why. He probably owed me money.
But Rick wasn't there.
As I walked back to my car parked in front of his two-story apartment building I saw one cat chasing another, then both began fighting in front of a storm/sewer opening.
The black one fell in and the other ran off.
"Hm," I thought. "That cat's going to die stuck down there like that."
I looked in the trunk of my Caprice, who contained enough stuff to make me McGyver, if not Uber-McGyver. I figured I could improvise something to save this cat, and I don't even like cats. But I wasn't going to let him slowly die at the bottom of this hole.
I found a tangle of wire and a crowbar.
I pulled the manhole up with the crowbar and found myself looking down at a wet cat in about four inches of water, with beer cans and Styrofoam around him. The beer cans I could understand, but Styrofoam?
The walls of the round tunnel were made of old, thick red brick. It was the same brick as Rick's apartment building. The tunnel appeared to have been built about 1910.
The cat was staring up at me. I wonder what he felt tumbling all that way to land in water.
If I called the fire department I'm sure they would have used a ladder. Naw. I could do this myself, and it couldn't be that hard.
The cat was about ten feet down.
I teased out a strand of wire and dropped the tangle down into the hole. Did the cat have enough sense to realize what I was doing?
And darn if the cat didn't sink his claws into the tangle and allow me to pull him up! I figured maybe I was radiating thought-waves and operating the cat by remote control.
You'd be amazed how much a wet cat weighs when you're leaning over a ten-foot hole.
I can imagine what someone walking or driving by thought. A guy fishing for cats? And if a cop drove by? I'm sure he'd stop and ask what I was doing.
But this street was a short one - half a block - with a cul-de-sac. I didn't see a person or a car.
As the cat cleared the hole, damn if he didn't try jump to the ground and fall back in the hole! Right back to the beer cans and Styrofoam. So much for the remote control.
Well, I thought, it worked once, so let's try it again!
I lowered the tangle of wire down the hole and bobbed it up and down until I felt a weight on the end.
I began hauling the wire up, hand over hand.
It was a little different this time. A lot different, actually.
As I pulled the cat up I noticed his eyes were bugging out and his front legs were sticking straight out in front of him.
The wire was looped around his neck. I guess I was strangling him. Could he breathe?
I pulled him up as fast as I could, took the loop from around his neck - and off he went. "You're welcome, you bastard," I called after him.
Saved his life and not even a thank you.
I don't particularly like cats. They're destructive and will run away every time. A dog, on the other hand, will fight a bear to defend you. And that's all you need to know about dogs.
I've owned dogs, but never a cat. And I never will.
He probably found an innocent bird to torture and murder.