Here I go down a rabbit hole. What will I encounter? What will I write? Viva l'imagination
| PROMPT: You're a stranger in a foreign land. Try to communicate with locals in an attempt to find your missing pet. Write a short story. The moment the cat carrier hit my hotel room bed, a ball of shrieking black and white fur exploded from it. Before I could react, my feline companion hurtled herself out the open window. Fearing the worse, I rushed to the flapping drapery in a panic. Spying the bustling street a mere storey below, I winced a little less. A cat could survive a dive from much higher buildings, right? From this vantage, I did not see my wayward pet. With a sigh, or maybe it came out as a snort, I snatched my room key card and ventured forth onto the unknown streets of Paris. I had to force myself to breathe and chant a mantra. I will find my kitty. I will find my kitty. How dare she desert me. Did she not comprehend that this simply was not the required behaviour of a therapy animal? I needed her to soothe me. This escape of hers couldn't possibly help my anxiety. I wanted to curl up in a ball and weep. At the front door, I spotted the uniformed doorman. When he nodded at me, I interpreted this as an invitation to approach him for some help. I cleared my throat and froze. Wait a minute, I did not parlez vous the local language. He waited while I struggled. At long last, he broke the impasse with an "allo." Ah, yes, this sounded like a familiar greeting. I pantomimed a cat or at least I thought I did. I pointed my nose in the air. I licked my paws, er, my hands with my tongue. I wriggled my invisible tail. I preened the fine whiskers fanning my cheeks. I meowed and purred. I pranced and pounced. I attempted to weave myself around one of his legs; I considered myself desperate at that point. Wow, the eyebrows of a French doorman are quite expressive. I saw them rise higher and higher until they all but disappeared into his hat. He managed to extricate himself from my grasp with the slightest of controlled movements. He never blinked or broke eye contact. He pulled at his jacket and pressed out imaginary wrinkles. I swear he straightened his shoulders as he motioned with a white-gloved hand to stop. Looking me up and down, this guardian of the gates opened his mouth and asked, "Deed you losez un chat, a cat maybeee?" My bobble head could only nod vigorously. It felt wonderful to be understood. Then this man pointed to his hair and mine with a shrug. Oh, what colour fur did my cat possess? Neither of us passed muster. I indicated a scowling boy stomping nearby. He seemed to realize what I meant. Just then a clump of bushes shook and a woman screamed. A black and white blur launched itself at her impressive feather hat. Before she'd knocked my cat to the sidewalk, I scooped him up. I mumbled an apology to this near victim and I held my wayward feline up to the doorman. We both grinned. "Zo, theeese is the kittee, n'est-ce pas?" As I returned to the hotel, I lectured SmiLing. I just had to share with her that I'd been worried and unsmiling. Cat and French were not in my repertoire.