Spit's lost his healing power, his adoring public, and his billionaire owner. Now what?
| Spit, The Healing Cat
The football coach slammed the locker room door in Spit's face! The stunned cat peered at the door crack to see if any of his orange whiskers were stuck there. He felt a shiver part his red fur from head to tail. "What is happening to me?"
Coach was furious because after two hours of kneading and rubbing, Spit absolutely could not remove painful corns from his star player's very big kicking toe. Plus, early this morning, he had also failed to fix a famous country singer's chocolate-covered cherry addiction. She had left sticky, brown clumps all over her banjo and on Spit's backside as she petted him, crying and singing her new, really sad hit song.
Spit glowered as he recalled the song title, "Happiness Skedaddle, Cryin' Time's Here."
The worried cat trudged toward the parking lot. He replayed yesterday's terrible healing session with the mayor's dentist, Dr. Dull. The man had a never-ending case of hiccups. Dr. Dull's patients shook with fear with every "Hic!" Spit did his best, but every time the dentist tried to pull the mayor's infected molar, a hiccup made his sharp dental tool bounce up and down.
The mayor's toothache got worse and he left an angry message on Mr. Mann's voice mail. By then, the politician's jaw was swollen up like a purple balloon so his message sounded like, "Mpfftr Mum, rr inking atz ssno ood!" Alas, Spit's benefactor got the message loud and clear. Mr. Mann immediately drove out to the Spit jet.
The cat shuddered as he remembered his old friend's squinty eyes and again heard the deep, angry voice. "Cat, you are making a laughing stock out of me and costing me thousands of dollars! One more bungled healing, and you are OUT!" Spit had blinked and asked, "Meow?" But Mr. Mann snorted and left.
The once infallible healing cat crawled onto the backseat of the Mann-mobile. Thirty long minutes later, the driver dumped him out at the airfield without so much as a, "So long, Spit."
It got worse. When Spit reached the jet's door he found it locked tight with a huge, shiny padlock. He batted at it with his big paw. He growled and hissed. Nothing loosened the lock. Nevertheless, Spit sat and waited for several hours. His attendant never emerged.
He gave up in defeat .His Mouse had even been flung out onto the tarmac. Spit picked the tattered toy up in his mouth and began walking toward the city. His heart pounded. He felt abandoned and lost. Hours passed. Hungry and tired of being passed by or nearly run over by many cars, he reached the edge of town.
He ate some grass from the edge of a yard until a dog began barking. As he trotted on down the street, Spit made his decision. "I'll go to Mr.Mann's office. This has to be a mistake!"
He dined on greasy diner garbage that night. His bed was once again a dirty doorway. He tucked Mouse under him and fell into an exhausted sleep. Mr.Mann's tower glowed from the downtown skyline.
The next day the cat scooted past the feet of business people as they entered the building named for the man who had given him a name and a life of ease.
Mr. Mann, once Spit's greatest fan, now would not even speak to him. He sent a secretary with ridiculous red glasses on the end of her long nose to give Spit a message:
"Go back to the filthy alley you came from!" The cat felt slightly better after he thoroughly sprayed her red, pointy high- heeled shoes. He heard her shrieks as he scampered down the first of 29 sets of stairs.
Outside the air had cooled. People bent against the wind, clutching their hats to their heads. Strangely, no one seemed to recognize him. A few days ago he had been the toast of the town. Even sunglasses couldn't hide his famous, furry face. Now, he was a nobody.
"We have nowhere to go," Spit whispered to his toy, which he had stuffed inside his expensive leather collar. Mouse's yarn whiskers tickled his chin. That night was the same as the previous one. As Spit blinked his tired, yellow eyes, he made a plan.
The next morning he trotted through pouring rain to the newspaper office. He sat by the front door, waiting for a reporter to arrive for work. Many news reporters had written wonderful stories about his exploits over the years. Surely they would jump like frogs to get a chance to take his picture, or write another front page story about him. The editor might even pay for him to stay in the fancy hotel nearby. Spit's mouth watered as he imagined eating a chilled tin of tuna with a side order of sardines.
A woman with a huge camera approached. Spit sat up and stared at her. She stopped and looked back. He flew at her in desperation and put his front paws on her leg. Muddy, jagged claws tore at her black leggings.
She screamed,"I'm being attacked! He has rabies!" She shoved the cat so hard with her foot, he somersaulted into the gutter. Taxis, cars, and trucks rushed past and Spit choked on gasoline and exhaust fumes. He struggled upright just as the light turned red. A car braked inches from him. A filthy wave of water washed over him. He gagged and yowled loudly when he saw Mouse washed away by gutter water. A squiggly yarn tail was all Spit could see before his little buddy disappeared into a black storm drain.
Spit was bereft. He couldn't even move. He barely noticed a window in the nearby car opening until a small voice cried out, "Mama! That poor kitty!" Spit peered through the curtain of rain and saw a girl with big, round eyes.
The traffic light turned green. Spit crawled up onto the sidewalk. He couldn't hear the girl's voice calling, "Please, Uncle Pete! Stop! That kitty's hurt!" The car carried her voice away.
The rainy,dark night was the worst Spit had been through since he was a tiny kitten. None of the alley cats would let him near any dumpsters or doorways. "I am not the fighter I used to be," he thought to himself. He crept on past them, his belly growling with hunger, until he reached another alley- one he had never seen before.
The alley was narrow and lit by a creepy greenish glow. Spit eyed the tall, black shadows dancing on slimy old bricks and stone. The scent of cooking meat made him drool. Humans, five or six of them, were cooking something in a barrel of fire protected from the weather by tall ledges of a huge, old building.
Spit spent an hour crouched behind wooden pallets. He knew he had to try and get some scraps of food.
"I have to get stronger. I have to find Mouse."
The people gathered around the barrel and warmed their hands over the fire. Loud laughter and voices frightened Spit. He took a step toward them, looking as regal as possible, hoping they would know who he was. Given a chance, he could probably heal one of them of their red noses, or shaking hands.
Just then, a skinny man with a white mustache looked right at the him and pointed a filthy finger. "Lookie what the cat drug in, I mean the cat that sumpthin' drug in...hahaha"
Spit felt many eyes upon him.
Trembling, he crept out of the shadows and into the tiny circle of firelight.