Lindsay Marks 6 p.m., Dec. 5
October 27th, 2009 A.D.C.
A big meow-out to all my peeps.
(Poster's Note: Okay, that's kind of a weird thing for her to say. I wonder who she heard that from.)
In my last entry I was asked by a reader named HonestGovernment if my new friend Dexter might know a local feline by the name of Toes. First of all, from what Two Legs tells me, those two words- honest and government- linked together is kind of what you uprighters call an "oxymoron" and for them to be linked together is supposed to be funny. I'd laugh but I have no idea what a government is. Anyway.
Yesterday, Dexter came by the window. We chatted for a few, then I asked him about Toes. Well, Dexter is only a few years old so he was a young'un when he heard about Toes. But the story of Toes is, according to Dexter, quite legendary. Unfortunately, Dexter couldn't tell a story if his feline-hood depended on it so he went to get Willa, the older cat. If there was anycat that would know about Toes, it would be Willa.
Late last night, Willa came by.
(Poster's Note: Seriously, after all this time of living here, these stray cats now know about Stella. I mean, they don't stick around long at all but they wait to see if Stella makes an appearance. Sometimes I feel like us humans are really just in the way of the feline world.)
WILLA: So, I hear you been askin' about Toes.
ME: Yes, I have.
ME: His uprighters want to know what happened to him. He disappeared and they need some peace of mind.
WILLA: And how do I know you're not trying to take over my neighborhood?
ME: Seriously? Can you not see me stuck up here?
WILLA: You have a point.
ME: Thanks. So do you know what happened to Toes?
WILLA: Oh, I know all about it.
So Willa started her story. Now, before I begin, HonestGovernment, I just want you to know that there are some harrowing events in the story Willa told me and I'll do my best to be as accurate to what she passed on.
Willa found herself locked up in what you uprighters call The Shelter. First of all, and I say this on behalf of all felines, being in one of those pens is a terrible way for a cat- let alone most animals, even canines- to live. The confined space stunts our growth. Please, help them find good homes with good uprighters they can grow and live in. Anyway. So Willa ended up in the shelter as a stray, even though she had her own uprighters. Obviously they came and got her or else this story would not be available to you.
While Willa was in the shelter, she met a cat who told her his name was Toes, or at least that's what his uprighters called him. Unfortunately, Toes looked as if he got in a tussle with some bigger cats. He was scratched up and had a patch of hair missing from his hindside but otherwise, he was doing alright.
Now, Toes told Willa a story that she could not believe, and didn't until she returned to her neighborhood and spoke with other felines to corroborate Toes' story. Turns out he was telling the truth.
The first night he was out he found himself following a very elusive mouse in the canyon near his home. He chased it until it found a hole in the ground and that's where the mouse jumped in it. He staked out the hole all night. However, in the morning, after the mouse was obviously not coming out, he decided to head home. Unfortunately, without knowing it until much later, he headed off in the wrong direction.
Now, I know what you're saying. Cats don't go in the wrong direction. Well, at least that's what I'm saying. But this time it happened. Hey, it happens to the best of us. As Toes unknowingly headed further and further away from home, he became increasingly frightened. He knew he was now lost and was unsure of the way home. Eventually he found himself in a part of town he didn't belong. In "Their" territory.
Willa informed me that there are several gangs in South Park. There is the Hell Fur Gang out on Juniper Street, The Fangs up on Hawthorn, and here in my part of South Park, the gang Dexter is a member of, there is The Claws. Now, these gangs don't go outside of their own neighborhood but they don't like strangers in theirs, even if the stranger belongs to no other gang. And that's where Toes found himself, on the wrong side of the cat tail, so to speak.
From what I've heard, the Fangs and Claws will be sure to let you know you're not invited in their parts but they'll at least let you go through, so long as you go through. However, the Hell Furs, they're a different story. Come to find out, Toes found himself in the Hell Fur's territory. Now, here's where the story becomes legend.
The leader of the four-feline Hell Furs is named Jack. He was not a cat to be messed with. However, when Toes entered their part of South Park, he was not approached by Jack but by one of Jack's hench-cats, Socks. Socks wasn't much of a cat from what Toes told Willa so the only thing he did was spot Toes from his lookout then immediate go warn Jack. After a little wandering, trying to find his way, Toes was eventually confronted by the entire Hell Fur gang.
The first to get Toes to leave was Socks. But it didn't take long for Toes to get Socks to run. One swipe with his paw did the trick, as it hit Socks squarely on the ear, which sent Socks running. The next two cats, Jack not included, approached Toes very steadily at the same time. The only way Toes thought he'd get through both of them was to attack one of them first and hope he had time to defend himself against the other.
Toes leaped at one of the cats, landing squarely on top of him and bit into his scruff. The cat gave in, shrunk to the ground and yelped. But that is when the other cat came by and took a swipe at Toes, landing squarely on the hindside where the shaved patch is. The shelter shaved the area to treat the nasty gash. Toes let out a scream in pain and let go of the cat he was on top of. That cat scampered away, mewling as he ran, and Toes turned around to face the cat that cut him. Instead, he only turned to find Jack standing two feet from him, arched back, teeth glaring, a hiss of fire emanating from his muscled throat. That's when the feline version of adrenaline kicked in for Toes. It was as if he drank an entire water bowl of liquified catnip.
The next few minutes were a blur, according to Toes, but what he did remember was that Jack got him several times. However, Toes was not going to back down. He stood his ground and after a few rounds, he found himself watching Jack limp away. Toes sat there and tried to clean his wounds but everything hurt. That's when the adrenaline wore off and he realized what just happened.
Toes found a sheltered spot near the battle ground and laid down. He said he began to cry, hoping his uprighters would hear him and come get him but he also knew he was probably too far for them to hear him. The next morning he headed back in the direction he came from, hoping it would eventually lead him back home or at least in an area where he would be found by his uprighters. Instead he was picked up by the White Truck.
(Poster's Note: I'm assuming that's Animal Control.)
That is where Willa met Toes, shortly after the fight. After he finished his story, some uprighters came and took him away. When they came back with Toes, he had more bandages and was seemingly on the opposite of catnip. Willa tried to talk to him but he wasn't much in the talking mood. After a few days passed and the wounds began to heal a little more, a family of uprighters came, one of them a little girl uprighter. She pointed at Toes. She put her tiny fingers up against the glass of the pen and Toes put his head down as if to ask for rubbing. Apparently, that was all it took. He left with them the next day, wounds and all. And Willa hasn't seen him since.
When Willa was eventually picked up by her own uprighters, the day after that she was talking to friends in the neighborhood. Apparently the entire Hell Fur Gang is no longer in existence and that entire street is now full of kittens and grown ups playing and living in joy instead of fear. What Toes did for that part of South Park, to this day, remains the best thing that could have happened to that street. Everycat up there still shouts out Toes' name in joy and thanks.
HonestGovernment, I hope this helps. I know Two Legs would not be able to survive without me so I can't imagine what you must have gone through. Just know that I'm positive Toes missed you and maybe even still does. The Legend of Toes lives on to this day and apparently Toes will live on forever. HonestGovernment, you have helped the area that was once dominated by the Hell Fur gang become a peaceful part of South Park again. You should be very proud uprighters.
"Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function." ~~ Garrison Keillor