As much as my apartment is great with amazing views, my parking lot has always given me chills. Each morning when I leave for and evening when I come back from the office, I am greeted by five cats staring me down as I walk into the apartment building. A scene straight out of Pet Cemetery, they possess a wildness and agenda all their own. And at any moment, I expect them to pounce. I’d find them peering from the bushes, underneath cars or sitting atop them, but always giving me that look that I don’t like, and perhaps more importantly the look that they don’t like me. They are not big fans of Taylor, tho for his part they seem like little dogs and he just wants to play. Poor guy doesn’t understand they’ve been enemies for thousands of years.
We’ve had a number of other interesting occurrences. A couple weeks ago, Tay and I were taking out the trash after dark, when a massive raccoon hissed, bared its fangs and took a swipe from the ledge a few feet in front of and above me. From the high position and place of power, it looked threatening indeed. Taylor wanted to play. Making an executive decision, we took the trash out at another time.
A few nights ago, as we were walking back home thru Pet Cemetery, Tay ingratiated himself to a neighbor, Steve. Friendly enough and probably 15 years older than me, he stank of something odd. He asked me if I’d met the cat lady.
- Me: I hadn’t.
- Steve: Surely you’d met the younger one? Perhaps the cat lady’s daughter?
- Me: I hadn’t met her either.
- Steve: They’re odd. They feed the cats. Not a big fan of dogs, they are. The older one got mauled by a big one – a Rottweiler I think. Yours seems friendly, though. I’d still watch out. You never know. You go hiking in the back?
- Me: I do. It’s beautiful.
- Steve: It is, but be careful. Lots of coyotes, and even some mountain lions.
- Me: Really? I hadn’t heard that.
- Steve: It’s true, but the coyotes are just small, wild dogs. The mountain lions on the other hand… And lots of bobcats. Watch out for those bobcats.
- Me: Ok, well I gotta go; nice meeting you.
- Steve: Great, see you around! Be careful of the cat lady! She doesn’t like dogs!
On several occasions since I’ve met the cat lady and her “daughter”. Both oddly attractive with eyes that constantly dart back and forth in anticipation of danger, they seem nice enough and were very appreciative of me introducing them to Taylor, which I had apparently done several days earlier without realizing who they were. Not overly friendly, yet very pleasant, they indeed did care for the cats. “There used to be six, you know. One got killed. Maybe hit by a car. Or attacked by a coyote.” There’s really not a response for that so I just smiled. And walked away.
All this being said, the space, the view, proximity to what I need, the trails and the weather more than make up for those daily walks thru Pet Cemetery, outside of which is God’s Country, a reminder of the place I was born (in India).