Friday, June 17, 2011


The small gray tabby creeps on her belly through a forest of weeds, grass un-mowed and clover. She is staring at a garden. There are patches of gardens all around, but this one, ah, this one, contains a sprawling mass of jasmine growing wild. The tabby does not care about the jasmine itself - it is too dense for her to hide in and its smell is not a perfume that entices her - but she does care about what's in it.

The people walking by look at her quizzically, because she is staring so intently at nothing they can see. She pays them no notice. People exist in her world. They are sources of irritation at times, but also sources of food and affection. And, when she is not interested in them, they can be ignored.

Her ears twitch. The people can't see what's hiding in the jasmine, but she knows it's there. It rustles. It is a small creature, so small that its rustlings are not audible to human ears, especially not with the constant background noise of cars in the road and people chattering away in their little boxes, windows open to the wide fresh air. But she can hear it. She skulks forward, intent.

She crouches on the sidewalk, ignoring the person in the apartment that sits behind the jasmine. She is aware that person is watching her, but she doesn't care. Her tail lashes. Her eyes are wide and her ears up. Her paw shoots out---and she has it. Briefly.

The tiny black snake, no wider around than a worm but much longer and much, much stronger, whips around frantically. In its random terrified way, it manages to fall out of the tabby's paw. She moves forward, biting at its head. She is an adept hunter of snakes; they are her preferred prey. They are quick and clever, and nearly as fast as she is.

It is a game, it is her life, this hunting of snakes, this back and forth play. Sometimes she wins, and crouches over her long black feast, triumphant and self-satisfied. Sometimes, like today, the snake is lucky, or clever, and slips between her claws and teeth to dive back, deep into the jasmine. This is not loss, it is just another play in the game of hunting. She is not disappointed. The snake will still be there.

The tabby stares at the place in the jasmine where the snake disappeared, tail still twitching. But her ears swivel, and she hears her name called. A child has run into the grass, this source of irritation---or affection. The snake is forgotten.

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