A Day In The Life . . .
When gathering stories for my book, I Have A Complex, But I’m Managing It! there were multiple submissions that shocked me. This next tale, contributed by a property manager in Dallas, made the feline-lover in me cringe. I should add that contributor prefaced her email with this:
Dear Monica, I’d still like to think this story isn’t true; yet I heard it from a good source so I’m sharing it with you—
Cleaning Up the Cat Problem
Years ago, I worked at huge apartment community in a large city. Many of the residents had lived there for years and I’d come to know a lot of them. When I first started, the property had a serious problem with feral cats. This was due in part to people dumping off litters of kittens in our parking lot, usually near the dumpsters. I suppose word had spread that community was the place to go to leave your unwanted animals.
I was walking the property one day when I came across Jim, one of my favorite residents, who was getting something out of his car.
“Hey, Irma,” he began, “I like the way you guys are handling the stray cat problem around here. It’s a very hands-on approach.” He laughed, appearing to enjoy his own private joke.
Confused, I stopped and cocked my head to one side. “Not sure what you’re talking about. Do you know something I don’t?”
You’re Going to Freak!
“Maybe I do, maybe I don’t,” he replied mysteriously. “But I have a hunch about something, and I want to confirm it before I share my theory.” He waggled his eyebrows then continued. “If I’m right then . . . well, let’s just say, you’re going to freak!”
Curious, I took the bait. “Well, just how long will it be before you tell me what you think is going on?”
“Give me a couple of days and I’ll come up to the office with what I find,” he told me matter-of-factly. “After all, a good detective always provides evidence!”
We went our separate ways and although the conversation niggled at me, it was pushed to the back of my mind as I focused on other things. Several days later, Jim called and asked if he could swing by my office.
A Disturbing Video
“You’re not going to believe this!” Jim declared excitedly as he breezed into my office waving his cell phone in the air. “I finally got the proof I needed.”
Without missing a beat, he promptly handed me the phone and instructed me to play a video already queued up on the screen. Although the footage was grainy, I could make out a dark parking lot and an image of someone hurrying to grab what looked like a small animal off the ground. Once they’d retrieved the creature, it was shoved into a large duffle bag.
Disturbed, I handed the phone back to Jim. “What in the world are you showing me? Where was this taken and more importantly, why did you take this video?”
Pleased with my reaction, Jim hit play and began watching the video again. “I took it outside of my apartment. It’s my downstairs neighbor!” he exclaimed. “He and his wife are catching and eating the stray cats! I thought I’d caught them bagging cats once before but now I have it on film! I finally got my evidence. My neighbors are cat-eaters!”
Not knowing what to say, I thought for a moment. Finally, I rolled my eyes and said, “That’s some blurry footage there, Jim. You can’t identify who’s on the recording. Besides, even if it is who you say it is, maybe they’re just relocating the cats. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Jim was fixing me with a disapproving frown. “Irma don’t kid yourself. They’re cat-eaters. Like I said, this isn’t the first time I’ve suspected it.”
“Geez, that’s a really terrible thing to accuse someone of,” I scolded impatiently.
“Hey, just because you won’t eat a cat doesn’t mean other people don’t,” Jim countered. “Think about it. In some cultures, cat meat is probably considered a delicacy! Besides, isn’t it kind of like killing two birds with one stone? You get rid of the cats; this guy gets a free meal.”
“Oh, good grief!” I groaned. “I really wish you hadn’t shown me this. Now I’ll never be able to look this guy in the eye again. I’ll always be thinking he’s a cat-eater!”
Jim rose from my guest chair to leave as I laid my head on the desk, suddenly feeling extremely tired. Once he’d reached the door, I looked up and caught his grin.
“Hey, Irma,” he called over to me. “It’s not so bad . . . hang in there, girl!”
At my grimace, his grin grew wider. “Sorry to let the cat out of the bag!”
Jim was still chuckling as he left my office.