I slept by the front door last night, and was here this morning when the house-woman left for work. I expected a shriek when she saw Bucks, but there was nothing! What?! Has something happened to him? The Coyote?! Don’t panic, I tell myself. He slept under the deck last night and should have been safe there. The Coyote is never around in the daytime . . . still. . . .
The house-man’s in the kitchen making . . . coffee I suppose, but wait. He’s coming. Taking out the garbage.
“Bucky!” he exclaims as he goes out the door. “Where have you been, you bad boy?” House-man picks him up, gives him a hug then, “Yuk!” He plops him inside the house and closes the door, leaving us alone for a moment.
“Where were you earlier?” I ask.
“I took a nap in the hedge,” he says. “It was hard to sleep last night.”
“My God Bucks, you’re a total mess.”
The house-man comes back in. He picks Bucks up, walks to the kitchen and deposits him in the sink. I don’t want to watch. He’ll probably freak out. I go into the living room but don’t hear any protest from him. Guess he’s glad to have a bath for once. I hear the water running. Fifteen minutes later he comes padding in, still damp, but happy: I can tell.
“It’s good to be back,” Bucks says.
“I’ll bet! That was the craziest stunt you’ve ever pulled!”
“Well, a cat’s gotta do what a cat’s gotta do. I’ve seen some wondrous things. You can’t imagine what it’s like out there. I’ll tell you later, first I’m heading for the food bowl. I’m a little hungry. Lived on mice these last few days.”
“You caught a mouse?”
“Yeah, sure. No problem. I’m a natural born killer.”
“But, no birds I hope.”
“No birds,” he says. “I left the birds for Boots. Tom’s name is really Boots. He’s not a bad guy really.”