Stopping for a Bite
continued from July 2-
I knew something bad was bound to happen. I mean those cats looked really messed up. I didn’t know whether they had fur, or if their skin was inside out. They were the most wretched creatures I had seen in my lifetime and the messed up part was that Gar was going to eat them. And he was serious too.
In the days past Gar would always keep his backpack chock full of two things: liquor and beef jerky. Yes, the oaf was an alcoholic, but I couldn’t blame him for taking up the bottle. Shit was hard and you needed to do whatever you could to keep your head on straight. I had my pack a bit more varied than Gar’s. I kept mostly high-energy foods in my pack. Nuts and berries, granolas, a few first aid and medicines, and I always kept my medicine pouch. An old Native woman I volunteered with at the community center (back when it still was a community center) gave it to me as a gift. I was told it contained a talisman and herbs to give its holder strength, power, and resistance. I was told never to open the pouch as it may lost some of its spirit energy. Gar scoffed at it every time I dug it out, saying it was “stupid superstitious shit.” Regardless, I held on to it, making sure to keep it away from his hands.
But now our packs were empty, the both of us having spent days or what seemed like days traveling to the outskirts of the city. Would the journey ever end? Gar only had a half a pint of what looked like vodka, but I could never tell what booze he had since he mixed them all together most of the time. I had about a half liter of water too, but we were in dire need of nourishment.
I searched my bag for any stray nuts while Gar stuck his hand into the cat nest. His fat hand wrapped around the mangy looking kitten. The mother cat stirred a bit and stared Gar in the eye. As he pulled away, the mother cat spat at Gar.
“Fuck! That damn bitch spit at me!” Gar shouted as he pulled his hand out with the kitten.”Owww! Dammit, she bit me too!”
As Gar pulled the kitten out of the nest, I inspected his arm. The saliva from the mother cat was beginning to foam up, much like hydrogen peroxide does on a wound. But this stuff looked like an acid of some sort. The bite was foaming up some weird looking greenish-yellow brown stuff.
“Gar that doesn’t look so good,” I told him, “and I’m fresh out of first aid spray. It looks bad, man. How does it feel?”
“Ah, it’s nothin’. Just a scratch. Lets eat!”
He snapped the neck of the kitten with an aggressive twist and began searching the rubble for some wood.
I wasn’t hungry for what Gar was eating, so I left him to it. I was more concerned at this point with his wounds. The spit had left a red rash speckled with yellow-green while the bite had begun to fester and swell, oozing out yellow-green brown pus. I walked away from the cat nest, afraid the mother might attack me next. Gar had begun piling up his firewood about fifty feet away from the cat, a safe distance for me. I joined him there.
Gar dug his Zippo out of his pack. “Ahhhhhh! You wan’ clean it?” Gar asked me, waving the dead kitten in front of my face. I gagged a bit since the thing smelled horrible, like sewage and rotten eggs.
I turned my head as Gar skinned the cat, exposing a flesh that just didn’t look right.
“Gar, that shit don’t look right. I wouldn’t eat that,” I informed him as his fire got roaring.
Gar ignored me as he found a board and some nails to nail the cat down to cook it. He laid the cat and board next to the fire and sat there, staring at the flames, licking his lips, eyes diabolic.
I pulled the pouch out of my pocket, hoping everything would be alright as the kitten sizzled next to the fire.