A Day at the Courthouse

One Saturday, in late February, there was a knock on my door. It had snowed a little, enough for cars to leave their tracks on the road. The tracks on my lawn were covered up. It was unusual for someone to knock rather than ring the bell. It was too cold for solicitors to go around door to door like they did in summer hawking good deals on replacement windows or yard work. It was also too early for Girl Scout cookies. Maybe someone selling wood for fireplace? that was a possibility.

I looked through the peep-hole. There was a teenager standing outside in a black winter jacket, his back turned to the door. He was looking at the street. Maybe this is the kid who drove the car over my lawn and has come to apologize and ask for pardon or something, I thought. Why wasn’t he with his dad or the “mother” who had parked in front of my house? I was framing response as I opened the door.

“May I help you?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m sorry to bother you Sir. Have you, by chance, seen a black cat wandering around your house?”

“No, I haven’t.”

Oh, he has the cat story, I said to myself. Common young man, just man up and say what you came here to say. I’m not going to accept your apology.

“We live at the end of the block,” he continued. “Kitty just walked out last night. She had done it before, but she came back that time. This time it’s been two days and its cold outside.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Well. Sorry to bother again. Can you call us in case you see a stray cat wandering around your house?”

“I surely will.”

“Much obliged.”

He handed me a number to call. Well, he wasn’t the one or maybe he was and just came to size me up. But then why would he leave a number? May be it’s a fake number. I hated myself to be so paranoid.


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