The cat's true name is both unpronounceable and incomprehensible to those unfortunate to be born, regrettably, a creature other than feline. The cat's true name arises of itself from the twisty bundle of smells, sights, sounds, instincts, genetics, ancestry and divinity that is this, and only this, particular . . . cat. Having no words to express the cat's true name, we are left with the sorry alternative of simply calling her . . . Cat.
Cat is ecstatic with the joy of the chase. Neither ecstasy nor joy quite describe Cat's feelings, but it's as close as we can get in language unless you have a better idea. Here are the facts: for several hours Cat stalks, corners, and then, with simple speed, attempts to run Mouse to ground. What a mouse she is! Supple, agile, unpredictable, and . . . clever. Mouse escapes every trick and trap in Cat's bag. But at last Mouse tires, and Cat knows capture is within reach.
(flash of claws)
"Damn. Missed. Where'd you go? Oh you are the most sly little darling! Let's see . . . under here! No. Maybe . . . over. . . here! There you are. Oh just scooty scooty scoot, my tiny little toot. Here . . . I . . . come . . .
(flash of claws)
Beneath the vaporous moon, Coyote pads along the San Juan Ridge. Long time since he's wandered the hazy hills. After big fires, he needs to look things over. It's his domain. You understand. Coyote rounds a turn in the trail.
"Oh . . . Coyote.
"Oh . . . Cat. My dear, you are . . . very . . . far . . . from . . . home."
"Senor, I seem to be . . . lost."
"Yes, mi amore, lost you certainly are."
"I was chasing Mouse. She kept darting from beneath my claws."
"In my hunger to catch her, I didn't pay attention to where I was . . ."
"Shhhh. Shhhhh. Doesn't matter, does it?"
"No . . . it doesn't.
"Tonight, one will be eaten, one will feed, and one will escape with a story. Hmmm. But which?"
"Don't toy with me."
"Very well. Go home, Mouse, and tell your children about the night Coyote saved you."
With a deep breath, Cat sighs, and releases Mouse. The little one scurries to the edge of a shadow, dips her head toward Coyote in a flicker of obeisance, and vanishes into the darkness.
"Will you be swift with me?"
"Are you swift with Mouse you catch and torment?"
"But, Senor, Mouse is prey . . . and you and I are masters."
"Ha. Excellent point. I shall be quick."
"Call it . . . professional courtesy, killer to killer."
"Professional courtesy. Just so."
"May I take a last look around?"
"Take your time, my darling."
"How slippery and sleek the moon."
"How fresh the breeze after all the smoke from the . . ."
(flash of teeth)
Quick it is.