Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Tina helped Cody and Kelly push the inward gate open and squeeze the trailer through. Kelly was right: all the pet food in the QuickFill fit easily on one trailer. “Your dad called,” Tina said to Kelly. “They’re on their way, they should be here before noon.”
“It’s only nine,” Kelly said. “I thought they would get here sooner than that.”
“Charles said the traffic downtown has gotten a little sticky since the power went out. He said they’d have to get on ’85 and ride the shoulder at least part way. Then the call cut out. I hope the cells aren’t down for good just yet.”
“Just a matter of time, I guess,” Cody said. “You know, the canned stuff won’t last forever, either. We’re gonna have to start growing our own food next spring. I just hope we have enough until then.”
“We should,” Tina said. “Between what people left in their houses, and there’s four grocery stores close by — not to mention all the convenience stores. We’ll get by.”
“I hope we got enough food for the animals,” Cody said. “We’re probably gonna have to hit a supermarket tomorrow.”
Back at Tina’s house, they split up the bags of pet food onto three trailers and Cody handed out cans of spray paint. “Let me make sure I got this right,” Cody said. “We check for pet doors first. If we find one, we pour some food through the door. If not, we knock, then open the door and listen. If a big dog comes at us, we throw food at it and close the door. Then we paint the door: check mark means nothing, D for dogs, C for cats. If we find any other kind of pet, we try to get it out of the house and release it?”
“Right,” Tim said. “If you find a big dog that really tries to attack you, jot down the address and I’ll come by and shoot it.”
Kelly sighed. “I hope you don’t have to. Well, let’s see how much we can get done before Dad gets here.”
Kelly and Sara reached the third house before finding their first pet. A grey kitten walked slowly into the living room and rasped at them.
“Oh, poor thing! I’ll bet it’s dehydrated!” Kelly gasped, and ran to the kitchen to grab a bowl. She opened the refrigerator and pulled out a half-empty gallon milk jug. “It’s not warm yet.”
“Water would be better for it,” Sara said. “Dip that bowl in the toilet tank. It’ll be all right. Then we can feed it.”
The kitten slurped up the water and mewed, still a little raspy but not as bad, so Kelly got a little more water and put some kitten food in a separate bowl. It purred and grumbled as it gobbled up the food, then walked over to Kelly and stretched itself up her leg.
“Ohhh… you want to come with me, don’t you?” Kelly picked up the kitten, who climbed up her shoulder and purred.
“There’s a cat,” Sara said. “They do know how to play you.”
“Well, we can’t just leave her here!”
“Sure we can. We paint ‘1 C’ on the door and come by to feed and water it.”
“Why not just take her home? It’s not like every house is going to have a kitten, and it’ll be easier if she’s close.”
“Well, if you’re holdin’ it, and we have a dog comin’ at us, it’s gonna slow us down. Just leave it here, you can come back for it later if your mother doesn’t mind.”
Kelly huffed, but could not find a way around Sara’s logic. She put the kitten down, with plenty of food, water, and promises to return, and left. The next house had a large dog that charged the door, teeth bared; they slammed the door before they had a chance to throw it any food. Kelly wrote down the address.
Conversations: Sara Karsten