As the city apartment lights dimmed away slowly, a little girl in princess pajamas snuggled up to her favorite companion. Inside her warm embrace, her buddy meowed in satisfaction as she sang a faint lullaby to him.
“I wuv you, Jetty.” The little princess cooed, snuggling into a soft pillow while her best friend laid curled by her bare feet.
‘Wuv,’ the ginger-spotted cat thought, ‘what a weird word.’
With a gallant leap, Jet jumped off the bed and into the weekly pile of play clothes which filled the floor in a cleaning negligence. He looked across the room at the window left slightly ajar. The window let out a continual moan from the vengeful winds harmonizing outside. Jet jumped through the opening of the window into a darkness most commonly referred to as San Francisco.
“Hey there, cutie.”
He trifled with a sparrow perched on the opposite window of the little princess’ while in midair. For a moment, it seemed as if he was suspended in midair as he looked at the sparrow, and the sparrow looked at him. He landed in an open trashcan below with a soft thunk.
“Is it bad I wish kitties didn't land on their feet?” The bird flew to the ground, landing alongside Jet on a wooden plank jutting from a nearby dumpster.
“Not really, since that'd be funnier to watch when they fall off buildings.” Jet stretched upside-down, playing with a dead rat. “And I don't exactly consider myself a kitty.”
“So you're up for what I have planned tonight?” She cocked a vexed eyebrow while Jet narrowed his eyes at the aberrant friend. “I mean you did just say you're a grown-up and not a kitty cat.” The feathery matchmaker continued with a chirp.
“As I said before, Skylar, I do these kinds of things for entertainment.” He straightened himself out and jumped out of the trashcan, carrying the dead rat by the tail.
He looked at Skylar who stared at him suspiciously. He noticed her eyes lower to the dead rodent hanging from his mouth.
“It's a gift.” He wagged the rat in front of her, explaining as if she were his dunce.
“I don't think she'd like that.”
“Why not? It's quality rat.”
“Rats are a cat thing.”
“Uh, and?” The cat elongated himself on his hind legs. “Am I not a precious cat?” He stifled a small smile so as to not drop the rat.
“I'd drop the precious part, Jetty.” Flashing a quick smile, Skylar flew away before he could retort.
“Hey! Only the humanoid can call me that!” Jet retorted anyway. Skylar chirped something else, but by that time she was too far away for Jet to hear.
Resting in front of his paws, a piece of cardboard eyed him with a tempting glare. He dropped the rat for a second to look at the suspicious piece of cardboard. Through a familiar display of chicken scratch, Jet deciphered: Golden Gate Park, Spreckels Lake, green pontoon.
“I don’t know why I haven’t eaten that bird yet.” He murmured to himself while snatching the slain rat by the tail again.
As he walked through the alleyways of the darkened city, he could hear a couple faint yowls of stray cats competing in a gang-like war. He paid no attention, however, knowing his stray days would help him to quarrel if he needed to. A pair of glowing, jade eyes and a feral lilt stopped the nonchalant walk of the free agent with freer food.
“Is that a rat I smell?” A midnight cat appeared from the shadows, sniffing his way to meet Jet’s rat.
Jet's eyes gave the street cat approval, tilting his head away from the untame creature. “Your senses seem very swell.”
“I’ve seen you on a leash, Jetty. You know very well someone else would like a fat rat.”
“Are you not feral, Vladdy? I’d assume by now you could’ve caught more than a flat gnat.”
“Seriously? Why are you rhyming?”
“Because it’s just great timing.”
Vlad ignored the taunting cat and instead went for the meaty rodent. His teeth caught the rat by the head, causing its neck to bleed a tasty substance. Jet bested his move by pulling on the tail with a greater force. After a short fight, neither were any closer to claiming the rat to themselves, and the rat was slowly ripping apart.
The first organ to come out was its spleen, followed by its wretched stomach and liver. Jet went for the severed head in between Vlad's crimson teeth, whereas Vlad went for the other half dropped by his feet.
“The head isn't that sapid, anyway.” And with that, Vlad scurried to the top of a falling gutter.
Left behind, Jet grabbed the rat head by an ear, continuing on his path.
“Sapid? That boy must be hanging out with the Berkeley stray again.” He laughed to himself.
The sight of still water and a lonely pontoon running through it, gave Jet a moment of rest. He walked beside it, leaping three times to sit at the top. He glanced below to see a furry head waiting in peace.
“Look out below!” Jet dropped the severed rat head three stories, barely missing the creature below. Puzzled, the creature looked above to discover the rat-dropping culprit. As their eyes met, it seemed fairly obvious what the difference between the two was.
“You're a dog!” Jet pouted, undeniably disenchanted by his false hopes.
“And you're a cat.” A scruffy, pintsize dog glared at the cat before her as he jumped down to circle her, claiming the rat for himself with a singular gulp.
“I think it’s obvious what needs to be said.” Jet sat a reasonable distance from the Affenpinscher, not noticing her open her mouth to speak. “Skylar!” The pooch closed her mouth as she heard him yowl into the dead of night. With nobody answering his rhetoric yell, the dog decided to open her mouth once again.
“Skylar’s kinda funny that way, huh?”
“Not really if she’s the only one laughing about it afterwards.” Another awkward silence fell, allowing Jet the time to talk. “What’s your name?” The dog cocked an eyebrow, similar to that of Skylar’s.
“I dunno. Mitzi?” Mitzi deadpanned miserably.
“What do you mean you dunno? Shouldn’t a name be important to you or something?” He looked at her unamused face for about a second before continuing on. “Well for starters, my name is Jet, and I like it because it sounds cool.”
“Jet?” The dog licked her paw. “But you're orange.”
“Am I?” Jet lifted his tail, speckled and striped with engine-black spots.
“Interesting? That’s all I get?” Jet grabbed for Mitzi’s face, stopping her from licking her paw. After her black eyes were focused on him, he went on. “This tail should be on Vogue.”
“It’s interesting how you need attention.”
“Oh, like how you need to feel smart.”
“I thought I was.”
“I thought I was funny.” Jet regurgitated some of the dead rat, seemingly flirting, if not sending a message to an undercover spy across the lake.
“Can I ask why you just dropped the head?”
“Well, uh, you know Vlad?”
“Oh,” was her singular response.
“Oh? That’s all I get? Am I supposed to relive the last two minutes again? Will that satisfy you?” Jet gulped the regurgitated mush down again, moving in front of Mitzi to show his visible anger.
“Would you ever live on the moon?”
“Mitzi, right? Did anyone say you act kinda ditzy?”
“I'm serious, though. If all the rats on Earth died, and there was nobody who could catch them for you; would you live on the moon?”
“Hold on a second. No rats?”
“Nevermind, I know it’s a weird que-”
“No, no, I'll answer your question.” It took him a few moments to think. “If I had a choice between this planet and the rock that revolves it, I'd choose to live inside a crater on the moon. That way every kid that looks up for the man in the moon can see me. And smile.”
“What makes you think the kid would smile?”
“I guess I never really thought about that. I guess, well I guess, I just assumed someone would smile if they saw a face in the moon.”
He looked up for a moment to see if there really was a face in the moon.
“Those craters look, kind of, like a person.” He faced upwards, watching the quarter moon slowly transcend to a waning crescent.
“If I could, I’d sleep alongside the moon on one of Saturn’s lost rings.” She looked at Jet who looked at her with bewilderment. “If I could, that is.” The mutt reinstated.
“I think I know what you mean.” He looked at Mitzi for permission to go on. “If all you do is sit around, encrypting and decoding everyone, then I guess it would make sense to want to detach from the world just to watch it from afar, knowing nobody but you is watching since nobody will recognize you if you look up.”
“Saying it like that makes the most sense, I think. Thanks,” she paused for a moment, trying to remember his name. He lifted his fashionista tail as a reminder. “Jet.”
“No problem,” he looked at her with the confused face she wore before but conceded after seeing her mirthless expression. “Mitzi.” They looked at each other for a minute, looking back up to the moon in unison.