Mabel was a cranky old lady who called the police when the neighbors' kids played too loud outside or when someone's pet strayed into her front yard. On this particular day, I was the only emergency dispatcher on duty, and Mabel had called in three times about a certain cat who had decided to make itself comfortable on her front lawn. I have to be honest, I was getting a bit flabbergasted by this lady.

"Ma'am, don't you have a back window you can look out of instead?"

"Well yes, but I am not looking out the window for entertainment. I have to leave to go to the airport, and I can't do it as long as that bad luck charm is out there. Didn't I tell you it is a black cat?"

"Yes ma'am, you did," I said, sighing.

"Well, why don't you send a police officer to my house then? This is clearly an emergency."

"I am sorry, ma'am, this is not a criminal matter. The police are tied up with more urgent matters at the moment. You'll have to just face your fear or else wait for the cat to leave."

"It isn't going to leave. It is sitting there, staring at me through my front window with its evil yellow eyes."

"I am sorry, ma'am. I wish I could help you. If you'll excuse me, I need to take another call."

A few minutes later, Mabel was back on the line. "I took care of the cat, but now it is back."

"I am sorry to hear that, ma'am, but I am glad you faced your fear. Have you considered that maybe the cat is simply looking for some companionship?"

"Oh no. It is out for revenge." 

I stifled a smile. "Well, if the cat's vengeful attitude leads it to commit a crime, I would be happy to send someone to arrest it." 

"It is trespassing! Isn't that a crime?"

Normally I am great at coming up with quick comebacks, but this lady had my jaw dropping to my desk. "Ahem. Well, technically it could be considered criminal, I suppose." My brain was spinning. "At least it would be if it were a human committing the offense, but the law has little bearing on cats."

"It figures. Those uppity critters think they are too good to follow the rules." 

I didn't know what to say. 

"I just had an idea. I will call you back."

I hoped she wouldn't. 

Mabel called back seven more times that morning. Each time, she said she had tried to get rid of the cat but it had come back. She was getting more and more worried that she would miss her flight.

"As a public servant, I am going to give you instructions that will help you. Will you follow my instructions?"

"You have been very kind in listening to me, so yes. I will."

"I want you to get your suitcase."

"I have it right here by the door."

"I want you to check that you have your wallet and travel documents."

"They are in my purse, right here on my shoulder."

"I want you to take them and put them in the car."

After the sounds of a door creaking, some feet shuffling, and a car door slamming, her voice was back. "I did it."

"Good. Do you have your keys?"

"Yes, in my hand."

"Okay. Lock your house, and get in the car."

After about a minute, her voice was on the line again. "Okay. What now?"

"Start the car." I could hear the engine start in the background. "Now start driving."



She gunned the engine and then screeched to a halt. She started to laugh.

"Is everything okay, ma'am?"

When her laughing subsided, she said, "That was brilliant!"

"What do you mean?"

"I just ran over the cat. Cats only have nine lives, and that was the ninth one. So it is dead for sure now."

The implications of this had barely begun to dawn on me when she started thanking me profusely.

"Your timing couldn't have been more perfect," she gushed.

I felt sick to my stomach. "My timing?"

"I waited until you said go."

"Wait a minute. I am not responsible for you hitting the cat. I thought the cat was in the yard."

"It was, until a moment before you said go. I cannot believe how perfectly that all came together. You must be my guardian angel."

"I am no angel," I whispered, swallowing back the bile that was rising in my throat.

"Well, I will let you go since you solved my problem. I am off to the airport." Mabel hung up, and I bolted to the bathroom. 

When I got back, Mabel was on the line again. "The cat is back! It's back!"

I hoped she was right so I wouldn't have a dead animal on my conscience, but her story didn't make any sense. "Where are you, ma'am?"

"I am at home."

"Didn't you go to the airport?"

"I started to, but when I turned off of my street, the black cat was there again. It darted out right in front of me. I thought to myself that it must have been a different cat, and to prove it to myself, I drove back home to see the dead cat in the driveway, but it was nowhere to be seen." 

"I see. You know, it sounds like you are feeling awfully threatened by this cat." A plan was starting to form in my mind. 

"I am terrified!" Mabel answered.

"Can I have an officer come by to check on you and make sure you are safe?" I asked.

"Please do."

"It sounds like you may have experienced some trauma today as well. Should I send an ambulance to bring you to the hospital?"

"Oh yes. I think that would be just right. Thank you. You are an angel." She sounded relieved. 

"Are you inside or outside the house?"

"I am still in the car."

"Stay there. Help is on the way."

October 31, 2019 06:37

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