A Night On The Town


         "What makes you so certain he's coming here tonight?"   I asked

again in as many minutes, pulling my coat tighter around me as if

trying to prevent the alley's gloom from enveloping me.

        Spike very slowly, very deliberately,  turned.   "Listen, Kitty,"  his

voice dead-level; suspicious eyes searching for any sign of

disloyalty.   "I heerd it from Trixy, see.   Dat gal keeps me up on

everything dat goes on in dis here territory o' mine.   Now, shaddap 

and keep in the shadows.".   You don't argue with Spike.

        "Yeah." Mix chipped in.   "Shaddap."   He  tried to copy Spike but

all he received for his effort was a glare.

         I retreated behind Mix, using him as barrier from the cold autumn

blast which tore through the alley stirring up dust and  rearranging

the papers again.

        I made a vain attempt to brush the dustoff my coat.   My nose

rebelled at the muskiness of rancid food emanating from the garbage

cans lining the alley.   I watched  mice furtively rummaging under the

litter.   I wondered if they were as cold as I was. 

         "What a life." I grumbled.

         "What?" snapped Spike.

         "What?" echoed Mix.

         "I don't know.  What?"  My mind racing.

         "You said what somethin'."   Spike was staring again, mainly  

with his one good eye.

        "Yeah. Somethin'.   Mix was really  starting to press my nerve.

        "Um...er...I said: 'What a night.'   

        "Yeah." Spike agreed.  "You said it.   Whaddah night."   His voice

had resignation in it.   A wind-gust reinforced his words.

        "Yeah."  Mix again.

        I settled even deeper into the shadows behind Mix, determined to

avoid any more confrontations with Spike,  and also Mix although

there was no real threat from that department.

        Alone in my thoughts, I discovered I was staring at Mix, or at

least, at his scrawny back.   *You'd think he'd look after himself better.

* I mused.   *Just because he knocks about at all hours of the night,

he could at least straighten his hair and fix that ratty coat of his!  

I don't think he's washed his face and hands for days.   Filthy.

Absolutely filthy!   Why Spike puts up with this odious creature is

beyond me!   And he's so mixed up!   Probably where his name came

from....Mix,  the Mixed.*.   I chuckled inwardly.          

         I noticed Mix was looking at me. 

        "Want somethin'?"

        "No."  Why would I ask Mix for anything?

        "I thought I heard you say my name..."  He left the statement

hanging there, like the oppressiveness of the alley.

        "Er..um..I was thinking how the dust STICKS my coat.  Hard to

get off.  Heh. Heh."  He did not look convinced when he returned to

his original position which was looking over Spike's shoulder.

        Spike,  the undisputed master of his domain, small as it was.  

Spike and his choleric temper made short work of any threats to his

territory, real or imagined.  Years of emperical wisdom had taught him

vigilance, tenacity, and shrewness.  His story could be read from his

features, especially those powerful shoulders which rippled under

his winter coat.   It was difficult to tell where the shoulders ended and

the head began.  It wasn't the lacerated nose or the torn lip which  

deterred  a challenger.   It was the eyes.  Those eyes!  Those blacked

emeralds defeated many an enemy even before the first blow landed.  

        *What a life.*  I thought.    *Fighting almost continuously; on the

run from who-knows-what;  relegated to lurking in alleys;  seeking a

relatively secure place in which to snatch a catnap or two!  Is this

what I wanted?  Was this what I was seeking when I decided to

embark upon this impetuous escapade!?*

        "NO!!"   My voice shattered the silence!

        Both Spike and Mix swung round and glared. "Will you shuddup!!   

You'll ruin everything!!"

        "Yeah, everything." mugged Mix.

        After a quick scowl at Mix, Spike continued:  "Look, I don't know

what-the-hell's  wrong with you tonight,  but if you can't keep quiet,

get lost!".

        "Yeah, get lost!".  Mix was almost inaudible this time.

        "My intentions exactly!   I refuse to lower myself to this level of

degradation!  Good-bye!".  

        So, flouncing my tail in their astonished faces,  I scampered

home where a  plate of tuna and saucer of milk awaited me.  



  J. Graham Ducker