By: Miranda R.
I will always remember the day I met Skitters. Not just because I broke my arm that day, but because what began as a normal old March 31 turned out to be a weird and amazing event. It began one day while I was riding my junky 15-year-old bike.
I was riding downhill when an interesting sight caught my eye. I could’ve sworn that I saw a cat, about the size of a bobcat, talking to a bird. It was an amazing sight. So amazing, in fact, that I forgot to look where I was going and careened into the sidewalk. I fell and hit my right arm against the pavement. It was the most painful thing I had experienced since I broke my leg last year.
The cat, who looked like a tiny version of a leopard, padded toward me. “You broke my arm, you stupid cat.” was all I could say. I stared at him for a few more moments as he walked away silently.
I didn’t see him again until a few weeks later. I had a hideous neon pink cast on, which made my eyes want to throw up whenever I saw it. His presence made me stop my bike and stare at him. He finally said, “I’m sorry about your arm.”
“It’s okay,” I said, without realizing I was having a conversation with a cat. “Wait- what?” came witty response during my moment of dawning comprehension.
“You can talk?”
“I can talk. Listen, I feel bad about your arm, so I’ll tell you something I tell the nice people I meet. I can answer any question you ask,” he said in a deep, rich voice.
“Any question? You mean I can ask what killed the dinosaurs?”
“Yes. The catch is that you only get one question. Anyway, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I began to think of a question. I needed a question that would benefit all of society. But, I simply couldn’t think of one.
The following day, the cat told me about himself.
“I’ll try to make this quick. I have no name, I have no superpowers, I don’t grant wishes, and I am not some sort of mortal reincarnation of a higher being.”
“I wasn’t going to ask that.”
“You should have a name,” I said, wondering if the cat heard me.
“I have been called a number of things. It won’t hurt for you to make up another one.”
“How about ‘Skitters’?”
I blushed. “It just seems like a good cat name.”
“Hmm. I guess I look like a cat through your eyes. Very well, you can call me Skitters.”
Every day I saw Skitters again, and we often had long, meaningful conversations. But I still couldn’t think of a question.
When the day came that finally had a question, I made a fatal mistake in the wording. The beginning of our last meeting started with Skitters unexpected greeting.
“You should ask your question soon. I have to leave to go back home.”
“Okay.” I took a few deep breaths, which seemed amusing to Skitters. “What is the answer to the question most people ask you?”
Skitters thought for a moment. “The answer would have to be ‘Unfortunately, yes’,” he said, and then promptly began to walk away.
“Wait- what’s the question?”
“Sorry, you used up your question,” said Skitters as he padded away. “I hope you won’t miss me. It would be a waste of time. I won’t miss you. Goodbye.”
I was thinking about Skitters’ answer so hard that I almost didn’t notice when I tripped and fell on my left arm.