Why Approaching Strange Animals is a Good Idea

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.

“Yes?

“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.”

“Good.”

“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’?”

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.

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4 thoughts on “Why Approaching Strange Animals is a Good Idea

  1. Skitters- is your sole purpose on this earth to antagonize people with promises of answered questions in the hopes that they’ll break their arm?

  2. I saw the ending, or rather something like it, coming, but it was an improved version of what I was predicting. Your inprovement?: I am now left wondering, “What was the question?”

    The answer: “Unfortunately, yes.”

    The possible question:
    “Will the world end soon?” “Unfortunately, yes.”
    “Am I going to get married?” “Unfortunately, yes.”
    “Am I going to eventually lose my hair?” “Unfortunately, yes.”
    “Will the Dallas Cowboys ever win the Super Bowl?” “Unfortunately, yes.”
    “In the battle fought for control of my mind and will, will the teachers win out?”
    “Will I ever lose weight?” (It’s that “unfortunately” part I don’t like.)
    “Will I ever get a chance to fly in an airplane?”

    Any other suggestions?

    Mr. Rich

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