Some People's Children
A/N: This was a little story I wrote at my Grandma's house 'cause I was bored. Kryst and I hold the same views on children and cats . . . Except the name Chauncy Maximillion Percivial IV . . . But that doesn't matter. The title is because my friend and I have this joke where we turn to each other, shake our heads and say with exasperation, "Some people's children . . .". So, I hope you enjoy!
I pushed my way through the crowds towards the large mansion on the very outskirts of the lakeside city. I had a job offer from a Mr. Leonard Lumier, a wealthy entrepreneur with at least six kids. They had also invited me to dinner: an offer I wasn't about to refuse. Hey, who doesn't like free food?
I raised my eyebrows as I was offered a seat by the missus. I was seated across from "Mr. Loaded" at a square table three feet by three feet.
"Ah, welcome, Mr. . . ." my soon-to-be employer began.
"Kryst," I replied firmly. "Just call me Kryst."
"All right, then. Welcome Kryst," he finished.
"Yea, so, Lenny . . ." Hey, I had a rep for being the best fighter around; I could afford to give people nick-names. "Don't you rich, important people al have ridiculously long tables that only two people end up sitting at?"
Mr. Leonard chuckled softly before replying, "Yes, well, I did have one, but my youngest son recently took a martial arts class and broke it in half."
"Well," I began, smiling, "that is unfortunate."
"Yes, wit is but I'm sure you're more interested in your assignment than out dining room table."
"You see," he began, folding his fingers together and resting his elbows on the table, "my youngest daughter owns a cat named Chauncy Maximillion Percivial the Fourth."
What the fuck? What kind of a little girl gives her cat a crazy-ass name like that?
"And?" I prodded, keeping my thoughts to myself for a change.
"He ran away."
Aw, hell no . . .
"What does he look like?" I questioned, keeping my expression polite.
"He's an orange tabby with brown eyes. He's a little on the heavy side, but not really fat."
Hmm . . . This was difficult . . . Did I really want to do this? I didn't have to . . . But then again, I was flat broke. "How much will you pay me if I bring him back?"
He then named a price that almost made me fall out of my chair.
Great. I couldn't believe that I got myself sucked into this. I mean, how the hell am I going to find a cat in this city?
Well, I couldn't go wrong with questioning people, right? But, this was going to be unlike any other job I had done before. Going into a sleazy bar and asking around wasn't going to work. I needed to talk to –
"Hey! Little girl!"
The kid looked up at me, big brown eyes wide and small hands playing with the end of a braid.
"Hey, have you seen a little kitty around here? Orange colored with brown eyes?"
"I could tell you . . . But my mommy told me not to talk to strangers." She told me with earnest.
"And that is excellent advice," I began, trying to reason with her. "But, we're not strangers anymore; I just met you."
She shook her head, braids swinging around. "Nope. My mommy told me about people like you."
"People like me."
"Yea! People who lure kids like me away by telling them that they've lost something. And, when the kid goes with them, they snatch them up and run away."
Oh, jeez . . . .
"Look, sweetheart, I'm not going to kidnap you, okay? I hate kids. Besides, it's not even my cat I'm trying to find. It's um . . . A friend of mine. . . . His cat ran away."
"Your friend was probably being mean to the cat, and that's why he ran away," she said huffily, somehow managing to look down her nose at me.
"Oh, come on," I muttered, rubbing my forehead with my hand. "Look, shrimpy, it doesn't matter why the cat ran away. All that matters is that I find it. Have you seen that cat around here?"
"I'm not going to talk to you. If you keep bothering me, I'll tell on you."
"Tell on me?" I echoed, trying to smother a bark of laughter. "Girly, do I look like I care if you tell on me?"
"Mommy told me that I just had to yell real loud if people like you started to bother me."
"Okay, kid, I'm not bothering you. I'm just trying to find my friend's cat."
She made a pouty face at me and began taking a deep breath. I got the feeling that she was about to tell on me.
"Oh, shit . . . Don't do that . . ."
"Moooommmyyyyy! This man is bothering me!" she shrieked, causing the entire market place to turn and look at me.
I did two things: reminded myself why I hated kids, and, oh yea, got the hell out of there.
Hours passed and I found myself sitting on a low wall surrounding a park.
The things I do for money . . . Maybe I should have been a prostitute . . . Probably would've made better money, too . . . Could've bought a house and retired at the age of 35 . . .
But, no . . . Instead I'm here . . . Chasing cats.
But, just then I caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of my eye. I placed a hand on the hilt of my weapon; who knew what kind of scum hung around this city after dusk. I slowly turned to see . . . The cat.
There he was . . . Washing his face with a paw, tail twitching slightly. I felt my fondness for cats kick in, and I slipped the sheathed blade into my belt so I'd have both hands free.
"Hey there, cat," I said soothingly, reaching out for the animal.
He looked back at me, large brown eyes saying, "Whaddya want, freak face?"
Damn! I love cats.
I was crawling to him carefully, arms outstretched, "Yea, that's right . . . Stay right there until I get there."
Well, that's what he did. He waited until my fingertips were brushing his fur before he took off at a trot.
"Damnit . . ." I muttered before standing up and running after him along this wall. What a comical picture we probably made . . .
I had to come to an abrupt halt when someone climbed up onto the wall in front of me.
It was a young boy, around 12 or 13 years old with dark brown hair and eyes to match. His nose was level with my shoulders, and he jabbed my chest with his bony pointer finger. "Hey, Mister," he growled, looking up at me with angry eyes.
I grit my teeth as I watched the cat dart aff the wall and down another street.
"Hey, Mister," he repeated, jabbing me again.
I resisted the urge to grab his finger and snap it off.
"Hey, kid," I began, switching my attention to him. "I'd love to chat," I continued, cutting him off before he could say anything, "but I have to see a man about a cat. So, if you'll excuse me . . ."
The kid gave me an odd look before asking, "Oh. 'See a man about a cat'. Is that code for, 'I'm going to go get some drugs'?"
Why? Why me?
"No, it's code for, 'Get the hell outta my way, punk'."
He shook his head energetically. "Nuh-uh. You gotta beat me first."
Beat him? Gladly. Just let me go find a stick . . .
"Why do I need to do that?"
"I'm the king of the wall. You have to beat me to get past me."
Oh, come on . . .
"Look, kid, I really need to go -- "
"I know, I know. You need to go get your drugs."
"I am not getting drugs, you little twerp."
"Then what are you – Hey!" he suddenly cut off and pointed at my waist. "Cool sword! Can I see it?"
I rolled my eyes and stated flatly, "No."
"Can't you see the warning label?" I asked, pulling the weapon out of its sheath and held it out to him. "It says, 'Not intended for persons under the age of 17'."
He squinted at the blade and frowned. "I don't see that . . . I think you're lying."
"No, no, I'm serious!" I said, smiling slightly. "If someone like you were to use this weapon, something like this might happen . . ." I took a step back and swung the blade around and stopped it so the point was pricking his throat.
"Point taken," he replied, looking down at the blade.
"Good," I said, sheathing the weapon once more.
The boy jumped down off the wall, and I continued my search, reassuring myself that my job was way cooler than prostitution.
I stopped at the dead end I had run into. Dammit! I had seen that cat come down here. With a sigh, I placed my hands on the wall and rested my forehead on the cool bricks.
I don't know how long I was there, but I practically jumped out of my skin when I heard a cat's meow coming from above me.
I looked up to see the cat standing on the roof of the building on my left. How did it get up there? Ah! There . . . One of those wooden things that vines grow on . . . I didn't hesitate a moment before climbing up the thing.
Chauncy Maximum-pain-in-the-ass looked down at me as if he was saying, "What the hell are you doing, weirdo?"
I was just about to put my hand on the roof when the cat began to slowly inch away. "C'mere, you," I began with a forced smile. "C'mere, you cute little mother fucking fur b --" I cut off as the cat began to run off again. "Shit! No! I didn't mean that! – Fuck!"
I pulled myself up on the roof and saw the cat headed towards the edge of the rooftop. He paused to look back at me, and I could tell he was mentally laughing at me.
He turned back and began running right to the edge of the roof.
"Oh, hell no . . ." I shook my head, but I had made up my mind.
I ran after the cat and leapt from the roof only moment after the cat.
A little girl opened the door the next day and cried, "Chauncy! You found him!" She rushed forward and hugged me around the waist.
God, I hate kids.
"Here you go, kid," I said, my voice hoarse. I held the cat out to her and she took him before flouncing off.
I was scratched, bruised, and tired. My clothes were torn, my head hurt, and I was liable to brutally slaughter the next thing I came in contact with. Especially if it was a kid.
Honestly . . . Some people's children . . .