75 The Cat Came Back

As Kitty checked her messages she learned, in a brief e-mail self-described as a courtesy, that her application for the twirler position was no longer under consideration. Her references were less than satisfactory, she read between the lines. Kitty abhorred rejection at the best of times. On Monday mornings, she found it intolerable.Chapter 75 The Cat

“Stupid twirlers,” or words to that effect, leapt back along the shafts of sun piercing her eastern windows. She had neglected last night to pull her room darkening shades and savagely now corrected that oversight, plunging the den into a relative murk more conducive to her mood. She’d always despised twirlers. She would get back at them all, or at one, it wouldn’t matter.

She lit a concoction of candles, using as a taper the brightly tangerine-colored flyer slipped under her front door sometime over the weekend.  A sketch of a cat vanished, Cheshire-like, in the flame. The candles drew in light; around them, the room darkened. She felt more at home.

There were multiple messages on her phone from the lately disgraced school principal to please call him to discuss their situation. What situation was that? He’d fallen for her months ago, when he’d approached her after a presentation she’d given to parochial school principals about getting the best out of their teachers in uncertain times. She’d ignored him until Greg ditched her. For something to do last week, she’d called him and offered to get together. It was like taking candy from a baby. A bit of stroking and he’d followed her like a lamb, right to his own inevitable slaughter. She erased his number.

In a more promising message, she heard she was still under review for a much easier job. She’d be available as a panelist – for evangelism, on the web – ready to discuss how to communicate effectively, how to incorporate community culture into an institutional message, and how to use creativity to increase a local presence. She was well grounded in all of these topics, had incorporated these concepts freely while perfecting her own approaches to a notable, executed success. Her resume said so. And, as it was up to each separate, and undoubtedly sloppy, organization to check her credentials, it wasn’t as likely that she’d lose this chance. But she would recast her image, brush up on song leading skills, burnish the facts. The upside of this web exposure would be to get picked up for some of the huge touring events and ministries as a opening act speaker to thousands, with national demand and big bucks close behind. With her nose under the revival tent floor, reaching the inner sanctum would be a breeze. After all, men were in charge, weren’t they? Not like the impenetrable twirler sisterhood.

The idiot across the hall, under the gun with a picture pointed straight at him, was supposed to be doing all of the paperwork for buying her condo. He was weaseling on that. To schedule a closing, she had to produce a title for her unit. Title companies would work with individual property owners, he wrote, or she could do it through a real estate person, or an attorney. She didn’t want the bother. Forget the realtors. She’d call an attorney at White, Choyce, and Wong. Today, she had an appointment with a pastor she’d met at a forum on mission scenario planning, to join his local, vibrant, astoundingly affluent church, and to steal a sterling reference from off his silver plates.

Down in the garage, she backed the car out of her space. Every time she was there she checked around, alert to profitably witness the unfortunate behavior of others. There was nobody else. Passing the Karon’s double space, she saw that Guy’s dark gray car and Carrie’s light gray car were gone. She braked, reversed, and put the car in park. She’d glimpsed a bicycle leaning up against the back wall. A woman’s bike, newish by the looks of it. A twirler’s bike, as she recalled.

In order to keep elevatore walls free from tire smudges, some condo docs mandate bicycle storage in assigned parking space.

In order to keep elevator walls free from tire smudges, some condo docs require bicycle storage in the assigned parking space.

Kitty opened the glove box, retrieved a pair of fine leather driving gloves and yanked them onto her flexing fingers. Her ever present pocket knife wouldn’t do. Releasing the lock, she slid out of the car, raised the trunk lid and opened her toolbox, a kit full of devices she’d needed at presentations from time to time, tools for adjusting signs and building displays. Extracting a pair of wire cutters, she strode towards the resting bike, checking once over her shoulder to the elevator doors, and quickly bent and snipped the rear brake cable just where it emerged from its housing.

She heard the grind and pull of the opening garage door. She would not be caught, not she. She had the necessary time. The front cable next neatly severed, seconds later saw her back at the trunk of her car where she was apparently making some forgotten or required adjustment, in full view of the incoming vehicle.

Mrs. James and Hans, arriving back from their meeting, pulled into the relative darkness of the garage. As they blinked, their eyes adjusted to the sight of Kitty Doyle’s attention-getting red car stopped in the aisle well past her own space, and Kitty by the open trunk.

“What’s she up to now?” said Mrs. James, pulling into her own space.

Looking for new photo ops, Hans thought. Once the deal was done Kitty would be gone forever, he profoundly hoped he would be able to say, unlike the familiar cat of song who came back the very next day and wouldn’t stay away.

*   *   *   *   *

Monday was a day off from school and Lee, up early from habit, had already taken a morning spin. She loved her new bike and as summer was approaching, with its hours of freedom and miles of bike trails to explore, she’d resolved to gradually build up her riding time in anticipation of those longer day trips. This afternoon, she and a classmate had just made a last minute plan to ride together up to Bayshore Mall, using the east side trails. They were going to meet up in a few minutes out in front of the POPS. She refilled her water bottle, pocketed her keys and wallet, left a phone message for her Dad about what she was doing, and scribbled a note to leave on the table, too.

In their building, there was a rule against bringing a bike up in the elevator – it might scuff the walls – but leaving the bike in the garage was allowed, as long as the rider walked it up and down the ramp and stayed out of the way of cars. She stood by the elevator, waiting as usual, until she realized that she’d have to hurry. She ran down the stairs to the garage level, and grabbed the bike. It wasn’t locked; who was going to take it, inside a locked garage, her Dad had said. She pressed the button to open the garage door and pushed her way up the ramp and around to the front of the building, scanning the driveway for her friend.

“Hi, Gwen! I’m here.” Lee called out.

“Ready? Do you know the best way?”

“Follow me.” Lee hopped her bike, and wheeled away.