Miss Beazley

by Bob Hazlett

Miss Beazley is a cat.  She is big, she is old, she is wise, and she is the boss.  She is “Queen of the Clowder.”

She rules the alley between Archer Boulevard and Parkside Avenue.

Parkside is three story tenements.  That side of the alley is small, mostly damaged, fenced yards.  Trash cans litter the alley.

Archer Boulevard is restaurants and bars.  Their backsides are graffiti-covered brick walls, all with one door, a single bulb light, and a dumpster.  This alley is a bad place unless you are an alley cat.

Miss Beazley and friends are enjoying a sliver of late afternoon sunlight in one of the tenement yards when a familiar sound breaks the quiet.  Three teenage boys with air rifles approach on their ritual “big game hunt” – alley cats.  Loud, uncouth, and not too bright even to an alley cat, she has dealt with them before.  More nuisance than danger, they cannot be ignored.  Miss Beazley counsels the clowder:  “I will run and draw their fire.  Hide in the basement with the broken window”.

Crisscrossing the alley, from dumpster to trash can and back, she leads the boys toward the end of the alley drawing their fire as she goes.  With each burst, she stays just out of reach; the BBs plink harmlessly against trash cans far enough away to be safe.

At the alley’s end, she hovers behind a dumpster waiting for the boys to catch up.  Looking out of the alley, she carefully measures the time and distance.  Hold it … hold it … NOW!  She jumps out onto the sidewalk.  The boys all raise their guns and fire.

These guys aren’t good enough to hit a cat, but one manages to hit the cop standing behind Miss Beazley.  Oops!


Prompt: draw, fire, cat.  Word Count: 294


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