I saw him this afternoon while walking down to the strip mall for lunch. He was sitting up in the weeds on the concrete steps, fur ruffled up to protect him from the wind a bit. He looked over and saw me and blinked; I blinked back to say hello, and then I was on my way. I was heading towards Subway but then I thought that it'd be nice to give Marconi a little something on my way back, so I went to Boston Market instead.
As I'm heading into the store some dude runs up to the door and gets in before me. That's no problem, even if there is a bit of a line ahead of us. But then when we get to the counter he makes his order: TWO CHICKENS NO SKIN NO BONES AND A SIDE OF THIS AND A SIDE OF THAT AND SOME OF THOSE AND THESE AND AND AND AND and the line is held up ten minutes while the one chicken dude is busy de-boning and de-skinning two whole chickens. So I scarf down some of my order, WHEN I FINALLY GET IT, and cut the rest up into pieces, then head back out towards the radio building.
There is Marconi, still on the steps, still glancing over at me quiet like an owl with a swivelly head. I kneel down at the base of the perimeter fence and hold out some chicken.
"Hey there, buddy. I got a little chicken if you want it."
He seems indifferent at first, and then he gets a whiff of the chicken, and I'm prepared to lightly toss the chicken through the fence and let him have it, when disaster strikes.
Some Dude in Big Hoodie Sweatshirt Yakking Loudly On Cellphone comes walking down the sidewalk by me. Marconi had already gotten up and was stepping off the concrete to investigate the chicken, but the sudden appearance of a large loud hulking shape startles him greatly. So he takes off behind the dumpster and around to the spot in the fence where there's a hole, only the dude is walking in that direction too. The Dude hasn't given me a second glance, and he sure as hell isn't noticing a little black cat, who's now worried that his one avenue of escape has been compromised by this lumbering giant. With a burst of speed Marconi dashes out of the fenced area, across the sidewalk, down the embankment and speeds off across Mystic Valley Parkway. Divided highway. Four lanes. And, amazingly enough, no oncoming traffic. I can't believe how grateful I am for the traffic lights in the area right then.
"You sonofabitch!" I seethe at the Dude, oblivious to the shitstorm he just stirred up and the cat he just scared. He doesn't even notice. Marconi is across the street, presumably, hanging out in the conservation area parking lot.
And I'm late coming back from lunch with a lot more chicken than I thought I'd have.
I hope the little cat shows up some other time. And I hope his trust, however tenuous and sketchy seeing as how he's a stray to begin with, hasn't totally been compromised.
Poor little fella.