Thursday, January 11, 2007

Nothing new, something old

7. Insomnia on the streets of east side St. Louis

The neighbors used to laugh when I’d take Mr. Boots out for a stroll. Apparently it’s a pretty rare sight to see someone walking their cat on the east side. I guess I was somewhat ashamed too. That’s why I started going on our walks later and later each night.
As the thugs wheeled through the neighborhood, they didn’t seem to bother us. I guess that’s partially because I killed the local gang lord when he mocked me.
Yep, we walked those dark streets like we were invincible. I blinged out Mr. Boot’s collar, and no one challenged us. We ruled the sidewalk.
It’s kind of funny, you’d think the streets of east side St. Louis would be more dangerous at night, but Mr. Boots feared the sky.
Nothing knocks Mr. Boots out like sunlight, and his afternoon naps left him wide open for a coup.
But Mr. Boots was smart, street smart. He knew how to stay safe, but it was just a matter of time before he slipped up.
Mr. Boots always had a thing for the nip—catnip, that is. One afternoon, someone lured him to the sidewalk with a baggy full of the good stuff. Poor guy never saw the man with the gun.
I still stay up late—too later—and roam the east side. I just can’t sleep until that sunlight hits my body.
I tried to replace Mr. Boots, but Waddles the hamster was never one for walks. Sure, he’d roll around in that diamond-studded ball, but he kept getting stuck in the gutters. I finally gave up and put him in a cage by the window.
I walk alone now, but I wear Mr. Boot’s collar on my wrist. After all, you gotta represent.

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