Traffic Life : Passionate Tales and Exit Strategies
Edited by Stephan Wehner
An Anthology
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 200                 A Spin of the Wheel  of a bell sounding, trying desperately to remind him that he'd left the door open and the engine running, but it was drowned out by the silence that was now washing over him.    When he reached the driveway, the cat made a quiet noise, a soft hissing plea. Roger lifted the jacket and looked at the bleeding furry wreak. Its small body shook slightly and its jaw moved again, but no sound came. Suddenly, he was aware of how light it was.    It should have known, he thought. Living on a semi- rural road, where cars are fewer but faster; it should have known to beware those roaring creatures that hurled down the road with fearful regularity. It should have known to look both ways.    But it could not have known. Of course, Roger knew this-that the cat could never understand the rules of life, could not have predicted its chances on that road; he also knew that he had slipped up, that his reflexes had not been fast enough. He could have avoided it, if he'd been watching more closely. But why? Why couldn't the cat have seen the danger? He had tried his best-even the safest projections might be proved wrong sometimes.    It should have known. Nathan did; he looked both ways. Then he knelt down to pick her up. It should have known to not trust the street, to not relinquish command of its own small destiny and put itself in the path of ultimately unpre- dictable-as though with a will of their own-mechanical forces. Nathan knew. He abided by the rules. Only it wasn't enough to rely on the rules, the trick was to anticipate when they would fail. Nathan knew; but he was betrayed when he knelt down to pick up the cat. She had leapt clear. Roger could see her eyes as she turned to jump. He could see the man's eyes. It should have known. Now it was a small bundle of was in his arms.    Roger mounted the steps, cradled the cat in one arm and knocked. Just as he was about to knock again, a light came on behind the door. It was opened by an old man in a plaid house coat and worn slippers.    The man looked at him then at the cat. Before Roger could speak, the man reached out his hands. Roger wanted
                        Nicholas Wees                  201  to tell him how it had happened, how careful he always was, but the old man said nothing and only took the cat from him, holding it close to his chest.    'I'm so sorry,' Roger began, but the sound didn't quite match the meaning. The old man only looked at him for a moment, expressionless, then turned and closed the door behind him, leaving Roger alone on the porch.    The damp air was growing colder and from deep inside, he felt a tremendous sorrow, a bewildering agony welling up. Then it burst in a rushing torrent, flooding over him, cascading, spilling out into the night.

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