Friendly was hiding.
Jerry Plankton was fine with that, except that the cat might be doing some damage, scratching or peeing, or something. Lily-Rose said he would likely sleep most of the day, and that she showed him where the litter box was (in the hall at the top of the basement stairs), and that it was “unlikely” there would be any messes made.
Friendly had a bite— which is to say that he got into a fight with another creature, who broke Friendly’s skin with its teeth. This didn’t surprise Jerry, as Friendly was one of the most ill-tempered cats he had ever come across. He was territorial to the extreme. He would hiss and raise his paw, sharp nails fully extended, if you came too close to invading his private space, which appeared to be about a three foot radius. He had already scratched the top of Jerry’s hand, and pulled the threads on one of Jerry’s good pair of church pants.
Lily-Rose had superficially treated the bite, which was on the left side of Friendly’s neck. When she returned from school, she would take Friendly to the vet. The cat couldn’t stay at Lily-Rose’s house because her cat door didn’t lock, and she didn’t want Friendly to go outside and possibly engage in another fight, or pass along some kind of infection to the other cats in the neighbourhood.
She seemed to love that cat. The cat, in return, benignly ignored Lily-Rose.
Jerry thought he might as well find it and see if it was ok. He stoically tolerated the sharp pain in his knees when he crouched down to peer under the bed in the guestroom, and then almost suffered a scratch across his cheek. Friendly’s eyes were shiny amber marble orbs. Jerry recognized terror, loathing, and panic in those eyes as Friendly stared unblinkingly at him, daring him to come closer.
Jerry retreated and went to check the litter box. On the floor outside the box was a perfectly formed oblong of cat poo, Friendly’s message to Jerry.
Some songs lyrics flew into Jerry’s head:
I guess you say
What could make me feel this way…
Why would Friendly be so utterly fuck-you?
He was, Jerry thought, behaving the way Jerry felt that terrible year after his wife died. He also felt fear, loathing and panic. He also kept everyone who might have helped him at a distance, a distance closer to three miles than three feet.
Poor, damn cat. Jerry had time, years even, to come to terms with what happened, to forgive and almost accept. Jerry was a person with a brain and a heart that wanted to heal. Friendly, a cat, would live angry and fearful, and would die angry and fearful.
Jerry Plankton got a wad of paper towels and some Spray-Kleen and scooped up the cat shit. He thought he might go outside and spend some time in the garden. Lily-Rose would be home soon.
Poor, damn cat.