Jack and the Bean Sprout

By Elizabeth West

Titus feed me, but not enough.  I still hungry like lion on TV; chew on big ribs, red juicy in sunlight.  We go on truck again; big rounds make humming noise…rrrrrrrrmmmmmmmm all the time until we stop.  Don’t know why; just it put me to sleep.

When we stop, I wake.  Big light outside.  I think sun, but not right color or bright, and dark all around where we are.  Think fake sun that people make to see in dark where truck stops.  Smell food cooked—bacon bread egg meat green stuff.  Maybe Titus give me some.  I want to go with him, but he pat me on head and shut door.

“Be a good kitty,” he say.

I watch him to place where food smell is.

I know he not come till long time and I not get out, so I go potty in box under sleep thing.  Sometimes Titus talk to people.  I know, he take me sometimes.  Eat, go potty, talk to female and laugh loud.  He not like people—think they all want to hurt him.  Take too much of stuff he give for food, tell him not-trues.  People no good, he say.  He like to hurt them back.  I not listen to him—I like people.  Pet and pet and give food.  Nice kitty, they say.  Love kitty with food and pet.

Titus not gone long when something move outside truck.  Small, hide in shadow.  Thing come closer to truck, into fake sunlight.  It kid.  Maybe kid have food, pet.  I make me-ow noise that people like, but he not hear me through truck.  I me-ow again.  I move so kid might see me.  Kid look up and see me.  I me-ow.  He smile.  Hope kid not go away before Titus come.  Maybe kid go too.

*    *    *

See Titus in fake sun come out of place where food smell is, have bag.  Good good good, he not forget me. He come to truck, see kid.  I hear talk, not what say.  Titus go around and open door, help kid in.  Good…food and pet today.  I like.  Titus get in truck and turn shiny thing to make truck go.  Truck loud.  I not care, but kid jump.

Don’t let truck scare, Titus say, make laugh noise.  Kid make laugh noise too and look at me.

You pet kitty, Titus say, he not bite.  His name Jack.  He long for ride.

He good kitty, kid say and pet and pet.  I like, but food smell good and I want want want.  Titus make laugh noise at me.

Kitty want a little bite? he say, and he give me meat part of thing he call hamburg.  He gets me own hamburg, just for me.  I like and rub on him to say I like.  He make laugh noise and kid make laugh noise.

You wanna bit? he ask kid.  Kid act like not want, but I know he hungry.  Kids always hungry.  I eat my part, not want share.  Titus he get lots of hamburg, he eat lots.  He got more in bag that what have before.  I think he know hungry kid out there before go in food place.

Eat up, Titus say.  Need grow. You no bigger than bean sprout!

I finish and wash.  Always wash after eat, nice to be clean.  Titus say he wish he could wash like me.  Not have to stop truck to wash in wet.  One time I get black on me from part under truck.  Titus take me in room where we stop at dark time and put me in wet.  I not like wet.  I cry and cry.

Okay, let’s go, Titus say.  Kid move head up and down and both put seat rope around them.  Titus always wear seat rope, but I not.  Sometimes he put me in sleep thing and close front so I not get hurt when road slick.  Titus wear seat rope so he not go through clear part, he say.  I know that not be nice.  See lots of things on road not nice.

We go.  Kid not talk.  I go sit on kid, and he pet and pet.  I like.  I like quiet and kid warm and food good.

What’s you name, Bean Sprout? Titus say.

Mark, kid say.  He not scared, I think because me here.

Well, nice to meet you, Mark, Titus say.  He reach over and I think he pet me, but he pet Mark on head.  Just small pet.  I look at him.  I hurt.  I mad.  I get pet only!  But Titus then pet me too and I not mad anymore.  I like Mark too.

So how come you run away? Titus say.  Mark not tell.  He quiet.

You don’t have to tell me, Titus say.  I won’t report you.

I don’t know, Mark say.  He look scared.

Okay, Titus say.

*    *    *

We go more and more and Mark and me get sleepy.  I scrunch up on warm lap.

Hey, I get sleepy too, Titus say after while.  We better stop for sleep.  Mark move but still sleepy.  I wake all the way.  Titus stop truck by dark side of road in part where no car or truck go.  Lots of dark and quiet.  We sleep like this sometimes instead of in room in building.

Mark, Titus say, you be more comfort-ble back here.  He shoo me off Mark and move him to sleep thing.  Only room for one in there.  I think Titus sleep in seat with me tonight.  But he go in there with Mark and shut front.

I mad.  I not like when they together and me alone.  It quiet and I not like dark side of road and be alone in front.  I hear noise in back, noise sound not happy, and I listen.

It Mark.  He cry.  Titus say something, I not hear, and sound of when he take clothes off at dark time, rip sound, he say zipper.  Mark cry and Titus say mad sound like Dammit.  I listen.  Sleep thing squeak like mouse and Mark scream.  It loud and hurt my ears.  I scared and jump off seat and get in dark place under where Titus feet go when truck move.  Mark scream and scream and I think, Mark, scratch Titus, scratch him hard, but I scared and hiss and spit but it not stop and then hear snap sound like that mouse make when I shake only louder and it stop.

I scared.  I not like.

Titus come out and fix clothes and get out of truck and go back to back.  I hear big noise of door in back go up and then he come back with big green thing he call tarp and go in sleep thing.  He come out with big wrap and Mark feet stick out end.  He put on seat.  Then he get out of truck and pull Mark with him and leave door open.  I follow him.

I potty on ground.  Had to go but could not get to box.  Titus go off in trees and dark and I follow.  He trip and say Dammit sound again.  I see in dark okay but scared.  Don’t like side of road.  Titus drop Mark on ground and back to truck.  I smell Mark foot.  I sad.  I like Mark.  I not know why Titus make him go away.

Titus make tweet tweet sound for me.  It is call to make me come back.  I go.

*    *    *

We in food place.  It long time when Mark with us.  Titus he take me sometimes.  Lady with food, she like me.  Say nice kitty kitty and give me hamburg and milk and bread.  I like.

Funny man come in and sit on seat with Titus.  He know Titus I think, maybe not.  See truck, he say, in food place before.  He show Titus pho-to, little piece of white with colors on.  He say wonder if Titus see boy in pho-to.  Titus look at it and I see twitch in neck on him but he give it back to man and say No, I not see.

Too bad, say man.  Well, another runaway.  If you see call the Hi-way Pat-rol.

I know what that is.  It people who watch road.  Titus get mad at sometimes when he go too fast and Pat-rol stop.  I sit and look at man, at shiny thing on chest and black thing on hip.  He one of Hi-way Pat-rol.  I look at pho-to.  It Mark.  I say me-ow at man but he just pet and pet.  He not know what me-ow mean.

Nice kitty, he say.

———-

Copyright © 2007 Elizabeth West

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