Tuesday, August 9, 2011


This was the sign outside the supermarket.  The message was all in caps, right next to the potted plants and the tiny tables where today, not a soul was sipping tea or enjoying a sandwich from the deli.  Instead, at 6:30 in the morning, a time I find easiest to shop, I stood there on the tiled ceramic just outside the electronic doors, waiting for the rain to cease.

Whenever I'm waiting I always scan my surroundings, looking for this or that, just allowing my senses to swallow up anything that breaches it's barriers.  This morning wasn't any different.  

First I people watch, that's typically my starting point.  Seeing there was not a soul to be found I started looking all around, for anything to keep me preoccupied, as I patiently allowed the rain to complete it's song and dance.  I followed the various planters and moved onto the seats and chairs.  I looked at the seats and thought it was interesting how, although covered by an overhang, the water amassed in beads, both large and small, atop the glassy tables for two.  I imagined that some poor stock-boy would get the privilege of drying the tables and chairs off.  It really wouldn't be all that difficult though, seeing the tables have a glass surface and the chairs have no padding, just decorative iron twisted and turned in various directions.  Either way seemingly easy enough.  

The rain just wouldn't stop and I was about finished with my information intake, when I happened to note the sign in question.  Please do not leave your cats in the parking spaces.  This is what it said.  No joke.

Instantly I understood that some prankster was playing a joke.  Yes, this had to be the case.  The sign was made with the type of removable letters, the kind used on movie theater marquis, that are easy enough to rearrange and make your own message with.  

I'm assuming the difference between the message displayed and the intended message was nothing more than an R.  Yes, a supermarket asking the customers to not leave their carts in parking spaces makes a lot of sense.  However I scanned the tiles, even looked behind and between the potted plants, but the R could not be found.  There was not any spacing between the a and the t either.  Surely a prankster could have simply swiped the r and moved the a and the t close together, but perhaps this was not a mistake at all.  Perhaps there was some larger issue at hand.  I instantly drifted off into a rain induced comatose trance.

I pictured an empty parking lot in the middle of the night.  A car drives down an aisle.  It stops in the lane, never pulling into a parking space.  The driver leaves the car running but gets out and with him he's carrying a fluffy little critter in his arms.  The orange cat is placed in the handicap spot.  The man starts to say a few words when he notices another car speeding through the lot.  The man says a rapid goodbye, he called him sponge, and jumped into his car, driving away faster than the speed he used when he first arrived.

Over on the opposite end of the lot, the speeding car that scared our cat abandoner can be seen driving quickly up and down the lanes, as if he's practicing for some obstacle course.  He slows down but briefly, opens up his door and places a cat in each subsequent parking space.  He wasn't tossing the cats out, no he was slowing down, opening his door and then leaning out and gently placing each cat into the parking spaces, kind of like phone book delivery drivers used to do before legislation made directory publishers clamp down upon their delivery standards.  The man dropped off six cats and then drove away at an increased speed.  

We now had an orange, three whites, a pair of blacks and one that looked, well bluish in color.  There were seven cats in total now, each with their own parking space.  If I weren't a hologram watching this scene unfold I would've surely wrangled the cats up and brought them to the nearest animal shelter for safekeeping.  Unfortunately though I could only observe.  A little meowing was taking place at first, then it picked up with each of the cats playing their own role.  At just about the time the symphony was starting to click a white van pulled into the lot.  It parked over in the area of the lot that had the least bit of lighting, as apparently the lightbulbs in that section had yet to be changed.  

A man and a woman jumped out of the van.  The woman opened up the sliding side door and three children filed out with shopping carts.  They all congregated at the back of the van as the man was opening the back doors.  He jumped inside and began handing things to each of the kids.  The woman made sure each cart was completely filled before she loaded starting loading up her own.   The children frantically scattered throughout the lot, and yes each of them had a bunch of whining, mewling kittens with them.  Each gained a spot of their own.  There was too many to count, much too many it appeared, as by the time they finished there were only two spaces empty now.   

The children jumped back into the van as the man and woman filled the last two spots.  The man unleashed his Savannah and told her to sit still. The woman left what appeared to be an extremely large Maine Coon.  They rejoined the children and the van pulled away.

I couldn't believe my eyes.  There must be a hundred cats but for whatever reason they all sat in their parking spaces.  Not a single one meandered or roamed.  In their spots these cats must have felt like they were now at home.

As I scanned the landscape I noticed Persians and many an American breed.  I saw Abyssinians, Balinese, Burmese and Chartreux.  There were Mao's, Himalayan, Mynx, Pixies, Siamese and Angoras too.  All different shapes and hue, all different sizes too.  Big and small, short and tall.  There were pretty tabbies and ragged ones as well.  But none seemed to care where they were.  

I thought to myself, some of these breeds are expensive.  Why would people decide to abandon them?  What was going on?  I did not know, I couldn't think this through.  But hours I spent just watching the cats perfect their songs.  One after another, similar yet different sounding.  Yet before the encores could begin, in drove a Prius, into the lot.  Instantly I thought there were no spaces left, I hoped this person didn't have cats in there too.

She parked the car in the middle of a row, rolling down the window and was obviously perplexed by the view.  She got outside and rubbed her eyes.  I could tell right there she worked for the store.  She picked up her phone and made a call. 

I was curious to find out who she called and what happened to all the cats and kittens too.  But just as the vision became clearer, the rain ceased and it was time to go.

So see what can happen when a misspelled or altered word appears.  The entirety of meaning can create confusion while the mind can travel miles along roads absurd.

I truly hope this was but a misprint or a practical joke.  For if the supermarket was having this type of problem here, I fear the Satanists will soon hear too.  If that happens I can only hope there are enough cats present to scratch and claw their way, leaving the evil ones in dismay.

****Anyhow, the sign is real, if I had my camera handy I surely would have taken a pic, but the rest of this was just me having a bit of fun.  Hope you all enjoyed.


  1. hahahaha that sign is quite funny, didn't actually think it was real. Great take off it too, interesting how one little thing can spur on such a write, although of course that sign was just asking for it..haha

  2. That's so funny. :) The image of so many cats occupying the car spaces and the noise they might make.

    All because of one missing letter. :D

  3. Pat & Raven, thanks for reading and for leaving your comments. It is strange how one little oversight can change the entire landscape. Glad you both enjoyed the piece, thanks again

  4. haha boy did I get confused for a bit while reading this. Ironically they were saying because of the heat this year cats are "mating" more frequently to the extent that they have been labeled as an impeding species that is decimating the bird population. Interesting Fact: Number one killer of birds...Cats. Number two...windows.

    To save the birds all we need to do is get rid of the cats and buildings.

    Really thought their were mass cat abandonments occurring here...Great job.

  5. Randy, that's hilarious. Cats are the number one killer of birds, that's just too funny to be true. Glad you enjoyed this write. Thanks again for the comments