Chapter 2 – Hank

Picasso loved going on walks. He certainly wasn’t shy about his slim size and lean physique. Often trotting around the house and street like a show horse. Raising his nose to the sky as if he was the prize winner at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show. Dogs in the neighborhood were not impressed. They were also a bit confused at his level of cockiness, considering he wasn’t a dog and wouldn’t be eligible for that prestigious honor anyway. The dogs found Picasso incredibly annoying that he would prance around as if he was the ‘best in show’. One particular dog, a young Doberman Pinscher who lived down the road, growled quite fiercely anytime Picasso would walk by. Picasso taunted and teased the dog right by the fence to which the Doberman was behind. A young and naive Picasso, pressed his luck often, he’d sometimes climb the top of the fence and jump back, hissing at the barking dog.  Of course Picasso would always make it home for dinner, hearing D’s kissing cat calls to get back to the house. D was unaware of his actions with the dogs in the area, otherwise she surely would have grounded Picasso.

D, like most little girls, had formed some unusual habits. Biting her lips for one. To the point they would bleed. Her mom tried relentlessly to get her to stop. “Stop it young lady or those beautiful lips will fall off” she would say. Her dad smoked, so he really couldn’t say much in regards to the matter. Another habit she formed, which would prove to last her entire life, was to find handkerchiefs, wrap them around her finger and suck on them. Kind of like sucking her thumb but using a handkerchief instead. She do this watching shows, or lying in her bed, even taking them to school. She’d have them on her at all times. Her mom did everything in her power to get her to stop. She hid them, she threw them in the trash, she tossed them into the fireplace. But somehow, more would appear! Her mom had no idea where she was getting all these “Hanks”, and D would never tell. D even put one around Picasso. He looked so handsome.

Mom, D, and Picasso were walking down the road one day. A beautiful winter evening, D and her Mom chatted with some people from the neighborhood as Picasso roamed freely as he normally does. A lone wolf sometimes, this was nothing new. The night was clear, and smell of wood burning from fireplaces filled the air. It was cold but they were bundled up. In the midst of chatting and laughter, D heard something. D looked around and in the far distance could see Picasso taunting the Doberman. “Picasso! Come back here!” D yelled. Picasso, still on the top of fence, pawed and clawed at the barking dog.

Suddenly, D saw Picasso lose his footing and the dog lunge upwards. With his sharp teeth, Doberman dragged Picasso to the ground. D screamed “Mom!” and started running towards the dog and Picasso. Her mom quickly followed in a panic. Picasso, on his fours, was facing the dog now. Both showed their teeth. The Doberman drooling with a menacing look. Even though the dog was young, Picasso didn’t stand much of a chance in this fight. He managed to dodge the first few attempts by the dog to grab hold of him, but the third attempt to bite Picasso did just that. Grabbing hold of Picasso’s tail and dragging him around. D shouting to the top of her voice “Stop!!!”. She pulled out her slingshot while running, firing rocks in the direction of dog in an effort to scare him away. Which she managed to do by the time they got to Picasso’s sprawled out and seemingly lifeless body. He was, thankfully, still breathing and in shock, but there was blood. A lot of blood. The end of his tail was almost detached. D, turned around, took out another rock and aimed it right at the dog in a furious rage. “I’ll kill you!!!” stretching the sling back. But her mom stopped her by pulling her arm down just as she fired. The rock hit the window of a shed instead of the canine. The crashing sound of glass shattering startled the dog further back into his dog house.

“We need to get Picasso to a vet as fast as we can” mom said. Mom took the handkerchief off Picasso.  “Quick, give me your Hanks too”. D took out a red, black and purple handkerchief from her pockets. They quickly wrapped Picasso with a couple handkerchiefs to stop the bleeding and warm him up. They tied up his tail with another to hopefully save his tail.

Mom and D consoled each other as they waited feverishly for the vet to complete the surgery to save Picasso’s life. “Remember D, life doesn’t easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” They embraced as D struggled to hold her tears back. Just then, the doctor came out with the news. Much to their relief, Picasso was going to be perfectly fine. D asked “And his tail..?” The doctor replied “You and your mom did some quick thinking. The handkerchiefs probably saved his life, and his tail. He should have full recovery and functionality of his tail too.”

“Well that’s a relief” D’s mom replied.

“There is however, one slight issue..” the doctor mentioned.

‘What is it? D asked.

“You see, umm, hmm, how do I put this? Well, his tail, won’t really be the same” the doctor chuckled.

That, my friends, is the story of how Picasso the Precarious Pussy Cat, got his white tipped tail.

Oh, and by the way. Mother never bugged D about her handkerchiefs ever again.