That night when the cat woke to Miss Abigail lifting her from the curio cabinet, Sheila could not have been more elated. “Oh!” she thought. “How wonderful that Miss Abigail has overcome her disgust and can now see beyond my flaw.” But Sheila’s delight quickly changed to bewilderment when Miss Abigail did not even pat her head or say sweet things. She did not stop to place her in the poke-a-dot purse hanging from the doorknob, but rather, curiously, went outside and headed for the alley. Sheila’s bewilderment turned to horror as Miss Abigail, without so much as an adieu, lifted the lid of the trash can, dropped Sheila in and turned out the lights with a crash of the metal lid.
After her quaking abated, Sheila, always the eternal optimist, convinced herself that Miss Abigail, in a mad cleaning fit had merely mistaken her for a bundle of useless fluff. She sat in the dark, staring up at the trash can lid, waiting patiently for Miss Abigail to realize her terrible mistake and come running to retrieve her. Or maybe, Miss Abigail knew of some magic trick for producing cat noses, a trick which required the nose-less subject to spend the night in a trash can. Or maybe, just maybe, it was possible that Miss Abigail blamed Sheila for the loss of her nose and this terrifying trip to the trash was just a temporary punishment she had devised. Being in such a compromising predicament, Sheila of course could not differentiate between the logical and the absurd. Every scenario ended with the joyous reunion they would have, Miss Abigail kissing her apologetically, Sheila forgiving her many times over, as Miss Abigail promised to never allow her to suffer like that again.
So Sheila sat hour after hour in the cold dark trash. And then came a rustling somewhere beneath her. The rustling grew nearer and then stopped right beside Sheila. But since it was dark Sheila could not see what the thing was even though it crawled up out of the debris and climbed upon her face, perched right where her nose had been. Whatever it was, it sniffed Sheila. She could only guess from the tickling of the little whiskers against her cheeks and ears, that the creature was a mouse. As Sheila pondered this new development, she felt the little mouse licking her face. It was a strange feeling indeed! It licked and gnawed a bit and licked some more and gnawed some more. For the first time, Sheila was happy that she no longer had a nose since a little mouse might have found it a treat for the taking.
And as suddenly as it had appeared, the little mouse sat up on its hind legs, swallowed loudly and dove back into the heap of trash. How bizarre! Sheila felt a coolish tickling on her eye, allergies, most likely, aroused by the proximity of the furry little creature.
As the hours passed, Sheila pined for the curio cabinet. She even missed that black cat clock which had caused her so much distress, its eyes moving back and forth, back and forth, always in search, never in find.
At some point in the middle of the night, Sheila was forced to acknowledge the naked truth that her hopes of being reunited with Miss Abigail were not the product of a clear mind, but one of a nose-less cat thrown shamelessly in the trash. And so Sheila suffered, squished in the dark trash can between a rotting onion and an old shoe that had lost its mate. More reason to be thankful for not having a nose.
Deep into the sleepless night, Sheila heard a new rustling and felt the trash can shake. Oh joy! How wrong she had been to believe that Miss Abigail would just drop her in the trash because of a missing nose! Sheila put on the best face she could without a nose and sat, nearly quivering with excitement, looking forward to spending the rest of the night in the curio cabinet. When the lid popped off the trash can and fell to the ground with a startling crash, Sheila readied herself for the apology and kisses to come.
“What a funny little cat you are, missing both a nose and an eye!” said a deep rough voice. Sheila jumped, startled by the fact that the rough voice could not possibly belong to Miss Abigail. But then the words settled in and Sheila was even more startled by the fact there must have been another nose-less cat sharing her same trash can, a poor little cat who was also missing an eye!
As the thing with the rough voice bent closer, Sheila could now see that she was correct. It was not at all Miss Abigail, but rather, a menacing looking raccoon.