"Sheila's Nose" A Serial Cat Tail. Part 6. "You Don't Know Where It Has Been!"

The raccoon, making his nightly rounds usually wanted nothing to do with trash that was not edible, but there was something about the little bewildered cat staring up at him with one eye that struck a familiar chord deep in the raccoon’s psyche.  He was so taken by her that he did not even hunt through the trash for the tasty bits he could smell, though he did take the opportunity to gobble up the rotting onion.  Instead, he took Sheila’s crooked tail between his teeth, careful not to bite down too hard and crept along the alley. 
Sheila, though relieved to be in fresh air, rescued from the humiliation of the trash can, could not find the heart to embrace the idea of spending the rest of her life as the cat of a raccoon.  What about the other cat with the missing nose and eye?  This thought led to another more disturbing one.  Was it possible that she was that cat?  That would explain the coolish tickling and why she was having a difficult time seeing.  Drat that mouse!  He had not merely sniffed and licked but had also gnawed off one of her eyes, swallowed it, and disappeared!
You can imagine how Sheila felt upon making this astonishing discovery.

The raccoon, being a very organized sort of fellow, felt it necessary to first bring the cat back to his nest in the sewer before continuing on his nightly raid.  Just last week, he had made the unusual decision to drag a cardboard box back to his nest.  Normally, he did not like cluttering up his space with useless junk.  But he could not resist this particular box since it featured a picture of a very handsome three toed sloth.  The raccoon had always dreamed of vacationing to New Zealand to meet these distant relatives of his. 
Being absorbed in these thoughts, the raccoon was not paying attention in his usual alert way.  As he stepped into the street, a car screeched around the corner, nearly taking off the raccoon’s nose.  It gave the raccoon such a scare that he dropped his new treasure and scurried down the street, back arched, fur-raised, and disappeared into the sewer.  He was an unusually skittish raccoon, the determining factor as to why he had never been able to find a mate.  So despite his desire to have a little cat companion living in his cardboard box, he could not bring himself to leave his nest again that night.  
The next morning, an elegant looking woman, indeed the very one who Miss Abigail had seen the previous week discussing who knows what with Mr. Elliot, was out walking with her daughter.  The little girl, spotting something in the gutter, ran ahead despite her mother’s protestations.  What she found was not the real live bunny she had hoped for, but rather, a nose-less one-eyed bewildered stuffed cat with a crooked tail.  “Put that down right now!” her mother yelled.  “You don’t know where it has been!”

But the little girl had already discovered something in the little cat that was so familiar and comforting that she did not dare let her go, even if it meant suffering her mother’s wrath.  For you see, the little girl’s mother was a bibliophile and preferred to spend her time buried in the silence of thick books, leaving the girl hours upon hours to dream of a companion all her own.  

Her mother was more than repulsed by this trash her daughter held against her freshly laundered silk chemise.  Having been raised by unapologetic slobs, the woman had an extreme aversion to any disregard for personal hygiene and order. There was nothing more crucial than being freshly bathed, pressed, coiffed, and scented.
She demanded that the child drop the filthy thing that instant.  But the little girl, who was normally quite frightened of her stern mother, felt the rising of an unfamiliar sensation that stung her deep inside her nose bringing tears to her eyes.  "No!" she screamed and ran.
So there was poor Sheila, clutched so desperately by the girl, that if she still had both her eyes they would have crossed in pain.  Even the raccoon, as abject of a creature as he was, had, at the very least, been gentle with her.  

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