Gabe was a long-haul trucker. He wore flannel shirts and blue jeans. Day after day, he would travel down the road and deliver fresh produce to grocery warehouses.
One afternoon, Gabe decided to stop for a bite to eat. He turned on his signal and pulled into a truck stop. It was a lively place with a parking lot full of trucks and a restaurant full of truckers. Everyone was swapping tales and eating enough greasy food to stop an elephant dead in its tracks.
While the truckers ate, a skinny orange kitten watched from behind a gas pump. Drawn by the smell of burgers, he lifted his nose and walked toward the door. As he did, a dog appeared from around the corner. He was a slobbery brute with teeth like white nails and a head as big as a cannon ball. His ears slowly slanted backward as he lowered his head and began to growl menacingly.
The little kitten felt the hair on his back stand on end. With as much courage as he could muster, he bared his claws and swatted the mutt right across the nose. The dog yelped in pain and backed off just long enough that the kitten was able to make a break for it.
The dog shook himself. He bared his teeth and barked ferociously. He began chasing the little cat from one end of the truck stop to the other.
Before long, the little cat was so tired he could hardly run. He leaped onto the lift gate of a truck and crawled inside the ramp housing. The dog tried to jump in after him but knocked himself cold by banging his head against the bumper of the truck.
After hearing no further barking, the little cat crept toward the edge of the ramp housing to see what was the matter. He slowly peeked over the side and saw the dog lying on the ground. He started to leap down and run away. But he heard footsteps and retreated back into the ramp housing.
The footsteps were Gabe's. He had eaten lunch and decided to check his load before traveling any further. As he came around the corner, Gabe saw the dog lying on the ground.
"Wonder what happened to him." Gabe said as he crouched on the ground and massaged a huge knot on the dog's head. He took the dog in his arms and carried him to the back door of the truck stop. There, a young boy promised to call a vet and have the dog cared for.
Gabe returned to his truck, climbed in the cab, and started the engine. Plumes of black smoke belched from the exhaust pipes as the big truck rolled from the parking lot and onto the main road. Still hiding in the ramp housing, the little cat yowled in terror. Too scared to jump, he hung on for dear life while the big rig thundered down the road.
Soon, the truck pulled into a big warehouse filled with all sorts of grocery items. Gabe backed the trailer into a loading dock and got out to oversee the unloading process. When he walked around to the back of the truck, he heard a faint mewing noise.
"What do you supposed that could be?" Gabe wondered to himself. He looked into the ramp housing and there was the little kitten scrunched up near the back.
"Come on out little fella." Gabe coaxed. "I won't hurt you."
But the little cat didn't move. Instead he moved neared to the back of the ramp housing and began to cry even louder.
Gabe thought for a moment and had an idea. He went into the warehouse and returned moments later with a can opener and a can of tuna.
"This should do the trick." Gabe opened the can and held it near the ramp housing. As soon as the little cat smelled the tuna, he began easing his way toward Gabe.
"That's right." Gabe urged. The kitten peeked his head out of the ramp housing and mewed. Carefully, Gabe took him in his arms and held the tuna can under his nose.
"Here you go little one. Chow time."
The little cat was so hungry he devoured the tuna in just a few bites. Afterwards, he licked his chops and began to purr.
Gabe smiled. He picked up the little cat and put him in the cab of his truck.
"You're a cute little fellow. I think I'll keep you. But, I'll have to think of a name. I know! Since I found you while hauling a load of peaches, I'll call you Peaches. Would you like that?"
The little cat purred. He liked that name just fine."
Anita Bullard is a 32 year old graduate of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. Her interest include writing, hiking, and biking.
(Messages are forwarded by The Preservation Foundation.
So, when you write to an author, please type his/her name
in the subject line of the message.)