I was tooling down one of MPLS's main one-way thoroughfares, a pair of pies riding shotgun and T.D. Mischke going on about the wonders of Summit beer on my iPod, when I spotted a gray, furry flash in my headlights.
It was a cat.
I slammed on the brakes as hard as I could, sending the contents of the car rushing forward. The feline figure disappeared from my headlights and under my car.
The sound was brief but sickening, for I knew I had extinguished another life force on this planet.
I hadn't even managed to finish my muttered "shit", when I noticed the body of the cat spinning and tumbling along the street almost parallel to my Pizzacar. Then I realized that wasn't all. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the cat's head. It shot out of my wheel well with great velocity towards the curb where it hit with a tiny, yet somehow
There were two guys standing on the sidewalk and I could hear them in unison: "Oooo...OHHhhh..." The first "Ooo" for the initial impact, the second "OHhh" for the gruesome aftermath.
I pulled around the corner and stopped. I got out of the car and
started to walk back, but then thought "What am I going to do about it?". I mean, the cat was dead and any form of ID was either crushed or mangled into the now-dead kitty flesh. I felt awful. But not awful enough to poke around a carcass just so I could, at the very most, be the bearer of terrible news. I got back into my car and drove off.
Now, this wasn't my first experience with vehicular animal-cide. In my 17-plus years of driving I've hit deer, rabbits, squirrels, foxes and coyotes, but I've never killed anything that someone, somewhere was expecting to see the next day.
The rest of the night I drove around imagining the worst case scenario: A small child looking sadly, longingly through a picture-window in a house. The child's Mother stroking his/her hair and whispering "I'm sorry Honey, but Mr Whiskers won't be coming home anymore".