One day, back when I lived in Foo, I was walking home from work. The black oak trees that lined the road shading the air above me, their arching branches creating dappled sunlight at my feet.

Thinking about nothing, I moseyed forward and then whoosh the air behind me flared.


I turned and behind me, a bobcat yearling stood, not two feet from me. I looked up. He'd fallen out of the tree. I looked back at him. He stared at me, stunned, his feet wide, his ears skewed, his lanky, adolescent legs scrawny like a typical teen.

I knew what had happened. He'd biffed it while skulking around in the canopy, and had decked on the road. He knew, I knew he'd biffed it, and we looked at each other, neither moving. Both of us waited for the other to make the first move.

Then he gathered himself up, regaining not a stance of panic but one of feline pride, his ears shifted from out of sorts to alert, and his eyes went from dinner plates to slits.

He looked at me with utter feline scorn, and then he pivoted and sauntered away in the opposite direction.

As I watched his sassy retreat, his body swaying with complete confidence, I felt the extent of his power play.

I dare you, his short little nubben of a tail said. I dare you to tell anyone I fell out of a tree. It never happened.

And when I tell people I was only a foot away from a bob cat landing on my head, people think I'm telling them a tall tale.

But I'm not. That cat fell out of the tree. I almost saw it happen.

But you didn't. No one saw anything.