Halloween, the Black Cat, and Blair Sandburg
"You saw what, Chief?" demanded Jim as he steered Blair towards his truck.
Blair turned his head to look at Jim. "A black cat, Jim. How many times do I have to repeat myself?"
"And it just stood in the middle of the street and "
"And I had to swerve to avoid it. I overcompensated and hit the telephone pole. Did that officer really have to give me a ticket?"
"You know the law, Chief. It *was* reckless driving."
"But I did it to avoid hitting the cat, Jim! I didn't want to kill an innocent animal."
"No one else saw the cat, Sandburg. That argument isn't going to work with the courts."
"I saw it, Jim! Aren't I a reliable witness?"
"Just get in the truck, Sandburg. We're getting you checked out at the hospital. From what you told me, you impacted that pole pretty hard."
"I'm fine, Jim. What if I find the black cat? Do you think that will help my case when I appear in court?"
"You're going to find a black cat that probably ran off in the opposite direction when you crashed? I want to see that."
"Maybe you could help me, Jim. With your Sentinel abilities, I'm sure you'd be able to find a cat in no time."
"Oh, no, Junior! I'm not getting involved in your little fantasy. Maybe I should have the doctor check for drugs and a possible concussion."
As they reached Jim's truck, Blair turned to face Jim. "I know what I saw, Jim Ellison. I'm not under the influence of drugs, alcohol or any other substance. The officers didn't cite me for that. And I did not hit my head when I crashed into the telephone pole at less than twenty miles per hour."
Blair got into the passenger side of the truck, slamming the door with just a little more force than was necessary. The front end of his car needed extensive repair and Jim was practically accusing him of hallucinating what he had seen in the street. It took him by surprise that Jim would think such a thing.
Jim got into the driver's side and started the truck. "You didn't have to slam the door, Chief. I think one vehicle in the repair shop is enough at a time."
"Well, when my partner doesn't even want to believe the story I tell "
"Chief, it just seems a little out there, even for you."
"Don't you believe in black cats, witches and Halloween, Jim? It is Halloween and anything can happen."
"A black cat, huh? Next, you'll be telling me that it was my spirit animal."
"Nah, Jim. It was much smaller than the panther that's your spirit animal. This was just your everyday, run of the mill black cat that roams the streets of Cascade."
"And you're expecting to find this creature and take it to court with you?"
"Well, maybe not. I'll just get a fine and my license suspended, right?"
"Yeah, probably. You didn't hit any other vehicles and didn't injure any people. Although, swerving to avoid a cat in the street isn't the recommended course of action, Chief. You should have slowed down and give a blast from your horn. I'm sure the cat would have gotten out of the way. As it was, when you swerved, you could have injured yourself seriously and other people, had there been a lot of traffic."
"But that was the good thing about it, Jim. There was no traffic. And it was just instinct that I swerved. I didn't want to hit an innocent creature."
"My partner, the animal protector." Jim pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, finding the first available space. "Let's get you checked out, partner."
"Okay, Jim. But just remember, I did see the black cat and you know the superstitions associated with black cats."
"Yeah, that they are bad luck if they cross your path." Jim got Blair out of the truck and urged him towards the entrance of the hospital.
"That's not the only superstition, Jim. For thousands of years, black cats were mysterious creatures with supernatural powers and associated with witches and even death. There is a belief that witches can change into cats; in fact, there is thinking that they can make that change nine times. Some believe this to be the origin of the belief that cats have nine lives. There are many superstitions associated with cats, partly because the cat has lived alongside humans for thousands of years. Superstitions centering on the black cat are some of the most well-known and popular superstitions today."
As they walked into the hospital, Blair finished his explanation. "In various countries, there are many superstitions that involve cats, and not only black ones. There's even a superstition in Ireland that it is a good omen for anyone hearing a cat sneeze."
Jim placed his hand over Blair's mouth to quiet him. "That's really fascinating, Chief, but you need to let the doctor and nurse look you over." Jim steered Blair into the examination room the nurse indicated.
Blair removed Jim's hand from his mouth. "I just thought you wanted to know the story behind cats and superstition."
"It's more information than I, or anyone else, needs to know."
"Oh okay." Blair sat down on the examination table.
"You can tell me the rest on the ride home. I'm sure the examination won't take very long at all."
Jim was right. The examination didn't take long at all. And other than some bumps and bruises, there was nothing seriously wrong with Blair. No broken bones, no concussion and no lasting scars.
As they walked out of the hospital, Blair resumed his explanation of the role of cats in history, how it related to Halloween, and even the history of Halloween.
Jim was in awe of the depth of Blair's knowledge and listened intently as he seamlessly moved from one concept to another, weaving it into a whole, entertaining lecture. Jim could see why Blair's students at Rainier liked him as a teacher. Whatever he talked about, he made it interesting.
Jim let Blair's voice calm him as he drove them home. Tomorrow, he'd find out how much the repair cost was for Blair's car and pay them for his friend. Jim knew Blair was fortunate to have so few injuries. If he had been speeding or another vehicle had been in the other lane, things could have been a lot worse. This time the black cat was not an omen of bad luck.