178 - Blackpaw Jack


You walk past the pet store on the way to your favorite liquor store. It’s Saturday and a battery of cages lines the sidewalk, displaying an assortment of cats, dogs, and just about any other cute-and-cuddly creature you can imagine.

You smell the trap. Tucking your head into your shoulders, you attempt to hurry past this adorable gauntlet. Before you clear the last of the cages, however, a single, desperate meow cuts through the din of woofs and purrs and pierces your heart.

You look down and see the source of the mew: a large grey tabby. Scratches line the left side of his face and his hair is patchy where scars have taken the place of follicles. Most distinguishing of all his features, however, is his most obvious one: his front left paw is missing completely. His front left leg ends a smooth, fur-covered nub where the ankle joint once was.

His pale green eyes look up at you pathetically. You cannot help yourself.

The lady that helps you adopt him tells you his name is Jack.

You carry the box containing Jack into the liquor store. You ask if he wants anything; he meows in response. You think that means no.

Later on at home, you watch Jack as he familiarizes himself with your apartment. Several times he reaches out to touch something with his nub, only to seem to remember he no longer has a paw there. It breaks your heart.

You have to do something.

An engineer in heart, but an idiot by trade, you break the hook off of a clothes hanger and grab a roll of duct tape. Several loud verbal protests and some controlled bleeding later, you manage to attach the hook to Jack’s nub.

“I dub thee…Blackpaw Jack!” you tell the cat.

Jack takes to his new role well. He terrorizes the seven seas (you while you’re in the bathtub). He raids coastal villages (your underwear drawer). He becomes the terror of the known world (he bites every guest you have). He takes a liking to cheap rum in his milk.

People ask you why you let Jack behave the way he does. You answer them with what you know to be the truth. That’s just how pirates be.