He’s an American short hair cat who owns Hugo’s garage on Linden Street in San Francisco. Hugo, the car mechanic, believes he’s the owner, but he’s mistaken. Leo got there first when he moved in as a kitten. He’s now 7-years old, ancient in cat years, but he knows his rights.
At night Leo slips in through a loose brick in the wall and curls up on the hood of whatever car Hugo is fixing. He’s not picky. He doesn’t care if it’s European or American. Sometimes he gets lucky and the hood is warm from Hugo running the engine during the day. Most times though it’s cold, but at least he has a peaceful place to sleep that’s high off the ground.
As far as he knows Hugo has never connected the paw prints to him, which is a good thing because he certainly leaves a lot of them, especially if the car is dusty.
One night he woke up with a start. His fur stood straight up, his face blushed red, and his heart thumped inside his bony chest. What was that? He heard a rattling. Then a loud crash. Leo darted from the hood and fled under the car and crashed into a wall of softness.
“Ouch!” a voice said.
“What happened to your whiskers warning of objects in the way?” said the very erudite English voice.
Leo blinked a few times.
“Forgive me for startling you. I needed a place to land for the night and I missed by a few feet.”
“Who are you?” Leo said when his heart finally settled back down.
“I’m Geraldine. I’m from two stories up,” she said.
Leo noticed an outline of this creature. She didn’t look like a cat or a dog. She didn’t smell like one either.
Geraldine stood up and shook.
“From two stories up? What does that mean?” Leo asked.
“I’ve escaped my confinement. It was ruining me,” she said stretching a wing that brushed Leo’s whiskers and tickled his face.
“They’ll look for you in the morning,” he said.
“I’ll be long gone, off to a Pacific island. I’ve been plotting this for years,” she said.
“That’s a long flight. Have you calculated the miles?”
“Of course. Every detail. It’s what’s kept me alive all these years.”
“How did you escape?” Leo was now interested in the story.