When Toonces awakened, he had drifted to the edge of the water. A quick scan of the area revealed that his toothy tormentors were gone. He heard human voices nearby and saw a light in the tunnel. He raced toward it quickly before the rats could return.
A city sanitation worker was yelling up the ladder at another human near the top of the manhole. Now was his chance to escape! Toonces meowed loudly and raced up to him in effort to attract as much attention as possible. “Well, would you look’y here, Sam!”; Frank exclaimed. “You’ll never guess what I just found.”
“What did ‘ya find; a wallet with a hundred bucks in it?”; Joked Sam.
“Nah, nothing like that, it’s a kitty cat.”
“Hum, he must have fallen into the sewer drain.”; Sam surmised. “I’m sure he could tell us some captivating tales about life down here, if he could only talk!”
“Lets dry him off and take him to the shelter so he can be adopted.”; Frank suggested. “I’d take him myself but Gladys said; ‘No more pets’ or I’m sleeping in the doghouse with them!” Both men laughed at the realization of who ‘wore the pants’ in Frank’s family. Toonces was dropped off at the animal shelter where he was caged for the first time in his life. Due to continuous overcrowding, all animals not claimed after 30 days were ‘put to sleep’.
Toonces didn’t care much for living in a cage but it beat being crushed in a trash truck or becoming rat food. He had no idea that he was in any danger. He was getting two good meals a day and had several girlfriends during his time ‘behind bars’. Unknown to him, the 30 days were soon up and he was scheduled to have his ‘nap’. At the appointed time, Toonces and several other unfortunate creatures were led to the gas chamber. That was his eighth life.
When he awoke amid the piles of his fellow inmates, he realized that he was on top of a dump truck. “Better on top than inside”; Toonces remembered with a shudder. Then it occurred what was in store for him at the landfill. He told the others what it was like being trapped under piles of trash. He; along with a few other cats who had lives left, began planning a daring escape.
They agreed to work together since none of them wanted to smother to death. When the driver got out to ask the landfill director where to dump the load, Toonces and his motley gang made their move. Inside the cab of the dump truck, Toonces threw the huge truck into gear. The driver and the Landfill manager couldn’t believe their eyes! A large grinning cat was stealing the truck! They were too stunned to chase after it but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. The feline bandits were already gone in a cloud of dust.
Toonces hadn’t been to this part of town so the cliffside road and scenery were new to him. He was still trying to master the complicated big-rig gear system when a tabby named Frances spoke. “How can you be driving? All wise cats know that we can’t drive human automobiles.”
With that doubt-inspiring statement, the dump truck and all of it’s renegade passengers veered over the edge of the cliffside road. Immediately they plunged to their final deaths below. Curiosity didn’t kill Toonces, crippling doubt did!