How to give a difficult cat a pill safely

As someone who had a huge, wild cat that thought it was a tiger and could read minds, as someone who now has three feral cats living in her house, two of which had grown up on the streets and ate from the garbage, as someone who’d dealt with sick and wounded feral cats while taking them to the vet and then had given them medicine and eye-drops, I want to share my experience and tips on how to give your feline friend its medicine without being murdered.

Here’s your furry friend, staring up at you. You know what it’s thinking, don’t you? Just try to force this pill down my throat, human. See this bloodcurdling look in its yellow eyes, the eyes of a man-eating hunter.

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Smash the pill and put it in the cat’s favorite food Put the pill on a large spoon (a soup spoon will do), get a smaller spoon, place the large spoon on a surface like the table, and press down. If the pill is extra hard, add a little bit of warm water. Smash the pill until it turns to powder, then get your favorite cat’s food, like tuna, put a small amount of tuna in the food bowl, flatten it a bit with a clean spoon and add the powder, then cover it with another thin layer of tuna.

If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to force your cat to swallow the pill.

A large pill should be either broken down to small pieces or smashed to powder Ask the vet in advance about the taste and odor of the pill. A horrible tasting and smelling pill can be broken to pieces, but a pill with a weaker taste and smell can be smashed to powder. Either way, put it in a small spoon. I’ve always found it helpful to add a little water.

How to force your cat to swallow the pill. Wait until your feline is sleepy, then take the spoon and hide it behind your back.

Pet your cat gently several times and then grab the back of its neck with one hand, make it stand on two, preferably with its front paws on the wall.

Pry its mouth open with the spoon, tilt its head up, and then shove the contents into its mouth.

If the cat doesn’t swallow, scratch its neck with the spoon gently several times, starting under the chin and going down. Just like when you scratch the back of its neck, but with a spoon. Scratching an angry cat’s neck with a finger can result in stitches and a visit to the ER.

No misunderstandings here: never shove the spoon down the cat’s throat. Rubbing its neck is done on the outside, and very gently. When putting the spoon in the cat’s mouth, you do NOT shove the spoon into its throat.

Search for traces of the pill Cats will sometimes try to spit out the pill or powder. I’ve found small bits and sometimes powder on the floor, under the cat’s chin, anywhere on its fur, and sometimes on its tail.

Make sure the cat doesn’t throw up Cats will sometimes spit or throw up the pill. They may not do it right away. Watch the cat for ten minutes just to be on the safe side. Sometimes you can stop a cat from throwing up by grabbing it by the back of the neck and making it stand up on its hind legs while tilting its head up, or by startling it. Worked for me.

If all else fails, get a professional to trap your cat There are people who specialize in trapping wounded and sick feral cats so they can be taken to the vet. Close the cats’ door and the windows and call the professional to help you put your cat in a cage, then take it to the vet and explain you can’t force the cat to swallow its medicine. Ask to leave your cat at the vet’s office and have them give it its medicine until the course of antibiotics or any other kind of medicine is over.

Caution: always be gentle when tilting the cat’s head up so you won’t harm it.

Good luck

This Triexie Lukas funny, mouse-shaped cuddly cave has everything your cat needs; a scratching surface on top, a napping and hiding cushioned place, and mouse’s ears to pull. See the picture and read customers’ reviews. Check it out

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Story: an aspie in a noisy, crowded environment

“I made new cutlers,” Gaby’s mother announced at dinner. Kyle was at a friend’s house. Golden sunlight painted the yellow oak table and stretched on the white wall beyond it.

“No, thanks.” Gaby eyed the new food suspiciously.

“You need to grow up, Gabriella,” her mother said. “You’re small because you don’t eat. People think we don’t feed you.”

“Your mother went to a lot of trouble to prepare this food,” her father said. “And you’re going to eat it. You don’t eat food because you like it or enjoy it. You eat it because you have too. I was grateful for every scrape of food my stepmother game me.”

“My stomach hurts,” Gaby said. The garbage truck beeped outside, followed by thuds and workers shouting to each other in deep, rough voices, earsplitting ever from three stories below.

“Everything hurts,” her father said. “Either it’s a toothache, a stomach ache, a headache, or the stick my parents used on me about twice a week because it was the only way they knew to keep me safe. But you can’t make it in this world if you don’t do what you’re told, Gabriella. You do what the teachers say, what the bigger kids in school say, what the class leader say. Give her two cutlers, Linda.” He turned to Gaby’s mother. “And give me four, add pasta.”

Gaby’s mother did.

Gaby stared at the horribly processed meat, contaminated with unnatural substances like salt and pepper. “Eat it,” her father ordered.

She wanted to leap to her feet and run, but she was trapped between the table and the wall. Her mother sat on the other side of the table, facing her. Her father sat with his profile to her, within easy reach. If she tried to escape, he might grab her. So she cut a tiny bit of the cutler and chewed it, wincing at the rubbery, lumpy texture. She pushed her plate away.

“Eat it,” her father yelled, slamming his hand on the table.

“What’s the matter?” her mother asked.

“It’s full of lumps,” Gaby said. A fly crawled on the ceiling, its upside down shadow huge and grotesque on the table.

“What lumps?” Her mother ate her cutler and stared into space with a fixed expression. “What are you talking about?”

“You’re not getting up from this table until you eat,” her father said. She didn’t move. She didn’t know what to do. The fly buzzed, the noise grating on her nerves.

“Eat it!” he yelled. “Eat it! Eat!”

She did, gagging. Her father didn’t take his eyes off her, and her mother ate staring at the window. The food stuck to her teeth and the root of her mouth. A wave of nausea rolled in her stomach. She shoved the last bit into her mouth and swallowed it. She coughed and choked.

“Now you can leave the table.” Her father’s voice was quieter, and he reached his hand to pet her head as if she were a dog. Gaby escaped the touch with a grimace of disgust and ran to her room.

She closed the door and slammed her head against the wall several times. It didn’t hurt. She stopped and went to the window, placing her hands on the table, its smooth surface tinged with orange in the weakening sunrays.

The sun slipping behind the building across the road, about to abandon the world. Lengthening shadows claimed the emptying street. Gaby couldn’t imagine any of her classmates being treated this way by their parents, or anyone else. They knew how to defend themselves in ways she couldn’t even understand. They transmitted confidence and strength without words.

Gaby had to find a way to stop people from treating her this way, but she didn’t know how. She rocked back and forth, and then paced the room flapping her fingers frantically.

She’d get several paychecks and leave the house, she decided finally. She’d never see her classmates again. Self-defense classes were out of the question because that would be putting her in harm’s way. The reason why she was humiliated and mistreated on the waitress job was because she’d tried to do something she didn’t have the skills to do, just like she didn’t have the skills to learn how to fight.

She’d never get bullied on the job. These things never happen on the job. Isn’t that what her mother said? True, Skip had punched the drinks’ station, but he didn’t punch her. It had nothing to do with her. It was just an immature way of dealing with stress. Perhaps it was an isolated incidence that would never happen again anyway.

She willed herself to believe this as she stared out at the street, now dreamlike and surrealistic in the descending twilight.

*

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Healing morning sunrays painted the ocean turquoise. Gaby walked barefoot on the beach, staying near the water where the sand was muddy and darker. It was cool under her feet. When the ramp swam into view, she put her sandals back on she the dry sand farther from the water wouldn’t scorch her bare feet.

A crowd has gathered on the ramp. People were shouting, clapping, singing, whistling. Gaby winced at the noise and started walking toward the restaurant. Someone hit her on the back of the head with a plastic hammer.

She navigated around teen boys wrestling each other playfully to the floor, narrowly avoiding a tall waiter who rushed toward her, holding a tray with a three layers cake high above his head. A scared Australian Shepherd has escaped into a bakery and was being chased away by the workers.

Gaby saw the sign with the word ‘Bakery’, but something strange was happening. The word had no shape, taste, or texture. Therefore it was meaningless, hovering on the edge of her consciousness. The crowd has turned into a pulsing beast. The noise melted into the roar of the ocean. It was getting hard to tell the sounds apart.

Gaby stumbled to the banister and stood with her back pressed against it. She couldn’t move or think. She forgot where she was and how she’s gotten there. She lost sense of time. Numbness settled over her.

Waves crashed into her back. People bumped into her. She barely felt it. Someone screamed to word ‘Retard’, and laughter exploded. Hands wove in front of her face. Someone had placed a paper cup filled with coffee on her head.

A shape materialized before her. Noise issued from the shape. It took her a few minutes to realize it was human language, but she couldn’t tell the words apart. It might as have had been Chinese.

A hand clamped over hers, and the wooden floor moved under her feet. She was led toward the five stairs leading down from the ramp and caught in midair as she stumbled. Then she was on the beach, walking away from the noise.

She gradually became aware of her surroundings, the reassuring, natural sound of the ocean, the encouraging sunlight lighting up the ocean, and the man walking next to her. He was about Kyle’s age, medium height and skinny. He was kicking the seashells, arranging them into a neat line.

“Thank you,” she said when she could find her voice. She was touched but unsurprised at the random act of kindness. Humans were perfectly capable of helping others in need. It was a mammalian thing. It was why they haven’t become extinct.

“You’re welcome.” He had a soft, whispery voice. “I get this way too sometimes. Too much noise, too much information, a change in my routine. All of these can trigger an aspie shutdown.”

“A what?”  Gaby asked.

He turned his head toward her and fixed her with a steady gaze. His eyes were midnight blue, trapped between curling eyelashes that made them look forced open and wide. They shone in an extra light that gave them a quirky appearance.

“An aspie shutdown can happen to anyone who has the mixed gift of Asperger syndrome.” He shoved a bunch of blue and white jellyfishes with the tip of his sandal gently, arranging them in a perfect circle, kicking an empty beer can away in the process.

“Asperger syndrome?” She wished she could see the word written. She imagined what it would look like on paper. The word ‘Asperger’ was deep, slightly damp, a bit stick, and somehow painful.

“It’s a very mild form of autism, no development delay, no speech delay.” The sunrays colored the tiny freckles on the man’s small turned-up nose golden. “We aspie have poor social and motor skills and have difficulty reading body language and expressions. But we use our higher intelligence level and super focus to learn social codes. I’ve trained myself to make eye contact in a job interview.”

“The human race is the only species that has so many syndromes and differences,” Gaby said. “What does it have to do with me?”

“You’ve got that aspie look,” the man said. “I know a fellow aspie when I see one. You have a confused and lost look in your eyes, as if you don’t know what’s going on around you, can’t understand this world.”

Gaby stopped dead in her tracks. Her heart raced. So this was the reason for all her problems, her deficiencies. She kicked away a plastic bag carried on the waves that had wrapped around her mid-calf. A memory flashed through her mind.

“My mother says I didn’t recognize my father when I was a year old, and he came back from a week-long conference about Darwinism. He didn’t have time to shave. It was so intense. She says I had treated him like a stranger until he shaved.”

The man said, “I used my aspie traits to my advantage by memorizing tiny details on the person’s face so I’ll remember him later. We’re better at recognizing the smallest details than neurotypicals.”

“You mean non-autistics?” Gaby felt like she’s eaten a spoonful of salt. The ocean air was crusted with it. “I was always terrified of being caught flapping my fingers in public, like it was a dirty secret. I thought I was a freak.”

The man smiled, a flash of brilliant white in his dark, heart-shaped face. “You’re not. But if they find out you have autism in this town, I won’t be too surprised if they drop you from a plane into the middle of the ocean. You don’t die by drowning. From such height, even the surface of the water is as hard as cement, and you die on impact. It’s better than drowning, when you hold your breath for as long as you can, and then inhale water, and you can’t see anything and end up dying in darkness. However, I’d assume seeing the water getting near you and knowing you’re going to die, going screaming all the way down isn’t fun either.”

He held out his hand. “My name is Mark.” The wind tousled his hair. She couldn’t tell if it was blond highlighted by reddish streaks of red with yellow stripes. “I hope you’re not repulsed by touch.”

“That depends,” Gaby said. She knew touch could be repulsive, dominating, and painful, so she extended her hand slowly and cautiously touched Mark’s palm with her fingertips before shaking his hand. It was dry and smooth, not repulsive at all. But he held on to her hand a second too long. So she snatched her hand away.  He let go instantly and stepped back.

“I have to go to work now,” Gaby said.

“Sure. It was nice talking to you.” Mark turned and started walking away.

Gaby stared at his retreating back. If she let him close to her, he could create chaos in her life, like her parents, like Angelina and Gina, like Kyle who would hardly talk to her. However, he was the only one she could talk to about her situation, about the syndrome, or about anything at all for that matter. She had no one else to talk to.

She took a deep breath and called, “Mark.” She choked on the word.

Mark stopped and turned. Gaby wanted to ask for a phone number, a place they could meet, but she couldn’t get the words out. her heart fluttered. She opened and closed her mouth.

Mark said, “If you want to know more about Asperger, or how an aspie can make it in this world, we can trade phone numbers. I know it’s harder for a girl, and I know the problems you’re facing.”

Gaby swallowed and nodded her agreement.

‘Asperger’s Syndrome Metldowns and Shutdowns’ is a book by the girl with the curly hair, an aspie herself. It contains valuable advice on dealing with these problems and pictures that emphasize what it feels like to be in these situations. To learn how to deal with meltdowns and shutdowns, click here

How to annoy an aspie

Here are some lovely ways to drive an aspie up the wall. Always work on me. I made up a list of surefire methods to infuriate any aspie from my own personal experience, things I assure you any aspie would find maddening.

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Insist on talking in a noisy environment On the bus with the engine roaring, with fireworks in the background, a thunderstorm, loud music. That kind of thing. Ask questions and insist on getting answers to make sure the aspie has to strain to hear you. That always makes me want to strangle someone.

Apply sunscreen to the aspie’s face Aspies hate it when something sticks to their skin. Just leap behind the aspie, rub it on his/her face and scream ‘You’re gonna die from skin cancer’!

Do something unexpected Tell the aspie you’ll be walking five minutes by foot, and then make it a fifteen minutes walk plus taking a bus. Better yet, tell the aspie you’ll be at his/her house at nine, then arrive at eight. This will annoy the aspie to no end.

Bring a large group of people Organize a surprise birthday party for the aspie. Bring your family, friends, associates, your dog walker, gardener, babysitter, and psychiatrist. Have them form a circle around the aspie and scream, “Surprise!”

Stare them in the eye without blinking for as long as you can

Ask the aspie about his special interest and then cut him short Start blabbering about who’s dating who, and who broke up with who.

Tell the aspie it’s illegal to stim in public

Tell the aspie it’s scientifically proven all loners are serial killers

Tickle the aspie or get in his face An excellent way to annoy the hell out of any aspie

Tell the aspie his behavior was very embarrassing, then refuse to tell him what he did wrong Tell him to figure it out himself. It’s not that difficult. He’s just pretending not to know what he did wrong.

Caution: be ready to duck when things start flying around as the aspie screams and pulls his hair out.

In ‘The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed’, Temple Grandin explains the possible genetic causes of autism, sharing her own brain scan. She writes about her inability to speak as a child and her sensitivity to touch. She writes about the autistic unique thinking and has a list of jobs potential for people on the spectrum. To learn more about the how the autistic brain works click here

Story: aspie girl looking for a job

This is a continual story about the struggle of an aspie girl for independence. To read the first chapter, click here

Waves crashed against the wooden ramp with a roar that muffled the screams, squeals, laughter, and whistles. Gaby held on to the black metal banister and made her way cautiously on the slippery ramp, navigating around dinners seated outside restaurants under umbrellas, shouting to be heard over the ocean’s noise.

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A sign saying ‘Help wanted’ caught Gaby’s attention. The word ‘help’ was dry and crumbling, and the word ‘wanted’ was only slightly moist and barely fulfilling. It tasted like cottage cheese.

Gaby started toward the restaurant, feeling no fear. A calm settled over her. It was very simple, just like Kyle had said. All she had to do was walk inside the restaurant and ask if they need help. It was the most basic and unsophisticated form of communication; talking. It was also a simple and noncommitting way to communicate because she wasn’t asking to be accepted or loved. It was just business. It was such a simple task, it was boring.

As she pulled the heavy glass door open, she was amazed to notice her hands were shaking. Her knees turned to jelly. Her legs were cold and numb. She frowned, realizing she was afraid after all. She let herself into the artificial cool and the dull hum of the air conditioner that muffled the genuine noise of the ocean and eliminated the authentic heat.

Gaby leapt out of the way as a waitress rushed toward her, balancing two trays on both arms, holding them high. Gaby started toward the cash register cautiously. Boisterous laughter erupted from the tables that lined the restaurant, voices shouted greetings, and silverwares and glasses clanked together.

Gaby was grateful for the air conditioner’s hum. Although it lacked the beauty natural sounds had, it drowned out the noise, turned it gentler and faraway, like an illusion. There’s something about distant noise that emphasizes the silence better than total lack of sound.

A tall, thin young woman leaned on the cash register, talking to another woman and a man. The three were moving their hands as they spoke, deep in conversation. Gaby hesitated.

The woman turned toward her. “Can I help you?” she asked. She had a nametag with the word ‘Manager’ on it. Such an airy word, a bit sticky and bitter, though.

Gaby froze. She had a sudden urge to flee. Images of her room and the park flashed through her mind. She longed for the safety of her house, the solitude, the routine. She dug her sandals into the polished floor that reflected the fluorescent lights above so she wouldn’t run. She tried to speak but couldn’t.

“I’m looking for a job,” she finally managed to say.

The manager looked her up and down. Gaby knew her clothes weren’t an issue. It didn’t matter that she wore purple jeans and a T-shirt with a picture of a blue-eyed, orange feral cat leaping out of a garbage can, surrounded by magenta and indigo patches. She figured the manager knew Gaby would wear work uniforms if she got hired anyway. She wasn’t working yet. She was just looking for a job. It wasn’t official.

The manager hugged the man and the woman. They kissed on both cheeks and left. Then the manager turned to Gaby. “You’re in luck,” she said in a slightly high-pitched voice. “One of our girls just quit yesterday, and we need someone right now.”

She took Gaby to a back room and gave her uniforms that were too large for her. The shirt reached her knees and hung like a tent around her, and she was given a belt to keep the skirt from sliding off her waist.

“The customer is your God,” the manager, Evelyn, explained to Gaby. “If a customer yells at you, tells you your mother is a whore, you don’t answer. If you want to wait until the end of your shift and beat the hell out of him outside, I don’t care. But when you’re on my payroll time, if you have to kiss the customer’s butt, that’s what you’ll do.”

Gaby nodded, not trusting herself to speak.

“And when a customer leaves,” Evelyn continued. “You say, ‘Thank you for visiting the restaurant, sir. Please come back again.”

“Yes,” Gaby whispered. Did people really do this every day? There was a hollow in her stomach. She crossed her arms so Evelyn wouldn’t see they were shaking.

“And if you get robbed at closing time,” Evelyn said. “To prevent getting hurt, you should treat the robber with the same courtesy you would a customer.”

Gaby looked up, surprised. Evelyn’s purple earrings caught the light, the same color as her lipstick. “You want me to ask a robber to please come back?” she asked, incredulous.

Evelyn rolled her dark brown eyes in their ridiculous circle of pencil and eyeshadow. “Don’t get smart.” Her voice sounded more high-pitched than before. “I can be your best friend or your worse enemy. Don’t ever forget that.”

Gaby felt a wave of heat creeping from her neck to the top of her forehead. She resisted the urge to cover her face with her hands.

Evelyn got to her feet in one smooth, fluid motion that Gaby envied. It reminded her of her own awkwardness and clumsiness. “I’ll just pretend I didn’t hear your last comment,” Evelyn said as she led Gaby to her station. She told her to watch the other girls for fifteen minutes and then serve customers herself.

Gaby wiped her sweaty hands on her skirt and shaded her eyes from the blinding sunrays outside the glass doors and the horrible, artificial glare of the fluorescent light. The other workers looked like robots. She had no idea what they were thinking or feeling. Fifteen minutes later, Evelyn appeared at her side and told her it was time for her to serve customers.

An old couple let themselves in and strolled to a seat. The man wearing a wide-brimmed hat. The woman with dark sunglasses. Gaby’s legs froze. She filled her lungs with air and forced herself to walk over to their table. She tried to smile, but her face muscles were frozen and wouldn’t cooperate.

“What do you want to order?” she asked.

The man looked up at her with watery green eyes in a round, dark face lined and withered with age. “What the hell kind of attitude is that?” he yelled, slamming his fist on the table. Heads turned in their direction. A girl in her late teens who had her leg thrown over her mother’s hip stared, wide-eyed.

Gaby had no idea why he was so angry. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“What do you mean what’s wrong?” The man hollered. “I’m older than you are, and I demand respect. When you see a customer, you greet him.”

“Hi,” Gaby said.

“What do you mean ‘Hi'”? the man yelled. “Is this your idea of greeting?”

“Any problems over there?” a man wearing a headband with shoulder-length dark hair called from a nearby table.

Gaby felt trapped. She had no idea what she was supposed to say. She dug her sandals firmly into the floor to stop her legs from trembling. “How am I supposed to greet you?” she asked in a small voice.

“You mean you don’t know?” The man was shouting even louder now, and Gaby resisted the urge to cover her ears. A hush fell over the restaurant. People were whispering to each other and pointing.

“He’s not supposed to explain it to you,” the woman told Gaby in a hoarse smoker’s voice. “He’s not your daddy or your psychiatrist. You’re supposed to know these things on your own. You’re a big girl now.”

“Never mind,” the man snapped. “Get us two orders of chicken meals with soup. And while you’re at it, tell your manager to get you some better manners.”

Gaby turned and fled, her heart pounding. Just as she gave the cook the orders, four teens slammed in through the door, two boys and two extremely overweight bleached blond girls wearing light blue shirts.

Gaby hurried over to their table, dreading having to greet them. But the girl seated on the right spoke before Gaby had a chance to say anything. She ordered a plain hamburger. The other teens didn’t order anything.

In a few minutes, the hamburger arrived. Gaby took it to the table and put it in front of the girl. “Enjoy your meal.” Gaby smiled.

“I didn’t order the hamburger,” the girl said.

“But you did,” Gaby said. “You asked for a plain hamburger.”

“I asked for it,” the girl on the left said. “We switched places.”

Gaby pushed the hamburger toward her. “Sorry,” she said.

“How come you didn’t know which girl asked for the hamburger?” one of the boys asked. “She was talking to you. You were looking straight at her.”

Gaby shrugged. “They both have the same hair and are wearing the same clothes, and they’re both the same weight. It’s easy to get confused.”

She turned and started away. Something soft hit the back of her head. She turned to see the hamburger at her feet and the boy kicking his chair over with a thud. They teens sauntered to the door and out.

Just then, the cook called out the older couple’s order. Gaby slid on the floor toward the overturned chair, picked it up and righted it, rushed toward the hamburger, snatched it off the floor and dropped it in the garbage can. Then she turned to the old couple’s trays.

She picked up the one tray and placed it on her left arm, but she had no idea how to pick up the second tray. She made a few unsuccessful attempts at sliding her right arm under the other tray. Another waitress about her age hurried by and put the tray on her arm. Gaby thanked her and walked toward the couple.

She placed both arms on the table and tried sliding the tray off her left arm with the help of her right pinkie finger.

“What do you think you’re doing?” the man asked.

“Getting those trays off my arm,” Gaby told him. “Just give me a minute here.”

The tray was moving slowly, the soup sloshing in its bowl. One more inch, another one. And then the tray slid off her right arm, and the bowl of soup banged into the table, sending the hot liquid flying in all directions, landing on the man’s pants, the woman’s sunglasses, and soaking Gaby’s shirt, hot and scalding. She yelped.

“You’re an idiot!” the man roared. “A misfit. My five year old grandson would’ve handled these trays better. They must be desperate to hire someone like you. Where did they find you, in the loony bin?”

Gaby held the scorching shirt away from her body, but the hot liquid has already seeped through to the skin. The air conditioner buzzed loudly in the total silence that fell over the restaurant. The ocean rumbled outside.

“I knew there was something wrong with you the minute I saw you,” the woman told Gaby.

“I’m so sorry,” Gaby whispered. “I didn’t mean to do it. It was an accident. It was difficult to…”

“Are you a retard?” the man with the headband asked.

“She’s got that strange look in her eyes,” a heavily pregnant woman called. She was balancing a baby on one hip and a toddler on another.

“I demand to talk to your manager right now!” the man roared. “And tell her I’m suing the hell out of this place.” Gaby was getting lightheaded. The walls were swaying.

Evelyn appeared at her side. Her eyes scanned the crowd and went to rest on Gaby. “What’s going on here, dammit?” She put her hands on her hips.

The dinners leapt to their feet, men, women, older people, teens. They started shouting and waving their arms. “The girl with the dead look in her eyes dropped the trays. Look at the mess she’s made.” “She insulted two girls, called them fat with a strange dull voice, like a robot.” “They threw a hamburger at her. She’s lucky they didn’t beat the daylight out of her. I would’ve.”

The toddler on the pregnant woman’s hip was screaming, shoving chubby fingers into a slice of chocolate cake and smearing it all over his face. Gaby was reminded that it takes one wail from a single wolf to get the whole pack to create the jungle symphony. She covered her ears with her hands. The wind whistled outside.

“Get out,” Evelyn yelled. “Get out of my restaurant.” She tugged at Gaby’s apron, and her fingers brushed against Gaby’s stomach. Gaby screamed and leapt backwards, slamming into a table. “Hey!” a rough male voice shouted behind her.

Gaby jumped sideways and struggled to get the apron’s knot open at her back. Evelyn laughed, showing small teeth streaked with purple lipstick. The customers laughed.

A boy of about six hurried toward Gaby, circled her, and got the apron’s knot open easily. Evelyn threw her head back and roared with laughter, her teeth glittering in the fluorescent light.

Gaby spun around and fled. A woman’s voice trailed behind her. “Retards should be drowned at birth.”

And then Gaby was outside, the wind whipping sharply at her face, and the roar of the ocean drowned out everything else. She stumbled on the ramp. Her legs were shaking badly. She leaned on the banister and rested her forehead against the hard metal.

Finally she straightened and looked at the ocean to calm herself. Sunlight glittered on the foam, and the ocean was colored by different shades of blue, light and gentle near the shore and getting darker and deeper as it rolled toward the horizon. Gaby took a deep breath of the slightly salty air, a scent so mild that she could only smell it when the wind blew in her direction. If the breeze wasn’t strong enough, the smell seemed like a figment of her imagination.

She calmed her nerves and resumed her walking on the ramp. She felt detached, distant. What happened didn’t matter. She’s put it behind her. She’s gotten over it. Down at the shore, a barefooted, shirtless fisherman handed several fishes to a feral white kitten with orange stripes as thin as threads on the sides of its body. She could only see them when the sunrays shone on the kitten from a certain angle, turning them into sparks. A seagull circled the kitten, looking wishfully at the fishes but keeping a wary eye on the little fluff ball.

That’s when she saw the sign reading ‘Fast food.’ Fast was a liquid and slightly sticky word, and the word ‘Food’ was heavy, deep, and dry. Gaby opened the glass door and let herself into the noise of ringing, cash registers clanking, talking, laughter, screaming toddlers, footsteps, and cashiers calling out orders. It seemed like a beehive, every bee with its task, working together to keep up a mutual territory.

Gaby walked to the register. The cashier’s face was covered with black hair so thick that he resembled a werewolf. Only his brown eyes were visible.

Gaby opened her mouth, but the words wouldn’t come out. She filled her lungs with air and whispered, “I’m…” She stopped, cleared her throat, and said, “I’m looking for a job,” in a voice that quivered only slightly.

The cashier turned his head toward the kitchen and called out. In a minute, a short stocky man in his late twenties walked toward Gaby and introduced himself as Nike. He led he to a side room where she was given extra small uniforms that fit her fine.

“We need a salad girl here.” Nike’s voice was a deep baritone. “Someone fast and energetic.”

“I won’t have to hand the trays to customers, would I?” Gaby’s voice caught on the last words. She gripped the chair’s arms hard.

“No.” Nike smiled, showing very white, even teeth. “We don’t have waitresses here.”

“You’re sure I wouldn’t have to deal with customers?” Gaby asked.

“No. You’re the salad girl, that’s all. Relax. There’s no need to be nervous. Larry will show you the ropes.”

Larry turned out to be the werewolf. He lined the table with empty bowls and picked up a box of lettuce. Standing close to him, a mild sour odor of sweat drafted toward Gaby’s nostrils.

Larry started filling the bowls with lettuce. “There,” he told Gaby. “This is how you do it. Ever worked in a fast food restaurant before?”

Gaby shook her head, too shy to speak. Larry was looking her straight in the eye, and she turned her head. Outside the glass doors, a Collie ran on the ramp among the dinners. Someone threw it a piece of chicken.

“Ever worked anyplace before?” Larry asked. She shook her head. “You finished high school?” She nodded. “You live with your parents?” Another nod. “Got a boyfriend?” She shook her head. “Ever had one?” She shook her head again.

She figured these were common questions that people usually asked strangers, if they were working with them. Larry was trying to be friendly, or maybe he was bored.

Every species has its own codes of behavior for the event of two creatures meeting for the first time. A cat would avoid an unfamiliar cat and treat it with fear and suspicion, at first at least. A dog would sniff another dog, and sometimes they would play, or fight. A human would ask questions.

Larry let her make salads herself. She snatched the lettuce and filled the bowls, her hands making a swooshing sound as they slashed through the air, creating a breeze. Moving as fast as she could and pushing herself to the limit was so liberating. It was addictive.

“Wow,” Larry said. “I’ve never seen anyone move that fast. Are you on drugs, uppers?” He gave her a crooked smile.

“Adrenaline’s the only drug I need,” she told him. “It’s the best drug there is because it’s natural, an evolutionary trait that kept our ancestors alert so they could hunt and escape Saber tooth tigers.”

She started toward the tomatoes box, but Larry leapt toward her and blocked her way. “I can get you some real drugs,” he said. “Interested?”

“No, thanks,” she said, wondering if Larry saw himself as a coyote offering food to a newcomer about to join his pack.

At lunchtime, they took their meals and went to the employees’ table on the ramp. The other workers joined them. Skip, a short skinny man in his early twenties with very short blond hair. He was athletic and light on his feet, and seventeen year old redheaded Mary, who wouldn’t let go of his arm. Her long hair kept falling in her pale blue eyes, and she kept pushing it away with the back of her hand, slowly and tiredly, as if she were moving underwater.

Larry sat on the other side of the table, facing Gaby. “Why aren’t you on facebook?” he asked.

“How do you know that?” She tasted her hamburger and made a face. It tasted salty in the ocean air, but it didn’t seem to bother the other workers. She watched Skip add salt to his fries.

“I have an internet on my cellphone,” Larry said. “I checked you out.”

This made her feel guilty, because she hadn’t checked the other workers’ profiles on social media. She wondered if it was expected of her, like offering a guest a drink.

“Yo, Gaby,” Skip said. “Say where you from, gal?”

“The north side.” She held on to her plate with both hands as the ramp shook under the onslaught of the waves.

He nodded. “Kinda fancy place, ain’t it?”

“It’s all right.” She fed a seagull that landed on her table a small piece of hamburger and watched it fly away. “Where are you from?”

“South side, what they call The Jungle.” His face twisted as he talked. She didn’t know what that meant. “Ever been there?”

She shook her head.

Skip grinned. “I bet your parents wouldn’t let you go there. Hell, that place’s more dangerous than those school trips where kiddoes keep falling off cliffs and drowning every damn year.”

“I almost went down a waterfall once,” Gaby said, recalling. “We got into to the river with tires we were supposed to sit on, and mine kept turning over, so I got out of the river and walked in a deserted area. Then I got back in the river to find my classmates, and then the current was so strong, I barely pulled myself out. The teacher didn’t even notice I was gone, nor did she pay attention when I rejoined them.” The gum-chewing teacher who took a nap while Gaby patted two grazing bulls, her own personal petting zoo.

Skip threw his head back and roared with laughter. “You could’ve went down headfirst, gal. They’d be finding a body with a smashed head floating in the damn river.”

Gaby laughed. She remembered Kyle’s friend Paul joking once about how he’d seen his whole life flash before his eyes when he let his girlfriend drive a few months after she’s gotten her license. Paul had said there wasn’t one electric pole or tree she hadn’t collided with. Everyone had laughed then, including his girlfriend. No one had seemed upset. Kidding about danger is normal and socially accepted, then.

“Hey, Skip,” Larry said. “How come you keep talking Gaby’s ear off? You’re hitting on her or something?”

“No way.” Mary pulled Skip closer, choking his arm with a bear hug. “He’s mine. You hear me? Mine!”

Skip smiled. “Say, my girl here just be getting out of prison after pulling a knife on another girl because she be hanging around with me too much, and you ask if I’m hitting on Gaby?”

That was a joke too, of course. Once Kyle had announced to everyone that Paul has gotten a vacation from the zoo in which he lives so he can come over and visit, and that he’d have to return to the baboons’ cage at the end of the visit. Paul had thought it very funny.

When their break was over, and they went back into the restaurant, the heat was stifling. Gaby kept escaping to the freezer on intervals. She was put on the drinks’ station. People kept asking for large drinks with plenty of ice. She could see the line of people stretching outside the glass doors. They were talking and laughing. Their voices turned into a hum.

Skip and Mary kept calling for drinks on the microphone. Several times she mistook Skip’s low, deep voice muffled by static with the steady, slow hum of the ocean. Sometimes she mistook Mary’s high-pitched, squeaking voice for a seagull.

Skip abandoned his position at the cash register and marched into the drinks’ station. “Where the hell is that bloody orange drink I called for three times?” he yelled.

“Sorry,” Gaby muttered, feeling her face getting hot. “It’s so loud in here.”

Skip slammed his fist into the drinks’ station. A paper cup filled with cola toppled over. He gave her a long look she couldn’t read and then sauntered away. She could see the dent in the metal. Her heart was pounding. This wasn’t normal behavior. Even she knew that. But she couldn’t quit that job because it was the only one that would take someone like her, the only one she hasn’t messed up, yet.

It was late afternoon when her shift was over. She crossed the ramp, stopped to pet a wandering German Shepherd. Then she took the five squeaking stairs down to the shore and walked a while, picking up seashells. She made a necklace out of them which she hung with a shoestring around her neck.

She got on the sidewalk and started toward her station when she heard shuffling footsteps behind her. She turned. It was Larry.

“Though I’d walk you to the bus station,” he told her.

She figured it was the thing to do with a new worker, but she was mentally drained after being around people all day. She desperately needed her home, her privacy, the security and solitude of her room. And Larry kept dragging his feet ever so slowly. She wished he’d hurry up.

He got with her on the bus and dropped next to her on the only available seat. People kept getting on the bus. They were forced to stand, holding on to chairs.

“Where do you live?” she asked Larry.

“On the west side,” he said.

She frowned. “You’re taking the wrong bus, Larry.” But the bus had lurched forward wildly, throwing standing people forward.

“Thought I’d tour the north side a bit.” He yelled to be heard over the roar of the engine and teens hollering to each other. She wished he wouldn’t talk to her in all that noise. Listening to him was hard labor. Why did people do that?

The bus stopped abruptly at a red light, throwing people forward. A woman in her sixties fell on the floor. People shouted at the driver angrily.

Larry shouted, “Summer festival starts tomorrow. Everyone will be heading for the beach. There’ll be about a zillion people there. It’ll be fun.”

The remark filled Gaby with dread. Images of noise and crowds flashed through her mind. She wondered what it was like to be a herd animal, surrounded by dozens of sheep and cows constantly, but she knew these creatures gained a feeling of security from having as many creatures of their own species around as possible.

It all came down to evolution. It was the real reason why human like to throw huge parties and visit big cities, why they say, “There’ll be plenty of people. It’ll be fun.” Powers in numbers. This rule applies especially to weaker creatures like humans, who can’t defend themselves with sharp teeth and nails.

The bus kept filling up with people. Teen girls sat in each other lap, and the bus driver kept driving like a cowboy. She breathed a sigh of relief when she got off the bus.

Larry got off with her.

“Why you got this job anyway?” he asked. “What are you going to do with the money?”

“I want to leave my house and live independently,” she told him.

“Why? Do you have problems at home?”

She told him what happened with Angelina and Gina. Larry bared his teeth. She knew it was a grimace. She’d seen a classmate being bitten by a Doberman on a school trip when she was seven. She didn’t understand why the girl was smiling when her shirt was soaked with blood. Her mother explained that it was a grimace and not a smile.

She’s also claimed school trips were perfectly safe.

“So you say your parents forced you to go out with this girl, Angelina?” Larry rubbed his beard slowly. They had reached her building by then. The hibiscuses that framed her yard exploded in white, yellow, pink, orange, and bright red in the sunrays. They weren’t blinding anymore. The sun was lowering toward the buildings, and shadows lengthened.

She was glad to watch Larry walk away. Being around him made her uncomfortable, but she didn’t think twice of it. Being around people always made her feel uneasy anyway, especially people she didn’t know. She hated meeting new people.

This is a continual story. Next chapter will be published next Saturday. Thank you for visiting this blog. Hope you liked it. If you did, Share it!

Are you or your young aspie struggling to find or keep a job? This easy to read guide is packed with valuable information on interviews, how to look for the right job, dress code, lightening, and more. To learn to secrets needed to survive on the job, click here

Romantic feral feline poetry

Who says cats can’t be poets? Here are some romantic poets written by the greatest feline poets ever, meowing poetically in front of your window at three o’clock AM.

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Cats in heat serenade their sweethearts on top of garbage cans, howling their longing fluff heartedly, their eyes piercing the darkness like two golden pinpoints that set the summer night ablaze.

I never believed in love until I heard your hoarse smoker’s mew and saw the delicate twist of your fluffy tail. Sparks fly off your apricot-colored tail gloomily because they hate to abandon your warm purr. A murky swarm of fleas cling to your fur lovingly while you fry a mouse for breakfast, to fuel all your nine lovely souls that are battling each other for possession over you, because they crave your sweetness and your warm breath, spiced by the enticing aroma of two years old sardines fresh from the garbage.

The confident rise and fall or your ribs as you sleep curled up in the sink makes me wish I was the smooth stainless steel surface, the fine yellow rings that hug your silvery tail gently make me wish I was a flea, and your velvety paw landing ferociously on a shrieking mouse makes me wish I was a rodent.

She slides over the sidewalk gracefully, her chocolate-colored paws caressing the pure concrete that surrenders willingly to the softness of her walk. Her ebony nose snubbing the raw blue sky that hang above innocently, witnessing a murder with the endearing blamelessness of a newborn kitten. She slithers forward graciously and lands an inky paw on her prey, a rat that had just climbed out of the sewer, which she devours ravenously.

Chasing away feral cats howling, hissing, and moaning outside your door after midnight is simply an attempt to silence young aspiring feline poets honing their raw skills. It’s a violation of their right to free speech and self-expression.

Do you like seeing your cat jumping on two and clawing while purring its head off? This toy has a rotating butterfly and bird in a full circle. Click to view

Story: Aspies insecurities and fears

This is a continual story. To read the first chapter Click here

“It must’ve been very frustrating not to be able to land one punch.” Twenty year old Gaby’s brother Kyle’s brown eyes locked on Gaby’s, a rare event that made her catch her breath. “Usually all you have to do is throw a punch, whether it lands or not. Never mind how big they are, or if they outnumber you, they all take off like rabbits.”

Kyle’s thin lips turned up at the ends slightly, so different from Gaby’s red, full lips. He didn’t have her Roman nose either, and his black hair was straight and thin. No one believed they were siblings.

Sibling. Written, the word was soft and warm, but thin-textured and floating, a very elusive word.

“Did you file a complaint?” Kyle asked in that soft, dull voice they both had, the flatness giving it a special quality.

Gaby snorted. “With Inaccessible police? Remember the time Mom had her purse snatched by a junkie last year? She went to the police station, and it was empty. She had to wait for half an hour until they got back from wherever it was they were.”

“Are you saying those girls are still out there, and they know where you live?” Kyle knitted his thin brows. She finally had his full attention. It was almost worth it to get beaten up.

“I want to learn self-defense.” Gaby dragged her oak yellow chair close to his, but only slightly so he wouldn’t recoil and drag his chair away.

“Then do it.” Kyle shrugged, looking out the window toward the faraway solemn Sierra mountains that towered on the east side from Gaby’s bedroom, dark against the black sky.

“I’m too shy to walk into a restaurant and order a hamburger,” Gaby said. “The instructor will get mad because I won’t understand his instructions, and the other students will laugh at my poor motor skills.”

“If you hold the class down by not understanding instructions, that’s the other students’ problem and not yours.” Kyle waved his hand dismissively as if chasing a fly away. “And why should you care what the students think of you? What different does it make if they laugh? It’s just a noise, like a motorcycle going by.” A dog barked in one of the nearby buildings. Sounded like a large dog.

But Gaby didn’t want to be reminded that she was a misfit, a freak. She has known she was different than other children in kindergarten ever since she could remember herself, but she didn’t know why. She couldn’t explain this to Kyle. “I don’t have any money,” she reminded him.

“Get a job.” Kyle’s eyes wandered back to the mountains, where pinpoints of light flickered like faraway stars.

But Gaby knew no one would hire her. Why would an employer consider taking her when he could get a wholesome person, a real person? They’d take one look at her and realize she couldn’t complete the simplest task. They’d be better off hiring a seven years old. But she couldn’t tell Kyle that.

“You never had any problem getting a summer job,” she told Kyle. “Or getting accepted to college. And you didn’t even have to learn self-defense. You always knew how to fight.”

Kyle was studying computer programming in college, and his motor skills were great. He had friends, too. Gaby has listened outside his room to his friends pouring their heart out while Kyle didn’t say anything. Whenever he did talk, it was about statistics. But his friends kept seeking his company anyway. And the ease and confidence with which he took the wheel into his hands, steering the car effortlessly and fearlessly while Gaby watched with admiration, pride, and jealousy.

Kyle said, “What difference does it make if you can fight because you have a born instinct for it, or because you had to learn how to? As long as the results are the same. Why should you care how long it takes to learn self-defense or get a job? It’s not like you’re old and about to die tomorrow.”

Gaby took a deep breath and willed her heart to slow its crazy pacing. “Tomorrow I’ll go to the waterfront and look for a job in one of those fast food restaurant,” she told Kyle. Trees whispered secrets of survival to each other in the artificial, ungraceful light of the electric polls.

She expected Kyle to congratulate her on her courage, notice her, see her in a different light, as if she were a capable, independent person.

“Good luck,” Kyle said. Gaby watched him get up from the chair. She watched him walk to the door, watched him open the door and then close it gently with a quiet click, leaving her alone in the empty room, staring out at the depressing blackness.

This is a continual story. The next chapter will be published next Saturday morning.

‘Perfect Targets’ is a bully prevention plan book, a practical guide filled with easy methods to identify, prevent, and stop bullying. A must-read for parents who want to bully proof their little aspies. Click to learn how

putting pressure on an aspie to make friends

little aspies find it hard to make friends. They don’t understand social cues the way little neurotypicals do. Some aspie children are selectively mute, like I was, and some aspies suffer from social anxiety.

I never wanted to make friends as a child. That’s not to say all little aspies don’t want to make friends because every aspie is different as an individual. However, the other kids looked like aliens to me because I had no idea what they were thinking or feeling. I couldn’t read their expression. They laughed at things I didn’t find amusing and got angry at me for reasons I didn’t understand, like when I went on and on about cats. I just didn’t know when to stop.

However, putting pressure on a little aspie to make friends can only complicate matters. My parents used to tell me I have to make friends and that other kids would pick on me if I didn’t. When I complained about bullying, my mother had said it’s my fault because I didn’t make friends.

That made me feel making friends is an unpleasant duty, something you got picked on for not doing. It made the whole idea of making friends seem like surrender, something done out of fear. I felt by not making friends I was standing up for my rights.

Little aspies will make friends slower than neurotypicals, on their own terms and in their own time. No one has the right to bully someone just because he or she won’t make friends, and making friends should never be treated like something one must do. Putting pressure on a little aspie to make friends is the worst possible way to handle isolation. It’ll only make it worse.

The Asperkid’s book of social rules is a practical guide to social rules. It explains the difference between kids joking with each other in a friendly manner and making fun of someone viciously, and how to show interest in others and getting them interested in what you want to talk about without going on and on about one thing. Click to learn more

Story: Are aspies blessed with physical strength?

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This is a continual story. To read the first chapter, click here

The next morning, Gaby headed toward the door. She intended to go to the local park and meet up with the feral cats’ community. She had her hand on the door handle when her mother’s voice stopped her. “Gabriella.”

She turned. Her mother sat on the orange sofa in a titling rectangle of sunlight, her eyes narrowed.

“Comb your hair,” she said.

“I already did,” Gaby said.

“You’re uncombed,” her mother snapped. “And you can’t go out on the street when you’re uncombed. You need to be combed to leave the house. Go comb your hair.”

Gaby went in the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Her dark hair was wild and thick, curling at the end as it flawed past her shoulders toward her elbows. It looked like it was in a constant state of static electricity. It looked as if she had twice the amount of hair other girls did.

She combed her hair carefully and went back into the living room. Her mother snapped, “Comb your hair.”

“I did,” Gaby protested. A truck rattled in the road below.

“You don’t look combed,” her mother hissed. “You look uncombed, and you can’t get out of the house uncombed. What does it look like? What would people think? You must comb your hair. You must be combed.”

Gaby went into the bathroom and combed her hair again, taking her time. The white kitten printed on her T-shirt seemed to look at her solemnly as it played with a shoestring, surrounded by burgundy and wine-colored patches. She went to the door again, and her mother let out a wordless blood-curdling scream. Gaby froze. For a second, her heart quickened its pace, and then she burst into hysterical laughter, gasping. Footsteps pounded the sidewalk outside. Male and female voices yelled.

“Stop it!” her mother snapped. Gaby laughed harder.

“Pin your hair on top,” her mother ordered. “All young girls wear their hair this way. And put your shirt inside your jeans. You need to look organized.” She clutched Gaby’s T-shirt and tried shoving it into her pants.

Gaby leapt backwards, flinching with disgust. “No way!”

Her mother went into the bathroom and came back with the brush. She started brushing Gaby’s hair, pulling hard. It was a form of communication that practiced control, that Gaby belonged to her, that she had the power to hurt her, to decide what she should do with her hair, her clothes.

“Stop,” Gaby said. “It hurts.” Her mother ignored her and kept combing her hair roughly. Horror music sounded from the building across the street.

Gaby grabbed her mother’s wrist with one hand, and with the other took the brush away. Her mother face twisted into an ugly mask that reminded Gaby of a rabid dog.

“What’s wrong with you?” her mother said. “Are you a witch. Maybe you should leave the house then, go rent a room in some slum.”

“I don’t have money to pay rent,” Gaby pointed out. Someone dragged furniture on the floor in the apartment above. It was a sound that grated on her nerves.

“What do I care?” her mother said. “That’s your problem. You keep up this kind of behavior, I’ll throw you out anyway. Go sleep on a street bench.”

Gaby hurried out the door. Her mother’s voice trailed after her. “The other girls in school never got bullied. You’re the only one who ever got picked on, and now you’ve managed to get picked on after you left school. What does it look like, Gabriella? What have I done to deserve it?”

Gaby walked three miles in half an hour to reach the park. She liked the adrenaline shot she got from the effort, and she enjoyed the sweet tiredness that settled over her when she stopped to catch her breath. It helped clear her mother’s words out of her head.

She walked the path leading to the park, where people sat at wooden picnic tables, old men playing chess, teens playing with their tablets and talking on cell phones. A tall, skinny man who looked as if his nose has been broken too many times got up and started following her. Gaby frowned.

“I don’t allow you to follow me,” she informed the man when he followed her into the park. He ignored her and kept following her as she strolled through the narrow, twisting path framed by pinecone trees on one side.

Gaby wanted to strangle him, but she knew her punches and kicks have never landed because she was extremely, unusually weak. Her fists clenched at her sides.

“Where are you going?” the man asked in a hoarse, slow voice.

“None of your business, leech.” Gaby kicked a pinecone out of her way, imagining it was the man’s head. Monkeys screamed from their cage at the zoo adjoining the park.

The man fell in step beside her, slowing when she did and quickening his pace when she did. He was enjoying stalking his prey like most predators do. It was a trait with deep roots in evolution. Gaby rounded the corner where the path twisted. Ahead of her, an old little lady did stretching exercise, her foot on a bench. She was wearing headphones.

“What’s your name?” the man droned in a dull, lifeless voice.

“You mother is a bitch in heat,” Gaby informed him. “She should get the death penalty for having a piece of garbage like you.”

He muttered something in a guttural voice and kept following her. She could see the little monkeys climbing the bars, a baby on its mother’s back, its tiny, spiderlike arms holding her tight.

She kept searching the ground for a weapon as she was followed past the grass, where couples with babies lay on blankets. Some of the men were shirtless. Most people wore colorful flip-flops. Small children ran around barefoot. A Rottweiler ran around in circles, barking in a deep, menacing voice.

“Where you live?” the man asked.

Gaby’s heart slammed painfully against her chest when she realized he just wouldn’t go away. There was a large, thick fallen branch on the other side of the fountains, where toddlers bathed in swimming suits.

Gaby hurried toward the sound of gushing water and children squealing. The man hurried after her, and she felt goosebumps run up and down her arms. A young couple watched from under a striped red and white umbrella, communicating by not doing anything that Gaby was at the bottom of the food chain and had no rights.

Gaby felt the red fog engulf her. The grin on the man’s face was ugly, twisted, huge. She felt dizzy. She took fast, shallow breaths. She figured the man took this for a sign of fear, and that angered her further. She imagined his throat against her fingers, soft and yielding. Her face burned.

She searched the checkered pink and purple floor under the streams for a better weapon, but there was nothing but the shadow from a eucalyptus. A tiny boy wrapped in a light blue towel gaped at her openmouthed.

When she was a few feet away from the branch, she broke into a run and snatched it up. She pulled her arm back as far as it would go and went for the man’s head with a roar that almost deafened her. Her voice sounded like a furious tiger in her own ears.

The man ducked. Gaby screamed with frustration. She pulled her arm back and tried to hit him between the legs. He jumped away, still smiling. Gaby slipped on the muddy ground and fell backwards.

Realizing her vulnerability, she leapt to her feet and snatched the branch up again. She raised it over her head but hesitated, worried about falling down again. The man was still smiling. He remained where he was for a few more seconds, and then turned and stumbled away.

Gaby’s heart beat like a drum. It was beating so fast and hard that she could feel her body vibrating. She rocked on her feet. Her whole body went slack. The branch dropped to the ground from her shaking hand. She didn’t know if she was scared or angry.

“That man could’ve taken the branch if he wasn’t such a wimp,” a teen boy leaning on the eucalyptus called to Gaby. “You don’t know how to hit, girl. You move like a little kid in kindergarten.”

Gaby didn’t trust herself to speak. Her throat felt raw.

A girl with waist-long brown hair beside him called, “I walked by that guy before, and he didn’t bother me. Other girls walked by too. He picked on you because you’ve got that look in your eyes like you don’t know where you are, and you don’t know where you’re going. You look lost.”

Gaby turned and headed toward the picnic area, where she knew one of the park’s gates was located. Her lungs burned. Her chest ached dully.

She reached the flat rocks that served as benches and the plastic corn-shaped benches on her right, the tiny hedgehogs statues on her left. That’s when the Rottweiler she’d seen before charged at her, barking and growling, the deep growl sounding like the drone of a faraway motorcycle. His owner watched, her fat arms folded across her chest.

Gaby hurried away, resisting the urge to bolt. The dog followed. She turned right and left, but there was no escaping the dog. She couldn’t have called to the owner because she wouldn’t hear her over the screaming of children, people shouting to each other, and roaring laughter behind her. Gaby walked back to the woman. “Hold your dog,” she said in a hoarse voice.

The woman whistled to her dog, and it went back to her. Gaby turned and walked away, thinking the ordeal was over.

It wasn’t.

She walked toward the open gate, seeing the lions behind a fence, cubs playing roughly, rolling on the ground, looking like large kittens. And then the dog rushed at her again, barking ferociously. She was forced to get back to the owner and ask her to hold the dog again. Again, she did. The dog stayed with its owner and let Gaby walk away, and then ran after her again.

Gaby turned and hurried back. This time, she snatched one of the flat rocks up. It wasn’t very heavy. She went back to the woman with the rock held high above her head.

“I’ll kill both you and the dog,” she screamed, although she had no intention of doing it. She planned to hit the dog just hard enough to hurt and then slam the rock on the woman’s foot.

The woman called her dog, and Gaby started walking away. The dog started after Gaby, and the woman told it in a sharp voice, “Don’t you dare go after her again, Rex.” Gaby placed the rock down and kept walking, throwing a cautious glance over her shoulder, but she saw the dog staying at its owner’s side.

She did, however, see two large men wearing the park’s cleaning uniforms positioning themselves on both sides of the rock. “On a count to three,” one of the men shouted. He was a tall, wide-shouldered guy. The two guys picked up the rock slowly. They were playing a game, of course, pretending big, strong men like themselves were too weak to pick up a rock someone like Gaby could.

This is a continual story. The next chapter will be published next Saturday.

This book ‘Thinking in pictures’ by Temple Grandin, explains autism from both an individual and scientific point of view and explains the autistic love for animals. It tells how Grandin has used her abilities to connect with humans and animals in her own unique way. Click to view

5 reasons why autistic people love animals

Ever since I remember myself, I’ve always been crazy about animals. Many people with Asperger syndrome and other kinds of autism love animals. Animals are highly appreciated in aspieland. But have you ever wondered why?

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Animals aren’t so difficult to read

Aspies find it difficult to interpret social cues or understand sarcasm. Animals aren’t so complicated. Their rules are clear. One of my cats doesn’t like her stomach rubbed, and she’ll scratch and bite when I try. I know what she likes and what she doesn’t. While when being around people I never know the right thing to do.

Aspie love animals because they don’t judge

Animals don’t think badly of us because of our poor communication skills, and they don’t accept us to make eye contact, something many aspies are uncomfortable with.

No need for small talk

Many aspies find small talk difficult and confusing. I know I do. This isn’t a problem with animals. There are many fun things to do; let the cat curl on your lap while you watch TV or surf the net, throw the dog a Frisbee, or just pat, scratch their ears, and cuddle.

Aspies love the animals’ honesty

Many aspies find it difficult to lie and except others to be as honest as they are. This is one of animals’ lovable traits; if an animal shows affection, it means it. It’s not just trying to be polite or follow some kind of norm. They always let you know how they really feel.

Many aspies are sensory seekers

Many dogs and cats are silky or velvety. This can appeal to many autistic people. I know I love running my hands over smooth marble and velvety clothes (although not real fur! There are many velvety fabrics out there that never caused harm to animals). I love feeling soft fur under my palms. Some dogs have rougher fur, and some have fluffier fur. There are so many different textures out there because there are so many different breeds of dogs.

That’s why so many people on the spectrum share the love of animals. I believe animals are a gift to the human race. Of course not every aspie is a crazy cats’ person, but I’m certainly a crazy cats’ lady, and proud of it too.

Want to see your cat pouncing and pawing? This butterfly hooked to a rod looks real and flutters in your little fury friend’s paws, turns a full circle in a gentle sound that appeals to the feline ear. Two butterflies for replacement. Click to see picture

7 ways to tell if your cat is a Russian spy

I hate to be the one to break it to humans being owned by cats, but your cute furball may not be what it claims to be, an innocent pet that loves you in its own feline way, as an inferior but likeable enough servant. Fluffy could well be a Russian spy posing as a cat.

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Do your feline’s eyes glow in the dark?

This is a Russian invention that enables spies to see and take pictures in secret. There are tiny devices implanted in the spies’ eyes. Ever noticed how your cat watches you with those wide eyes, staring? It’s watching you and calculating its next move.

Does your cat leap to unbelievable heights compared with its small size?

For decades, the Russians have used genetic engineering and secret combat training that have created the perfect spy, small enough so as not to arouse suspicion but athletic and powerful. Russians are famous for their athletic abilities.

Does your cat shred the sofa?

Mew the spy looks for whatever military secrets hidden in the most unlikely places.

Does your cat cuddle up next to you when you sleep?

Russian secret agent Kitty knows humans talk in their sleep sometimes. It pretends to be real cuddly and cute so you won’t suspect a thing. Oh, it knows what it’s doing all right.

Does your cat chase a shoestring?

It’s practicing. No need to elaborate here.

Does your cat stare into space when there’s nothing there?

It’s communicating with its supervisors, receiving orders how to proceed.

Does your cat put up a fight when taken to the vet or forced to swallow a pill?

Well, that figures. Mr. Tuna thinks it’s being taken to the CIA for investigation. “Well, Mr. Tuna, Perhaps this shredded sofa will refresh your memory.” It worries the pills are truth serum, and Mr. Tuna has plenty to hide. Yes, it does.

Does your little spy like sleeping in warm, soft places during cold nights? Check out this shark-like bed. Stuffed, anti-damp, and radiating heat so your little spy would have a spooky place to hide while contemplating conspiracies. Click to view