It was outside of a bar in Torremolinos in 1975, near the beach, where Joanne and I met Satan’s cat. Just like that. Satan’s cat was neither small nor large, but he gave off an aura of a saber toothed tiger. Missing left ear. Right eye, gone. Several major scars adorned his face and front end, none on the back. Satan’s cat obviously faced his troubles squarely. And loved it. Even a casual inspection from ten yards away assured you of his gender. He swaggered down the middle of whatever path he chose, this gato del Diablo, this jefe of Andalucia. He was an El Máximo.
Neither Joanne nor I would have approached him with anything short of a .357.
Suddenly two Dalmatian pups bounded out of the bar and, sighting the cat, decided it would be fun to chase it up a tree or, even better, in front of a car. They charged, but the cat, rather than fleeing, sat down in the middle of the road and eyed the young dogs speculatively. I could almost hear him think, “Shall I blind the one on the right and castrate the one on the left, or vice versa?” The cat did not run, but waited calmly and with fell intent. I smelled brimstone. The cat smelled blood.
The pups realized that something wasn’t quite right and stopped bounding and prancing. They surreptitiously looked at each other. Neither would retreat first, but for damn sure neither would attack first either.
So there the three sat in the middle of the street. They would be there yet, but the pups’ owner came out of the bar and called them to follow him. The pup followed their master. Gladly. Quickly.
And Satan’s cat went on his way, his afternoon paseo undisturbed.