He saw it crumpled on the side of the road and thought at first it was a dog. But when he stopped and took a closer look, he saw the tufted ears and the broad, flat nose, the dusty, spotted fur, and he knew it was a bobcat, and he knew it wasn’t dead, it was battered and bloody, but it wasn’t dead, it was breathing, the flanks heaving up and down.
So he got to his knees, and he took the bobcat in his arms—it was smaller than he thought it would be, and lighter—it was panting, and rank, and warm—and he gently laid it on the backseat of his car. Wrapping it in a towel, maybe. Putting his hands, for a moment, in the dusty fur.
Then he slipped behind the wheel and drove—to where? A clinic? A shelter? I’m not sure—I don’t know what was in his mind—and I don’t remember what happened next, as he was driving, when he looked into his mirror and saw the bobcat beginning to stir, opening one yellow eye, flexing one velvet paw, whether he stepped on the accelerator and drove faster, or pulled over again and opened the back door and crouched behind it, waiting for the bobcat to slink away.
I don’t remember now how the story ended, and I don’t think it matters. I don’t think this is a funny story.
A bobcat lay on the side of the road, battered and panting and warm, and it was splendid. It was wild.
And he stopped. He knelt before it. He took it in his arms.