Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pulling Her Own Strings

“If a cat could speak, it would say things like, Hey, I don’t see the problem here.” — Roy Blount, Jr.
At three o’clock yesterday morning I was awakened by loud bumping and scraping in the family room. It like to scared me into the middle of next week.
“Babe!” I shook my husband awake. “There’s an intruder in the house! Get the baseball bat.”
“You’re dreaming.” He rolled over and muttered, “I was having a good one till you woke me up. Go back to sleep and don’t wake me up unless it’s for ham and eggs.”
I shook him again.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake. Did I stutter?” Grumbling, he slid out of bed and switched on the light, nearly blinding me. When the scraping started up again, he actually stopped bitching long enough to listen. Did I really want Babe to face down an intruder with a kid’s baseball bat while he was wearing polka dot boxers?
Oh hell. Any port in the storm. “Hurry,” I whispered a yell. “If it’s a would-be Charlie Manson, he may be planning to write stuff on the walls with our blood.”
“That’s some imagination you’ve got, girl.” He walked out of the bedroom and flicked on the den light. He began to search the area, but the only thing he saw was the rear end of our cat, Sophie Sorrowful, when she darted under the sofa. Assuming that the cat was somehow responsible for the noises, he reached under the sofa to pull her out.
When Babe’s hand began to feel around in her hiding place, Sophie Sorrowful darted out the other side and began a frenzied promenade around the room. Dragging and bouncing my grandson’s forgotten yo-yo over the tile floor, she unwittingly repeated the bumping and scraping sounds that woke me up and scared me silly. 
It was a wee little yo-yo, not much bigger than a fifty-cent piece that my grandson won it as a prize at Dave & Busters Arcade Casino in Jacksonville. It was such a precious prize that he didn’t bother to take it home with him, leaving it instead on the floor where Sophie Sorrowful found it.
Bump. Bump. Boiiiiinnnnnggg!
Cussing like a sailor Babe gave chase, finally grabbing the cat by the scruff of her neck. (He has always maintained that she loves it when he does this, that she likens it to her mother picking her up when she was a kitten. I am not convinced.) Holding her close to his sleep-encrusted eyes, Babe saw that she had swallowed all but about six inches of the yo-yo string.
His first thought was to cut off the wooden part of the yo-yo hanging out of her mouth which would allow Sophie Sorrowful to then swallow all of the string and eventually poop it back out. After only a nanosecond he had a second thought, thank goodness. After all, it was a long string and well, it could take days, maybe even weeks before the end of that string ever saw the underbelly of a litter box.
He began to gently tug on it until it was out.
Then holding her as firmly as he could hold a squirming, screaming, terrified cat with one hand, Babe yanked harder on the string.
Sophie Sorrowful let out another, “EEEOOOOWWWOOOOOEEEEE!” which set off the burglar alarm and sent me hopping out from under warm covers faster than a speeding bullet. I dashed into the den and there was Babe, clad in those silly polka dot boxers, standing stupidly in the middle of the floor. He was dangling a yukky looking yo-yo with two fingers while both he and Sophie Sorrowful took turns gagging.
Intuiting, as cats often do, that she had been delivered from a strange and eerie fate, Sophie Sorrowful, from that day to this, considers Babe her personal Don Quixote, her savior, her human hero. The Man. She follows every step he attempts to take, skillfully dodging his Size Eleven shoes.

The fate of the yo-yo? Much like Jonah after being swallowed by the proverbial big fish, that hard-won, impossible to digest yo-yo is history.

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