I recently asked for suggestions of topics to aid in my blogging during this Holy Week. From Aisleigh we have:
Did you already tell the story of Tyrone the cat and how the neighbors stole him? Is there anything remotely close to a diner in Texas? How about that time you picked us up from a Hanson concert but drove away before Danielle got in the car?
Well, Aisleigh, since you asked… I will now attempt to relate this gem of a story (the cat one) to my own dear kittens.
A few years ago, my wife, son, and I moved into our very first house. It was a cute, cozy, suburban dwelling in Northern Virginia. My adult niece, Aisleigh, having just begun working with my wife, also made the move from New Jersey with us. Figuring that every home needed a cat, our friend Theresa, generously bestowed one on us from a litter her cat had recently produced. For background, I always had at least two cats in my home when I was growing up. They are pleasant enough as house pets but prove themselves as excellent workers — they catch mice. Anyway, as long as you feign your subservience to their visionary leadership, you’ll get along just fine with a feline companion, er, overlord.
The kitten, named Tyrone by Theresa’s children, was to be an indoor/outdoor cat. In that last sentence, the word “indoor” refers to the garage. Not to worry, though, a friend installed a kitty door for young Tyrone so that he could (Tyrone and not the friend) egress to the backyard as he pleased. Things went swimmingly for about two months. And then it happened. We ventured to the outlet mall on Black Friday. Upon our return we noticed that Tyrone didn’t seem to have eaten his dinner. I thought it was a bit odd but figured he was probably out micing. Yes, I did just make that up. And then about twenty minutes later came a knock on the front door. You must understand, son, that Mommy was in the process of trying to give you a bath while Daddy and Pa (Mommy’s parents were in town for Thanksgiving) were erecting a Christmas tree or two. The knock was persistent so Mommy and I both practically knocked each other over in our frustrated attempts to answer it.
There, standing on the front step, were a strange looking, middle aged couple holding our Tyrone. “He IS yours, right?” said the lady. In fairness, I should correct myself. Only the lady looked strange. The gentleman with her looked uxoriously battered while our kitty looked scared. If Tyrone could have talked he would have said: “What in the hell did you let happen to me?! I thought we were friends! I hate you.” The woman at the door continued. Her eyes were now glowing and dancing. I think they may have been trying to escape her skull but the freakish super-orbital ridge of her brow kept preventing them. Anyway, the thick unibrow would have trapped them even if they had managed their daring plot. “You must have been worried sick about him!” I opened my mouth. Big mistake. “How long have you had him? I saw him this morning.” “Oh I’ve had him all day,” she said with complete conviction. At this point, we should have just taken our cat, thanked our neighbors, and closed the door. But you know that’s too simple.
As Mommy was preparing to do just that, the hand of the crazy lady reached out in front of me and handed me a slip of paper. “We took him to the vet. He was so scared and cold.” My own eye was about to pop out of my head. “Lady, it was 60 degrees today. And I SAW HIM THIS MORNING.” “Well anyway, it seems he’s not current on his shots and I picked up some ringworm medicine for him.” God help me but I almost blurted out that she would be more than welcome to take that medicine and attempt to use it on herself . It was a suppository. She continued to hold out the paper; but your old man’s too clever for that. Serve me a subpoena to testify in a murder trial one time and I’ll never accept paper from complete strangers again. Mommy, however, snatched the paper out of the woman’s hand. The woman’s clearly unitesticular husband smiled nervously, then cleared his throat. He spoke up! “Oh, we’re not asking you to pay for that.” Again, it’s lovely to be of one mind with your spouse. We both said in unison “Good, because we weren’t going to pay it.” In fact, I forget just how we ditched the psychowoman but pretty soon I was gently tossing my mouser back into the garage and gaily decorating my fake spruce whilst singing along to The Anne Murray Christmas Spectacular.
An hour later, they were back with the same cat and the same story. This time my mother-in-law dealt with them.
By early Sunday morning, though, it was clear that the whackjobs across the street just wanted to steal our cat. There really is no end to this story. Three years later as we prepared to move from that house, son, you asked me why there was a little door in the big garage door. Well, I hope this story answers your question. We never did see Tyrone again. But, as the story goes, one can still hear the faint mews and purrs of a pussy tortured by a lady with way too much time on her hands. Or maybe that’s just her husband.