Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter
ozma914

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next week's column: No Cats Were Harmed in the Making of This Column

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK




First of all, it’s important to understand that no cat got hurt, although I ended up a bit sore over the whole thing.

In my sound asleep state, I recognized only that there had been a crash, which I attributed to the cats. You see, my daughter and her family have moved out, but they were busy with the twins and setting up housekeeping and such, and delayed taking their cats. I was alone with them:

Chopper is the evil ringleader, secretly plotting to take over the world.

Nixon looks innocent, but of course she’s a cat.

GiGi is a black cat, and isn’t that just my luck.

Teeny Taft is the smallest and most innocent seeming, meaning she causes the most trouble behind the scenes. She’s named after our fattest President – insert your own joke here.

I stumbled out of bed, thinking they’d brought down the shower curtain again, but saw no sign of any of them until I poked my head into my office. There stood Teeny, giving me the same look she gives to bugs just before she snaps at them.

It was about that time when I realized the blinds were open on the picture window, which looks out over the front porch. That seemed odd, as I usually close them before nightfall, but I could clearly see through the window from across the room.

Have you ever had one of those nightmares where you walk slowly through a room, knowing something horrible is awaiting you? Yeah, that. Halfway there I realized the blinds weren’t open – they were gone.

My desk is against a radiator, which leaves a space between the desk and the picture window. On my desk is my old Mac laptop, now hooked to a monitor because the screen’s broken. However, the lid is still there, so the monitor is set up on a few books so I can see it over that lid.

The cats like to lay on the radiator, where they can see out the window. They also like to walk around on my desk, and as a result they’ve been known to wander across the laptop and e-mail people in Bulgaria.

So there I was, blinking at the open window, which was bathed in some kind of strange light that washed across the ceiling. Something was wrong. For one thing, something was missing. It took a moment to realize that the missing something was the monitor.

The monitor had, in fact, left the desk and was now lying on the crushed blinds, facing upward, still able to show that someone had been using my computer to chat with a person named CatScratchFever23, in India.

Apparently a cat looking for a warm place to nap chose the top of the monitor, which unbalanced it and sent it crashing back into the space between my desk and the window. As there was no cat currently pinned against the window in a spread-eagle position, it could only be assumed that the culprit had escaped with all or most of its lives.

That left me to get the monitor back where it belonged, but it’s a heavy old thing, and I had to actually climb onto my desk and kneel down to grab it. Still, no permanent damage had been done, and the culprit had received punishment enough in the form of a bad scare. Imagine laying in your bed one night, only to have the whole thing slide into the basement, and you get a sense of what the poor kitty must have gone through. It was really rather amusing.

Until I saw the crack. And followed it to the break.

My big old picture window, which had survived so much for so many decades, was now in nine pieces. One for each life.

With what should have been a foreboding sense of calm, I picked the monitor up and put it where it belonged, then climbed down off the desk. I was mentally estimating the cost of replacing a picture window so old that it would likely have to be custom made. I was mentally balancing my checkbook. I was going mental.

At that point Teeny brushed up against my leg, looked me in the eyes, and said, “Dude, the cat box needs scooped. Might want to get on that.” I know what you’re thinking, but she actually said it. In English.

And that’s when I threw the cat.

Okay, time to confess something. I’m strangely ashamed to admit that it wasn’t so much of a throw as it was a gentle toss, kind of arcing her through the air into the kitchen. Personally, I think I’d be justified to leave a cat shaped hole in the wall, except for the obvious point that I can’t say which cat broke my window. Wouldn’t the guilty party be long gone? Was Teeny the fall guy?

So she landed gently on her feet, then was gone, because she’s no dummy.

Or so I thought.

As I stood there, yanking tufts of hair from my head, hyperventilating, Teeny walked back into the room and brushed against my leg. “Hey, you seem stressed – why don’t you get your mind off your troubles by petting me?”

I leave it to you to decide: Was this cat unable to sense moods, or just stupid?

Leaning down, I screamed. I mean, I literally screamed: “GET OUT!!!!” Books fell from
the shelves. Three neighbors called the police. I was hoarse for a week. A piece of picture window clattered to the floor.

That time Teeny got the message.

Okay, so maybe she wasn’t speaking that morning -- I was pretty groggy. Or maybe I scared it out of her, since we’ve had no conversation since. But the rest of the story happened pretty much exactly as I related it, except for leaving out the part where I stomped my feet and sobbed like a baby. And the cats?

They’re right back on the radiator, but not one has touched my desk.


GiGi and Nixon pool their resources to set Teeny up for a crime that left everyone scratching their heads.
Kitty Pool?



Nixon and Teeny, also known as "The Usual Suspects".
Tags: column, new era, slightly off the mark
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