This One Time, 30

This one time my cat came in from outside and brought me a present.

It’s what cats do. If they think you’re having trouble remembering when mealtimes are — or perhaps you just keep a food bowl full and it hasn’t sunk in that you’re the one that fills it up — they get the idea that perhaps you need some help with the hunting. If they’re really convinced you need help, they’ll bring you something alive, but maybe injured a little or with the wind knocked out of its sails, and then set it loose around you so you can practice your hunting skills.

My cat thinks I’m a lousy hunter. I go out a bunch, don’t keep a normal routine, sneak food into the bowl when she isn’t looking. Therefore: live chipmunk.

I don’t freak out. My whole freak-outer thing is busted. I don’t know what the deal is with that, but a number of other emotional responses seem to be a bit truncated, too. It takes a lot to get me worked up. I used to think I’d just completely mastered this “playing it cool” thing, but now I’ve come to realize I probably just have some kind of illness.

I’ve been through some pretty rough shit, so maybe I’m just out of juice. Give me a couple of years of tranquility someplace restful with no stalkers, no threats, no tragedy, no arguments, no drama, and it’ll all come back a lot closer to normal, I’m sure. Meanwhile I’m ace down at the arbitration center, and I’ve got the unofficial top score at shoot/don’t shoot drills that my buddy on the force let me go take after one of our afternoons at the range.

And screw the chipmunk. If Loretta wants to bring home a pet chipmunk to make up for the fact that I’m hardly ever here, who am I to blame her?

I did bother to look up whether chipmunks are big parasite and rabies risks in our area. Consensus seemed to think it wasn’t much of a problem. I checked to make sure Loretta’s shots and worm preventatives were up to date and left the chipmunk to her. I expected it might leave messes in places that would be hard to get to, but the chances were just about as high that I would wreck shit moving furniture to try to get to it. And if you worry too much about those kinds of messes, you probably shouldn’t have a pet to begin with.

The more I thought about it, the more I decided it would be best to direct things at least a little. I found an old cardboard box and filled it with newspaper. I figured if I were a chipmunk, that would be a fairly cozy home — and something I could throw away once Loretta was done playing.

Thing was, after she brought it into the house, she just ignored it. She really seemed to think that the thing was supposed to be my problem now. She would walk into the room, look at me with that look on her fuzzy face that seemed to be dripping with disappointment, and then walk away.

She would do that anyway. I guess now there just seemed to be a point to it.

But eventually the chipmunk started coming into the room with me too, to check out what I was doing. It would sit in the middle of the floor, grooming, and criticize whatever it was I was watching on the television. Loretta would poke her head in the door and, after looking at the both of us, walk away in disgust.

Then the meteorite came through the roof one morning and smashed him in his little box.

It was the damnedest thing. Hole punched through the roof, grazed a joist, through the ceiling, punched a hole right through the box leaving a tiny bloody mess, punched through the floor, and came to rest in the crawlspace under the house. Lump of nickel-iron about the size of the first joint of my thumb.

My little chipmunk friend, companion for nearly a fortnight of bad reality television, killed in a drive-by shooting by God.

What can you do?

I buried what was left in the backyard and got some people in to patch things up a bit. Meteorites aren’t much covered by insurance, so I had to eat about two grand in repairs. I covered where the finish on the floor doesn’t quite match with a new box, filled with new balled-up newspaper. Sometimes I think I can hear rustling in it, but there’s never anything in there when I check. No holes, no signs of chewing.

Loretta looks at me with a little bit more respect lately, though. An unexpected bonus.


January 30, 2011 · by xalieri · Posted in This One Time  


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