Two True Fables: Part One
We didn’t look for cats. They would just show up and say, “I live here now, and you’re going to feed me.” It was a pretty sweet deal, though. They were free, they were cute, and most of them were pretty affectionate.
Except for Fat Cat. Fat Cat avoided us like the mange. But every now and then he would suddenly remember how much he enjoyed being with us. It was when Mom cooked chicken for dinner.
We ate in the den because we were committed to meeting every evening and spending quality time with…
While Mom was loading our dinner plates onto a tea cart, Dad would pull a gateleg table (built by the same people who made medieval drawbridges) out of the closet and drag it over to the viewing area. Then he would lift the Formica flaps and activate the 416 interlocking cast iron legs. And voila: the perfect 9,000 lb eating surface from which to view Bonanza.
As soon as we sat down, Fat Cat would adopt his signature “I love my humans sooo much!” look and jump up into Dad’s lap. Then the corpulent fellow would curl up and (seemingly) fall fast asleep. But seconds later his right front leg would begin to levitate. As soon as paw found plate it would fish for fowl. Splunk. Mashed potatoes. Ew! Shake-a, shake-a. Resume reconnaissance. And then the mission would be cut short by a friendly poke from Dad’s fork. Fat Cat would squeak and leap to the floor, deeply offended.
Then he would jump up into Mom’s lap and the ritual would begin again: Lap. Nap. Levitating paw. Fork. Squeak. This would continue until he’d been kicked off every lap in the family. Including the dog’s.
After we finished eating, Mom would roll away the teacart while Dad began the table disassembly, carefully closing each of the gated legs and slowly lowering the drawbridge flaps.
As the only child, my job was to supervise. One particular night, as Dad began to carry the hulking table toward the closet, I spotted an aberration:
There were four extra feet dangling from the device. And unlike the others, these had claws. Claws that were frantically trying to help the table “walk” to the closet. Then, as Dad passed by, I looked between the great flaps and saw…
Fat Cat. Neatly folded into the legworks. And looking seriously miffed.
Being the deeply compassionate child I was, I immediately sprang into action, i.e. I fell on the floor laughing.
“What’s so funny?” Dad asked.
I pointed between the flaps: “He…the ca…the cat…he…hah-hah-hah-hah-hah!”
Dad gave up trying to understand and looked for himself. A moment later he landed on top of me, guffawing like a madman.
Mom came rushing in. “What’s going on?” Dad pointed: “He…the ca…he…hah-hah-hah-hah!”
She glanced between the flaps at the irate cat slowly working his way through the legworks.
Whump! She landed on top of both of us, chortling uncontrollably.
It was the hardest my family had ever laughed (our stomachs still hurt the next morning).
Fat Cat was not amused.
He did, however, graciously forgive us…
…the next time Mom cooked chicken.
This story has spiritual significance (honest).
To read Part Two, click here.