by L. H. Cassells
We had been living in a nice little subdivision. Then we moved out to the back of beyond–Scrabble, WV, and about a half mile from the Potomac River down a road used chiefly by river fishermen and a handful of residents. Somebody bought the acre immediately next to ours and put up a house, too–with, alas, a halogen street light that runs automatically. And to think I was looking for a little darkness. You do not hear me thinking of slingshots. . . . .
He has a yard. Out here in the wilds, he has a yard, and spends his summer Saturdays mowing. No doubt he looks askance at my au naturel “landscaping.”
My cats, however, love it, at least, the two ex-toms do.
I came home from work one balmy evening to find everyone but #2 child gone, to work or to class. Daughter & I chatted as she washed up and I began laundry.
Without bothering to turn on the light in the laundry corridor, I stepped over Space Cat (black, with white bits, including a white comet down his nose) noshing in front of the washer, to fetch towels out of the bathroom just past; as I stepped back over him, it dawned on me that, a) his food dish was at least a yard further down the corridor, and b), I had not put down any canned food: the sound from him should be much crunchier, crispier, and not so wet and … fleshy.
I looked with intent to see. A broad smear of blood darkened the floor.
I struck fast, oh very fast, the speed of the housewife with nearby carpeting to protect, and seized said cat by the scruff. Then I could see the remains of a rabbit–the corpse here, a leg there, a little cotton tail just to one side. A rabbit–no baby bunny but fully half or two-thirds the size of the cat himself! I punted Mighty Hunter out the back door. I even opened the door first, being fond.
I’m exclaiming, daughter is exclaiming–“How did he get it there? Where did it come from??”–and, avoiding close inspection, I gather up the body parts in plastic, swipe up the blood with cleaner, and reach for my smelling salts. Daughter adds, musingly, “They [everyone else] *said* something about a rabbit in the basement ….” Oh, gee, thanks.
Daughter finishes dishes, putters off on her own; I imagine she is in her (carpeted) bedroom when, an hour later, I hear her plaintive little cry, “Ooh, I found its head …. ”
I leap into cleaning action again, and just as I realize with relief that she is in the (concrete-floored) basement, she adds (mind you, #2 Daughter has a strange sort of whimsy for a sense of humor. She owns a t-shirt which sums her up rather well: it’s white, with a huge yellow smiley face on it–a smiley face that appears to be tearing through white paper from some dark black place behind, and though the face is the same as you have ever seen it, there is something faintly maniacal in this presentation): “HelLO, entrails!”
She is a big girl; I let her clean up that part all by herself–while I studied the carpet between the door to the basement, and the tiled kitchen and laundry area. How the cat carried that mucking huge carcass up from the scene of the crime to his (approximate) feeding area without making a mess of my carpet, or the stairs, I do not know, but I am grateful.
So I call my sweet hubby at work. “Guess what?” I ask, locked and loaded.
“You got the rabbit out of the basement!” he cheers at once.
Rabbit in the basement? Rabbit in the basement? Our work schedules overlapped that day by a whole two hours; we had been at work together for two hours; we had even talked during that time; you think he could have mentioned a Rabbit In The Basement in two hours?
“No, Space Cat did. Now, sweetie, guess what’s for dinner tomorrow!”
This page was last updated February 1, 2001.