This is not a cat blog. Seriously. We have five of the critters, but only two were planned. The other three were surprises.
When the boys were in grade school, I met the first cat I didn't dislike. It found us. She was a half-grown calico who simply appeared on our porch one September. As I walked from the garage to the porch, the boys spied her. "Look! A cat!" They're both geniuses, my boys.
I stopped on the sidewalk, the cat waist-high on that part of the porch that serves as a breezeway between the garage and the house. That kitty looked at me for five seconds, then scampered up my shoulder and onto my head. The top of my head. Where she sat, her tail handing down, looking much like a kitschy kitchen clock. That became her pattern. She liked me best. She only sat on my head.
Sadly, Kitty was not with us very long. Hick threw a Halloween hayride and bonfire for his work colleagues and their families. Two teenage girls took a liking to Kitty. You know kids these days. They are quite forward. "Can we have this cat?"
"No. It's our cat."
"Are you sure you want to keep it? We really like it."
"Yes. We want to keep our cat."
That was a Friday night. Saturday was the last day we saw Kitty. It could be coincidence. Perhaps Kitty was a rambler. A feline hobo. A wanderlust. But more likely, those girls came back and kitnapped her. It was a conspiracy of epic proportions.
Catless, the boys went about their lives. They didn't much seem to mind that Kitty was gone. But my head was cold and lonely. When a teacher at the end of my hall said she had two litters that she needed to get rid of, and wouldn't my boys love to have a kitten...I said yes. I won't prolong the point with all the details. But we took two kittens. And a year later, we adopted three that were dumped at the end of our road.
Today, one of the original cats was bound and determined to come in from the cold. He belongs to Genius, who just so happened to name his kitten before we could even bring him home. Upon their first meeting, Genius proclaimed, "I'm going to call him Genius. Because he's so smart. He picked me. Even when I put him back in the box, he climbs out and crawls up my leg."
Genius the Cat is an orange tiger-striped fellow. Why he wanted to come in from the cold, I'll never know. He weighs twelve pounds. A regular Garfield is he. The vet even told us, "That cat is overweight." When he jumps off the porch, he lets out an umph of air. In the summer, he's svelte. A sleek hunter. But in the winter, he bulks up to withstand the elements. He's always been a sly devil. At one time, he would stand on his hind legs and try to turn the kitchen doorknob with his front paws. Unsuccessfully.
Hick and The Pony had planned a trip to Lowe's this evening. Hick opened the door, and Genius the Cat darted in. Hick didn't know that Genius had already come in once when The Pony and I arrived home. The Pony ran after him that time, and caught him in my bedroom. Which is unusual, because Genius the Cat most often darts down to the basement, the better to get lost and prolong the search.
I could see the event unfold. Hick gaped in slow-motion as Genius the Cat slithered past his ankle and through the six-inch gap of the closing door. Hick snapped out of it. "Get the cat! He's in!" Like that's an emergency. A cat cannot be rushed. You shall catch no cat before his time. It would be easier to buy some inadequately-aged wine from Ernest and Julio Gallo. A cat will surrender when he feels like it.
Boy Genius took on the task this time. He followed Genius the Cat to the master bedroom and snuggled him up on his chest. "No, Genius. Not in the house." In the kitchen, Hick reached for the cat. Now that was a sight to behold. There is no love lost between these two. Their relationship is cordial at best. Many a morning I've heard a caterwaul followed by, "Stupid cat!" as Hick stepped on the tail of Genius as he stepped out the door on the way to work.
When Hick took Genius in his arms, it looked like a man trying to wrestle an octopus. Genius dug his claws into Hick's right shoulder. Hick didn't flinch. He's tough like that. But his eyes were buggy. He squeezed Genius about his midsection. Genius's tail stuck straight out, hairs on end, like that of a cartoon cat in the midst of chewing an electrical cord. His eyes, too, bugged out. Hick turned and risked mayhem by taking one hand off of Genius to open the door. To make up for it, he squeezed him tighter. Genius gave me a look like that dude Paul, part of the volcano-studying team, trapped on the bridge in the middle of Dante's Peak, the movie. The dude who goes into the drink as the rush of water from the broken dam takes out the bridge.
Hick shouted for The Pony to get out there. He slammed the door just before Genius the Cat made his way back in. Last I saw, Genius was perched on top of Juno's house, gazing at the kitchen door.
I might give up my script for The Unrested in favor of Rise of Planet of the Felines.