Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Candy's Very Bad Cat Mistake, Part One

When Scott and I went to visit my family two weekends ago, we expected our usual peaceful time in small-town Indiana. When we got to Mom's condo at 8:00 Thursday night, we unloaded our car. While Scott was inside and I was outside, I was caught off guard by a loudly meowing cat sitting on the sidewalk next door. All I could see was a silhouette.

It had been a long time since I'd held a cat. Hankie has been gone for a year and a half, and we still aren't ready for another cat. But every time I see one, I turn into a 5-year-old who drops everything just to try to have a chance to pet it and talk to it and pick it up and ask it what it thinks about life and about its paws and about having a tail.

This cat comes right over to me, and I bend down to pet him. It is just light enough outside that as he gets closer, I can tell he is a yellow tabby, like Hankie was. I see his face and he looks just like Hankie. My ribcage melts into a big white flower pot around my heart and I lean over to pick him up. I have to make sure Scott and my mom see him. He's a little squirmy and uncertain as I hold him, but I am hellbent on showing him to them, and maybe feeding him, which is the second most unwise thing you can do to a roaming neighborhood cat. (He is not skinny or unhealthy looking, so I think he has an owner.) Let me tell you a story about what is FIRST on the list of unwise things to do with a roaming neighborhood cat.

I walk into the garage, still holding the cat. Let's call him Otto. Scott opens the door that leads into the garage from the condo. Otto startles.

Candy: LOOK at this kitty, Scott!

Scott: Wow. (He sees the resemblance.) That's uncanny!

The cat really wants to be let loose now.

Candy: Close the garage door so I can put him down and get him some food.

Scott pushes the garage door button. Otto goes apeshit. He claws my chest through my down coat and gets in a good swipe on my neck. This causes a combination of goose feathers and blood to blur my vision as the cat jumps down and shoots under my mom's parked car like a bottle rocket. Completely undeterred from my goal of befriending Otto, I run into the condo and beg my mother, in the kitchen:

Candy: MOM! There's a kitty out here who looks JUST. LIKE. HANKIE. What can we feed him?

Mom, Scott and I scramble around the kitchen to pour some milk into the lid of a Wendy's to-go container. The lid has a tiny hole in the middle and as the stream of milk follows me around the kitchen, we try again. OK, ready to go. I'm so happy that this cat will have a treat!

Back in the garage, Otto has vanished. I am perplexed. Oh please, God, don't let him have crawled up into the engine of the car. I know cats do this. In fact, when Hankie was a stray neighborhood kitten, before I ever laid eyes on him, he had crawled into a warm car engine, seeking shelter. Thankfully, my neighbors heard him and let him out.

I go back inside.

Candy: MOM! Do you have a flashlight? One that works? (I am skeptical because the last time I tried to arm her with functional safety gear, her flashlight had fallen apart like ash in my hand when I unscrewed the cap.)

Mom comes out to the garage and says "Here's a flashlight!" It is one of those intense halogen lights and the beam hits me in the eyes and for a moment, I no longer think of the cat because my retinas melt into my skull. I go toward The Light. But then I see Jesus coming toward me in a long white robe saying "You can't come into the light right now. You need to find Otto. That is one of my favorite cats. Get back at it." Before I can ask him if he's seen Hankie around lately, my sight returns and I take the dangerous flashlight from my mother's hand.

I am like a C.S.I. detective. I shine the beam all around me, even though the fluorescent lights are on full blast. I look in every corner of the garage, behind the upended gardening utensils, behind the to-be-recycled newspaper pile, behind the trash cans, even inside the trash cans. Nothing.

It is time to face the possibility that this cat did find his freaked-out way up into the car. I lie on my back on the garage floor, shining the light up and around each tire. I stick my face as far under the car as it will go. I meow. I shine the light. I meow.

It's time to look under the hood. I pull the hood-release lever on the dash. Scott opens the hood and I peer inside the engine's every nook and cranny with my C.S.I. light and still, I am catless. Scott and I decide to open the garage door and see if the elusive Otto comes bounding out to run down the street. We open it. We wait. No cat appears. We close the door to keep from heating the entire neighborhood.

I mull over the idea that the cat could've been a ghost.

Refusing to give up, I go fetch some chicken lunch meat and put that on a little plate next to the lid of milk. We go inside to leave the bashful cat alone, hoping he will come out to dine on the irresistible fare we've left for him. I spend the evening going into the garage every twenty minutes. Sometimes I turn the light on; sometimes I use only the flashlight. I inspect the plate of chicken to see if even a molecule of meat has been moved. Nothing. I get close to the car, I lie next to it, I beg it to return the cat to me if it has indeed schlarped him up. I may as well be asking a volcano to cough up the virgin.

The committee of me, my mom, and Scott comes to the hopeful conclusion that the cat did dart out of the garage when the door was open, and we just weren't watching closely enough. There is nothing else to be done. But I keep going out to the garage, meowing and "kitty-kitty"-ing and keeping my vigil.

I finally go to bed, way later than everyone else in the condo. When I wake up at 11:00 a.m., it is because the phone is ringing nonstop. I ignore it the first few times it goes to the voice mail. I doze again immediately. Then it occurs to me that someone may be needing me to wake up.


PART TWO: Coming soon...

10 Comments:

  • At 8:15 AM, Anonymous mles said…

    OMG - you CAN"T leave us hanging like that!!!!

     
  • At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Scott P said…

    Mles- make popcorn, you'll want to have it handy!

     
  • At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Ana said…

    You write more.

     
  • At 12:47 AM, Anonymous JWebb said…

    What Ana said. You write more, right now and into the distant future and get it published, start raking in the royalties and hire PI's to find that Hanky lookalike.

    Our subdivision population of house cats, small dogs, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, pack rats and deer mice have been decimated by a pack of Bobcats living beneath our river bridge. I need to get me a garage door opener. But I guess I need to get a garage first rather than an open carport. So many frickin' details....

     
  • At 1:57 AM, Blogger laurazim said…

    Holy crap, woman. You really need to employ the whole "Make sure you pee before you read" warning system already. As it is, I only made it as far as, "I meow. I shine the light. I meow." I had to bolt to the loo, holding it in the entire way. I felt like a kindergartener who can't get the art smock off fast enough. I felt like a third-grader trying in vain to get the snowpants off, realizing too late that the damn. zipper. is. stuck. again. I totally danced in front of the toilet while I tried to wiggle my way out of my jammie pants. Note to self: get the next size up of jammie pants.

    Now. Enquiring minds want to know: if cats go apeshit, do apes go catshit? Please advise.

     
  • At 3:29 PM, Blogger MamaMidwife said…

    You is bat shit crazy.
    You write more

    If you no write more I call uou "Crazy Batshit Cat Lady".

    You. Go. Write. Now!!

     
  • At 3:33 PM, Blogger MamaMidwife said…

    Oh, and I forgot to mention:

    You don't need silly gimmicks like "stay tuned for part two" to keep your readers coming back. Duh. I check in like twice a day to see if you have a new post. (Hopefully, I did not just make myself sound like a stalker.)

    So no more gimmicks. You write now.

     
  • At 9:44 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    This weren't even no gimmick, y'all. It was just be not having the time to finish it, but wanting to put up a new post.

    Trying to get it done!

     
  • At 9:45 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    be=me

     
  • At 11:01 PM, Anonymous JWebb said…

    Ain't no gimmicks in Candy Rant; just an internet reality show dished up with boatloads of truth, introspection and honesty dazzled up with amazing writing. Love every post, as much as the author.

     

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