Friday, October 5, 2007

Trophy Cat

While we await the cabinetry for our kitchen, which is scheduled to arrive from Ikea within 7 - 10 days, I'd like to take a moment to reveal to you that I am living with a serial killer.

Fraidy Cat. AKA Mr. Gato. For the past two months, he's been on a murderous spree to rival the greats: Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, the whole Manson Family. This cat has a blood-thirst that won't be quenched.

I discovered his first trophy while sitting with Poppy watching a little prime time HGTV. "What's that smell?" I asked Pops. It was a hot day. Mid-summer. "Is it me?" Armpit check. "Is it you?" Diaper check. Only after hours of assuming myself the one to have "dealt it," did I rummage through the blankets wadded up and bundled around the couch — the way TV-watching blankets are want to be. A tell-tale spot on the sofa — a mystery stain — led to further investigation toward that end of the couch, where a cardboard box full of random not-yet-unpacked items (a kind of box, it must be said, that can be found in many places around our not-yet-unpacked house) sat in shadow. Peeking into the box, I eyeballed trophy number one. Fully in tact. Unmoving. Tail askew. Dead to the world. Wrapped gently in a blanket as though Fraidy had carefully cuddled him to death.

Trophy number two appeared in Poppy's room. Again, wrapped in a blanket (every serial killer has his pattern, I guess). I suppressed a scream as I nearly stepped on him, barefoot, early in the morning before Jim or Poppy had stirred. I almost wretched as I lifted the blanket and held it at arms length all the way to the big trash outside the house.

The next trophy appeared on the leg of my blue jeans lying on the floor of our bedroom. When I threw it out and deposited the jeans in the washer, Jim said, "You're not going to wear those?" Funny.

Days later, another near miss. Bathroom floor. Green throw rug. Easy to overlook through my morning haze. Practically gagged on my toothbrush mid-scrub.

And I never found the final resting spot of the latest trophy. I only saw it in passing, it's tail dangling from his Fraidy's mouth. It was smaller than the rest -- a mouse rather than a rat. Fraidy emitted a resounding growl as he slunk by with it. I shudder to think where he might have put it.

And my response to this mass-slaughter? Well, it's what I've heard it should be. "Well done, my strong, virile man cat! Nice going, protector of all Pascoes! Conqueror of the vermin population! You dazzle me with your hunting prowess!" He is, after all, only bringing me his trophies, right?

Well, before you go thinking that this blog has gone off the rails and evolved into some kind of dull diary of family life, let me bring it all back around to the renovation. Today, when the workmen lay the cement floor in the kitchen, they will be covering up what I know to be Fraidy's portal. There's a hole in the floorboards that the gato slips through when he's got the jones for a kill. I like to envision him going through that hole and wending his way out to the yard, and then perhaps to the neighbor's yard where I would like to believe the rats reside. We did, after all, have the house tented before we moved in (prompting Poppy's nanny to put in a plea to PETA on my behalf, and to beg me to "capture" the rats instead of killing them and to take them to another location to be liberated). But if they're under the house, at the very least they can be contained there, once the hole is cemented over.

Contained, and perhaps cornered, by one skilled and experienced hunter.


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