Sunday, January 2, 2011

That Boy Just Ain't Right

This cat scares me.

Look at him. Tell me you don't see it. I defy you to tell me this look doesn't make your blood run cold for a nanosecond.

This look is only where it started.

It progressed to him putting his ears back and swatting back when we tried batting him off the table.

Then one night, after an evening of terrorizing  humans and fellow felines alike, it was decided Amos should spend a night in the clink. The pokey. The hoosegow. That's to say, the basement. Of course, we live in a four-level split, so we refer to it simply as, "the down-down".

Now before your undies get all twisty, you should know our basement is fully finished, complete with drywall in the main room and carpet. Shucks, there are even fire exits. It's more like, "Club Fed", really. There's heat for a giant main room and the laundry/utility space. There is food, water and a potty place only Famous uses. (The Bob prefers to do his business out of doors, like a true kitty-gentleman.)

So down he goes, and we all--Bob included--enjoy a quiet, peaceful night. Nobody poking us in the sternum at 5am, requesting breakfast. Nobody snapping our eyelids like window shades at 5:45am suggesting breakfast. Nobody clubbing us over the heads with a 9-iron at 6:30 demanding. Breakfast. NOW.

It was bliss.

I wish I could tell you I took a picture of what I found when I opened the basement door.

It was something you truly needed to see to believe.

It about gave my amygdala whiplash.

Mental warning flags trumpeted, "Be afraid. Be VERY afraid!"

When the door opened, I scanned the room for Amos. He was in his customary down-down spot, curled in the BoyRD's desk chair. (Picture Dr. Evil as a striped domestic ginger kitty.)

"Good morning, Baby Kitty," I cooed to him. (I suffer from a delusion that if I speak sweetly to him, he won't bite my ankles, then run away giggling. A theory that has yet to be proven consistently correct.)

Usually, if he's been exiled to any degree, he rejoins society with a "mmmddrrmmp" and a quick nuzzle before demanding food.

Not this time.

This time, he met my gaze coolly, choosing to remain in the chair.

Puzzled, I scanned the room, looking for evidence of some sort of incarceration-related retaliation.

I didn't see anything, though. No shat-upon sweatshirt, no shredded book, no toppled shelving. That is, until I looked down.

And there it was. Inches from my feet.

My eyes bugged out a bit. My jaw dropped open a tad. My mind fought for control because there was just no WAY this was possible.

An abandoned screwdriver lay in the threshold of the door.

A tool.

Sweet mother.

I calmly asked each of the men in the house (Bob included; don't want to leave any possibility out, you know) if they had used a screwdriver in the down-down or anywhere else, for that matter.

My investigation revealed bupkis.

In an unspoken bid for our collective sanity, we decided to forget about it. It was just too creepy to dwell on.

Time, as it will, wore on.

Some months later, Famous was perched on a his stool in the kitchen.

When we got him, the only thing the people we got him from really said was, "He's REALLY motivated by food."

We used this knowledge against him and trained him (with said food) to sit on this stool if he wants treats in the kitchen. Often, if we're doing something in another part of the house and he decides he could use a little snacky-poo, you'll hear him thump-a-bump on up to his stool, then announce his presence at the treat place via high-volume vocalization. (Lord help the things on the counter if you don't go fetch His Majesty something, either. It's like living with a furry little mobster. I swear, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to wake up with the head of a My Little Pony under the sheets next to me.)

Where was I?

Oh, right. The kitchen stool.

So I'm in the kitchen, prepping dinner with a lot of peeling, chopping, slicing and dicing involved. It was like a freaking Ginsu commercial up in there.

This sort of activity takes place directly across from Amos' stool, and he often watches the proceedings from his roost, hoping to catch a morsel tossed in his direction.

This night was different though. He usually only watched with mild interest, often choosing instead to stare at hone his telepathy skills on the bag of Whisker Lickin's resting on the counter space in front of my workspace.

No, no. THIS time, he watched my knife work with keen focus. He watched me julienne. He watched me core, peel and chop. He watched me skin, butterfly and score. I felt as though he were taking notes. 

I shook it off. I mean, REALLY, he's a cat. What could he possibly DO? 

And then, I got a glimpse. The next day, as the BoyRD and I were rushing out of the house way behind schedule, Bob darted between the RD's legs and out the front door.

Bags flew and coats billowed in a (thankfully) successful attempt to keep our bodies upright. As I do in this oft-occurring circumstance, I threw a furtive glance around the house to see where Amos was. He likes to take advantage of these moments to squirt himself out the door to the outsides, a place he is strictly forbidden to enter.

This time, though, he wasn't there trying to weasel his way out the door.

He was, in fact, on the kitchen counter. His front leg raised, his little paw-fingers curled, the little bugger was--I swear--trying to grasp a handle from the knife block. 

I stopped for a moment, staring gape-mouthed at a sight I surely wasn't seeing. The BoyRD's voice broke into my stunned brain, "Mom, let's GO!"

I ran out, trying to shake the image from my mind, locking and slamming the door behind me. 

That image haunted me for weeks.

I showered with the bathroom door latched. I read with a squirt-bottle by my side. I slept with my door firmly shut. 

But like many images do, it faded over time, slipping from memory until what I saw became vague ... gauzy, even. And soon, it was just a story I told. Something to make people laugh. The fear eased away, slowly dissipating into nothingness.

Until today.  

Today, I was folding laundry in front of the dryer when it occured to me the litter box may need to be changed. Mid-sock matching, I glanced over.

I saw it there, next to the box.




Is that what I THINK it is?

I stepped closer.

Yes. Yes it is.

A scientific calculator.

I don't know what that cat is up to, but I'm pretty sure it's no good.

Thank goodness he doesn't have thumbs.


Anonymous said...

And you think MY house is scary! Weird cat

Crystal said...

I'm glad I just live with little old Junie. Her only hijinks are tipping glasses of water for giggles.

Lyz said...

I love cats, but some just have too much personality for their own good. Or ours, I guess.

Maria said...

I like Amos...He's my kind of cat. Curious...Angry...and Beautiful...all at the same time.