Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)
TITLE: The Indelicate Demise of Darwin
By Chely Roach
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I said, “That’s it! We will never have another cat!” If I believed in jinxes, this would’ve been a textbook case. Within ten days of uttering those words, “He” appeared on my porch. The fluffiest, hungriest orange Tomcat I’ve ever laid eyes upon, pounced from the hedges and attacked my unshaven calves…wearing nothin’ but a purr and a Harley Davison collar. Apparently, some cold heart moved off of my street, and left my new friend “Harley” behind. You already know where this is going; “I’ll feed him and find him a home,” quickly morphed into “I guess we have another cat.” Yippee.
For me, reincarnation falls into the same category as jinxes…I just don’t roll that way. But, if I did believe in such things, I would be convinced that Harley was a Mayan warrior in a past life, who believes that I am some tuna wielding goddess…and my front porch is the altar to the temple. Ugh.
The list of his frequent sacrifices are too numerous and nauseating to hash out, but I am sure the little critters of my neighborhood wet their fur at the sight of the color orange. Besides the mice that he so gingerly lays upon my walkway almost daily, I have also found a flurry of grey mockingbird feathers decimated across my porch mat. Ironically, the mat reads, “Wipe Your Paws”. I think we all know who is mocking who…
Up until Labor Day, the worst “gift” Harley has ever bestowed upon me has been the innocent heart of some unsuspecting creature. On. My. Porch. Mat.
You might be wondering, what could be worse than that?
For the holiday weekend, my sister, Marcia was visiting. Fifty hours of maniacal sibling fun and food. Seriously, we pig out on “home” food, and giggle like school girls. Saturday morning Marcia found out why I have a garbage bag full of empty coffee cans on my back porch. Harley spent the evening playing his favorite hunting game, leaving the usual rodent sacrifice to the goddess-of-the-Cat-Chow. When we were walking out the door we discovered his lovely present, to which I didn’t bat an eye. I went back inside and quickly returned with my trusty blue coffee can, opened it, and used then lid to scoop the varmint into its tomb. Presto…”coffin can”. Game over.
But Harley had other plans. When the moon appeared we needed a junk food fix, so Marcia and my other sister Rene’ ventured off to find us chocolate and caffeine. Moments after the screen door slammed, Marcia’s face reappeared through the mesh, “Uhhh, we have a situation out here. Uh, Harley has another victim.”
“Okay, I’ll can it up in a minute.”
She broke the news, “Um, no, uh, this one’s still alive.”
I looked beyond her to see Harley patiently sitting behind the sweetest little unconscious squirrel, “Aww…”
Dead rodents I can manage; wounded Disney characters, not so much. I can hear my mother’s nagging voice, “Don’t touch it! It could have rabies…or the plague!” And her three disobedient little girls passed the clinically in shock squirrel from hand to hand. I went inside and found a medicine dropper, nuked some milk, and put a cloth diaper in the bottom a toddler size purple shoe box from the Children’s Place. We put the little bugger in the box, and I squeezed drops of milk into his mouth. And to our surprise, he took it, kneading his front paws in the air. When the dropper was empty, he actually woke up. It didn’t take long to discover that our little friend couldn’t move his back legs. Harley had probably gotten a bad rap…our friend was probably shoved out of the nest by his own momma.
Marcia broke the silence with this gem, “Well little buddy, I think we just named you Darwin.” I believe we all knew that if we didn’t laugh we would cry.
I managed, “Well, I’ll put Harley inside and leave Darwin out here.”
“Are there any other cats in the neighborhood?”
Marcia articulated slowly, “Then…aren’t we just making him a box lunch?”
She was killing me with her logic.
So we put Darwin’s box in the enclosed back porch. By morning, he was in baby-squirrel-Disney-character-heaven, and the purple shoe box was placed ceremoniously in the dumpster next to the previous day’s coffin can.
New game rules, Harley:
Live, cute orphans =Humane Society.
And yes, Mother, I washed my hands…with soap.
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