Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
- TITLE: Cougar Was King
By Carolyn Cyphers
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As usual, Cougar was sprawled out, half in the window sill, half dangling off the ledge. As morning sun cast its brilliant beams upon his tawny coat, he actually lived up to his name. He was wildcat, lazing on the rocky outcrop. Even his mewling purr, so deep, so resonant, could send shivers down an unsuspecting wayfarer. Yes, Cougar had an aura of aloofness, a regal grandeur in his carriage. Every graceful sinew bore the expression of vigilance… the wary hunter, purposeful and proud. Anyone who might see him now, so relaxed, serene, would wonder what he might be thinking. What would have him purring so rapturously? Was he surveying his high domain, demonstrating his prowess o’er his entire kingdom?
‘Nibbles ‘n Bites, Nibbles ‘n Bites, makes a cat shiver with joy ‘n delight! Do I hear the box a- shakin’? Oh, my tum-tum is a- quakin’ for Nibbles ‘n Bites, Nibbles ‘n Bites!’
“Cougar, Cougar, here kitty, kitty, kitty.” Muffled thumps sounded as padded feet sprang down off the ledge and ample-bodied feline scurried across the room, out the door, and down the stairs.
‘My girl, I’m a-comin’, make way for me, I’m almost there! Is my bowl ready? Do I get to lap up some cream, today? Oh, pullleeeze, let there be cream!!’ There was my girl, standing in the kitchen with outstretched arms, smiling, so glad to see me. ‘Out of my way, out of my way!' But it was too late.
Scooping him up into her arms, she started for the basement door. Speaking soothing words, she wrapped him in a large towel, hugging him like a new born babe. Lovingly nuzzling him to her breast, she called his name in sweet tones, as she nonchalantly carried him down the basement stairs. He returned his own heart felt gestures rubbing his furry face against her cheek. Then they were there… the laundry room. Before Cougar quite knew what to expect, he saw that the woman and man were standing there, too. ‘Uh, oh’! Not quite so happy memories suddenly started to rain upon him. ‘Gotta git away, gotta git awaaaay!’ as he tried to scramble out of the entrapping encumbrance. ‘Blast, this heavy towel!’
The towel was firmly affixed about him; he could get no leverage, his plight was futile. He was trapped! No escape was offered. He was doomed, and he knew it. Yes, he’d been here before; he knew what to expect.
The water was warm, invasive, overpowering him? ‘Never! I could make one last scramble and make a dash for the stairs, but, no, too many hands!’ Trapped like a rat, he succumbed. ‘No!... Not the white bottle!.... Pphhbbbteh!’
The dreaded, medicinal fluid seeped down over his sopping head, while so many hands were rubbing, and scrubbing, and working it in. He knew it was time to submit, just get it over with and sooner or later it would be all behind him. And then the water was flooding over him again. His eyes closed tight while those hands rubbed briskly, scrubbing his fur this way and that... finally it was over. ‘Whew’ time to breathe and then, oh yes, here came the towel. ‘Blessed towel.’
Now his girl was bundling him back up the stairs all snug and warm, right into her room, all the while rubbing him vigorously. There were the soothing tones again...soothing tones, brisk rubbing…somehow the two just never seemed to go together in Cougar’s way of thinking. And then he was free.
“There you go, kitty, all clean, no more fleas, pretty kitty.”
‘Purty, kitty,…humph,’ without a backward glance the once proud feline who’d ruled the ledge with royal demeanor slunk across the room. All wet, his fur matted together in small clumps as water trickled down his legs into the spaces between his toes, he’d shake one foot and then the other, as he made his way with uncertainty to a place of obscurity under the bedside night table. So undone was he, that he trembled, not from the cold, but from the indignity of it all. With a miserable scowl of disdain he settled down for a good licking. He knew it would take at least an hour of determined preening to begin to resemble the once proud creature that was Cougar, King of all he surveyed!
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
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