This story occurs, surprise surprise, in the kitchen. In retrospect it appears that the kitchen was the heart of the house, though the may have been a second heart in the living room. That second heart though, I believe was second in all ways. One of the larger groups of my memories always take place in kitchen some place. I really like to eat or cook and to this day spend entirely too much time in the kitchen.
I want to say that this event took place in the later fall or winter as I remember my brothers and I in shaker knit sweaters. They were popular at that time in the very early 80s under the name of Saint Johns Bay. The design was simple, solid colors, blues yellows and greens. Dad was in his overalls though which means it could have happened any time of year and I am just misremembering the sweaters though they weren’t actiually part of the story. The other thing that nudges my belief in sweaters and the cold season was that Mom had made a large pot of scalloped potatoes and ham. This dish was traditional through the easter season. Dad use to call this stuff farmer food, the meat, ham, and potatoes, sliced thick floated in a thick buttery cream sauce, believe me, if this dish is on your table you better plan on moving…I mean like running stairs, manual labor, shoveling snow. deep cleaning, scrubbing the tub or canning because if you don’t it will pile up around your waist faster than shit through a goose. Needless to say it is still one of my favorite feel good foods. It took me twenty years to figure it out. I’m sure that seems strange to more experienced cooks.
As usual, we had all gathered, jockeying for postion so that we could race to our favorite chair in the living room in front of the television. Mom spent some time fussing with the pot. Generally speaking, the men, myself included, were most patient with the pace of things when food was involved. Dad was first in line, leaning over mother’s shoulder, which drove her a little nuts, practically drooling. Myself and middle brother were back against the converted cherry gun cabinet bidding our time and little brother, arguably next in line had set his plate near the edge of the kitchen table. Apparently it was too heavy for him to hold.
Now, Ms. Fist, or Fisty or for those versed in folklore, Scratch, was by no means the oldest cat in Mom’s troop of rescued felines, she wasn’t even the second oldest. But Ms. Fist had the kind of curiousity, that. if she were human, would have made her perfect for the CIA. She was absolutely with out fear nor any sense of rational bondaries. Thus in her quest to know more she jumped up on the seat of a near by chair and brought her gaze close to little brothers unattended and empty plate. At this moment my memory takes on the tone of a strong close up lens. I can see her nose flaring with rapid little movements as she excitedly scented the air ever hopeful that something tasty had been left on said plate. When little brother noticed the intrusion by this foreign intellegence agent he became visibly angry and cuffed Ms. Fist on the top of the head. I want to sat cuffed but to me it seemd like a harder blow. She crouched down on the chair staring up at little brother through narrow angry evil eyes, ears clearly flattened against her head. Her tail lashed to and fro three times but she did not give up the chair until little brother uttered a curse under his breath and raised his hand. Dad had already filled his plate and had began moving towards the living room. I had lost interest in the food for I had seen Ms Fist in action in the past and I knew she wasn’t going to stand idly by and do nothing, she was a cat of action and I was intent on watching.
Dad abandoned his plate on the dining room table as he needed to take a detour to the bathroom in an Ed Bundy fashion. Little brother was busy at the pot, it was the delicious ham and scalloped potaoes that held his entire attention. I let middle brother pass me, instead watching as the cat steadily approached little brothers favorite chair.
She was devious and cool as she jumped up on the recently reupholstered chair little brother had since favored. She looked around making sure that there was no witness, at least no witness that would testify against her and finally she pissed all over the seat of this over stuffed chair. At this point I must state that a cat contains an amazing amount of piss, especailly with such a little body. She must have been saving up for a rainy day or maybe she was a moving extradimensional piss portal. She could have put out a medium sized camp fire. When she finished, her ears still angry but at mid elevation, her tale lashing, she surveyed the room one last time before jumping down to the floor and disappearing into the front hallway. In my mind she most certainly headed upstairs where she could enjoy the spectavle and still avoid discovery.
Little brother, totally absorbed in his plate, walked in determined fashion to his chair. He was agile and quickly turned round, keeping both hands on his plate and began to sit. This was known as the hands free style of taking a seat or plopping. His expression flashed with surprise and flushed with anger.
“Who got my seat wet?” He yelled.
I said nothing.
All things considered I had been favored by the Gods, at least I saw it that way. If my attention had been diverted and I missed the intial cuff I most certainly would have missed the silent sabotage carried out by Fisty. It couldn’t have been chance as I watched attack and sneaky counter attack play out as if I was watching it on TV or in a movie. I never dropped dime on Ms. Fist. No one ever even thought to ask. That was the moment I realized that animals in general are far more intellegent that we people give them credit for. Is it simply that people aren’t really paying attention or maybe the Gods made no effort to show them. They possibly lacked the patience to observe and enjoy. That sounds pompous as hell. At any rate, I learned that there are many ways to resist a stronger oppenent and for the most part they don’t require physical violence.