Category Archives: True Tales

A walk in a graveyard

This little story happened during my third year in college.  It was the first year after I moved from the small commuter college to the main campus.  I was a standing Junior.  My grades weren’t great but I was passing.  I was a major in both Physics and Chemistry.  Right now to this very day that last statement sounds crazy especially since this university wasn’t particularly strong in either discipline.  It was true none the less.

I had quickly developed what was for me a large circle of friends.  We gathered a couple or three times a week for parties which were largely conversations.  Once though that first semester there had been strong drink.  That last alcohol ridden event happened later than this story.  Those conversations on occasion would turn to things spiritual.  There was a religious/new age flare to this group.  I was the only hard science or math major in the group.  One of the steady members of the group, a girl named Lisa, had a pressing interest in the world of the spirit.  She had a strong personality.  She was also an attractive woman.  My mother once described her as striking.

Almost everyday that year I walked passed the cemetery that was located near the center north side of campus.  The campus had built up around it over the years so that the cemetery was surrounded on three sides.  While it was still warm I would some times walk through following the road that entered and exited through the main drag that ran through campus.  During the warm time of year that road would be packed with traffic but by the time I left that campus through traffic had been stopped.  The problem was too, many drunken college students I think.

That cemetery had a few remarkable stones that dated back to the 1860s.  One in particular whose inscription was still clear to the eye laid flat.  I understood that this style of stone dated back to old Europe.  The stone had been laid that way so as to trap the dead within after all, we didn’t want mom or dad crawling out and wandering around.  Part of the inscription read:  She did not dieth, but only sleepth.  I though it was cool and showed it first to two of my male friends, John and William.  I think they were only mildly impressed, I mean it was just an old stone after all.  But as Halloween approached we got it into our heads that it might be cool to take the girls there, sort of as a freaky spooky Halloween walk.

I guess now that sounds a little rapey but that wasn’t our intention.  Of the six of us only two were dating.  That was John and Debra.  Calling it dating was a stretch though as she was born again and engaged.  The whole relationship would turn out to be a figment of John’s imagination, I think or a hoax maybe.

It was that dark holiday after sunset when we decided to take that nighttime graveyard walk.  It was a small party when the idea was suggested.  The event was alcohol and drug free.  It was festive.  I remember laughter.  I think I was the one who first brought up the idea saying something like “This would be a proper night for a cemetery walk.  It would soon be too cold for out door type activities.”   Someone else, William I think said something like “It is Halloween after all.”  He had this shy self deprecating smile that simply melted most girls hearts.  No one wanted to appear superstitious as we were college students after all.  Right at this second, as I write this, I believe that there were six of us but there might have been seven.  I believe I know that Donna or Laura were there but both might have been actually.

It was a warm late October night and that end of the campus was well lit so the footing was sure.  The graveyard was pretty close to the Quad were we all roomed.  It took about ten or fifteen minutes at a casual pace once we got outside to get to the east gate.  The conversation had slowed to quiet as we approached.  I don’t think there was a leader instead the course was chosen in some way that was quiet and almost organic.  In the beginning we stayed on the paved road that made a safe path through the oldest part.  This is were John had an attack of apoplexy over what he thought was a set of satanic symbols.  I can still here his hushed voice ridden with fear uttering the phrase “Satanic sigil!”  It is comical now but at the time I remember the icy chill that jumped up my spine when he spoke.  It took me about three minutes to cypher, in the dark, that the symbol was an eastern star.  I come from a family with a few masons as members and have a great aunt that was at the time in some sort of a weird dispute with the eastern stars so I felt reassured.  I remember the sound of my voice, the ridicule and sarcasm as I said, “Geez John, that’s an eastern star.”  I regret that tone today.

We didn’t have a path planned.  It was really more of a wandering that an established expedition.  John was at the front with Debra on his right and Laura, I think, on his left when he stepped into the graveyard proper walking in between the plots.  William, Lisa and I followed with Donna I believe.  I have a superstition.  I have had it since my first funeral at the age of 6.  I don’t like stepping on people.  Yes I know they’re dead and can’t feel it but I still don’t like to do it.  I might have said something to the effect, “I hate stepping on people” or something like that.  Being that this was the case I moved a bit slower.  It took time to pick your way through a graveyard with this type of a mind set.  William, Lisa and Donna stayed closer to me as the distance between us and the first three grew slowly.  Come to think about it now, the clusters of three up front and four in the back must have been for security or reassurance.  I think that graveyard walk was a lot more tense that it appeared to me at the time.

The Rec center some 20 or 30 yards to the east was well lighted and the main drag through campus was also well lighted.  This meant that the little road that traveled through the campus end of the cemetery was well lighted through there were areas of dark.  When John decided to walk between the graves and deeper into the cemetery to the north the light became patchy at best.  I mean that if you were walking you could find safe footing but there were lots of shadows.  The two groups, John, Debra and Laura up at the front and the rest of us some 20 feet back were having our own individual quiet conversations.  This created a quiet comfortable human murmur but I wasn’t really paying attention.   I was concerned with the people that lay under ground and not stepping in them.

It was nothing more than dumb luck really with the light like it was and my superstitious distraction.  The light had to be just right and the timing of when I looked up.  It was freaky really even when I think about it now.  What are the odds?  For as I looked up I saw two things almost simultaneously.  The first thing was Debra and Laura.  They said nothing.  They didn’t scream.  They simply turned around and took off at a full sprint.  I have never seen anything like that before or since until the moment of this writing.  There was no gaining speed they started at top speed.  The second thing I saw was John looking over his shoulder with a puzzled expression.  He was in mid stride his left foot heading for the ground.  The light must have been just right for there was no ground where John’s foot intended to land.  Instead there was an open grave.  William and I each caught one of the girls.  It was like being struck by a medicine ball.  If either of us would have been a shade smaller the impact would have winded us.  At the same moment I yelled at John, “OPEN GRAVE!” 

The warning shout was enough and John avoided stepping into the open grave.  He could have seriously injured himself.  He quickly joined the rest of us.  Honestly, at that moment, I don’t think any single member of the group wanted to be very far away from the rest.  That put a chill over the party I must say.  I remember some one saying over and over something close to “Please be empty please be empty.”   This phrase seemed to affect everyone.  She, who I believe was Debra, was pretty upset.  So was Laura but she simply huddled close to William like a soaked little bird seeking shelter from the rain against the bowl of a tree.  A that moment I determined to check the hole out and quickly walked up to it and crouched down and looked inside.  If the image of skeletal hands reaching out, grabbing me by the head and pulling me in just flashed through your mind’s eye that’s okay because it flashed through mind both then and now.

“Its empty,” yelled over my shoulder to the others.

I stood up quickly and walked back to the others before any had the opportunity to examine the grave themselves.  I carefully and quickly informed them again that the grave was empty.  They or We were all shook up pretty good.  Debra and Laura had become obviously quite uncomfortable.  John also had taken a pale hue and seemed suddenly less excited about the whole idea.  I didn’t wait and suggested that we head back to the dorm.  I don’t recall if  that night was ever mentioned again by any of us.  Well except me, right now for I have kept it secret over these last 33 or 34 years and that secret is, the grave wasn’t empty.  Only Meta had heard this story -previously and now you know it too.

Happy Halloween

Battle with Big Mac

Here is a weird little story.  It takes place in a McDonald’s in the fall (I think) of 1988.  This would be the fall after college and I parted ways and a month or so before my mother’s passing.  This would be when I worked night maintenance.  That’s was what the job title was though the work itself was much closer to Custodial.

Generally the shift was third and it started at 11 o’clock at night and ran until round 7 am the following morning.  The company liked to keep two maintenance men on the overnight shift for safety reasons.  This McDonald’s wasn’t in a high crime area.  It was on the south side outskirts of a rural college town in North West Ohio.  In the 1980s this campus had the second highest student population of any university in the state coming just after OSU.

I remember watching an occasional drug deal go down in the parking lot out front of the restaurant.  This would usually happen between 3am and 5am when the cops would head over to a Frisch’s on the east side of town to hang out.  This would be a perfect spot to make some joke about donuts but this was back when Frisch’s still made really good cheap food.  I remember this strawberry pie that was to kill for.  I remember it as “Home of the Big Boy.”

Also on those dark winter nights when I would take the trash out to the compactor there would be on very rare occasion a homeless person or two.  That was back when McDonald’s still used Styrofoam packaging on most everything and when they still had strict practices on how fresh the food had to be.  Once a Sandwich of any kind was produced it could only sit for so long before it was required to be pitched.  I don’t remember if it was 8 or 10 or 15 minutes.  So the food in the dumpster was pretty edible.  Generally when I encountered these people back in the coral where we kept the compactor I didn’t mess with them.  It might be tense for a couple of minutes before it became apparent that nobody wanted any trouble.

Like I said earlier, McDonald’s liked to have two men working the graveyard shift and that is how it was for slightly more than half the time I was working there.  It had one odd feature though that I had not seen since I was a child.  It was a life sized plastic Big Mac.  I think he was supposed to be some kind of a police officer, sheriff or constable.  It stood on a plastic platform that was green and meant to look something like grass, if memory serves.  He wore this English Bobby looking police hat/helmet on the very top of his head.  The whole thing was just a hair taller than I was.  I stood a bit more than six feet and four inches tall.  There was this metal button, really the head of a bolt that at one time, when touched, would cause a recording of the character saying something stupid like “Don’t forget to eat your fries” or some other shit.  I had been told, though I don’t remember by who, that it was broken.

It was during a time that there were only two people working night maintenance so each of us worked the shift in the store alone for two nights a week.  I don’t exactly remember the time of year.  My memory of that time is funny that way.  It could be a trick of memory or a trick of schizophrenia I Have no idea which.  I want to say that it was the fall but it just as easily could have been some time during the summer.  Right this instant, as I right this sentence, I am leaning towards summer.

I was in the store alone, it was late around 4 am in the morning and I was mopping the floor in the lobby.  I had worked there for several months by now and I was very comfortable in the store.  My mind wasn’t on my job.  I had turned my back and was walking backwards across the main lobby towards the side lobby that extended to the back where the bathrooms were located as well as Big Mac.

Somebody spoke.  I was involved in my own mental world so I didn’t here what had been said clearly but I did jump.  I had a strong chill run down my spine.  My first thought was that some one who worked at the place was playing a joke.  The manager would, on occasion, after being out bar hopping, sneak in and up on us to check and see if we were working.  It could have been him or any of the three or four people that had a key.  My second thought was that it was an unknown person with ill intent looking for some kind of advantage.  So I decided to walk around the store with mop in hand.  After making a full circuit what was fear had begun to morph into something more like rage and on my second pass I made sure that I was always between the space I was exploring and the way out.  I was still alone.

This would happen a couple more times.  It would be the second of these times that I would be down by Big Mac washing the windows in the exit door we it would pipe up again.  It said something like “watch out for the Hamburgler,” or some other shit.  I jumped nearly toppling the wash bucket turning and looking directly at the giant plastic Big Mac.  The mystery had been solved.  I moved my hand like I was about to punch the big dummy when I thought better of it.  He looked back at me those three buns and two delicious meat patties forming a dark evil grin.  The two plastic white and black cartoon eyes perched at the top of the sesame seed bun leering and taunting me.  It occurred to me that Big Mac only mouthed off when I was in the store alone.  I wondered if I had lost my mind.  He would only pipe up and sound off one more time after this before I decided to investigate.

One night when Ken the only other member of the maintenance staff and I were together working that I brought the subject.  I said that I was curious and I wanted to ask him a question.  He said that I should and I asked directly whether or not Big Mac was popping off while he was in the shop alone at night.  He said that it had.  Armed with this information I waited.  I didn’t wait for long before Big Mac popped off again one night.  How could such a scrumptious sandwich be so evil?  I told the manager about the incident.  He responded by saying something like “Its your imagination, that thing is broken.”  Ken backed me up with out prompting.  The manager said that he would get it fixed.

The fix didn’t take and Big Mac continued to mouth off.  It was like he was laughing at me.  I told the manager that there was still a problem and he said that he would take care of it.  This went round and round, Big Mac would taunt me and the Manager said  that he’d look into it.  It was getting frustrating and irritating until the last night and the last straw when I was mopping down the side lobby.  My back was to Big Mac the hamburger headed mother fucker when he popped off again.  I swear it said something like “What are YOU gonna do?”  It was laughing at me.  I know it was.  I jumped.  It had happened so many times and I couldn’t get over the fact that the damned thing still made me start.  I caught myself, the mop handle had almost made contact with that great evil hamburger headed monster but I managed to pull back.  That morning the manager was there at open and I told him about the incident.  The repeated that he would have somebody look into it.  I realized that this was a story, a fiction.  I responded that it would be good if he did.  I clearly stated that the next time that thing started talking in the middle of the night the fair manger would find it in pieces in the parking lot when he came to work the following morning.

The next night when I rolled in for work I discovered that Big Mac was gone.  Plastic green grass like platforn and all.  That was the end of Big Mac.  I had won the battle.  I didn’t need to fire a single shot.  Even in the darkest of times small victories always taste sweet and refresh the soul.

One last thing though, Big Mac only every talked when either Ken or I were in the store alone and as far as I know no one else ever had that experience at that specific store.

It is quite strange really.

Meta Mumbles on about a family pet named Chico.

While I was in grade school my grandparents had a rhesus monkey – there were times that they entertained the monkey, Chico, by sitting up a card table in the center of their living room and putting out on it a Sears and Roebuck catalog.  They would leave it there with the pages open.  That was a time when all sorts of things were for sale in their Big Book.

We would all sit around the room talking and watching the monkey browse through the pages.  He would turn each page and then carefully spread it out flat.  Then he would sit with his hands folded behind his back while exploring all of the photographs before him.  He would slowly look first at the left page from top to bottom and then the right, while chattering the whole time.

When Chico would come to the part where various breeds of dogs were pictured, he would get so excited that he sometimes flipped over backwards while he seemed to laugh – out – loud.  Then he would point to the family dog, Beau, sleeping at the feet of my grandfather.  Beau would quickly respond and go to the edge of the card  table poking his nose up by the monkey.  Chico would start pointing to a photo of one of the dogs, the breed would not matter, then point directly at Beau – back and forth his finger would go – apparently he recognized that they were all dogs – while laughing the entire time.  Beau would get excited and it seemed obvious to us, at the time, that they were communicating in humor.

And we want to think that we are the only ones that can make our thoughts known to each other.

The Doorknob Incident 1/28/2014

This incident took place a week ago Sunday.  The exact date would be January 19th 2014.

Meta had been made mention for some time that she was having problems with the doorknob, this particular door knob was part of the front door to our apartment.  She had stated, directly most of the time and indirectly on the rest of the occasions that the afore-mentioned doorknob didn’t seem to want to work, that it was sticking somehow.  In later discussions Meta would state that she had been having this for a couple of weeks or so.  Though it seems to my recollection that it was longer than that possibly a month maybe six weeks but I would be forced to acknowledge that the frequency of the incidents that she had been reporting had increased dramatically in the last two weeks.

I had no point of reference for what she was saying.  Better stated, I hadn’t experienced any problems with accused doorknob in any way.  I felt nothing when I turned the handle, no resistance and the door opened every time.  I did something I think my father would have been proud of, I chalked up the reports of her experiences as some form of female hysterical delusion lacking any resemblance to rationality.  This single mental act I had never done before.  When Meta told me something I always took it seriously previously, I may not have done anything about it but I didn’t just mentally blow it off and chalk it up to some weird assessment of female inferiority.  There could have been other reasons why the doorknob behaved when I turned it.  It could have been my massive strength being a he man and all,  maybe it was an  expression of my paranormal power, possibly some sort of spiritual blessing or odds are, just plain old luck.

I was operating from a deeply seated assumption that reality is some how intransient, unchanging.  This is an underlying operating assumption that I have been aware of in humanity for sometime and Meta and I had talked about it at some length several times in the recent past.  The phenomena, in the simplest terms, If I have an experience with the doorknob today and it works for me, indeed every time I use the doorknob it behaves accordingly then that is the way it is for every one all the time.  Its the empiricists interpretation of knowledge.

So it was sunday the 19 in northern Ohio during a january that is beginning to look a lot more like winters past.  Meta and I had decided to make a run for essentials, pop and cigarettes, we had everything else, before the weather turned again.  Rain and freezing rain over the next day or two followed by snow and a sudden impending cold spell combined with the lack of a car and the fact that neither of us are spring chickens anymore prompted us to move on a clear day in the middle 20s temperature wise.  She would run the errand and I would stay inside, I know, I am a lazy dog, but I can live with it if she can.  It was then that I experienced problems with the doorknob right along with her, it just didn’t seem to want to let go of the doorjam.  But we managed and it opened.  I stood in the hallway, we traded I love you’s and I told her to call me so that I could be at the down stairs door to carry up the supplies.  I watched as she headed down the hall and turned and began to descend the 44 stairs down to the street entrance.

It was then that I glanced down at the doorknob and turned it back and forth. It seemed ti me touch and my eye that it was working just fine.

“Should I leave it open until she gets back?” I thought to myself.

“You getting delusional now, hysterical maybe,” Stated another voice in my head.

(Don’t be alarmed, I am a schizophrenic and these types of strange mental activities are fairly frequent)

“Go ahead and close it, you can sit ’til she calls, be comfortable,” This was stated by a second voice.

“I don’t know if that would be wise,” I thought back, “I think there might be a problem with the door.”

“Don’t be a pussy, shut the door already,” Stated the first voice.

“Be a man and close the door, you look like a dufus,” That would have been the second voice.

I don’t know why, it seemed logical that everything would be just fine and the nagging sensation that maybe I had missed something was fading but not gone. This would be what NoahBoddee, my brother, would have refered to as a dumbass attack.  But the thing about dumb ass attack’s are that what everything has to be done first before you realize that every action was an idiotic endeavor.  Most of these last couple of sentences are reflections as I had put enough though into what I was doing.  It was just a nagging feeling so I shut the door.

I stood there, hand open only inches from the doorknob and I could not take my eyes off it.  The fading nagging sound had become quiet loud again.  So I figured I see if I could open the door and put the noise in my head to rest.  So I gripped the handle and turned, first to the left and then to the right but the door would not open.  There was no lock on the door, other than a dead bolt.  I repeated the cyclic move several more times and regardless of how hard I pulled I could not get the door open.

It was then I realized that I had a dumbass attack.  That I was in fact something of an idiot.

I Freaked.

first I tried the old driver’s license/credit card trick, I had always been able to use this to unlock a door from the inside, not dead bolts.  Fail.  It seemed to me that the license and the credit card were too flimsy and it had been a while, maybe I was mistaken.  Next came a butter knife, I could not get over how stubborn the lock was, after all this was from the inside, I was trying to break out.  The idea of Meta being stuck in the hallway only added to my overall level of anxiety.  Then two butter knives, a flurry of action, metal clicking against metal.  Meta would later say that she could hear the noise those two butter knives were making all the way down on the first floor.

We had managed to make contact before she got home so that she would know the situation and the fact that I would not be downstairs to help her haul.

As soon as I am certain of the world it does something to remind me that I don’t know what I am doing, hell, I don’t know what I am thinking.

I played with the idea of taking the door knob off but I hesitated, our land lord is on good terms with us and I was planning to keep it that way.  It wouldn’t be until Meta herself suggested that I take off the door knob, after she had been sitting in the hall for nearly forty minutes.  I am not mechanically inclined, my brother constantly warns that I should never be allowed to handle tools.  None the less I found the proper sized Phillips and quickly removed the knob.  the internal workings would be different though as it appears the mechanism had sprung and had to be removed in pieces.

Meta would say later that evening that I should feel bad about the incident, that it could have happened to any one any where.  I don’t know about that.  It wasn’t until I explained that it wasn’t so much her being trapped in the hall or hauling the groceries up the stairs with out help.  It was because of the way I had blown her off, not taken her seriously.  I shouldn’t have done that.

I realize that this post is a little late.  I guess its taking more effort to get my sea legs back then I thought.

Remember, be blessed

Bagged Cat, Cat tales #3

I remember some time ago, while my mother was still alive, that my brothers and I use to, on rare occasion gather in the kitchen late at night and have a quiet party.  This would be myself and brothers 2 and 3 and long before brother 4 came along.

I cannot remember clearly if this was on the very first occasion that we did this, but I suspect it was earlier amongst these rare occasions.  Brother 2 or 3 would bring a bag of weed…you know, Mary Jane, Grass, dope, the happy plant or coffee or even chicken.  I wasn’t much of a dope smoker so I would bring beer.  It would be late, and any bags we might have would be tossed thoughtlessly on the floor.  Mom and Dad were well asleep by now but we kept the noise down to be sure not to disturb them,  We would smoke and drink, talk quietly and have a pretty good time.  It was one of these times when I first felt that all of us were all adults for the first time.  We were all in college, we all had jobs or one sort or another and the future looked bright.

I don’t remember what we talked about specifically but I do remember my attention drifting to one of the bags that lay on its side on the floor and I could clearly see the tail and hind quarters of Mrs. Fist or Fisty as she explored the bags interior.  I remember bringing up the subject of an old cartoon strip called “Fat Freddy’s Cat.”  A change occured in the conversation.  My brothers quickly caught on and before you could say Mixedpixel we had the cat, Mrs. Fist, trapped in the bag.  We were gentle with her and had managed to work the bag upright so that she was sitting on the bottom and she appeared to my eye as if she were about to lay down and take a nap.  Brothers 2 and 3 shot gunned Mrs. Fist two or three times each and laid the bag back down on the floor on its side and all three of us promptly forgot about it.  I don’t believe that Fisty or Mrs. Fist, which ever name you prefer, left that bag for the rest of the night.

It was some time later that we would get together a second time.  Maybe Mom was still alive and maybe she wasn’t as my recollections of what was happening in the larger world are a bit sketchy.  My brothers and I had once again gathered in the kitchen late one night with similar party favors and again began to enjoy each others company.  Once again the bags in which we brought the beer or the junk food were tossed on the floor and left there.  I remember there was a great deal of laughter.  We were still happy and still had a hopeful out look of the world, I think.

Again my gaze wandered and again I spotted Ms. Fist.  this time she was crouched in the bag in such a way that I could only see her part of her head and her huge hopeful eyes.  She stared at me and then her gaze drifted to first one of my brothers then another.  I pointed it out to both of them and I quickly became apparent to all of us that Mrs. Fist liked to party.  That is how the cat became bagged.

Political Dissident: Cat Tales #2

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.

Cat’s Tale #1: Haunted Drawer

There was a time, mostly at my mother’s insistence that we eat sitting around the kitchen table.  This was all that she wanted, a proper family meal away from the distractions of the outside world and this was long before cell phones and the internet.  And it was so until the advent of cable.  There were other factors as well, Mom and Dad were both growing a bit older and getting progressively more tired with each passing week and even though there was cable in our little home town we didn’t actually subscribe until my junior year in high school which paralleled the level of exhaustion my parents were apparently feeling.  So the family meal had moved from the kitchen table to the living room with out a peep of resistance from my mother.  It is at this time when the odd story I am about to retell actually happened.

We would gather in the kitchen with plates in hand wandering with a strange order about the pots on the stove and the lonely kitchen table scooping food and finding silverware trying not to rush.  Sometimes the starch was potatoes or corn or lima beans and sometimes it was bread.  The bread was stored in the bottom drawer of the cupboard in which the great stainless steel sink was situated.  The whole unit was added when we remodeled just after the purchase of the house, I don’t think I was ten and when I say we I mean we.  My parents didn’t believe in  hiring people to do work that we, including the kids, could do.  So the cupboard we all knew very well.  It was when brother number three fished the plastic bag of nickles bread from the bottom drawer, finding a couple of pieces for his plate and repositioned the bread in the drawer that the incident occurred.  He closed the drawer but the drawer, you see didn’t stay closed.  It instead slide open slowly as if pushed by some strange force.

Brother number three pushed the drawer closed with his finger tips two or three more times over the course of dishing more food unto his plate yet the drawer resisted.  Then he tried with his toe a couple more times and still the drawer softly slid open.

This had never happen before.  The drawer when closed stayed closed.  I know I was watching, but I was so absorbed in the struggle between human and inanimate that I cannot say whether or not my mother, father of brother number two had seen any of it.  Brother number three was becoming more frustrated and the struggle pitched upward in energy moving his emotional stated to outright anger.  That was my family for you.  When normal people would be frightening or loose interest and move on we became violent, just a touch.  Finally he kicked the drawer and its response was to spring forward and outward with more energy than it had demonstrated to this point and a cat, Booger to be exact, slide out from behind the drawer like a snake out of its hole and out into the kitchen in something of a dazed panick.

Did I mention my Mother was a cat lover?

Dad, being Dad, and aware of my mother’s emotional state, grabbed Booger from the floor and held her clearer in his sight with both hands.  My father stood somewhere between six four and six six so you can understand how high off the ground Booger was. She, Booger, was also dazed and confused and apparently a touch Acrophobic and she did what any disoriented and frantic cat would do and latched on to the nearest object which in this case happen to be my fathers nose.  What proceeded belonged more in a three stooges short than  it did in reality much less the family kitchen.  Dad tried to push Booger off  his nose by extending his arms to their full and considerable length but Booger would not let go.  I could see that only one claw from each paw retained its hold, she would relax and allow herself to be stretched but she still clung to his nose as if her very life depended upon it.  It went on like that, some strange surrealistic rendition of an accordion the only sound to be heard was the laughter of my mother and third brother.

In the end it took the combined efforts of myself and brother number two to disengage the cat from my father’s face.

Is there a moral to this story?

Well, don’t in anger or under any circumstance, slam a door or a drawer because you can never tell what or whom may be behind it.