Archive for the ‘General Mischief and Mayhem’ Category

With apologies to Rudyard Kipling. Come to think of it, to everyone else, really.

You may talk of fish and fowl;
You may even serve up owl
When breakfast is prepared within your house.
But when the evening falls
Bringing darkness to your halls,
That’s when nothing will suffice but Blue Felt Mouse.

Then it’s mouse, mouse, mouse—
You’d better say your prayers now Mousie Blue
‘Cause when Buddy gets the scent
You will wonder where he went,
And you’ll turn to find he’s chasing after you.

Now in morning’s coldest hours
When the bravest of us cowers
Buddy roams restlessly about.
He bounds from room to room
Wreaking havoc, fear, and doom
On creatures that he spies inside and out.

At each window he stands guard
Searching long and searching hard
For perils that would come invade his house.
But when boredom settles in
He turns all his thoughts within
And seeks to pick a fight with Blue Felt Mouse.

When it’s spied behind the door,
Buddy gives his fiercest roar
And reaches to retrieve the miscreant.
Then he tosses it around
With a leap and with a bound.
Soon it throws him to the floor and makes him pant.

It’s a din, din, din—
The caretaker is wakened by the din.
She runs to the bedroom door,
Turns her eyes down to the floor,
In time to witness Buddy get the win.

With no choice but to succumb
To Buddy’s bellicose aplomb
The Blue Felt Mouse lies lifeless from the fray.
Now sleep is murdered too,
But that is nothing new,
For Buddy wakes the whole house every day.

But when order’s been restored
By the strength of Buddy’s sword,
The champion collects his precious spoils.
Then he lays his burden down
In a box that he has found
And rests himself from all his grueling toils.

Now our king, king, king—
Buddy the king has conquered all.
So until the next alert
Or a crisis to avert,
He’ll stand guard until it’s time to start a brawl.

To the Victor Go the Spoils

To the Victor Go the Spoils



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It is time we lifted the veil on a closely held secret that is eerily similar to the fictional secret “revealed” in Men in Black. In that classic film, Lt. Gerard told the Fresh Prince of Bel Air that although Earth lives under constant threat from alien invaders (one of whom is Monk), nothing bad ever happens, thanks to an elite band of heroes wearing boring suits, white shirts, and Ray-Bans. They then went to work saving the world from a metamorphosed Bobby Goren, whom the cats had always thought was one of the good guys. Come to think of it, the movie was very confusing.

Confusion aside, movie-goers left the theater knowing that Earth is under no threat from aliens.

But our secret, gentle readers, is all too real. We all face an eminent danger of immense proportions. But worry not. Buddy is on the job fighting evil. What is that evil, you ask?

Packaging. Any form of packaging. You thought it was there to protect your purchases. It has actually swallowed up your merchandise while waiting to attack you in the middle of the night. Are you scared yet?

Sometimes it’s the tape on boxes. Sometimes it’s those small plastic grocery bags with handles. Today it was the seemingly harmless white tissue from a gift bag. The caretaker brought in a bag and set it on the table, then went to change clothes. While thus occupied, she heard a kerfuffle in the dining room. Apparently the tissue had attacked our hero and had been wrestled to the floor.

Fighting the Fell Beast

Fighting the Fell Beast

This tooth and nail and tissue battle raged violently for a few minutes, and then upon suspecting that the remaining tissue in the bag was getting ready to attack, Buddy whipped around and unleashed his super power, commonly known as blue laser vision.

Blue Laser Eye: Superpower Superb

Blue Laser Vision: Super Power Superb

At this display of force, order was quickly restored. Due to Buddy’s quick thinking and mad skills, the world is once more safe. The threat averted, he showed his mastery of the defeated tissue by treating it as a pelt and covering his paws with it.

Tissue Master

Tissue Master

Now all he needs is a pair of Ray-Bans and one of those flashy things, and he can consider himself an official employee of MIB. He would love the opportunity to make the caretaker forget some of those things she always nags him about. But he would have to be careful; he certainly wouldn’t want her to forget to buy cat food!

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As a follow-up to the harrowing story of Buddy’s recovery from the clutches of the Dread Disease, it is now necessary to provide a true and faithful account of Bear’s attempt at a coup. Although Buddy had been her boon companion throughout her illness, Bear took his decline as an opportunity to form her own Mean Girl(s) Club and take over the kingdom. She cared not that she was the only member of the club; that made it all the more exclusive. She would be a sorority of one, the lone member of the soprano section, the single Lunch Bunch participant, the sole sister of the Confederacy.

The first thing she did was to commandeer his favorite spot on the back of the couch.

This is MY spot now

This is MY spot now

The caretaker had purchased a delightfully fluffy new afghan and set it out for the feverish king, but Bear decided that it belonged to her, along with the real estate that she normally avoided, due to its inability to sustain her mass. Even though she didn’t fit, she took Buddy’s spot and Buddy’s blanket, while he huddled in the covered cat bed.

Mean Girl Move #1: Complete.

Next, she decided that his labored breathing was a punishable offense, so every time she heard him sneeze or wheeze, she would turn and hiss at him like a demented velociraptor. One time she even looked up from her food bowl long enough to react unfavorably to a sneeze. (Being a Mean Girl takes a great deal of dedication!)

Mean Girl Move #2: Complete.

Perhaps her most subtle Mean Girl move was her reaction to the caretaker’s bringing Buddy back in his carrier after the visit to the vet. From Bear’s satisfied perch on the back of the chair, she awoke as the door opened, looked up at the caretaker with a modicum of interest, and then looked down at the Buddy box. The moment she realized it was not empty, her face dissolved in glowering disgust. She could not have looked more displeased if the caretaker had tried to feed her a bowl of calorie-reduced food.

Mean Girl Move #3: Complete.

But as Buddy’s strength has returned and he has resumed some of his duties, he is impervious to hisses and harsh looks. So the only weapon left in Bear’s arsenal is her roar. As Buddy tries to return his world to its normal chaos, he will occasionally sneak up to Bear and put his nose in her face as if to say, “Are we friends again?” So far, the answer has been a very firm negative (expletives deleted). She always stands her ground, and with ears back, nose crinkled, and teeth bared, she lets loose the scariest noise she can muster, something of a stifled roar-hiss-scream. Looking a little hurt, Buddy backs away and leaves her to drown in grumpiness. He has learned through sad experience not to poke the Bear.

Mean Girl Move #4: Complete.

If any other mean girls decide to join her, she just might let them. But for now, she is doing pretty well on her own.

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The cats have been out of sorts for several days, but who could blame them? It is their considered opinion that if any havoc is going to be wreaked in Stratford Palace, they—and they alone—should be the wreakers thereof. But for about ten days, madness has ensued in their realm, and it is not of their own making. Although the caretaker has carefully explained to them the need for some repairs to the dilapidated palace ceiling, the cats will hear none of it. They prefer to blame the proximate cause for their unease: The Very Tall Man.

Our gentle readers will recall that the Very Tall Man came to the Palace last year to spruce up the doorways, but his kindness to them at that time was sadly forgotten. So when he arrived last week to assess the damage to the ceiling, the cats scattered and hid as though escaping from a Steven Seagal movie. Bear ducked behind the sofa, and Buddy crouched behind the television cabinet. No amount of coaxing and reassurance from the caretaker could assuage their fears, so they stayed hidden for at least ten minutes after the Very Tall Man had gone home.

(It occurs to the caretaker at this point in the narrative that the cats *may* be watching too many episodes of Criminal Minds.)

Since his initial assessment of the water-damaged ceiling, the Very Tall Man has returned to the Palace on several occasions, all in the caretaker’s absence. Each evening when she returned from work, they would meet her at the door with stories of how the Very Tall Man was tearing things up and making a mess, and since those were their functions, they quite frankly were not ready to be replaced. But the caretaker knew that a hearty dinner and extra snacks would calm them on such occasions. And most others, for that matter.

Now that the Very Tall Man has finished his work, things are returning to normal in the Palace. The cats now saunter to the door to meet the caretaker instead of rushing her. But they have made it quite clear that the hearty dinners with extra snacks should continue, else there will be havoc of a very different kind.

They have, after all, seen many, many episodes of Criminal Minds. . . .

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I will avow that cats are not especially polite.

They’ll wake you up at any hour, morning, noon, or night.

And when you close your door in hopes of sleeping a bit late,

They howl and whine and moan until you fill their breakfast plate.

Your nice belongings are appropriated as their own:

They scratch and barf and shed on them, and lie upon them prone.

They stick their noses in your food and lick your Crêpes Suzette,

And when you scold, they are annoyed that you’ve become upset.

While you are reading, they descend to plop down on your book.

You lose your comfy place when you get up and start to cook.

They drape themselves across your fingers while write your blog.

I wonder now why I did not obtain a collie dog.

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Those who know the caretaker best will remember that very little of her energy is ever expended in housework. Though she had never been a champion at this sport, she was completely frightened away from it about twelve years ago when a vigorous round of toilet scrubbing caused a freak accident that threw out her back so badly she could not stand up straight for several days.

Nevertheless, there are times when household chores simply cannot be avoided any longer, and yesterday was one of those times. The changing weather is necessarily accompanied by a change in wardrobe: all of the thick, heavy black clothing makes way for breezy, lightweight black clothing (and an occasional pop of color just to keep people wondering).

But no outfit would be complete without scads of cat fur, and that is where Buddy stepped in to make his contribution to the spring wardrobe. Those who know Buddy best will understand that this is a major sacrifice on his part, given his aversion to laundry. But perhaps it is only laundry in motion that he despises. Laundry at rest seems to be a conquerable beast.

The only thing Buddy despises more than laundry is being groomed, and as a result he frequently decorates the caretaker’s wardrobe with long, white, silky hairs. I suppose he sees her dressed in black and assumes that what she really needs is to look like him. But he does not discriminate. Should there happen to be, say, a mauve housedress lying about, he is only too happy to deposit his gifts. Several photos of this event will be provided, just to prove that he is not some docile kitty getting ready to doze in a pile of clean laundry. The first photo was taken shortly after he noticed the pile of clothing lying in wait in the fancy Louis XVI chair with the dancing man and woman:

Buddy Helper

Buddy Provides Accessories for the Dress

The process begins with Buddy rubbing his silly head all over the garment that is being decorated. The photo below captures a sense of motion, as the garment flails about like a hooked trout.

Buddy, laundry

Sometimes Wardrobery Is Violent

The violence only escalates when claws and teeth get involved in the process.

Buddy, laundry

Going in for the Kill

And the final flourish is shown below, the hapless garment being crushed up against an upside-down head by two very strong front paws.

Buddy, Laundry

Coup de Grace

We will spare the gentle reader any further horrors. Suffice to say that the mayhem ended only when the garment had been wrestled to the floor, at which point Buddy lost interest in it. What point is there in continuing to attack a felled opponent?

It only remains to point out that in this one activity, Buddy was able to combine his predator instincts with his flair for fashion design. It has been said that the only thing that separates hoomans from animals is the ability to accessorize, but apparently that distinction has been obliterated.

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Caturday is always welcome at Stratford Palace, but this week’s respite from the world of work was especially needed. The caretaker has already related Monday evening’s tragic tuna tale. Then on Tuesday, there was a series of laundry accidents, beginning with Bear’s soiling of the caretaker’s bed (don’t ask). We will pick up the story with the necessity of washing sheets on a weeknight, which is not the caretaker’s first choice of evening entertainment. But Tuesday night it was fraught with the additional danger of a stopped-up pipe that began to barf dirty, soapy water all over the kitchen floor just as Buddy had settled down in the caretaker’s lap. One minute he was sleeping serenely; the next he was listening to the caretaker yell, “Oh, no!” and being dumped onto the floor so that she could rush into the kitchen and stop the washer water from doing the same.

Even at the best of times laundry is a stressful activity for Buddy, but after his shake-up, he spent the evening darting from room to room, getting ready for his best performance ever. About nine p.m., the caretaker was spreading the newly laundered sheets on the bed, blissfully unaware of the danger that lay only a few feet away. As she took a small step toward the head of the bed, Buddy took a giant leap from under the bed, crossing her path and tripping her. Now if one is going to topple over ungracefully, it is a good idea to have a bed around to break the fall. The only casualty was the caretaker’s knee, which hit the floor and sustained a small bump. All in all, the caretaker fared much better this time than she has in previous battles with gravity.

But that was not the end of the horror, for we must provide an accounting of Halloween at the Palace.

Given Buddy’s history of darting out open doors, the caretaker didn’t think it wise to invite endless streams of children to beg for an insulin rush, so she kept the front porch light off to discourage trick-or-treaters. It wouldn’t have mattered, however, because no one would have dared to venture up the driveway. Before it got dark, Buddy noticed people walking down the sidewalk and envied them greatly. So he stationed himself in the window and put on his best gargoyle look. Upon seeing that face, it was not likely that the words “Mommy, look at the sweet kitty-kitty! Let’s go visit him!” would fall trippingly from anyone’s lips. The only way the little children could stay carefree was for their parents to say, “Look away children. That cat statue is entirely too grotesque. The woman who lives in that house should be ashamed of herself.”

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Mercifully, the worst of the danger seems to have passed for now. But the threat of horror lingers on. The caretaker just heard the mournful meow of a restless Buddy, and was then startled when he suddenly jumped onto the chair arm. Apparently there is just no end to the madness. Yep, it’s pretty much a normal evening here at the Palace.

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