All Hacked Up: A Genehouse/Scouthouse Dueling Story

May 15, 2015

I awoke early this morning and, used to Scout the Cat standing on my chest and pawing me, I felt around for her: no cat. I got up—it was still darkish—and walked barefoot into the living room.

I could see Scout sitting on the dining table chair, looking out into the darkness of the front yard. She never needs me when something interesting is going on outside. When I approached the chair, she growled and jumped down and melded into the darkness

A bunny rabbit, damn its soul, was prancing around my fenced-in garden, no doubt with dreams of my buttery lettuce stuffed in its adamantine, bucktoothed jaws. The rabbit tried standing on hind legs against the fencing, to no avail.

I turned back to the room, and my right foot squished something liquid and runny and warm. The cat had hacked up an enormous hairball and I had stepped into it, my sole damp and sticky, my soul mortified.

I hopped on my left bare foot toward the kitchen, to get some paper towel and clean up the mess and my drooling appendage—only to land in yet another hairball extraction, and now both feet were anointed with slime, and I snapped on a lamp, and there was the cat, eyeing me as if I had committed a crime, except I was the victim and she was the perp.

You can’t discipline a cat, shame a cat. “Bad cat,” does not resonate the way, “Bad dog” does. You can only suffer some seasonal indignities and get on with life. Cats are cute, fluffy serial killers—no conscience.

My mistake was feeding Scout some salmon and salmon skin (which she had scarfed down last night), and then catnip dessert. This concoction apparently brewed in her stomach and she did what comes naturally. But when your feet are stewing in tepid cat barf, it is hard to be civil.

By coffee time, the cat had forgiven me—for what, I have no idea—and rolled on her back for the morning back scratcher across her belly. Then we played a round of Nip the Master’s Fingers. And all was well.

There is minimal lesson here—just narration. I long ago learned (with apologies to the Rolling Stones): “You cat always get what you want.”

Here is your aphorism of the day: What the cat wants it gets and what the cat gets, it no longer wants.

The Scouthouse Chronicles: I Am the Pussy, Chapter 4.

My ape Gen-ah was tossing and turning all night, which wouldn’t have bothered me—I can hold onto anything with my rapier claws—except Gen-ah, in spite of my efforts to destroy his face and arms and scare him with my banshee screaming, cut my nails yesterday.

He kept yelling, “Bad Scot-eh, bad Scot-eh!”

And so he rendered my paws useless, and I planned for my revenge. But first I slept for eighteen hours.

I woke up, vomited two hairballs slimy with soggy fur and salmon and cat-bite on the carpet, for Gen-ah to step in, and I padded to the window by the garden and hopped up on my chair and looked out. I see deer a lot, and once I saw a hairy cat with no tail five times bigger than me walk across the yard.

This morning, that damn bunny from the back yard thick bushes was out and prancing around as if a cat was no problem. The bunny was trying to break into my garden, but Gen-ah had put up a fence around it so that only that jerk chipmunk from across the road could get in, and it didn’t eat much.

Bunny has figured out that I am in prison and can’t hurt it. Several days ago I saw my sworn enemy underneath my office window (Gen-ah calls it his office, the dumb ape), and I blew my fur up and hissed louder than a snake. But the bunny just looked at me, held up its front paw and gave me the finger.

Gen-ah has offered to let me out of prison. I like to stand with the door open and survey my catdom. But there’s that big hairy cat with no tail lives out there. It could swallow me whole—my mother didn’t raise any stupid felines. And there are the BBBTs, big birds with beaks and talons. I’ve seen them divebomb into the yard and eat those goldfinches like Goldfish. (I love Goldfish—I’m partial to the pizza-flavored ones.)

So this morning, I was plotting my next move when Gen-ah walked in. I jumped down and hid under the sofa. My ape was about to get punked.

My hairball average is fifty per cent. Gen-ah always seems to find one. But, oh joy, he found both, stepped in both and yelled like a sissy. He hurried to clean up my mess because he knew I might step in and re-eat the salmon/skin/cat-bite all over again and maybe barf all over again.

My pet dog next door is a barfer. Maybe the bunny is a barfer.

And then I forgave Gen-ah—he feeds me, after all. And I let him scratch my belly with that stick with the claw on it. I purred—which is really cat laughter—and Gen-ah said, “Oh Scot-eh, you little cutester.”

Cat clause for the day: You’ve got to know when to hold ’em (claws), know when to fold ’em (claws), know when to rake away (claws).

Know when to run.


About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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