Hours later I woke from a restful nap. The fire was filling my heart with warmth. The cat was purring like a motor. All was well. What had been the source of my bad attitude? I couldn’t recall.
At any rate I was happy and ready to talk. It was time to explain to our new hire the mechanics of our enterprise. Cats exist to hunt mice (and other problematic creatures). I began my new employee training program:
“I got a word of warning for would-be pets. When you join my command, you take on a debt. A debt you owe me personally. Each and every creature under my command owes me one hundred rodent scalps. And I want my scalps. And y’all will get me one hundred rodent scalps, taken from the heads of one hundred dead rodents. Or you will die trying.”
There was a sigh from behind me. Mrs. Curmudgeon:
“Have you been monologuing to the cat?”
“Well you see…” I stammered. It was no good. How was I to explain that this sleepy creature needed to toughen up?
She strode forward and scooped up the huge cat. It was unconcerned by her attention. We’ve got other cats that’ll flee if you hint you’re about to pick them up. They’ll scratch your eyes out if you try. This giant puffball just cuddled into her arms and glanced backward to me with half closed eyes; as if he’d shrug his shoulders but it was too much work. Mrs. Curmudgeon was talking to the cat.
“Just ignore him Lord Fluffington.”
“There are no titles of nobility in this house. That cat’s new name is Skullcrusher!” I huffed.
It was too late. They were both gone.
I lose the world’s bravest duck to Valhalla and the replacement is a huge cat with such a huggable personality the mice will beat him up. So it goes.