With no warning Mrs. Curmudgeon shouted; “Lock and load! They’re coming for the cat!” Nothing will light a paranoid survivalist type’s fuse like hearing “lock and load“! I jumped up, spilled my coffee, and made a gesture which meant roughly “point me at the target and what happens next will be awesome…”
It did no good. Mrs. Curmudgeon barely registered my attentiveness. She just glared at her iSlab; angrily scowling at Facebook. This was not good. Peer too deeply into Facebook and Facebook peers back at you.
“They’re coming back! If they want this cat back they’re in for a fight!”
“Um… honey? Sweetheart? The Facebook people will not kidnap our cat.”
“When they come just be an asshole, OK? Let’s face it, you’re good at it.”
“Dear? My beloved? Cats are like zucchini. They breed in the weeds. They’re plentiful. Someone is always trying to dump half a dozen on the doorstep. There’s no shortage of cats.”
“What if they pull a Lassie?” She moaned and slumped into a chair.
Lord Skullcrusher Fluffington sensed her concern and jumped in her lap. The cat’s a walking comforter. In the months he’s been here he has defined a new job: Staff Psychological Comfort Critter. If you’re feeling down he’ll sense a disturbance in the force, find you, and induce mellowness. He’ll sit on you and purr and suddenly everything is OK. He’s a furry dose of Soma.
I was heretofore unaware we needed a Staff Psychological Comfort Critter. I stand corrected. I grudgingly respect cats for being incorrigible little bundles of claw and fang that kill rodents. I like the idea of miniature untamed lions prowling the living room. I’d rather have miniature dragons but cats suffice. Alas not all creatures are cut out to be Rikki Tikki Tavi. Lord Skullcrusher Fluffington (accepting the name the Internet has given him) is priceless for the unexpected reason that a household benefits from hosting a deep pool of ambulatory mellow.
Time to bravely face what men fear most; an upset wife. As I inched toward the dangerous but calming Mrs. Curmudgeon, the half somnolent cat bailed out. Apparently it deemed Mrs. Curmudgeon sufficiently comforted. Traitor! Leave me alone in the kill zone? You damn pansy!
This was going to take diplomacy. “Honey? Sweetheart?”
She looked at me.
“I only ask because I care. So… What the fuck?”
We’ve all been psychologically damaged by children’s movies about questionable pet ownership like Lassie or Snoopy. I’d never inquired about Lord Skullcrusher Fluffington’s backstory. He just appeared one day. (It’s my opinion that as soon as a cat eats food I’ve paid for, it’s mine.) Eventually I grokked that around Christmas Mrs. Curmudgeon had an acquaintance with a cat and he was leaving town; the acquaintance, not the cat. He was seeking a home for the cat. Mrs. Curmudgeon answered the call and that’s how we ended up with the world’s most psychologically adept mellowness generator.
Now, months later, the former owner reported to the universe (via Facebook) that the move hadn’t worked out. He was coming back.
“He’s not taking this cat!” Hissed Mrs. Curmudgeon.
I’m not good at remembering names, or people, or really anything. Actually to be clear I probably forget people because I simply don’t give a shit. (I presume they return the favor yet they seem to remember me. Disturbing really. But that’s another story.)
Time to determine who this threat might be. “Who is he again?”
“Gunter. Remember!?! He worked at the place and then he worked at the other thing and then that time we met them in the grocery store?”
I had no idea. Gunter sounded German. “The hulking dude with the shaved head. The guy who’s into MMA?” Oooooh, this could get interesting.
“No the other guy. Remember that dinner? The tiramisu?”
I vaguely remembered. A uniquely dressed individual, highly urbane, well spoken, probably weighed 80 pounds soaking wet. He was hanging out with some other guy wearing a tie. Mmmm… I like tiramisu.
“The uniquely dressed dude with the business partner?” I confirmed.
“Hello Neanderthal, that’s his boyfriend. And he wasn’t uniquely dressed. He’s a chef.”
“That explains the tiramisu…”
“He’s coming back. He might want his cat.”
“I don’t think we need to worry. The cat’s already here. It’s shedding on the couch as we speak. I can’t freak out about a chef and an accountant showing up and taking my shit. I’d be concerned about Janet Reno and the ATF, or maybe the Hell’s Angels, but not those guys.”
“And they’re really gonna show up unannounced here in the Godforsaken tundra…”
“Now you’re just teasing me.”
“…probably immaculately dressed and driving a Prius. They’ll approach our homestead. A setup which could legitimately be called a ‘compound’…”
“And he’s going to hop out of that Prius, wearing a chef’s hat, and stride past the hundred pound dog, and the rusting tractor, and walk up to me. Me?!?”
“And his partner is going to participate? Keep the Pruis running as a getaway car? Or initiate a flanking maneuver behind the oak trees? And the first guy will stand at our threshold and make demands? ‘See here my good man, hand over the cat or there may be trouble’.” I chuckled. “Unless he’s bringing a brace of dueling pistols I’m a level of ‘don’t tread on me’ a nice guy like that probably can’t imagine. Also he seemed pretty reasonable. Reasonable people don’t give away things and later demand it back.”
“You think so?”
“I’m sure of it. As a civilized being I’m sure he’s happy that Skullcrusher here…”
“That’s Lord Fluffington…”
“Which just proves my point. Nobody who names a cat Fluffington is demanding a damn thing of the residents of this house.”
“Why don’t you welcome him back ‘home’ on Facebook? Tell him the cat’s happy here with us.”
Ten minutes later a delighted Mrs. Curmudgeon reported that the fellow was entirely pleased to hear the cat was happy and wanted nothing to do with reclaiming it. No muss, no fuss; “lock & load” false alarm.