July 17, 2013 - There was a time, oh, not too many years ago that I lived with a killing machine -- and sometimes that murderous mammal even slept in the same bed as I. When the lights would go out and the family would be tucked safely under the covers, it usually began. Oh, the terrible sounds.
It got so bad in 2006 I penned a column that started like this . . .
"When I first heard it, I was confused. Of course I had been sleeping so that explained it. It's kinda freaky to be wakened in the wee hours of the morning — somewhere between the beginning of Rapid Eye Movement and dawn — by strange sounds emanating from the hallway.
"I guess if I have to explain descriptively, the sound was guttural and from a small mammal.
"To further the sound's description, imagine a house cat not saying meow, but rather with a rolling tongue something like "b-l-e-e-t, b-l-e-et" over and over. It was dark and it was late. Since I am a scaredy-cat, I did the only thing I could — I slunk deep under the covers and forced myself back to sleep, only to rise again with the safety of the rising sun . . ."
The serial killer creeping the halls of my home was Thomas the Cat. He had massacred a slew of beanie babies and left the remains of his "kill" across the floor.
Oh the carnage! The smiling little furry faces with stuffing and slobber. Though seven years have passed since then, I still shudder thinking of it. I continued the column by 'xplaining how common house cats were stone-cold psycho killers. When outside they kill not to satisfy their hunger, but only for the thrill of the hunt. For fun.
Now, all these years later, all I can say of my furry friend Thomas The Cat and his more feminine feline friend, Keetcha is this: Bah! That psycho-killer, great hunter stuff is a bunch of hooey. I thought I was living with killing machines, hungry for the stalk and longing for the slaughter. Har-dee-har-har.
This past weekend, some how, some way a blasted chipmunk spirited his or her way into Casa D'Rush. I first heard a squeak late Friday afternoon (or was it early evening?). I was unphased. With the windows open, as I hear them rodents every day. They are noisy little buggars who chatter nonstop. I thought this squeaking was coming from outside, too.
I was wrong.
On Saturday whilst walking through the kitchen, (with Thomas The Cat underfoot as always) I heard another squeak by the back door. I looked down at the "killer" at my feet. He looked up at me.
I looked here and there for sign of mouse, squirrel or chipmunk. Nothin'. Hmm? But I did hear the squeak. That night I heard another squeak, now I knew something was in the house because those squeaks only come in the day and it was nearly midnight. I opened my eyes and lifted my head off my pillow.
Thomas the Cat was sleeping on my right, Keetcha was to the left.
"Squeak," I heard again somewhere in the dark, scary hall, down by the kitchen. I rousted the cats out of bed, shooed them into the hall, closed the bedroom door, turned up the radio and went back to bed. "Knowing" that I lived with "killing" machines, I kinda figured I'd find some small tail or a head in the morning.
Sunday morning came early as it always does. The sun was up, it was 75 degrees outside and close to that inside. It was gonna' be another scorcher. I searched the floor for the remains of the intruder. Nothing. I saw Thomas the Cat sleeping on a newspaper that was on the dining room table. Keetcha was snoozing by a screened window.
Then I heard something in kitchen, Thomas The Cat did, too, because he opened an eye.
Thomas the Cat closed his eye and continued his slumber.
"Cats!" I demanded as I headed out to the garage. "What good are you?"
With a stale tortilla chip and a slab of peanut butter strategically placed within a live trap, it took only 15 minutes to locate said rodent -- chipmunk. He went quietly to back property, out by the trees. Safe and sound and probably glad to be outside.
Oh, and another thing. When I walked that caged- chipmunk out, I made sure I walked slowly past the cat I had written about all those years ago. Nothing. The cat did nothing, the chipmunk did nothing. Thomas the Cat didn't care and that damned chipmunk wasn't scared.
So, why do I have cats?
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Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org