It’s that busy, bustly time of year again. Schedules are full and the temperatures have finally dropped low enough outside to cause a little pep in your step getting from warm place to warm place. These are the times when you really do appreciate quiet evenings at home – wherever home may be for the night.
We were fortunate enough to be at home base home for the holiday, and just happened to be enjoying one of those few and far between evenings, sitting on the couch, watching TV and being still and quiet in the glow of my beloved Christmas tree. It was seriously a couch-potato Hallmark moment, until George said, “What’s wrong with the cat?”
And because I had been lulled into believing we were going to actually have a quiet evening in front of the TV by the glow of aforementioned Christmas tree, I thought he was being rhetorical. (George, not the cat.) “Well, he’s a sadistic murderer of small animals and a complete jerk, but that’s two things.”
“No babe, what’s wrong with him right now? Look at him. He’s holding his head funny.”
Full disclosure here, I was kind of salty with the cat and had ignored him since having to clean the remains of what I believe was either a bird or a garden fairy off the kitchen floor earlier in the day. (Who knows – there was a feather, some entrails, and bits of bone, maybe a tiny leg. Everything looks the same in cat puke. He could totally eat a baby dinosaur and puke it up and I’d never know for sure.)
When I looked at him I realized he wasn’t holding his head funny, it just looked lopsided because his lower lip was swollen out like a duck bill. (The cat, not George.) And as soon as the cat saw me acknowledge the giant-ness of his lip, he started hissing at me, like I had somehow made this happen to him. It was at that moment I knew our couch-potato Hallmark evening was quickly becoming a thing of the past.
“What the hell? Why is he hissing at me??”
“Because he knows you’re the one who’s going to help him.”
“Really? That’s all you’ve got?”
“Well yeah, but we have to do something to help him.”
“So ‘we’ involves both of us, right? You’re going to help?”
“Of course I’m going to help.”
So we both sat there and stared at the cat, while his hissing evolved into a low, moaning growl, and contemplated our own mortality. Or at least I did. I’m not sure what he was thinking. (George, not the cat.)
Oddly enough, after getting the poor guy cornered and calmed down a little (Kitty, not George) he let us take a closer look without gouging out our eyeballs. He had a tiny bone lodged in his lip, it had irritated him and made the lip swell. I had an Androcles moment when he let me dislodge it – I truly thought the incident would bond us for life, and he would quit trying to kill me in my sleep. (I should probably say, ‘Kitty, not George,’ here, but I’m not entirely sure it’s a true statement.)
Turns out, the only thing that needed bonding was the skin on the back of my hand, when I stupidly reached down to pet the little beast a few hours later, and accidentally brushed against his fat lip, causing an immediate and vicious death-swipe, pretty much cementing the fact that Androcles is falsely classified as a “fable” when it should have been a “fairy tale.” Right up there with those quiet couch-potato Hallmark evenings at home.