Thursday, January 3, 2013

The 'cat' in Vacation

I consider myself a cat-lover, though I don't know if I'd ever like to have my own. (Kittens of course make me re-think this idea every once in awhile, but I've stood strong. I'm too afraid I'd become a "cat lady." That would be awful... plus litter boxes smell really really bad.)
This is about how a cat ruined my last night of vacation a month ago.
Time: 11pm
Place: My friends' house
Activity: Reading
Setting: The house is dark, minus the one little lamp I'm reading by- the other four occupants of the house have gone to sleep
Characters: Me and Sophie- the cat.
I had been reading for over an hour- I couldn't sleep even though I had an early breakfast meeting followed by a four hour road trip the next day. I was interrupted a couple of times by Sophie, the beautiful ragdoll cat, who was very happy to have a night owl in the house. She'd ignored me the first couple of days during my vacation and then we'd bonded that morning over a long piece of grass at the coffeetable. (I couldn't find any cat toys...) Apparently, that morning's experience had granted me access to her "best friends" list and I was now the very lucky recipient of her attention.

She was flighty that evening and pretended to watch things around the corner on the wall out of my line of sight. I smirked at her alertness and went back to my book- cats are trippy. She probably sees a moth, I thought.
Five minutes later my curiosity was aroused by the scratching sound on the wall. Peering around the corner I saw Sophie standing on her hind legs reaching up as high as she could on the wall. Bemused, I quietly asked her: "What's the matter Sophie?"
"Ma-oww!" she replied. She glanced at me and then began to insistently paw at the wall and meow even louder. "Ma-ow, mew, mrrow?"
"Hey now! You're going to wake the girls!" I quietly reproved her and THEN I looked up. The girls are lucky I'm not a screamer...
There at the top of the wall, in the corner was a giant roach. There are very few living creatures I dislike- roaches are one of them. Plus, I don't kill bugs. Can't stand the sound, feel, look, even thinking about it makes me gag and shiver. Usually I like most bugs, but not roaches...this was a large dilemma.
Well, Sophie will kill it if I bring it down to her, I thought. If only she hadn't pointed it out in the first place. Ignorance really was bliss.
To reach the roach, the closest things handy were a couple of Christmas tree branches. These had been cut from the girls' live tree and were lying on a dresser near the hallway. I wasn't sure if they were going to use them for decorating or not, but they were the perfect length for my purpose. That'll work, I told myself.
Very slowly I raised the branch toward the roach and gingerly guided it down the wall- toward Sophie who was sitting down and flicking her tail. She was satisfied that I was bringing her prey closer and stared intently. He was almost close enough when Sophie pounced on the wall and scared him back up a little ways.
"Stop it!!" I told her, barely containing my desire to flee: "Just wait another minute, ok? You will have to kill him because I won't! Sit. Stay." (Obviously I'm more used to talking to dogs...)
She sat back down and when I had him within her reach, pounced again. I can't watch, I thought, I'll go read my book now and let her finish the job. I hurried around the corner to the couch and tried to read another page in my book, hoping Sophie would eat the bug or drag it to some corner where I'd never have to see it again.
"Ma-ow! Ma-ow! Mrrrr-ow!" accompanied by scratching sounded from the hallway again. Peering around the corner I was dreading what I'd see. Sure enough there was Sophie, reaching for the ceiling. Her cries became more insistant when she saw me. (Honestly, I don't know how the roommates slept through the noise! ...It was about to get louder.)
"Ok, kit-kat, shush! Hang on." I assessed the situation. There was no more corner of the wall- now he was in the long part of the hallway. This meant the roach could travel further, faster. Not good.
Remembering the broom I'd seen in the house earlier that day I hurried through the dark unfamilar room and found it leaning against a chair. It's better than the tree branch and longer! I thought, this will keep the evil bug further away.

I decided to close the open bathroom door and flood the hall with light so the roach couldn't disappear. Hoping the light wouldn't disturb the sleeping roommates-especially my hostess, I raised the broom and glanced at Sophie who sat and practically purred in delight- she was about to hate me. Looking back up, I put the broom just above the roach to coax him down the wall as I'd done last time. Only this time he jumped onto the broom!
"Nooo!" I whispered frantically. "Get off! Get off!" He began to move down the broom handle like a disease-ridden robot. As he mounted the handle of the broommy panic escalated! I quickly lowered the broom to the floor (threw it)! The roach leaped from the broom to the hardwood floor and ran in my direction! All bets were off. The code of silence was broken. My feet and life were in danger!!
In a very muted way, this sound proceeded from my mouth: Ahhhh ah-AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
I turned to run, but was hindered by the cat! I began jumping from side to side to avoid the broom handle and the cat's tail. The cat, who was startled by the noise and my sudden movements, hurried to get away from me. The problem was, she had no traction on the wooden floor so she ran in place. Picture a girl trying not to step on a cat who is running in place for its life with a roach charging them both. I'm not sure how we managed to make it out of that hallway. She darted one way and I darted the other until I'd reached the safe distance of 10 feet or so. Then I turned to see where my little brown enemy was...
He had followed me around my corner instead of chasing the cat and was standing near the wall. Shuddering I considered my options and they weren't good. The cat had failed- Sophie was not going to kill the roach. It was up to me. Grimly I set my mouth and shuddered again. Fine. I could do this...right?
A cup! I needed a cup or a bowl...something disposable. Stumbling through the dark unknown house I found a light switch for the kitchen. Behind the second cabinet door I opened I found a cup- a single tiny disposable cup. Almost too small. Argh! Why me?! It wouldn't work if it were any smaller. Where are all the big cups? In a hurry, I grabbed the tiny cup and hurried back to the scene of the crime...where the enemy still waited. Part of me hoped he had disappeared so I wouldn't have to come near him and the other part didn't like the idea of not knowing where he was.
He hadn't moved. Sophie had moved near him and was studying him but when she saw me she darted around the corner! All I could see were her ears and her eyes which glared at me... "I'm sorry! If you had killed him, this wouldn't have happened. Scared-y cat." I felt better after hurling an insult at the feline. Slowly I inched towards the roach and got lucky trapping him under the cup within seconds. what?
Seeing the pile of mail nearby I grabbed a magazine and slid it under the lip of the cup so that I had complete control of the insect. Ok ok ok, I coached myself, now all I have to do is, um... open the front door and let him go? No! He could crawl out of the cup and up my arm!! (I could imagine exactly what those little creepy legs with their hooked feet would feel like on the back of my hand and worked to stay calm.) I could leave him for these girls. It is their house after all so technically he's their problem... No. That wouldn't be kind. I'll have to deal with this. The toilet will work! That's a good option. You are getting flushed, Bug! ...And I hope you don't come back. Please don't come back!
Sliding my hand under the magazine I lifted it and the cup and headed towards the bathroom. Sophie dashed out of my way- still glaring. I fumbled with the closed bathroom door and my very insecure roach prison for a minute. Sighing I glared at the cup and then at Sophie who was twitching her tail. "Don't even start with me- this is YOUR job. It's not like I scared you on purpose, you know." We didn't agree, she swished her tail and put back her ears. "Fine. I can handle it without you."

I managed to open the door. Turning on the light with my elbow I approached the pink toilet. ( was weird. I'd have been more weirded out if I hadn't grown up with my grandparents' purple toilet. But I digress...) Checking on my prisoner I made sure he was in the top of the cup before I placed it on the water.
Ok, now all he has to do is fall out of the cup, I'll lift it and flush...voila! But it didn't happen that way. The cup floated. I was a little amused...the stress was making me hysterical, I suppose. I wondered if the roach could swim out from under that? Probably. I reached to tap him out of the cup so I could grab it, but it fell sideways and filled halfway with water. My enemy had skills ninjas dream of...he was out of that cup and on top of it almost before I remembered to jerk my hand away! He stared at me while floating there and I stared, horrified, back at him. NOW WHAT?!
Then he began to swim. He circled the cup and then began to climb the toilet walls! The broom!! I need the broom!!! I dashed into the hallway and almost ran into Sophie (who, even though she was still mad at me, knew I had her 'toy' and she wanted to know what I was doing.) Sophie had another 'running in place' moment as she slid and skittered on the hardwood floors to get far away from me. Other than noticing her mad dash I was too focused on the broom to see her probable look of disdain.
I hurried back to the toilet and couldn't see the roach. NOOOOOO!!! If he got out...just no. After all that effort and panic?! It cannot happen. He must die! I bravely bent and looked further in the toilet bowl. There he was! Crawling towards the top...another few inches and he'd be free. 
But I can't flush it with the cup in there! I thought. Must get it out! I reached in and grabbed that floating cup faster than I've moved since I ran from the hornet's nest on the playground. Then I flushed that toilet. And flushed it again for good measure. I disposed of the cup, sanitized myself, put the broom back, turned off the kitchen light, and then went back and flushed the toilet at third time...just to be on the safe side.
Sophie still glared at me from the dark living room, but I ignored her look and returned to my book. I only had 25 pages left and I was NOT sleepy at the moment. Eventually Sophie decided to forgive me and approached for more chin scratching before I finished my book. I flushed that toilet once more before heading to bed that night. In my head I hummed "Ding dong! The roach is dead! Da-dum-dum-dum Da-dum-dum-dum. Ding dong! The wicked roach is dead!"

P.S. The other girls in the house never woke up or heard the battle.
P.P.S. Sophie didn't really ruin my last night of vacation, it was the roach...but I think we're even.

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