“I found your cat.”
Words spoken on an extremely cold February night by the older Baker bad boy, Dean.
Terry and his tormentor, Dean (aka brother), were visiting their cousin John, in Hamburg, New York. Accompanied by their father and mother in the house that Uncle Walter built himself. The adults were sitting in the living room, making noises with their mouths about other relatives. Silly Sally, aka Aunt Sarah, and the Baker’s bad boys’ mother were listening in, murmuring about this and that.
“Where is she? I can’t see her!”
Dean spoke upwards to the eager young faces of his brother and cousin looking down from the second story window, which had now been raised fully.
“Come on down and I’ll show you.”
The two blissfully unaware young goobers shouted that they’d be right down, slammed the window, and Dean stood by waiting.
It was the first evening of one of their annual visits which all three looked forward to, knowing they’d be raising hell and the bar for juvenile delinquency in many a series of unexpected events.
The front door broke open, and the crunching steps pronounced the boys imminent arrival.
“Well, where is she!”
Cousin John looked and if a kid could gasp, did so.
There was his beloved cat, frozen stiff as a fur popsicle, horizontal to the ground at the base of the tree.
Terry just stared, wondering what evil brother Dean would make of this.
“Why didn’t you tell me!… do you think she’s dead?”
“She’s a big frozen stiffsicle!”
Poor cousin John erupted in a crying rage, saying that’s not funny. Which of course made it hilarious. Both Dean and Terry cackled loudly.
Dean, in misplaced empathy, picked the departed kitty up and leaned her against the tree.
“There, she at least looks like she’s alive.”
“This was her favorite tree.” After a pause, John added, “I thought I heard her last night, told my Dad, but he wouldn’t let me go out… the bastard.”
This description of a nearby adult, along with the circumstances of the dear departed, caused a frisson * of discovery to rattle through all the boys.
“And now she’s dead!”
At this moment, the fursicle, aided by the winter wind, leaned a little left from the tree, then slid down to the ground below and rocked back and forth.
This caused all three Baker’s bad boys to look at each other in a startle, and then break out laughing.
“Stupid cat!” yelled Terry.
“I am the ghost of John’s cat, meowwww,” pronounced Dean.
“What’ll we do with her, John asked, my mother loved that cat, too.”
This question was solved in short order, resulting in the boys running inside, screaming about how cold it was, how they thought they heard Johnny’s cat. Making sure that his mother heard this, and would react with motherly concern.
“Is she out there, boys?”
“She has to be!”
“I thought I heard her by the front somewhere,” Dean stated.
Terry had somehow vanished in his usual Terry way.
“C’mon, Mom, could you at least come to the front door and see if you can hear her?” Johnny asked.
Silly Sarah concluded that it would be no exercise to simply humor the boys, so she marched toward the front door with them.
A slight but almost unheard meow caused a rustle amongst Silly Sarah and Johnny and Dean standing together.
Simultaneously, so that it was not quite heard, a louder yet indistinct secondary meow was heard.
“That’s Pearl, Mom!”
“Did you hear that, Dean?”
“Yeh, I did.”
Aunt Sarah opened the inner front door to enable a view somewhat through the frozen over glass outer door.
The hush was interrupted by another startlingly clear meow.
“That was her, Mom!”
At which point as Aunt Sarah turned to look toward them, Terry came around the corner of the house and cracked the outer front door, to yell, “I found her!”
This caused Silly Sarah to step outside on the porch slab, while both Johnny and Dean crowded behind her.
“Well, where is she!” crowed Aunt Sarah.
At that time all three boys pointed to the ex-kitty who had been tied to the railing around the porch at waist level, and started a chorus of meows.
Aunt Sarah caught a glimpse and immediately inflated into adult hyperbole.
“You little bastards! Whose idea was that to tie that poor Kitty to the railing!”
Sadly, all three Baker’s bad boys had hustled into the house by then, and slammed shut the front door.
With the two Dad’s talking loudly, and Dean and Terry’s mother enjoying the conversation, it was difficult, for awhile anyway, to hear Silly Sarah’s outraged calls to be allowed entry, accompanied by a chorus of meows at every instance of her insistence on having the door opened.
This was indeed a good beginning to their visit, but nothing in comparison to what was to occur the next night……
©Dean J. Baker
*frisson – greatly anticipated teenage rebellion
see more in…. Baker’s Bad Boys
and don’t miss their cousin Harold…. Cousin Harold’s Adventures In The Real World
Latest poetry – Blood Upon The Moon –
latest prose poems – Soliloquies Of The Horizons –
Disclaimer: None of the events in any of the stories in either Baker’s Bad Boys, or Cousin Harold’s Adventures In The Real World actually took place. Therefore, they are untrue. Well, at least none will be admitted.