Gamma has been very protective of Red Cat since his recent crime (see previous post). She often sticks up for underdogs like that, although in this case it feels more like devil’s advocacy. I’m guessing there is a certain feeling of kinship there, although most of it is, probably, softhearted sweetness.
Last night she asked for a bedtime story. Anything I wanted, she said, as long as it did not involve something nasty happening to a cat. This meant I had to toss my first story idea. To be honest, I did not toss it, I just gave it a happy ending, and told the short version so I could more quickly get on to the main story for the night. The cat story, about an evil cat that ate the birthday cake of a poor one-legged boy I knew in school, so poor that his parents went without lunch for a year in order to afford the first birthday cake of his life, with the result that the cat was thrown out an upper-storey window, landing on telephone wires and dancing from one telephone wire to the other, and was discovered by a circus, where it thereafter performed, financially saving the family, was just the opening act for the story of the shit weasel. Please don’t inform CPS.
When I was a boy, I had a phobia of the toilet monster. I figured it lived in the plumbing and hated me for flushing so much shit down its way, and would someday exact an unimaginable, yet terrible, revenge.
One day, after my mother had cleaned our perfectly white house, shampooed the perfectly white carpets and dusted the white furniture and walls and vacuumed the white sofas in preparation for a Tupperware party she would be holding later in the day, she went out for supplies, warning me not to get anything dirty in her absence.
I was taking a crap, reading a book, minding my own business, when I heard something splashing. I jumped off the toilet, terrified, and grabbed a broom (plunger would have been more logical, it seems to me now, but in the true story upon which this is based, the man — an acquaintance of my father’s — had grabbed a broom), praying I would somehow be able to drive away the toilet monster.
Instead, a shit weasel climbed out of the toilet. I hit at it with the broom, but it wouldn’t go back down. Likewise, flushing had no effect. Soaking wet, covered with shit and wearing a little hat of wet toilet paper, it jumped out of the john. I tried to escape to look for a box or other trap, but it was too quick for me and dashed into the house when I opened the door.
I chased it around but it was impossible to catch. It ran into the clean, white living room before I could close the door. Everywhere it stepped, it left little filthy footprints.
Naturally I was frantic. I grabbed some rags and began wiping at the footprints, but they were covered with black car grease from my father’s last car repair work and left black greasy spots where I wiped, making things worse. I grabbed a can of upholstery shampoo and sprayed that on things, but it turned out to be blue shaving cream and left blue stains.
About this time I heard my mother drive into the driveway. Lacking a better idea, I locked the door and shouted out to her “Just a minute” and “be right with you.”
I got a bucket of white paint out of the cellar and tried touching up the walls and then the furniture and carpet with that, but it only made things worse because it was the wrong shade of white and now wet paint was all over everything.
I opened the window a crack and made a trail of food along the sill and floor to where the shit weasel was hiding under the sofa. Then I got the broom and tried to shoo it in the direction of the window, so it would go outside and not cause any more problems.
(At least, I think this is what I said, because I kept falling asleep during the story and Gamma had to keep waking me up. )
My mother was, of course, standing outside with chips and things and banging on the door.
The shit weasel ran in the wrong direction, knocking over a burning candle and setting the Christmas tree on fire. When it saw the flames, though, it finally did go outside.
Then I ran to the front door, unlocked it and ran outside, locking it behind me again. “I was so scared,” I told my mom. “The candles you left burning set the house on fire and you had locked me in and I couldn’t find the keys until just now.”
My mother called the fire department from a neighbor’s house and they were there in a jiffy, and put out the fire before too much structural damage was done, but they made a hell of a mess so I was off the hook.
Gamma seemed to like it. She laughed, and said we really had to start up the nightly stories again.