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Bastard Cat

by Vicky Chapman, NSW, Australia


Its Molting Season here in the Southern Hemisphere, and the amount Shmoggleberry is shedding would be enough to decorate a Christmas tree, providing I like the look of greyish snow. There is cat fur everywhere and my clothes definitely tell the world I'm a cat owner. Shmoggleberry's fur is, as I said earlier, grey. But he's darker grey on top, and lighter grey on the belly to counter both my light and dark clothes. He has slight tabby marks through his fur so that some of his longer hair is both light and dark grey. These particular strands of fur, I swear, were designed with the fashion conscious cat owner in mind, so that no matter what haut couture one chooses, the cat fur will be obvious on every single cloth and colour combination imaginable. That wonderful smart business jacket of mine has been adopted as a preferred Place Of Snoozing and has become completely unwearable unless I go through a roll of sticky tape, scalping it's fashionable grey accessories first. Sweeping the floor has become a unique challenge, the more I sweep, the more Shmoggleberry sits in the middle of the room, out-moulting the broom's efforts with a quietly smug expression. Its almost as if he has an mist of fine grey fur surrounding him, just waiting to commit atmospheric fallout on my most expensive and difficult to clean wardrobe items. Not only is it driving my sinuses crazy, its filling my lint-collector quicker than I can say a-choo! Its not the extra cleaning and anti-histamines that is driving me mad, though, it's the practical jokes he can play. I should have known something was up, because he was behaving so wonderfully well…

Its hot. Its sticky. The whole world has decided to clean out my pores. The flat has turned into a steam-bath. The fan, as expensive as it was, just moves the humid air around rather than cooling anything. The air is that thick, you'd think it would fall on the ground in in gooey puddles. No-one wants to do anything but just sit and hope that the rain comes shortly. It doesn't. For three days we swelter in the humidity, watching the storm clouds roll past us, watching the refreshing rain go somewhere else. We sit, airing our sweating bodies, loath to move.

All the family are wearing the minimum clothing possible. I wish I were a bloke, so I wouldn't have to worry about tops. I find the old bikini top and put it on, and although I realize very quickly why it hasn't been worn for a few years and feel sorry for anyone who may come to the door, I put comfort before looks. I feel even sorrier for Shmoggleberry, not being able to take off his fur coat. I wipe him with a wet cloth as he lies belly up, stretched out on the floor. He gives me a pathetic look, and I reach down to hug him. Its hot, and he's lazy too. He doesn't struggle much, and I put him back on the floor without a scratch to my almost bare body. He goes back to lying completely stretched out, tail touching his head. I sit some more, wishing for rain.

At 3pm, I've had enough and decide to have my second shower for the day. I can't stand the sticky clamminess that's all over my body, makes my feet pick up all the crud from the floor, makes one body stick to another body part in an unpleasant and occasionally painful way. After disrobing and taking off my reading glasses, I step into the cool shower and let the refreshing water run down my body, enjoying the goosebumps dancing across my skin. I close my eyes and put my head under the water. I emit small involuntary groans of pleasure. Joel awaits patiently in the loungeroom for his turn at the relief. I make it a point of ignoring the two daddy-long-legs that live in the corners of the shower cavity. Although no arachnophile, they do no harm up there, and at this point, I don't care about anything besides the cool deliciousness enveloping me.

I open my eyes for the soap and see something grey and round travelling slowly down my body. I can't see too well in here, but its moving like a spider. A spider! On me! The revelation makes me jump out of the shower, screaming for help. Oh-mi-god! Kill it! Kill It! Arrgh! It was on me! Help! Kill it!

Joel, always the one to jump to a damsel in distress, slowly extracts himself from fan's zephyr, and casually strolls to the bathroom, which I have exited with all haste. I am still shrieking "Kill it! Kill it" in near hysterical tones, taking absolutely no notice that my wet and naked body is right next to the open front door. Joel The Brave picks his weapon of choice, the conditioner bottle, and beats the monster to a pulp. After cleaning his glasses from the water, he saunters back to the kitchen as if nothing happened, and makes himself yet another iced tea.

Nothing will reassure me that I am out of mortal danger until I see the limp and defeated body of the dreaded beast. I enter the bathroom again with caution – the general area is clear – and peer down to the blob of grey mush near the drain. As I get close enough, I can see the odd grey hair splitting off from the grey mass and flowing down the plug hole. It was a clump of cat fluff. I nearly died from, and Joel The Brave had just killed… the grey cat fur that had stuck to my skin when I had last hugged Shmoggleberry.

Shmoggleberry was at the front door, shedding away, with an even smugger look on his face than usual. Of course, the story would be funnier if someone had come to the door while I was shrieking "Kill it, kill it!" in all my wet and dripping nakedness, and I can't honestly say that anyone didn't – there was no way I would have noticed. However, there was nobody out there rigid with horror of the sight of my white, wet and wobbling form, so I suspect that little scene was only witnessed by Joel The Brave and of course, the Master Himself, Shmoggleberry. I swear he planted that cat fur on purpose, sat back, and waited for the inevitable. I can still see that evil smirk setting his whiskers a-quiver; I can almost hear that snide little kitty laugh.

And now since the weather has finally cooled, he sits near the fan and molts, so that his fur will be carried afar, to get in and on everything possible, while he plots and schemes another Bastard Cat trick on his poor hapless humans. Well, I suppose in his mind its proper revenge for the hours of amusement we get from the "move the cat while he's sleeping" trick. It's a good trick, that, but I don't think I'll try it again. I never know when the next fur-monster is hiding. I've been outsmarted, yet again.

Bastard cat.


Editor's note:

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