I’m cheat-cheat-cheating! I wrote this story yesterday, because I’ll be busy all day today! I’m at the Edinburgh Outlet Mall in Edinburgh, Indiana, selling books (I hope!).
Last week, Mrs. DiMarco said she needed to get a kitty, which prompted this week’s Story A Day in May Mr. Sugar and Mrs. DiMarco story. I have a feeling it may grow longer later, with an adventure added to it, but this is all I had time for right now.
Mr. Sugar vs. the New Guy
by Marian Allen
Mrs. DiMarco had said something that worried me. She had indicated a desire to acquire a cat. Although my humans lived on the more financially advantaged end of the street, I considered Mrs. DiMarco my adjunct human. In fact – and, if it were possible for a white Persian cat to blush, I would blush to admit it – I considered her a friend.
Frankly, I didn’t want to share her. More specifically, I didn’t want to share the “scrippy-scraps” and “snicky-snacks” she always had for me, the elegant Mr. Sugar.
She had stated the desire as just that – rather a whim – and not as an intent. Nevertheless, the possibility existed. I had created a monster. Before Mrs. DiMarco and I had begun keeping company, she had been as anti-feline as any woman could be, and now she felt the lack of me whenever I returned to my own home.
This being the case, I thought it best to find and interview a few candidates, myself.
I began in the neighborhood, itself, intending to broaden my search by meow of mouth, if necessary.
Thomas and T.C., two brothers who were very much attached to one another and to their human, Andrea, were the neighborhood watchcats. They never went outdoors, but they knew all the comings and goings for blocks around.
“There’s a shy young female who haunts the corner,” T.C. said. “She lives in the storm drain and catches birds.”
I had no interest in her for Mrs. DiMarco nor for myself, females not being my type, but I made a note to warn her against her choice of domicile. There was an abandoned treehouse not far from the corner which would be much safer when the autumn rains came.
Tommy said, “I saw a new family move in across the street and a block down with a Siamese. He didn’t like the cat carrier, and he didn’t like the move. He cursed them so loudly we could hear him from here, couldn’t we, Teec?”
“We could! They keep him indoors, but he’s run away twice. He might be up for a change of ownership.”
It was worth checking out, supposing no better prospect offered itself before his next escape.
The matter was taken out of my hands.
Two days later, when I wearied of my vegetarian owners’ lack of meat scraps, I scurried across the street and down the socio-economic scale to Mrs. DiMarco’s overdecorated lawn. She was just getting out of her ancient Volvo with an armload of package and a cigarette dangling from her lips.
“Ragmop!” (She has always called me Ragmop, even now that she knows my true name.) “Guess what? I done done it!” She fumbled with her keys and pushed the door opened with her toe, leaving another smudge on the abused corner panel. “Come on in and meet the baby!”
The baby? A kitten? Oh, surely not a kitten!
“I hope you two get on,” she said. She dumped the bags onto the couch. A blood-curdling growl came from underneath that worn piece of furniture. “Snaggletooth? Is that you, boy? Come on out and meet my buddy, Ragmop!”
Surely, no kitten was making such a noise!
Mrs. DiMarco led me into the kitchen – not that I was concerned about being left alone in the room with the producer of that savage snarl; I didn’t want to make her wait for me, if she had food to offer. Estimable woman! She pulled a covered dish from the refrigerator and popped it into the microwave. I’m not adverse to cold food, but the warmth brings out the bouquet – in this case, of turkey giblets.
Alas! She divided the repast in two, and put the two dishes on opposite sides of the kitchen.
“Snaggletooth!” She sang the name, putting more syllables into it than she does into the yodeling passage of The Cattle Call.
And he came. He came slinking, close to the ground, one long yellow leg entering the room what seemed like minutes before the rest of his rib-racked, marmalade length followed, torn ears plastered back against his scarred head, his truncated and bandaged tail dragging the floor.
“That’s mama’s baby,” Mrs. DiMarco crooned. “The boys found him in the alley back behind the station.”
The boys were Mrs. DiMarco’s long-late husband’s fellow police officers, and the station was, of course, where they worked.
“He was in pretty bad shape, so they took him to the vet and had him patched up and dosed for whatever might ail him. Got him deticked and defleaed and hydrated and nourished and all.”
“He looks quite the warrior,” I said, and I confess I was more than a little nervous.
He snorted and talked around a mouthful of food. “If I was a warrior, I wouldn’t be such a mess, now would I?”
“Point taken,” I said, surprised by his plummy voice.
“Now, then.” Mrs. DiMarco beamed. “Sounds like you boys are chummying up. I was hoping you would.”
The cat Mrs. DiMarco called Snaggletooth finished his scraps and fastidiously washed his feet and face. His ears were not quite so laid back, and he even managed a sort of staccato series of purrs. He turned his head and squinted at me. His eyes opened fully, and his ears swiveled forward.
“Well, hello, handsome!” He slowly lowered the paw he had been about to attend to.
His eyes were a clear and brilliant green. His teeth were, indeed, broken and dull, showing him to be much my senior. I’ve always liked older cats.
“Hello,” I said, coyly. “Welcome to the neighborhood.”
“This woman,” he said. “Is she worth staying with?”
“She has many fine points,” I said. “If my humans were ever to abandon me, she would be my first choice of all the rest.”
“Meow, meow,” said Mrs. DiMarco. “You boys are bottomless pits. Wait here; I’ll be right back.” She left us in the kitchen.
He stretched his front legs, then his back legs, a truly impressive performance. I sat, my fluffy white tail curled around my immaculate paws. He approached me cautiously, touched his nose to mine, and began cleaning my face with his tongue. It was divine.
“Well, how about that?” said Mrs. DiMarco, coming back into the kitchen, ripping the top off a foil bag. A delicious scent wafted from it. Snaggletooth and I each gave it our undivided attention. “Two best buds already.” She scattered a handful of nuggets on the floor. Naturally, we each ate as many as we could manage with no concern for the other – one is only feline, after all – and traded yawns.
Snaggletooth sniffed about until he found a sunny spot he liked, in a location calculated to be most in Mrs. DiMarco’s way when she wanted to use the kitchen, and curled up there. He looked at me and said, “Friends?”
I touched noses with him and curled up next to him, my head on his long, orange right front leg. “Always,” I said, hoping it might be true.
“Rags and Snags,” said Mrs. DiMarco. “Ain’t that cute?”
Wasn’t it, though?
MY PROMPT TODAY: Mrs. DiMarco said she needed to get a kitty.