Friday, September 27, 2013

Lieutenant Chunky, Sky Ranger

Chunky spent nearly every afternoon at the corral fence. A mouser, all business, as friendly as a dead squid; he was old and fat and grumpy like his owner.

Mornings were reserved for catching breakfast; generally the sick and infirm, or scamperably challenged mice would find his gullet, as healthy creatures can outrun an orange and white fur bowling ball. Luckily mice are plentiful on a farm, and as with any population there would always be a percentage of slow and stupid for Chunky to make friends with.

After a lovely chew of gristle and bone, Chunky would lay in a thin bar of shade created by a post and rail fence line, curled up like a happy Cheshire, lazily watching the horses swish flies from their haunches.

Oh, Chunky was a playful sort once, a rascal extraordinaire, prone to scratching open leather chairs and knocking expensive bottles of wine from kitchen counters to slate floors. A yarn ball chaser he was, always good for throwing a hilarious catfit while being taunted with kite string. It was during one of those very catfits that Chunky learned that fun wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

The first time he saw a horse’s tail he was entranced. First his eyes rocked in time, then his head, and eventually his entire body was swaying in time with the palomino’s rump hair. And then as I watched, Chunky stood and bowed his back; the tail would be climbable he surmised, and if not, it might at least be tasty.

Old Chunk never quite reached the actual hair he so desired, though his claws were only inches from his goal at takeoff. I'd never seen a cat look so surprised, the view from the treetops must have been magnificent once Trigger had rear booted the furball into the October sky. I'm betting the cat never had time to retract his claws, luckily, for as he passed the corral fence his front claws hooked the knotty pine and Chunky went for a twirl that would have made Cirque du Soleil proud. Had it not been for his accidental joy ride, he'd have surely been imbedded into a nearby oak, soon to be a skeletal topic of fascinating conversation from that day forward.

So Chunky became a serious cat, a less playful cat, a cat with purpose; and an abundant, unquestioned love of mother earth. He'd tried the flying thing, and found it not to his liking.

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