Back then, when they no longer wanted something, folks around home just wrapped it up, slapped a tag on it, and stuck it up under the Christmas tree. But one fine Saturday, some newcomer hosted a yard sale, and let me tell you: that’s about the most fun I ever had shopping with my mother, something that has everything to do with the fact that she shelled out 25-cents for a set of one and a half maracas. I danced all over that overgrown yard to the rhythm of my own making, and though it might not seem possible, things got even better on the way to the car.
“Y’all want a cat?” the man of the house asked me, nodding in the direction of the fat feline he was holding up under his right arm like a football.
We lived on a dirt road on the outskirts of the county – so far on the outskirts that when zip codes came into being, they gave us the zip code from the neighboring county – and at that particular point in time, our animal census was down considerably. We had only 16 cats, 12 dogs, 3 horses, 27 pigs, and about 228 rabbits (We’d only had the rabbits about a little less than a week.), so I think you can understand why I stopped dead in my tracks, looked at my mother, and asked, “Can we, mama?”
“Can we what?” my mother asked while turning her arm this way and that, admiring the way the sun made her new bracelet sparkle.
“Take the kitty home,” I said.
“Un huh, sure,” she said. From her tone of voice, I could tell she was distracted, but she said Yes, and that’s all that mattered.
“Goodie!” I shouted and started shaking my 1.5 maracas for all they were worth. (Which, as we know, was 25-cents, but that’s not really the point.)
“All righty then,” said the man still holding the cat we were about to adopt. “Y’all go ahead to your car, and I’ll meet you there with the cat direkly.” Looking back on it, we might should’ve picked up on something when he delivered the cat to us with a brown paper bag tied around its head with a piece of string.
He handed me the cat, slammed the car door shut, and the minute – the very minute, I tell you – when Mother cranked that car is when that cat commenced to running laps around the inside of the car windows while making that screeching sound cats are bad to make when they are decidedly not happy. Around and around and around the cat went – at what I would call breakneck speed – while Mother and I sat there kinda’ stunned, for lack of a better word. Mother forgot all about her new bracelet as we watched with our mouths open so wide, it’s a wonder that cat didn’t run right on up into one of ’em. Eventually I had the good idea to roll down my window, and sure enough, the next time the cat came around – whoosh – out he went. I’ll bet he didn’t slow down at all till he hit the state line.
Maybe not even then.
To this day I keep an eye out for feral cats descended from that rather memorable kitty. You know how I’ll know ’em? They’ll be the cats with bags on their heads.
I hear it’s a dominant gene thing.
Now listen here, y’all: I’m writing 100 stories in 100 days, and if you want to, you can click on the title of the story, get whisked to a new page, then scroll down to the bottom of the story and drop off a comment. Or maybe you want to say something over on facebook. And hey, if you want to get the stories delivered right to your very e-mailbox for free, just mash the “right this way” button in the orange strip at the top of the screen, and follow the directions. One more thing: if you see a cat sporting a paper bag, promise you’ll send me a picture.