I’m sitting on the living room couch this morning, editing… editing… editing on my notebook computer, and I catch a glimpse of something in my peripheral vision to the right. Figuring it’s one of our two old cats coming in from the backyard through the propped open screen door, I return to my fabulous writing task. Then, low and behold, here comes our fat cat, Taco Bell. You’ve heard the old commercial about make a run for the border for Taco Bell food, right? Well, I named this calico cat Taco Bell, because running after food is the only thing this cat has ever run for in the thirteen years she’s been around. Taco doesn’t run much anymore. Her speedy treks resemble a waddle more than a run, due to the many runs she’s made over the years for her food dish.
So, Taco ambles past the couch edge as if she’s hunting something, fat fury body low to the floor, and I start getting a bad feeling. We have the TV set up on a low corner glass stand with shelves. Fatso can’t get under the shelf, and as this event plays out, she wouldn’t want to anyway. She may be curious; but when you look up the term ‘Fraidy Cat anywhere, they have a picture of our Taco Bell illustrating it. I set aside the notebook computer, and walk over to the TV stand, where Taco has taken up a position at the stand’s left corner while peering underneath. I hear then what sounds like a combination hiss and hum, and Taco Bell nearly has a seizure. She smacks her head on the glass shelf, popping up from her peering position, and streaks out of the living room leaving a fat vapor trail.
I go get my gloves, flashlight and a broom, having deduced who my visitor is, but I want to make sure it’s not a skunk instead. I begin kneeling down, thinking maybe I should pop a couple Advil before getting started on this task. After spending last night out cleaning our rain gutters for a couple hours before the scheduled first rain of the season, some of my movable parts haven’t woke up all the way yet. Screw it… man up… I get down and take over Taco’s previous position. Yep, I turn on the flash light, and there’s the beady eyes, long snout, and mouth full of inadequate teeth: a very young possum. We have a lot of possums around our neighborhood, along with skunks. The smell of cats on the property keeps the skunks away, but doesn’t seem to bother the possums.
I use the broomstick with practiced ease to scoot Pauley Possum out from under my TV stand, with Pauley bravely showing me his fangs, and hissing threats. He immediately plays dead once I have him out in the open. It’s still not light outside. I get up at five, even on Saturdays, much to my wife’s constant ridicule. Since she has trouble staying up past nine most nights, and I stay up until around eleven, I even up the score by taunting her nocturnal habits. Scooping up Pauley, I consider taking him in to visit my wife; but my survival instinct kicks in, and I take Pauley out to the fence and shoo him into motion along the top.
Inside the house, our other cat, Bonnie, who has a couple years on Taco Bell has come in from the garage. Bonnie looks like the scraggly cat they tied dynamite to in ‘