Sunday, July 13, 2008
Barclay's Excellent Adventure
So we were at Sharon's to help my sister avoid the cats at my place. But there was a hitch: Sharon and Ron actually have a cat, Barclay. Now, he spends most of his time outside in the garden, sleeping under the honeysuckle. And he always goes out at night--so what with one thing and another, we thought we could manage.
Mostly, Barclay is Ron's cat--and like two retired old men, they have worked out their routines together. Ron's lap is the sitting lap. Ron's beard is what you cuddle up to. And Ron will come downstairs to the food bowl and watch you eat if he isn't busy sawing things to pieces. Barclay knows Sharon is a hopeless substitute, so he doesn't even give her a try.
I told my nephew, Adam, about the food routine. "Oh, I can do that, " said. And turning toward the cat, he called, "Come on, Barclay, let's go."
Ten minutes later, they emerged from the basement looking quite pleased with themselves, and Barclay had a new friend.
Next day when Ken and Judith arrived, Barclay knew he had hit paydirt. "Follow the ass," he seemed to say as he picked out one likely sucker, then another. And with his wonderful tail curling over his back and waving like a Flames flag behind him, he managed to cajole Judith to eat with him. Pam would follow him to the front door to let him out and in, out and in. And once (or at least, she says only once) she followed him to the living room where he jumped up on the couch and waited for her to join him even though she seemed unable to get all her paws on the cushion at once.
It was a most excellent day for the feline. But the best was still to come. Let outside when we all went to bed, Barclay called through the family room door to Adam around midnight. He of the Smitten Variety got out of bed, padded over to the door and opened it. And in sauntered Barclay with a very small, very dead mouse hanging out of his face.
"Barclay, take that outside," pleaded Adam, not entirely sure how to get the cat to follow him rather than the other way round.
"No way," said the cat--or words to that effect. He had done a manly thing, bagging a kill for the family. It was better than rent. Why would he take the damned thing outside again?
And so Adam, crawling back into bed and I imagine jamming a pillow over his head to muffle the sound, got to hear Barclay chomp down on the poor mouse from top to bottom, crunching all the bones as he went.
And when Adam sneaked back out to assess the damage, he said that all that was left was one tiny red undigested berry from the very small intestine of the very small rodent.
It was, I am sure, the best day Barclay had had in a very long while.