Cedar, the Gladiator

Outdoor Tales

(This is the part in the story where I stick my finger down my throat.)

“Aren’t they cute,” she said, opening her outstretched hand and unveiling two tiny orange balls of fluff with eyes the size of quarters.

“Nooooooooohhhhhhhhhh,” I screamed over my plate of venison, jumping to my feet and nearly knocking over my Pabst Blue Ribbon.

“I didn’t want cute,” I screamed, hands on my hips, staring down at the quarter-sized eyes attached to the pieces of orange fluff in the outstretched hand.

“Blink, blink” went the eyes.

“I wanted a killing machine,” I blurted through venison and beer spittle. “These are not mouse assassins.”

“These are not cats that could take a punch.”

“Blink, blink” went the eyes.

“These are not ... they are ... well, I guess they are kind of cute.”

Fast forward to last evening. I’m on the couch, feet up in my lounge loafers, eating venison and watching my Yankees duke it out with Seattle, a fat, lazy orange cat on either side, slumbering away.

“Plop” the first disease riddled varmint of the season showed its nasty, filthy, vile, godawful, toothy little face, landing smack in the middle of my hardwood floor.

“Brfff, rffff .... mrfff,” I said, choking on a piece of venison.

“Mouse,” I finally blurted out slapping at the cats with my free hand.

“Fire mission, fire mission,” I yelled, reverting for a second to my days as an Army gunner.

I stood back, not wanting to get tangled up in what was sure to be an epic battle, the likes of which had not been played out since Russell Crowe fought those tigers in the movie “Gladiator.”

But the cats never moved.

“Blink, blink” went their eyes.

“Whyyyyyyyyyyy,” I wailed, arms stretched toward the ceiling, like Nancy Kerrigan after getting whacked in the shin at that practice session during the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications. His column appears regularly.

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