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Walkin'

It’s been an interesting week.
Gretel, our short-term, short-tailed, feline roomer, stayed on a few more days after I last wrote.
She was no trouble at all the first few days as she dwelled inside the kennel Sabra set up for her with great care using feng shui, the ancient Chinese system using the laws of both Heaven and Earth to help improve life by channeling positive qi.
I don’t know much about qi other than it rhymes with pee, which the need to do was the only thing that caused Gretel to move. About twice a day she’d stand up, stretch and leave her bed (oriented north/south) to travel to her litter pan (east/west) a few feet away.
About day five she ventured out in the wee hours of the morning, however, and that’s when the trouble began. Conan, AKA That #$%^ Cat, took exception to having foreign paws on his floor boards and attacked, chasing Gretel back to her abode with great caterwaul. Why Conan even cared is a mystery as he is rarely seen in the house except at meals. Other than chow times days can go by without a sighting. How and where he spends his days is also a mystery with the only clue being puffs of insulation that show up now and then.
But once Gretel decided to come out, she was not about to let Conan dissuade her from getting to know the place. Soon catfights were breaking out day and, especially, night.
The disturbances pushed Sabra over the edge. Normally she is very much against corporal punishment but getting a good night’s sleep trumps about every other moral consideration. It’s like politicians and money. Heaven help me if I ever develop sleep apnea. As a result, she deputized and authorized me to start packing heat. Heat, in this case, was a super soaker pistol I keep in the garage for fun with the grandkids on summer days. Shaped like a ray gun it can shoot a steady stream of water nearly 30 feet with some accuracy.
I haven’t had so much fun since my brothers and I received life-like 50 caliber machine guns for Christmas as children. Set on a tripod, the fully automatic weapons could send a burst of a half dozen three-inch-long, heavy, wooden bullets across the room in a matter of seconds. The bullets were tipped with rubber for safety and the first thing we did was remove them as they left little black scuffmarks on the walls and appliances. Without the tips the ammo left bruise marks on the body, which was deemed the lesser of two evils by my parents. One of my earliest memories is of being pinned in a crossfire behind the refrigerator and experiencing the sheer thrill of realizing that soon I would have all the bullets.
At first I tried to hunt down Conan and keep him corralled in the basement but that proved difficult, as he’s an elusive devil, so I went into ambush mode.
One afternoon in particular I remember fondly as Sabra and I sat at the kitchen table readying Christmas cards. Music of the season and the scent of freshly baked cookies filled the air as we quietly wrote cards and addressed envelopes. It was pure contentment. In front of me I had the work at hand and a hot cup of tea. To the side I had my little friend, my pistola, locked and loaded with 80 psi.
The idyll was rudely crashed by a menacing hiss from Conan who was lurking under the coffee table. “Get ‘em,” Sabra commanded, tipping my hand slightly as Conan began to turn a retreat. But I was quicker and in a flash I started a stream of water that sprayed the table of freshly addressed envelopes, splashed Sabra in the chest and spat a line on the floor before hitting Conan’s haunches as he ducked for cover under the couch. I surveyed the collateral damage and waited for a dressing down but it never came.
“Nice shot,” Sabra said, and I remembered why I fell in love with her many years ago. It was heaven on earth.