Fraidy Cat


Fraidy Cat

By Howard Eskildsen

            I didn’t really mean to scare Hobbes, our orange cat, out of one of his nine lives.  I could never have anticipated the outcome of the morning’s events, but now realize how simple lapses in memory have unexpected consequences. 

            It all started off innocently enough.  I had just returned from my morning run, and decided to call Fairy, who was visiting her dad, Willis, in Florida.  His wife, Virginia answered and informed me that Fairy and Willis had gone to the store, but would return shortly.  We visited for a short time and then I prepared to shower. 

            There must be an unwritten rule that states that the phone is most likely ring when you’re in the shower.  I took the cordless phone from the kitchen and put it near the shower, so that if she called back, I wouldn’t have to run, naked and wet, across the carpet to the phone by the bed.  Another rule states that when you’re prepared for something, it never happens.  Sure enough, I made it through the shower without the phone ringing.  I put the cordless phone on my dresser by the bedroom door so that I wouldn’t forget to take it back to its proper place in the kitchen. 

            I shaved, dressed and headed to the kitchen to get breakfast.  On the way, I barely noticed an orange ball of fur sleeping in the middle of the bed, and totally missed the phone sitting on the dresser. 

            I was reading the comics and working on the last bite when the phone rang.  I casually got up and walked to where the cordless was supposed to be.  Aaaakk!  It wasn’t there.  Half way through the third ring, I remembered setting it on my dresser, and I sprinted down the hall to the bedroom.            

            Exactly what happened next is a little unclear.  I have asked Hobbes about it, but so far he has refused to comment.  I remember clearing the doorway to the bedroom and seeing a hissing, arched form on the bed, tensed like a tightly wound spring.  Every orange hair on his body stuck out like he had just stuck his paw in an electric socket. 

            RRIIINNNNGGG!  At the sound of the phone he launched himself into low earth orbit, but he only made it to the vertical blinds.  With a crash he bounced off the doors behind the blinds and landed on the carpet.  He didn’t exactly land on his feet.  While the blinds rattled in the back ground, he shook his head, and with his ears cocked different directions, shot me a look that seemed to ask, “Where the hell did YOU come from?”             I answered the phone while he staggered out the bedroom door, trying to find his composure.  As the hairs slowly returned to their proper places, he managed to hoist his tail and walk a straight line directly away from me.  For the moment, we both figured that was the best direction. 

© Eskildoodle 2021