Monday, July 13, 2009
Cat On a Hot Plastic Dock
“Mera! Mera!! What is it? Are you okay? What happened?” The torrent of motherly catch phrases pours out of my mouth even before my brain has fully wakened out of a sound sleep to the situation. “Are you hurt?”
Dulcinea gives a triumphant growl and a sickening crunch is heard from Mera's room. The cat streaks between my legs and out the cockpit, a blur of feline aggression. Mera sounds like she's hyperventilating, “Mom... mom...”
But I know what's happened now. I know with a dread certainty that my pleasant dreams of young men with coconut oil are gone for at least an hour while I straighten out this mess and calm the family down. “Another grasshopper?” I guess.
“Yes. She she... she put it on my stomach.”
I try to imagine this. You're sound asleep, pleasantly dreaming of something less pornographic than what's going on in the rather twisted mind of your parent in the opposite hull – something age appropriate, mind you, probably featuring Robert Pattinson and ice cream cones -- when a 3 inch grasshopper is victoriously placed on your chest. A live 3 inch grasshopper with no legs. And if that isn't enough, at the same time a happy, loving cat is meowing an announcement of her gift in your ear. The grasshopper flaps and flutters. The cat purrs and merrows. And suddenly the thing flits up off your chest to land, say... on your face.
I move into her cabin and soothe Mera, “It's okay, hun. It's okay.” Not the grasshopper. We both know the grasshopper is not okay. We both know that if we turn on the light we're going to see legs on the floor. We both know that Mera is not okay either. Her heart is racing and she's fast approaching a pathological, long term horror of crickets. What's okay is the scream. She had a perfect right to scream and wake up the whole family. Aeron and I are in complete accord with Mera. This was worth an ear-piercing, heart thudding, terror inducing howl.
I soothe Mera with a hug and the deft removal of grasshopper parts from her hair. “It's okay, baby. Go back to sleep.” We both glance out the hatch at the distinctive sound of Dulcinea thudding down the dock, collar chiming, voice calling, “perrrupppppp, chirp, perrumeoooowppp” as she returns to her hunting grounds. Absently, I rub Mera's back, “There can't be that many more out there...”