I love animals but cats are my favorites. There’s just something about them that makes me relate to them so easily. My family has usually always had at least one cat among us as far back as I can remember. As with people there are just some animals that seem to have that special something. Harry was one of them. I fell in love with him almost immediately. The bond between us grew and Harry became my cherished friend and companion as well as a valued member of our family.
Harry’s magnetic personality and charismatic manner almost always allowed him to get his way. But on those rare occasions when he was treated unjustly, his vengeance was anything but sweet.
My husband, Scott stood in the doorway looking out at the yard. The grass was quickly shooting up again from the recent rain. The day was sunny but the weather report called for rain the rest of the week.
“I think I’ll go cut the grass,” he said.
“I’ll do it for you, Dad,” volunteered Travis, our youngest son.
“It’s supposed to rain. I want to get it cut before it gets any higher.”
“Just let me finish eating my sandwich,” Travis said.
“Are you sure you don’t mind?” Scott asked his son.
“No. I’ll do it.”
Travis gulped down the rest of his sandwich and washed it away with the last bit of pop in the glass. He got up from the table, picked up his plate and glass and placed them in the sink.
“Let me go change clothes first,” he told his father.
Travis went upstairs and was back down in a flash. He took the keys from the counter, went outside, unlocked the shed and removed the lawn mower. A few moments later I could smell the sweet scent of fresh cut grass. I loved the smell of grass even though I suffered from most common allergies at that time of year.
Scott and I sat at the kitchen table, engaged in casual conversation when Travis reappeared in the doorway a short while later. His face was a bit flushed and his back had taken on a little more of a golden bronze hue. Little slivers of grass decorated his shoes, socks and lower legs.
“I’m going to take a shower,” he said.
“Thanks for taking care of the yard, Trav.”
“No problem, Dad.”
When Scott rose to refill his glass with Pepsi he noticed Harry sitting in front of the bathroom door.
“He must need in to use the litterbox,” I said.
Scott knocked on the bathroom door.
“Trav, Harry needs in to use the litterbox.”
Travis did not reply. Assuming that he could not hear over the sound of the running water, Scott knocked a little harder. The water immediately turned off.
“Harry needs in to use the litterbox,” Scott said.
“So,” came the reply.
“Well, let him in.”
“No. He can wait.”
“If he goes to the bathroom on the floor you’re cleaning it,” his father warned.
Only silence came from the other side of the door. Then the rush of the water could be heard again. Harry continued to sit patiently in front of the door waiting to gain entrance. A few minutes later, after finally deciding that the door was not going to open, he gave up.
Travis had changed shoes before he went out to cut the grass. When he came back in, he removed his shoes and left both pair by the door. Harry walked over, sniffed the shoes and squatted. Although I made an attempt to stop him, it was too late. Harry had already urinated on both pair of Travis’s shoes. Normally Scott would have been furious but this time he roared with laughter. Grasping his abdomen, he howled until his face was flushed and tears ran down his cheeks. Although I tried not to laugh, a few giggles managed to escape.
On hearing all the commotion, the bathroom door flew open. A still dripping, towel clad Travis appeared in the doorway.
“What’s so funny?” he asked.
“You wouldn’t let Harry in the bathroom so he used your shoes instead of the litterbox. Both pairs!” Scott pointed, as he tried to contain his laughter.
“What?! He didn’t,” Travis exclaimed as his jaw clenched in anger and his face reddened with embarrassment.
“He did,” laughed my husband.
“Dad, it’s not funny.”
“Oh yes it is.”
I nudged my husband to shut up. Scott was enjoying the moment just a little too much. Trav didn’t have much of a sense of humor and even less when the joke was on him.
“Harry! Come here. You little…Wait till I get you,” Trav muttered as Harry ran around the table.
“Leave him alone. It’s nobody’s fault but your own. You’re the one who wouldn’t open the door,” his father pointed out. It seemed odd to hear Scott defend a cat but Harry had made a lasting impression on everyone including my husband.
He certainly made an impression on Travis that day. Finally eluded by Harry, Travis stomped back into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. Harry was the baby and he knew it. He flopped down on the throw rug in front of the door and groomed himself contentedly. He had proved his point and he was satisfied with the results. It didn’t pay to piss Harry off. (Pardon the pun but I couldn’t resist.)
Darlene Zagata is a freelance writer and columnist for the print publication Moon Shadows Magazine. She is also the author of “Aftertaste: A Collection of Poems” and “The Choosing.” Her work has been published extensively both online and in print. For more information visit her website at http://darlenezagata.tripod.com or contact Darlene at [email protected]