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I heard a pouncing commotion, looked up and saw Pfineous trotting across the apartment in an agitated state. It wasn’t the first time I saw him like that. Once about 4 years ago when I was living in Brooklyn, a friend stopped by for a visit with his dog, a big one, and Pfineous came screaming out from behind me through the open front door, dropped his hind-quarters and waved his front paw back and forth in front of the gargantuan dog’s face. What a sight! The dog yelped, turned and ran down the block towards Nevins. Pfineous trotted into the apartment slightly trembling, emitting long, overwrought meows, disturbed. It almost seemed like he was sorry for being so aggressive.
Tonight, the trot was similar and I saw what looked like a thick, droopy, gray whisker. I realized: he had a mouse clamped in his jaws! I started pumping adrenalin. Was he going to keep it alive and play with it? Was he going to kill and eat it? I was struggling between squeamishness and bloodlust. (I remembered in high school seeing my cat, Puk, hunched over a half eaten squirrel outside the backdoor. I saw the pinkish intestines spilling from the carcass, like pasta spilling over the side of a plate, and the exposed, white broken ribs against the gray pebbles of the drive.)
Pfineous had a slightly confused expression and his gaze remained down at the floor as if he felt exposed and a bit self-conscious. Next thing I knew he had spat the mouse on the floor. He pounced, batted once, twice, but unfortunately too close to the open closet. The mouse fled to the safety of shadow. Pfineous threw himself down in front of the closet, front arms on the floor, hind-quarters reared up. I felt a mixture of disappointment, shame and disgust. He lost the mouse!
Pfineous sat down, unfocused. An awkward meow escaped as I shone a flashlight into the closet. There was the mouse, completely revealed and trapped. Pfineous looked away. I think he was pissed off at me for forcing him into something. I had no business being there.
Still I was dense about it. I sort of pushed Pfineous towards the closet thinking, god, what self-respecting cat wouldn’t LOVE to be here? Finally, only because I didn’t give him much choice, he stood up and moved into the closet, but all he did was move angrily to the inside wall and flop down, his head not but six inches away from the helpless mouse. What was this? What kind of cat sits down next to an easy catch and ignores it? I stared in disbelief.
Eventually the mouse crawled along the wall to behind Pfineous’ head and curled up against his neck. Pfineous’ eyes grew heavy and his lids fell. I chuckled and thought, what the hell, and stretched out on the floor with my head up against Pfineous’ stomach and the three of us slept until morning.
Date Written: May 31, 2004
Author: John Slocum
Average Vote: 3.5