Beware the Ides of…April?

J and Miss Pipa are conspiring to get rid of Miss Zelda.  This is now being touted as fact in our household and, sadly, J is doing nothing to prove us wrong.  The other night, as I mentioned yesterday, J left poor Miss Zelda out on the balcony during a rainstorm that left her drenched and much reduced in size (mainly because her fur comprises 2/3 of the space she occupies.)  If she’d been on the third floor balcony, the opportunity to hide under fakedirondack chair was there, but on the kitchen balcony…nope…she was totally exposed to the rain.  The fact that she enjoyed it, thrived on it, and looks darned good since her “rinse” is entirely beside the point…

The way we figure it is that Miss Zelda is lovely, but she’s no Miss JuJu.  Last summer, when Miss JuJu “disappeared,” J and Miss Pipa were upset. They looked for her; they waited for her.  They both acted like they’d lost a best friend.  This was notable enough that we figured they needed a friend to bring a little company to their lives.

As we all know (if not, hark back to September of last year and get acquainted with the saga of The Kraken’s arrival,) this plan didn’t quite fly with the wings we’d hoped.  The only “wings” this situation had were similar to the wings on the Wicked Witch of the West’s flying monkeys.  Miss Zelda promptly made enemies; her level of energy was way too much for four year-old Miss Pipa (who suddenly realized she was “old” in comparison,) and excessive for poor J who was scared of her glossy, dark and abundant fur and her bright yellow eyes.  That’s when the whispering began…

Instead of bringing home a new friend, we brought home a new enemy…a common enemy that made J and Miss Pipa allies.  Before that moment they’d circled around each other with distrust.  Miss Pipa had once been the “new” and “young” cat, playing second (and discordant) fiddle to the more sedate Miss JuJu.  Four years later, Miss Pipa found herself in the dowager position, Miss JuJu having been abducted and eliminated by suspects unknown.  If this is starting to sound like a page taken out of Russian history (circa the 1800s) it’s no coincidence.  Miss JuJu, see, had become dowager when Miss Kona -our first ever cat- had moved on to greener pastures in that big playground in the sky.  Yes, my friends, since 2001 we’ve owned four cats…not counting the litter Miss Kona had after a couple of weeks of having “disappeared.”  The litter was so varied in furriness, coloring, sizes and features that we figured Miss Kona had found the only sailor-cat bar in all of the Southwest.  Let me put the chronology down for you…

Miss Kona Bean: 2001-2006

Miss JuJu Bee: 2004- 2012

Miss Pipa Pepita: 2008- Present

Miss Zelda “The Kraken” Fitzgerald: 2012-Present…remains to be seen.

Last night we figured this is no longer a cute coincidence to merely keep us busy.  Either J is conspiring with Miss Pipa to “off” Miss Zelda, or he’s trying to get rid of us…

Nine P.M.  J’s bath is done.  J’s in his room.  Dada and I are in bed.  Reading.  Battling in Verdun.  “Where’s Zelda?”  One person tells the other she was there a mere while ago.  Wasn’t she?  Yes, yes…she was trying to catch the “mouse” as you were using the laptop.  Miss Pipa, who sits at the foot of the bed in what seems like a totally calm and relaxed state suddenly stiffens up and turns her head slowly.  While Dada searched the house, I went into J’s room and asked -point blank- “where’s Zelda???”  BYE!!!  LIGHT!!!  BYE!!!  I gave him one of those looks that means I’ll be back and turned off the light.

Every room in the house was searched.  The cat was nowhere to be found.  I went back to J’s room and, using his whole legal name, informed him that we’d have a conversation as soon as I could locate the fur ball.  Mouth agape, J sat up in bed and bade me leave once more.

We reconstructed the events of the past three hours.  WHEN had we last interacted with Miss Zelda???  Well…we’d had dinner.   We’d checked the status of the flow of laundry.  We’d cleaned the kitchen.  We’d looked at the garden.  We’d transplanted some tomatoes in the front porch.  We’d transplanted some flowers in the balcony off our bedroom.  We’d washed our hands.  We’d discussed how quickly construction on the new townhouses is going.  We’d sat in bed and discussed how badly the Battle of Verdun and my book were going.  We’d played with Miss Zelda briefly.  She’d left the room.  J had walked in a few minutes later and asked for a snack, and we’d said yes, you can have whatever is left in the box and off he’d gone.  THAT was the last we’d seen of Miss Zelda…sometime around seven P.M.*

*Dinner was breakfast.  We ate early.  We were hungry.

I looked at the clock.  It was nearly 9:45 P.M. so Miss Zelda had been gone for nearly three hours.  Flashlights in hand, we set to the task of trying to locate and lure into the house the missing feline.  Miss Pipa, like a treacherous character from a bad B-grade film noir, started acting all concerned and upset about Miss Zelda’s absence.  We weren’t buying it…

At ten P.M., finally, Miss Zelda dashed in through the back sliding glass door.  She was dry, and covered with debris from under the many decks she must’ve visited.  I’m sure she became acquainted with all the night creatures that were strangers to her before last night.  If the rainstorm had seemed “fun,” this was an entirely different story.  She was spooked, and she wanted comforting.

We petted and comforted her, and then we marched up the stairs to J’s room.  The light clicked OFF as we approached, and the springs of his mattress squeaked loudly as he assumed the position of one long asleep.  We weren’t buying that either.  In we went, turning on the ceiling light.  HUH?  BIG YAWN.  Hello there, Mr. Man!  Zelda was in my arms and squirmed off to J’s bed.

The look on J’s face went from mock-sleepy to clearly FOILED!  Miss Pipa stood in the doorway, a fake look of relief on her gray and white face.  She and J exchanged looks.  J and I exchanged looks.  “No more setting Miss Zelda outside, ok?”  OK.  “You’re going to be nice, right?”  RIGHT.  “This is your cat too, you know.”  KNOW.  Dada crouched down and said the same thing to Miss Pipa, and got pretty much the same responses that J gave me.  J patted Miss Zelda’s head, and she purred in appreciation…

Another look was exchanged between J and Miss Pipa…a look I’m sure passed among the senators in front of the Senate right before they all descended upon Julius Caesar…

I’ll leave you now…I have to research chain mail and armor for cats online.


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