Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rex Causes a Problem and Aidan Doesn't Really Help

It was my birthday BBQ, and Rex had had enough of it. While everyone was outside watching Davey work the grill, Rex was inside, whining.

"Everyone's out there but me," he complained through the screen door. "I'm lonely."

I could sympathize with his plight. I pulled out his harness and lead, clipping him in so he could go outside with everybody else, but couldn't dash off and hide in some cranny or get over the fence.

"is that better, sweetie?" I asked, bringing him out into the yard.

"I'm uncomfortable in this dumb harness and there's too many people and I think something tiny is trying to kill me," he sulked, crouched in a patch of shade and twitching nervously every time a large fleck of dust wafted too near to his face. A couple times, the danger from airborne particles was so great that he found it necessary to spring three feet into the air and over to the side another foot in order to avoid contact with the diabolical pollen.

So I put him back inside, where he took refuge in my bedroom for almost the duration of the party. I checked on him a couple of times to see if he wanted to come out, but he felt there were too many guests crowded into our living room playing Rock Band and eating chips for him to really have a good time.

As the hour got later and the head count began to dwindle, he found the courage to emerge. I had had some wine and was finally up to taking the microphone in Rock Band and was trying my hand at singing a song I had never heard before in my life when I saw Rex bound through the cracked open screen door. 

"Hey," I shouted. "You little crap bucket!"

My friend, Julianne, dashed out after him and grabbed him before he had worked up the courage to leave the safety of our cement patio and go hide out in the wilderness of our acre back yard. She hefted him back inside and shut the door.

I shook my head at him, but figured he was done causing trouble, and that with six people in the room and the door closed, he wouldn't be able to slide it open before someone stopped him.

I was in the middle of singing another song I had never heard before in my life when I saw Rex's small, black, pissed off form once more. He  was silhouetted against the screen door for a moment before he swiped the door open and darted outside. I pointed at him, so someone closer could snag him, but no one understood my admittedly unfathomable gesture, except maybe Aidan. It took me a few shouts of "Pause the song! I have to go get my little shit cat!" before anyone heard me over the music and aquiesced to my request.

I stomped outside with a bag of tempting cat treats and started calling Rex's name. He stayed silent. Julianne followed me out with a flashlight she had in her purse, because she is cleverer than I, and began to go through the yard, sweeping the beam beneath cars and into bushes. Aidan jangled around my feet.

"I'm helping! I'm helping!" he snorted, thrilled to be so serviceable.

He wasn't actually helping, since Rex tends to go the other direction when he hears Aidan's tags, but I couldn't convince him to leave and was too preoccupied to physically drag him in the house and shut the door.

"I found him!" called Julianne. Aidan and I jogged over to where she was, next to an old RV. I peeked underneath, and sure enough, there was my little stinker. I held out some of the cat treats. Aidan peeked over my shoulder at them, but didn't try to eat them when I shot him a look that said, "Come near my hand and you will never wear a sweater again."

Rex, big eyes and clearly traumatized by everyone yelling his name and shining lights at him, crept slowly towards my hand, enticed by the snacks. I reached out my other hand, petted his face gently, and was just about to grab him when Aidan came around from behind me to see what was happening. Rex darted away. I scambled to grab him, but only ended up pulling his tail as Aidan took off after him with a cry of, "I'll get him, Mom! I'll get that guy and bring him to you!"

"Murderer!" said Rex, as he ran away looking thoroughly harrowed. 

"We didn't get him," I said, redundantly as Rex took refuge behind the hedges lining the back house's porch.

"Nice try," encouraged Aidan.

I looked at the dog. "You... Arg! Aidan! I... ARG!"

Davey took this moment to call the pug inside before I started shouting.

Julianne and I terrified Rex a little more with the flashlight and yelling his name before Aidan reemerged from the house and trotted directly to where my cat was and mashed his face against the hedge. While I was trying to get Aidan away from the cat's hiding spot, Rex slithered out from beneath the decorative bushes and made a beeline towards the hole into the space beneath the house where I found him after his first escapade into the outdoors after we moved in. He disappeared into the blackness. I plopped onto my butt in front of the hole and sagged.

"Nice try, again," cheered Aidan.

"Go away," I said.

Someone came and got him. Julianne brought me my cigarettes and my other friend, Dominic, came outside to join me in my cancer while I waited for Rex. Finally, after a shorter amount of time than I thought, Rex recovered from the trauma he seemed to have experienced, and meowed.

"Mom, are you there?"

"Come on out, Rex," I said.

He crawled up out of the vent and I grabbed him.

"That shit got real," he said, forlornly, repeating something I liked to say about television shows. "I've become hard."

"You don't even know what a hard life is," I said, slinging him over my shoulder and carrying him inside, my friends trailing behind me like a parade. "Aidan used to live on the streets of Los Angeles."

"Was that my name?" asked Aidan, eagerly. "Oh, look! There's that cat! Yay! You found Rex! I helped the most! Hide and seek! We win!"

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