Richard Daybell – Novels, stories and short humor
Linda brings home strays. It’s become a tradition. Vinny the Cat (whose picture is in the previous post) was one. A long-haired bully from the streets of New York — not your first choice for a housemate. In fact, most of our cats came to us by way of the Humane Society, unless they just showed up at the front door announcing: “I’m here.”
Thinking back over the years (because I have many years to think back over), I can recall quite an eclectic collection of strays. There was a young woman from India, in town for a conference, two women from New York City who were afraid of our backyard, a young woman whose mother skipped town leaving her with a pile of debt and no place to stay. She was with us for a while, and finally got set to head off to the Culinary Institute of America. Her father, Don, came from somewhere in the Midwest to deliver her to school. He stayed with us (of course). The weekend he was there, we were entertaining a group of local friends, a nice comfortable dinner al fresco. It was so comfortable to Don that he felt it necessary to share some exciting news with us: He would soon become a woman named Elena. Announcing a sex change operation is a guaranteed conversation stopper.
Before that, there was a fairly seedy older gentleman who came to stay a bit, bringing his small wardrobe and a box that contained all his papers. He left his box with us for safekeeping while he went off to do whatever it is that seedy older gentleman do. We never saw him again; his papers are still in the basement.
These strays were pretty straightforward compared to one of our earliest,
Shroeder, and our most recent, Paige. Shroeder was a kinkajou; Paige is a five-year-old. A kinkajou is a small mammal with large eyes and small ears. It has short legs and a long prehensile tail. It generally eats fruit. A five-year-old is a small mammal with large eyes and small ears. It has short arms and legs, but no tail. It generally eats bright orange macaroni and cheese. Kinkajous are friendly and playful but may scream when agitated. Five-year-olds are friendly and playful but may scream when agitated. The five-year-old is more adept at this, lying on the floor, beating it with fists and feet, howling at
the world. The reasons for this are rarely evident. I guess there’s an internal five-year-old clock that requires this behavior every hour or so. The kinkajou, however, is nocturnal, trashing its surroundings during the night, then going into hiding during the day. The five-year-old is a mere daylight trasher, and although it tries to be nocturnal, rarely succeeds.
Fortunately, most of the strays move on. Shroeder found a nice trashable home on a kinkajou farm in upstate New York. Paige went to do some quality whining with her father in Ohio. The house is quiet for the moment, and I can peacefully wonder about who our next stray will be.