This is a short story I wrote for my fiction writing course. It’s a little more cutesy than the stories I usually write, but I thought it might be a fun little read. Enjoy!
PS. I got published!! Not this story…yet… 🙂
Furry Little Problems
“I am going to destroy that little bastard.”
Deloris stood in the doorway to the living room, hands on hips, eyes trained on her husband. He read the newspaper with his feet lounging on top of his footrest and glasses lying on the tip of his nose. With a slight lift of the chin, Bob chuckled.
“Deloris, it’s just a cat. You love cats.”
She shook her head. “I tolerate cats. This is not a cat. It’s a demon!”
He rolled his eyes. “What’d he do now?”
“It keeps coming onto my porch eating the food you keep feeding it.”
“Wolfie’s hungry.” Bob turned back to his paper.
“It looks plenty well fed.”
“I think he likes you.”
He looked back up from the paper when he heard the water start to run.
“What are you doing, Dee?”
“Filling up this old squirt bottle of Tabby’s.”
“You can’t spit water at someone else’s cat.”
Deloris watched him with an evil, determined glint in her eye.
“If you prefer, I could always just spit on him myself!”
She stomped out of the room and back onto the porch.
Deloris and Bob spent their summers on 1 Pebble Road in a small town near Chatham on Cape Cod. Their little well-kept white cottage sat at the corner of a dead-end road. The pathway leading up to the front of their house was made of small stones wedged between soil and fresh cut grass. A single sea shell lay on top of the one step before the door. Deloris prided herself on the crisp, cleanness of both the interior and exterior of her home.
Inside, the living room walls looked like drift wood, grey with a shelf sitting at the top full of sea shells and knick knacks collected over the years, all lined up in a neat order. On days when the rain poured down keeping them from a day at the beach, or on nights when the air was too cold to sit out on the porch, they lounged in their chairs. Deloris filled out the day’s crossword puzzle, while Bob read an assortment of newspapers.
Deloris and Bob ate their breakfasts on the porch, sitting in their matching white-wicker rocking chairs. They looked out to a view of their backyard where one tree imposed the manicured lawn and a rickety old eyesore of a clothesline lay hidden to the far side. Behind was the no longer used cranberry bog that composed most of their back yard.
They were growing older. In the beginning years of their retirement, Deloris was a former registered nurse, Bob a grade school teacher. They had matching white, grey hair and often wore an array of matching navy blue tees and khaki shorts. Their one daughter, Mary, visited on her two weeks’ summer vacation and off weekends when she had the chance. They had a small group of friends who were also married and retired, went to one of three beaches during the day, and played card games at night. Deloris appreciated routine.
When Mary was younger and still living at home, they had a cat, Tabby, who had long since died. She left behind only a cat door from the porch to outside. Tabby had been polite in Deloris’ opinion. A good cat. She never whined or cried, didn’t bring in unwelcome surprises like dead mice or birds, and she belonged to them so Deloris knew that she was well-cared for and clean. It never occurred to them to block the old cat door, even though they never intended to get a new one, until the day Wolfie started coming around.
Wolfie was a black, grey, and white scruffy-looking cat with a slight belly and a long, fluffy tail. Clumps of fur built up, giving him the impression of being made of lumps. Deloris was appalled at the sight of his disorderliness, Bob thought he looked cute. They had no idea what the cat’s real name was, but Bob called him Wolfie because he ate a lot and wolfed down his food. The thought was that he belonged to one of the other houses lining the bog. He preferred to spend his days torturing Deloris.
Wolfie burst through the screen door and woke them up every morning, meowing and clawing at the door to their house. Bob either slept through it or was down at the town’s donut shop gossiping with the boys. Deloris stumbled out of bed, threw on her pink robe and slippers and glared down at the cat who stared back with equal interest.
Deloris realized too late that Bob had been leaving food for him. She tried to kick the habit, but when Wolfie grew angry, he left claw marks on her door. Finding it was easier to appease him, she left the food, but tried to come up with other ways to get rid of him.
After calling all of the neighbors, Wolfie remained unaccounted for, and this annoyed her more. Deloris did not want a stray cat anywhere near her house. Who knew what it was infested with or could bring into her house? She blocked the door with a hassock, but Wolfie pushed right past it. She went digging in the closet for one of Bob’s eight pound weights to block it with the hassock, then added a second for good measure. For two days there was no interrupted sleep and no sign of Wolfie. On the third day, after she had been woken up at the crack of dawn to the familiar whining, she stomped back into her bedroom and threw everything onto the bed.
“That cat of yours has been lifting weights. How’d he get through this?”
Bob laughed and threw the covers over his head to go back to sleep.
A few days later, Deloris stepped onto the porch balancing a steaming bowl of oatmeal. It was a beautiful, bright, Wolfie-free morning, but she tripped when there shouldn’t have been anything in the middle of her floor. Lying flat on her face, she lifted her head and was met with two gleaming green eyes staring at her. Wolfie lapped up the spilled oatmeal with glee, licked her hand, and sauntered off and out the door. After picking up the carcass with a dustbin and broom fighting a lot of gagging, screaming, and seething with rage, she phoned Bob who couldn’t contain his laughter.
“If you don’t come home and do something about this damned cat, I will poison it!”
“Why don’t you squirt him with the water again?”
“Last time I did that the damned thing liked it! It thought I was giving it a bath and laid down on its back, paws up.”
“I’m telling you, he loves you. Cats don’t bring presents for just anyone.”
Wolfie outsmarted Deloris at every turn. Dust from cat fur built up, beds remained un-tucked after having to get up in abrupt fashion to shut him up, her floors were not spotless and had small scuffs from running across them to the porch so much. She found choked up, slimy furballs everywhere.
As most of her time was spent scheming to keep Wolfie out, she didn’t have time for her regular window washing and vacuuming she did every other day. She complained to friends who offered suggestions at first, but Wolfie’s fan base was growing. Bob told everyone about Wolfie’s escapades and affinity for Deloris. Everyone loved him. Deloris hoped he drowned in the bog.
After a summer of torment, the dog days of August cooled and September was at the cusp. Deloris started to pack up the house, nothing out of place, nothing to be forgotten. She stood next to him, nudging and persistent when Bob made the phone call to get the door replaced once and for all. It had been too hot a summer for a repairman to do it earlier, but now Deloris’ patience was waning. He was scheduled to come in just three days’ time, insuring that the next summer would be much more peaceful.
Wolfie didn’t come the first day. Deloris had woken up early to get a head’s start on the packing so she could be at the beach without guilt. Peeking onto the porch for curiosity’s sake, she saw the food sitting in the bowl untouched. With a raise of the eyebrow and a hint of a smirk, she continued on with her day. The second day Wolfie didn’t show up, she almost felt a twinge of something telling her she would liked to have said goodbye. If only to gloat that she won.
Go ahead and eat, Wolfie. This will be your last meal here you little shit!
He had not come. That night, sitting in the chairs in comfortable silence, Bob asked her how she had been enjoying Wolfie’s absence.
“Oh, has he been gone? I haven’t even noticed.”
“You didn’t notice that your mortal enemy has been nowhere to be seen for two days?”
She shrugged her shoulders and turned back to her book, wondering if he would be there tomorrow, maybe before the repairman came in the morning.
Wolfie did not appear and Deloris resigned herself to knowing that she had the last word and not shoving it in his face. Preparing for the repairman, she lumbered around the porch, dusting everything that was already impeccable. Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw a twitch. With a grin, she turned around with hands on hips to bask in her victory, when she realized it wasn’t Wolfie. A mouse was scurrying across her dusted floor. Deloris hated mice.
Screaming for Bob, she remembered he was at the donut shop. She thrust the door open to go back inside the house, not thinking clear enough to shut it behind her. The mouse followed. She hollered, hoping the neighbors wouldn’t hear and praying the repairman wouldn’t show up early. Not wanting to look, but needing to know the source, she trained one eye on the mouse to see where it ran. It continued to scurry across her white rug she had vacuumed that morning and run across her just polished hardwood floor, her mouth remained open in shock. Wolfie leaped in from the porch and with one swift flick of the paw, the mouse lay dead.
Bob returned to find Deloris sitting in her chair in the living room, calm and filling out her crossword. He didn’t look at her as he made his way to the fridge and stood in front of it, waiting for something to poke out at him.
She spoke to him. “Hungry, Bob? I can make sandwiches.”
He continued searching around. “That sounds good. Repairman come yet?”
He pulled out a soda and took a drink.
“Yes, but I turned him away.”
Bob froze mid-lift. “Why’d you do that? Think just because he’s been gone three days, Wolfie won’t be back?” He was laughing as he turned around. His mouth opened in shock.
“No, I just figured there were worse things than having a cat.”
Wolfie was sitting, curled up, on top of her footrest.
In totally unrelated news, this is Bandit mid-fall down one step. Look at those whiskers fly! It’s actually really funny because he was lying on his back paws up when he went to turn to see what I was doing and rolled right over. He landed on all four paws! I laughed really hard because it was ridiculous, but for the record, I would have fallen down the stairs.
Also, it should be noted that this story was not based off of Bandit, but another semi-demon cat my sister has encountered. I just switched out her professor for my Aunt BB and the story really wrote itself.