The Cat and the Commode

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The Cat and the Commode

James R. Aist

(Warning: This story is hilarious, but it contains a potentially offensive word picture. Read at your own risk!)

I love house cats, especially when they are tiny kittens…innocent, curious and eager to explore new things. They just do the darndest things! This story took place when we were living in a small country house near Ithaca, NY. We had gotten a couple of kittens, Missy and Muffet, just a few days earlier. As it turns out, baby animals are fascinated with water, and some seem to be drawn to it, especially the tinkling sound produced by falling water. Missy was no exception, as I was about to find out. Now, keep in mind that what I am about to tell you occurred rapidly in real time, much faster than you can read about it.

We had a lavatory just off of one corner of the kitchen. One afternoon I felt the need to relieve myself and “make my bladder gladder”, if you catch my drift. So, into the lavatory I went and began to take care of business. Almost immediately I noticed, out of the corner of my right eye, a small, fuzzy animal trotting in through the open door to see what was going on. It was my little Missy, come to investigate the tinkling sound. Immediately I got the feeling that this may not end well for her.

She stopped and sat down about a foot away from the commode and peered inquisitively toward the source of the tinkling sound. I thought that was really cute of her. But, then she began to go into that nervous little crouch that cats do when preparing to pounce. I said to myself, “Surely she’s not going to actually try to jump up onto the edge of the toilet bowl to get a better view of the falling “water.” But alack and alas, that’s exactly what she had in mind, so up she goes. Problem was, she didn’t yet know that toilet bowls were not solid on top. Another problem was, she didn’t know to compensate for her forward momentum as she tried to land on the edge of the toilet bowl. Next thing I know, she is hopelessly tipping toward where the stream was entering the toilet water, her frantic struggles to gain her balance notwithstanding. So, in she plopped, legs and tail flailing frantically as she tried to stay afloat. By this time I was already beginning to see the humor in this learning experience for Missy. She quickly made her way across to the other side, managed to scramble up onto the other side of the the toilet bowl, dropped down onto the floor, and tried to shake off as much of the “water” as she could. So, I decided to just keep tinkling, because I reckoned she wasn’t injured and surely had learned not to do that again! She would go around behind me to get away and run out the door, right?

But alack and alas, again, that was not the case. I watched her square around toward the commode and, once again, go into that tell-tale crouch. “Surely”, I thought to myself, “she will not jump up there again, after all that!” But upsy-daisy, here she came, and with the exact same result. Now I was laughing so hard it was a struggle to control my stream, but I managed. Then, I quickly grabbed a towel and dried Missy off as best I could. For her part, she just casually walked away, as if nothing out of the ordinary had just happened.

I’m not convinced that Missy really learned anything from that episode, but I sure did: next time, close that darned door!

(To read more of my short stories, click HERE)

Lazy Day Destinations – Joe Rock


Lazy Day Destinations – Joe Rock

 James R. Aist

Growing up in rural Arkansas left me with many fond memories of favorite places, especially when it was summer vacation and I could just pick up and go by myself, or with a friend or two, on a hot, lazy summer afternoon.

When I was around 12 years old and my family lived in Evening Shade (the real one, population 315 at the time, not the fictional one on the TV sit-com), one of my favorite places was “Joe Rock.” Just across Highway 11 from our home in Evening Shade, and about a ten minute walk down a winding farm road (see photo at upper right), was Piney Creek, which ran clear and warm in the summer until the dog days of August set in (During dog days, clumps of dead, brown algae would rise from the creek bottom and float down stream, making the water less appealing). If you made a right turn when you reached Piney Creek and followed along the creek bank for maybe 50 yards or so, you came to Joe Rock. Now Joe Rock was a real rock of rather large proportions (perhaps 5-6 feet across and rising above the water line about 3 feet) that was just sitting there in Piney Creek with water swirling all around it. Joe Rock was the sight of an inviting swimming hole, because, over the years, the water current had carved out a depression in the creek bottom around the rock, and the water around Joe Rock was about 3-4 feet deep, suitable for shallow diving from atop this solitary boulder. From the bank, Joe Rock looked like you might expect any large, over-sized rock to look, but it was no ordinary rock. Under the water, hidden from view, were three “legs” that extended down in tri-pod fashion from Joe Rock, keeping it suspended above the creek bottom about a foot or so. I’ve never seen anything like it.

This unique feature conferred a fascination on Joe Rock that added to the excitement of each visit. We enjoyed donning swimming goggles, “diving” down, swimming underwater around Joe Rock and peeking between its “legs” at each other. And that’s how I discovered that there were often one or two large-mouth bass lurking around and between the “legs” of Joe Rock, using it as cover.

Well, one day I decided it would be fun to see if I could spear one of those bass and take it home for dinner. So, the next time I left the house and set out for Joe Rock, I snuck a cooking fork from a kitchen drawer and fully intended to impale one of the bass on it. And sure enough, when I got to Joe Rock and slipped into the water, there were two unsuspecting bass just swimming lazily in and out around the “legs” of the rock. I took a deep breath, slowly submerged myself under the water and stealthily approached my prey so as not to spook them. After a few tries, I finally got close enough to one of the bass to make my move. With all my 12-year old might, I thrust the fork violently toward the unsuspecting entrée, but, alas, the fork just brushed him aside without even leaving a mark. That’s when I realized that one’s arm can move a lot faster through air than through water; I just wasn’t able to generate the fork speed required to pierce the elusive prey.

I’ll admit I was a bit disappointed that I would have to return from my fishing expedition empty handed, but I didn’t let that minor setback keep me from enjoying the rest of my swim. After all, the bass did make each visit to Joe Rock that much more exciting, so why not just leave them be, for everyone to enjoy? And so I did, and they did.

(For more TRUE TALES, click HERE)