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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Scarlett & the Bag Monster

Many of you know kitty Scarlett or at least have glimpsed her as she actively ignored you. It’s not personal. Miss Scarlett and I have been companions for 16 years since I found her – or she found me – at an animal shelter in Huntington Beach. She was a scraggly little kitten with a lot of personality who has grown into a longhaired, green-eyed lovely with an abundance of dignity and a dash of quirkiness. The following incident took place a couple of years ago when she, Mike and I were still in CA. This is the story of Scarlett’s worst nightmare.

One Saturday afternoon, Mike and I had been to the grocery store and put away the goodies. In my hurry to get outside to gardening, I took a plastic bag of personal items and tossed them on our bed. In the bag were about three of those small, cardboard boxes of pantyhose, a large tube of hand lotion, a plastic bottle of hairspray, a new toothbrush and a couple of rolls of mints.

As I became deeply involved in weed pulling, Mike stepped out onto the back porch. He asked where I’d put the bag of bathroom items and I told him they were on the bed. He paused for a moment, then went inside, and I returned to my Zen experience in the garden. Only minutes later, he was back on the porch and said, “Now tell me again where you put the bag.” With only a trace of impatience in my voice, I once again told him that it was on the bed. Again he paused and then said, “You’d better come see this.”

Puzzled, I followed him inside and into the bedroom. There was no bag on the bed, but one of the hose boxes was on the floor. How odd. “Come with me,” he said. We walked across the entry and across the dining room. Just before the door to the little hall between the guest room and my home office were a couple more of the items that had been in the bag. “There’s more,” he said.

He took me into my office where three more of the items were on the floor, but all in different areas of the room. “What the heck,” I said. Mike told me that he thought Scarlett had somehow taken the bag, and he’d looked for her but she wasn’t in there. I checked her hiding places in my office, but no kitty. Mike told me that there was more. We went across the short hall into the guest room and there was yet another one or two items from the bag, but still no bag and no Scarlett. He got down on the floor and peered under the double bed which was against the wall in a corner, and there she was – her green eyes as big as quarters hiding as far away as she could get.

This is the scenario we pieced together. Little Miss Curious had climbed upon the bed and went to inspect the strange item. In sticking her head into the open bag, she must have slipped her head through the handle of the bag. When she pulled back, she felt something around her throat, panicked and jumped off the bed. But the Bag Monster still gripped her. Frightened, she took off across the house to outrun the demon. The Monster wouldn’t let go, but at least the weight lessened as items were getting tossed out in her wake. Remember, little Scarlett only weighs seven and a half pounds so that bag must have felt terribly heavy.

At the entrance to the hall, she made a sharp right into the hoped-for sanctuary of mommy’s office, but no mommy and no relief. From the pattern of items, she must have circled the office and, with the ghoul still gripping her throat, made a run for the guest room where the last of the items was freed from the bag and she dove for cover under the bed. And there she huddled in terror.

She was completely out of reach, so I lay down on the floor and tried to sweet talk her out of hiding. No luck. Mike tried the same thing from the foot of the bed but, by that time, Scarlett likely thought that everyone was involved in the conspiracy with the Bag Monster. Mike got a broom and from the foot of the bed tried to scoot her toward my sweet-talking on the side of the bed. She wasn’t buying it and even hissed.

OK. We’re taking the bed apart. Mike pulled the mattress and box springs about a foot and a half from the headboard so I could step over the frame and get close to where she cowered. I awkwardly reached my arm under the mattress and box springs hoping that she would come to me, but eventually felt the plastic bag and started gathering it into my fingers. Ultimately, pulling on the bag, still around her neck, got her close enough for me to get my hand on the scruff of her neck and extricate her.

I quickly removed the bag and cuddled her, realizing that in her fright she’d wet herself a little. How humiliating for a little queen. I cleaned her up and snuggled her while Mike put the bed back together. When she seemed sufficiently calm, I put her down and she hid under our bed for a long, recuperative nap.

Mike and I are such good kitty parents that we managed not to laugh until she was safely out of earshot. To this day, however, we can crack up at the mental picture of her zooming around the house like a grey blur trying to escape the Bag Monster clinging to her neck. Mike told me recently that he thought that was a life-altering event for her. I wasn’t convinced of the theory until he said, “Have you ever seen her anywhere near the kitchen when we unload groceries?” I wonder if she still has nightmares.


Willow Goldentree said...

HAHA!!! Please don't tell Miss Scarlett that I laughed at (with) her story. It is quite an ordeal, I'm sure, to have a Bag Monster chasing you around the house. Pandora, Bandit, and Ashy, all send their condolences on the ordeal (while hiding some laughter).

Scarlett said...

Missy Scarlett appreciates your condolences. It's a heavy burden that she bears.