Summer drawing to a close gives me a warm fuzzy feeling for a whole host of reasons. The cool bugless evenings. The changing colors. The impending hunting seasons. The way it feels to go commando in a pair of woolies.
Last but not least, I love this time of year for the annual ritual of nasty, filthy, vile, godawful, disease riddled, toothy varmints taking up residence for the winter months in the eves of my home.
Like sand through the hourglass, these are the days of my life. At least in the fall. And I hate it.
I’ve set traps. I’ve covered openings with thick wire a trout worm couldn’t wiggle through. I’ve eaten a bunch of venison and washed it down with lots of cheap beer.
In hindsight, I’m not sure how that helped, but it sure kept the neighbors at arm’s length.
It didn’t seem to bother the varmints, though.
Nope, fact was I needed a better plan. So, while finishing off my last Milwaukee’s Best, it hit me: I’d arm my humble abode with the meanest varmint assassin I could find — the Chuck Norris of the cat world.
The type of feline that picks its teeth with piano wire, drinks from a broken mason jar and sharpens its claws with pool chalk.
The kind that can take a punch from George Foreman — or at least one of his handy fat-reducing grills.
The kind that can bury its own poo on a marble floor. You get the idea.
There was one slight fault in my infallible plan, though. When it came time to choose my attack cat, I let the girlfriend go in my sted. She came home from the shelter with not one, but two cats, because, as she put it, “I couldn’t break up sisters.”
(This is the part in the story where I stick my finger down my throat.)
“Aren’t they cute,” she said, opening her outstretched hand and unveiling two tiny orange balls of fluff with eyes the size of quarters.
“Nooooooooohhhhhhhhhh,” I screamed over my plate of venison, jumping to my feet and nearly knocking over my Pabst Blue Ribbon.
“I didn’t want cute,” I screamed, hands on my hips, staring down at the quarter-sized eyes attached to the pieces of orange fluff in the outstretched hand.
“Blink, blink” went the eyes.
“I wanted a killing machine,” I blurted through venison and beer spittle. “These are not mouse assassins.”
“These are not cats that could take a punch.”
“Blink, blink” went the eyes.
“These are not ... they are ... well, I guess they are kind of cute.”
Fast forward to last evening. I’m on the couch, feet up in my lounge loafers, eating venison and watching my Yankees duke it out with Seattle, a fat, lazy orange cat on either side, slumbering away.
“Plop” the first disease riddled varmint of the season showed its nasty, filthy, vile, godawful, toothy little face, landing smack in the middle of my hardwood floor.
“Brfff, rffff .... mrfff,” I said, choking on a piece of venison.
“Mouse,” I finally blurted out slapping at the cats with my free hand.
“Fire mission, fire mission,” I yelled, reverting for a second to my days as an Army gunner.
I stood back, not wanting to get tangled up in what was sure to be an epic battle, the likes of which had not been played out since Russell Crowe fought those tigers in the movie “Gladiator.”
But the cats never moved.
“Blink, blink” went their eyes.
“Whyyyyyyyyyyy,” I wailed, arms stretched toward the ceiling, like Nancy Kerrigan after getting whacked in the shin at that practice session during the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Then, just when I thought all was lost, a black head emerged from beneath a pink blanket.
Like a tiny super hero, my dachshund Cedar shot off the recliner, skidded across the floor and flipped the hapless rodent in the air, snatching it in her surprisingly powerful weiner dog jaws.
Turning to the cats, shoestring-like tail hanging from her mouth, Cedar sat and waited for the sign from the Collosseum crowd. Much to the shagrin of the mouse, two furry legs shot out and slowly turned paws down.
But Cedar, the Gladiator, just turned and sauntered away with her prey, not giving the spectators the satisfaction.
“That’s my dog,” I thought to myself, resuming my seat at the throne and taking a long swig of my Genny Cream Ale.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications. His column appears regularly.