The Severed Head
The following was originally written in December, 2016.
It has been about a year since The Wife brought home Patty McNubbins, the tailless wonder that she found as a kitten two days before Christmas. While not actually in the market for a kitten, we endeavored to find her proper owners, a task that seemed easy enough considering her collar, recent surgical stitches, and exceptionally sweet demeanor. Lucky for us, nobody claimed her, we fell in love, and we are now the happiest cat owners on the block.
Over the course of the last year there have been a handful of times where we have found evidence of mice sharing our home with us. Like gremlins, or tiny disease infested boogie men, they only venture out when we are sleeping and they leave merely the tiniest piles of droppings to let us know they were there. Without fail, on each of these occasions The Wife has admonished McNubbins for not doing her job.
Everything changed one recent morning when I heard The Wife scream as she got into the shower. Naturally expecting the bathroom to be unoccupied, she was more than a little startled to find Nubbins in the tub with a mouse. The rodent was completely unharmed as Nubbins was just chasing and gently slapping it around in utter delight. For my part, I was impressed by her ability to identify the tub as a suitable playpen the mouse could not escape from. The Wife, on the other hand, was more concerned with begging me to do something about the mouse while she removed Nubbins from the bathtub which I had already renamed “The Kitten Coliseum”.
While I addressed the rodent issue, The Wife and Nubbins had a lengthy discussion about not playing with your food until our kitten’s big green eyes exhibited a sense of understanding that The Wife found satisfactory.
It was only about a week later when Nubbins seemed intrigued by an item she could not reach between an open door and the wall behind it. She stretched, sniffed, pawed, and chirped (she does not know how to meow) until The Wife investigated the source of her frustration. She was entirely unprepared for what she was about to find - the lifeless head of a mouse, presumably savagely murdered by this sweet little kitten, decapitated, and treated as a toy until it was batted out of reach, as all cat toys eventually are.
First The Wife screamed at me to make it go away.
As I swept the head into a dustpan, she screamed at Nubbins that eating mice could make her sick. “What about rabies?!?!?!” she yelled at our confused feline who sat quietly nearby watching the whole scene unfold.
The Wife then turned her attention back to me, demanding to know why I had not taken a picture of the severed mouse head before disposing of it, as it would have made a great post on Nubbin’s Instagram account, because of course a cat named Patty McNubbins has her own Instagram account.
Nubbins and I looked at each other and in that very moment we shared an understanding never previously held between Man and Beast. We both knew that whatever path we followed would be the wrong one, even if it is the one we were directly ordered to take. Our eyes said everything that our language barrier could not… If we must be wrong, at least we will be wrong together.
We are one now, Nubbins and I, united in our battle against reactionary screaming and indecision. We have no weapons or reasonable defense, of course, but we will always have each other.