BRIDE OF STEWMEAT
By Booger & Bubba
Everything has been in turmoil. We are assimilating new kittens into the family. Mum has to deal with getting people to accept that the well and pump system from which they have gotten their water at home these past 35 years will be shut down in six weeks and they have to dig their own wells. Mum’s aunt used to pour Clorox into the pump every month to kill the germs and bacteria – yeah – that’s how it’s done out in the country – and she up and died a few weeks ago. Mum aint driving down to Brazoria just to pour Clorox into their drinking water system. Old Muldoon thinks they may lawyer up about it.
And now, on top of all that, StewMeat, the big possum out back, has found his true love and moved her into the penthouse apartment in the garage (a couch perched on top of some cardboard boxes full of junk so old that no one remembers what it is). The real problem here is that that is Blue’s apartment.
At first Blue just moved under another old sofa where Mum has blankets fluffed up in case anyone feels like hanging out under an old sofa. But, according to Blue, he can’t relax or get any sleep with StewMeat and his new bride on their honeymoon in his penthouse apartment. Blue left three days ago and hasn’t come back. Mum is devastated and near total collapse, with diarrhea and cramps, because she is so worried that Blue might never come back home. Blue has been seen around the area, which convinces Old Muldoon that Blue really does want to come back home and is just waiting until StewMeat and Mrs StewMeat are dispossessed.
Mum is getting haggard from lack of sleep and tummy cramps over the angst. Old Muldoon doesn’t know what to do. He offered to whack StewMeat, but that just made Mum cry. She’s so soft hearted. She could whack a person, but not an animal.
The last two nights she has been out shining possums, trying to get their attention so that she can drive them from the garage. No luck. She eats her meals on the verge of tears.
Tonight she actually saw Mrs. StewMeat brazenly parading her neked self around the balcony of Blue’s penthouse apartment. She was livid. She called Old Muldoon and demanded that he get them out of the garage. Old Muldoon said that the most effective way is to get a broom and a baseball bat and start banging away on everything to make loud noise, yelling awful cuss words at the top of his lungs, and that will get StewMeat and his inamorata out of the garage if Mum opens the garage door and gives them an escape route. Mum is mortified that the neighbors will hear Old Muldoon going berserk in the garage and uttering all that terrible profanity at the top of his excessively loud voice. She is certain that someone will call the police and that Old Muldoon will have to spend the entire weekend in jail until he comes up for a bail hearing next Monday. Old Muldoon then offers to shoot up the garage or burn it down, as either of those approaches will get StewMeat and his bride out of the garage. Mum can be seen on the very brink of tears.
She goes out into the street on the side of the house, calling Blue to come home and shining her bright light everywhere trying to get a glimpse of him. Then, all of a suddenly, there he is, perched atop the next door neighbor’s chimney, looking down at her as if to say “I’m not coming back until those possums are out of my apartment.
Beside herself, Mum gives up and surrenders to Old Muldoon’s doing what he has trained so many years to do – yell like a drunken fool and make a racket that is calculated to get the neighbors to call the police. She opens the garage door, and Old Muldoon goes to work, delivering a Wagnerian diatribe that scares the possums out of the garage. Mum closes the garage door. Blue’s home is once again his own home, free and clear of intruders. Mum says she knows what he feels, as we all feel the same way about the Hurricane Katrina refugees living here for free on our largess and refusing to go back to New Orleans and clean up their mess.
Mum calls Old Muldoon her hero, and he reminds her that he is a graduate of The Citadel, Class of 1959, and sworn to scare small animals on a moment’s notice – Semper Paratus.
At moments like this, you could almost think that Mum was secretly in love with Old Muldoon.
The next day was bright, sunny and mild, a great and perfect fall Saturday.
Blue was still amongst the missing, but he was seen on the premises, which Old Muldoon interpreted as his way of coming back while continuing to make people wonder whether he really would return, still holding out as it were. We think he is simply a bit of a nut case, always trying excessively to manipulate circumstances so that he is the center of attention. He sulks continuously, even when nothing is happening that involves him. Old Muldoon says he knows people like that, who will do almost anything to be distracting if they are not the focus of the moment. Mum attributed his upset to the advent of the new back garden kitties, but Old Muldoon suggested it was more likely the Bride of StewMeat occupying his apartment.
Near day’s end, Old Muldoon suggested that Mum close the screen door to the garage to prevent the re-entry of Mrs. StewMeat. When she went out to do that, she noticed that all the cat food in the garage was gone, and looked for Mrs StewMeat. There she was, ensconced behind an old dresser against the back wall of the garage. Old Muldoon’s hero status evaporated in a flash, and he was put upon to repeat his loud exorcisistic performance of the previous evening to free up domicile space for Blue to re-enter the garage and resume what for him, at least, was a normal life. FORGETABOUTIT! Saturday night was not to end on another happy note, and Mrs StewMeat outsmarted him at every turn.
At about one o’clock in the morning, Blue showed up again, on the roof, whining, but still playing mental games with Mum. To make a long story short, Mum eventually talked him down and into the garage. So there, by two o’clock in the morning, were Blue, Ace and Mrs StewMeat all together cohabiting in the garage. End of crisis? We certainly hope so. NOT!!!
Blue did another vanishing act not long after that. The exorcism was repeated, with what appeared to be long term effect. Blue did not return. Constant angst returned – hand wringing, weeping, wailing, mourning and certainty that poor old Blue must by now be with Our Lord. The next weekend when Mum was out doing yard work, she saw Blue laying in the rain gutter up at the roof line. Old Muldoon was called to conduct the office for what was certainly a dear departed Blue. A ladder was fetched and Old Muldoon went up to bring down Blue’s mortal remains. The rain gutter was tapped to see if that would disturb Blue, who Old Muldoon thought might be faking it again. No response. No perceptible movement that might signify breathing. Weeping and wailing! Old Muldoon reached over with gloved hand to pick up Blue’s remains when Blue sprang noisily to life and ran up the roof, scaring the bloody hell out of everyone. What Old Muldoon said simply cannot be repeated here. Suffice it to say that he dislikes being given his comeuppance by a cat.
Eventually, later that afternoon, Blue gave up his game and returned to feasting in the garage. It was obvious that he had been returning to feast in the garage every night after all were asleep. A somewhat celebratory mood returned.
There has been a substantial interruption of time in the writing of this story. It started in 2005 and is now being concluded in 2007. In that interim, as the other cat stories have indicated, additional litters of kittens were presented by Mama Kitty and life has moved on.
In the winter of 2007, however, there is another possum. Yes, another possum. Because possums do not tend to live long, due to dogs, traffic, and to the fact that amongst the poor, possums are considered a delicacy, we don’t really believe that this possum is the progeny of StewMeat and his charming bride. Nonetheless, around here all possums are known a StewMeat in recognition of the contribution made by the FEMAzoid refugees from New Orleans who control the possum population by their delectation of possum stew.
StewMeat of 2007 is a wretched soul. He has apparently lost a few fights either with the hounds of Hayes Road or with some barbed wire fencing. He has “wounds”. His tongue is half torn out. He is very slow moving. He eats with the manners of an Albanian. Everywhere he dines there is a messy residue in the food bowl and around the water bowl. He has frequent bowel movements, and he doesn’t stop eating to have a bowel movement. The area around the front door itinerant feral cat feeding station is a disaster area every morning, and Old Muldoon has been assigned to police it up before Mum sees it and it ruins her morning. Mum still won’t let Old Muldoon whack StewMeat. If she would just go away on a business trip, he could do it and never mention it. It would be assumed that he was run over in traffic or that one of the hounds of Hayes Road had finally done him in or that he had become dinner at the home on some FEMAzoid family living just across Hayes Road. At least, thanks be to God, he doesn’t come try to live in the garage with all the outdoor resident feral kitties. Where he “lives” is anyone’s guess.
Yesterday evening, whilst Mum and Old Muldoon were out in the garden enjoying the kittens frolic in the flowers and trees, a neighbor woman came to the fence and announced that an obviously sick possum was slowly making his way along the fence line just outside our garden gate. It only took one look to know that StewMeat was extremely ill, and not knowing that it would be safe for the other neighborhood animals and children to go near StewMeat, permission was given for StewMeat to be whacked. Old Muldoon reached over next to his wine glass and picked up his 9mm automatic pistol and, like the hero he is, went outside the garden gate to face the poor sick small and defenseless creature. The sound of the gunfire brought the neighbors who thought they were going to be on the evening news as witnesses to some violent and spectacular dispatching of someone from New Orleans. They swapped jokes with Old Muldoon whilst StewMeat completed his last reflexive jerking around. Mum handed Old Muldoon a shovel and a large black plastic trash bag, and he promptly packaged the remains. Off went Mum and Old Muldoon to put StewMeat into some commercial dumpster out on Westheimer Road where trash pickup is daily and there would be no chance for small neighborhood animals or FEMAzoid interest in the contents of that bag. They were back in just a few minutes, and returned to their pleasant garden wine tippling as the neighbors dispersed, disappointed that no television helicopters were circling overhead to get the story from the air for the evening news live report. No one called the cops on Old Muldoon for shooting his gun in the city limits, so he was not dragged off to jail, needing to be bailed out the next day after he had told his story to a completely disinterested and bored city magistrate. Eventually he and Mum went in for dinner which, thankfully, was not some sort of stew that evening.
We love it every time Old Muldoon shoots something, as there is a lot of excitement. The neighbors all come around, beer cans in hand, to chat him up about whatever it might be that he just dispatched. If he happens to have something in the smoker or on the grill at the moment, bread is fetched and snacks passed around, while someone runs to get more beer. If some deputy of the High Sheriff happens to be passing by at the moment, he will usually stop and join in the party, arresting no one, as no one called to complain and there is free food and beer. He will usually put on a demonstration for the children about how all the gadgets in his police care work, and that keeps them and him occupied whilst the public drunkenness and celebration expands out into the street as the crowd grows, giving him on opportunity to take charge of directing the auto traffic around the scene of the murder. The FEMAzoids who reside across Hayes Road hide in their government sponsored apartments, wishing they could come over and join the party, but knowing that if they try, Old Muldoon has several additional ammunition clips in hand and would willingly repel boarders as the neighbors applauded the decrease in the population of folks from new Orleans who uselessly and lazily live on the dole from the government rather than go back to New Orleans where they might have to work for a living.
Things being as they are here in Texas, we know that Old Muldoon and Mum would never live anywhere else. This is certainly the most civilized place on the planet.
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