BAD, BAD FELINE BROWN
SEATTLE, Washington: My folks Ellen and John rarely visit. So we savor each trip, especially this one, seeped in wine and summer sun. We nosh homemade enchiladas and chuckle as my tabby menaces their mutt.
The shelter said my little man disliked dogs in a big way. Indeed, he spits and hisses, fur apuff, punching the window in front of Major Major (named, yes, for Joseph Heller's Catch-22 character).
"Bumpf," Jake slams the glass in front of the dog's panting, friendly face. "Bumpf, bumpf, WHAM," he pops out jabs like a featherweight contender one with a grudge and a shoulder chip.
Oh, how we laugh, careless, there in the August heat.
Two hours before my parents depart, war breaks out.
The door's ajar. Major who wants only to be loved nuzzles it open.
I hear the yelps and run. Major's wailing and cringing, trapped on the second-story porch. My dad and I reel in the constricted space luckily not onto the weak railings. I duck under a chair and grab Jake.
Wild, he whips round and sinks a fang into my hand. It pierces deep between my ring- and middle- fingers. A small, detached part of my brain observes, "that wasn't just a flesh wound. Something useful took a hit."
Jake's expression is stricken. He's just accidentally maimed the person who centers his universe. The tabby wilts and I rope him in by the tail, hand-over-hand like tug-of-war. He trembles in my arms.
Everyone's bleeding, except Molly and my mother matriarchs far too wise for such frays.