Friday, April 25, 2008

For the Birds

I am on nights this week. Anyone out there who works nights on a regular basis, you have my complete sympathy. It is hell trying to sleep during the day, even in a relatively quiet house in a relatively quiet village like ours.

Wednesday afternoon I was drifting back and forth in that not-quite-asleep/not-quite-awake borderland when I gradually became aware of an odd sound. A cross between a buzz, a flip, and a whir, like a very large fly trapped behind a window glass. It was punctuated by muted galloping noises and muffled thumps. Almost as though a party of cats was up on the shelves, pushing things off.

I was trying to resist the urge to swim back up to complete consciousness when there came a thud-thud-thud-swoosh-crash. The noise a cat might make by racing across the living room, leaping onto the dining room table, and sliding across its polished surface and off the other end and taking with him a stack of bills, Martha Stewart, and the Quarterly Journal of Military History. Theoretically speaking, of course.

Funnyface had been lying next to me, ears up, head cocked to one side; but this was too much for him. He launched himself off the bed and disappeared in the direction of the dining room, I heard a chair go over and reluctantly decided it was time to get involved. Stepping out into the hall I heard that buzz/flip/whir--

--and a sparrow hit me right in the kisser.

Once I got my heart beating again and found my glasses, I went looking for our avian guest, which activity involved a lot of crawling around on my hands and knees and peering under various pieces of furniture (note to self: we have serious dust-bunny issues). Eventually he ricocheted off the bedroom window and went to ground under the bedside table.

Reserve Cat reached him just before the Drama Queen or I did, but I was able to use the old back-of-the-neck Vulcan death grip and get the bird out of his mouth although he was growling at me the whole time, the little varmint.

(The cat was growling, I mean. Not the bird).

I took him outside, across the street, and into the garden of the Catholic rectory, where I parked him up in the branches of one of Father Carl’s Japanese maples, as high as I could reach. Honestly? I didn’t give much for his chances, between the internal injuries undoubtedly inflicted by Reserve Cat and the blow on the head he got when he kamikaze’d into the window.

Returning under the sullen and accusatory glares of the cats, I closed the doggy flap—which is how they introduced their little feathered friend into the house in the first place—and went back to bed.

It’s a good thing it was a slow night at work because I wasn’t worth a tinker’s damn.


Lidian said...

What a way to get awakened from a nap!

Funny how cats growl like that when they are hunting...we had a mouse a few years ago and our normally sleepy, happy kitties were growling and charging around like mad. So proud of themselves when they caught it, too.

Since then they've been catching up on their rest, except for the usual 4 am mad race around the house.

GDad said...

Our neighbor's barn cat proudly presented us with a bird the other day. I don't get it. Do the cats think they're contributing to the household budget or something?

Shay said...

If food prices get any higher I'm hope they start bringing home rabbits.