Mavis by wordsfromsue
That morning, while running errands, my husband Craig phoned to tell me Mavis, our cat, had passed.
I sat in the parking lot of the drugstore and bawled like a baby. Poor Mavis. She was seventeen and had passed peacefully underneath our Christmas tree.
Being the only two females in a house otherwise full of males: two human, two felines and one canine, I mourned at my solitary female status.
I went home and pondered how to handle Mavis, who was still behind the Christmas tree with her face buried in the heating register. We found a box that would do nicely to bury her in, and I got elected to pick her up. This was difficult due to where it was and also, she was slightly 'stuck' to the spot. I got her out, and felt somewhat unnerved by her degree of rigor mortis. My son Kevin exclaimed her eyes were still open. I wouldn't know, I held her back end. Without warning, her body expelled the foulest load of noiseless gas, a real ''silent but deadly" if I ever encountered one! Oh my gosh, I nearly threw her.
Manny the dog had been sitting quietly, minding his own business during this time. When her gas came out, he went absolutely crazy and tried with everything he had to get at her, snarling and barking, jumping into the air to attempt and reach her. I held her up high. Craig TRIED to restrain Manny. I looked like I was carrying the newest sacrifice to some angry god. Kevin grabbed the box and aimed. Amongst such a chaos of shouting, barking and confusion, poor Mavis went from a puny sacrificial lamb to a poorly passed kitty football. Kevin caught her with the box and beat a path to the front door. Our goal at that point was to get her outside and away from Jaws the dog.
Kevin and I went outside to prep Mavis and her box, getting the tools to dig her grave. This is illegal within city limits. Arrest me. My Tigger is buried back there too. Manny still barked like the psycho nut job he was. We heard him putting his weight against the door, trying to get out. He somehow got the front door open and escaped, running off into the neighborhood. He always came back, so we proceeded with our work.
After a few minutes, Kevin pointed up the street toward a neighbor's backyard and yelled, "There's Manny... he's chasing a chicken!". WHAT? A chicken? What?
"MOM, he's got the chicken in his mouth, GO GET HIM."
"WHERE?" I didn't have my glasses on, and couldn't see squat. Kevin threw down the shovel and ran up the street. I chased after, calling out, "Where are you?" About five houses away, here came Manny, running like the hounds of hell were chasing him. I must have looked like safe harbor, the dog headed straight for me, Kevin hot on his heels, yelling that Manny killed the chicken and its eyeballs were on the ground.
Furious, he ranted something about killing the dog. I grabbed Manny and we tugged him back and forth, yelling like two demented nuts. This happened in countless front yards, as we made our way back home. The neighbors never saw fit to thank me for the free entertainment.
I managed to get Kevin to our front yard, but he wouldn't calm down. He wanted Manny to pay for trying to eat Mavis and eating the chicken and leaving the eyeballs. I called out for Craig. He came out and got Manny. Convincing Kevin to go to the backyard and continue the grave digging, I got some additional yard equipment and went back to help. We talked and I told him I would tell the neighbor what happened, pay for a new chicken and address any legal consequences.
I went up the street and saw a man in the backyard at the scene of the crime. Oh snap. Pull up your big girl britches, woman. I approached, asking if he was the man with the chicken? He sat in a chair smoking, reeking of cigarettes. Despite the cold temperature, I noticed he had no socks or shoes on, just summer flip flops. Hmm. He replied that it was his chicken. I was discreetly looking around for chicken eyeballs but didn't see any. I asked him where his chicken was. He looked around and said he didn't know. I admitted my dog may have gotten him, and asked where the chicken coop was. He replied there wasn't a coop, the chicken just walked around.
Excuse me? I didn't know anything about chickens other than what I used to see in old Foghorn Leghorn cartoons, but I thought they lived in coops. So, I asked the man, 'He just walks around?'
He said, 'Yes, but your dog robbed him.'
I said, 'Yes, my dog took him and I'd like to get you a new chicken.'
He said, "No, that's okay. You keep the chicken."
I'm thinking... WHAT? I again said I'd like to get him a new chicken. He said no, it's okay. Then he said the chicken was his friend. I felt about two inches tall. One more time I stated that I'd really like to get him a new chicken. He again said no and that they were going to have him for dinner. What the heck? I apologized again for what happened and left.
Relaying the conversation to Kevin, who had since calmed down, his eyes popped open when I got to the dinner part. We kind of quietly cracked up and shook our heads. We then realized the guy could see us digging the grave and concluded he didn't know WHO that grave was for. He was probably afraid and trying to stay on our good sides!
We proceeded to finish the digging and I tried to keep the mood light. Kevin cracked up watching me try to use the hoe and pitchfork to help dig. I actually enjoyed the gardening aspect, except for that we were putting kitty to rest.
Before we topped the box with dirt, Kevin said maybe we could get Chow-Chow and bury her with Mavis. Chow-Chow was our dwarf hamster who had died a few years ago and was still in the freezer, waiting for a proper burial. She and Mavis had played together and we thought it would be nice for Mavis to be with a friend.
I realized we'd never buried Chow, our first hamster, either and told Kevin to grab Chow while he was at it. At this, my son snapped and grumbled, what did I think this was 'Death At a Funeral' and I'd pop the midget into the coffin with the dead body? He went in to get the two dwarfs and came back empty handed. Apparently, Craig had accidentally disposed of them when he cleaned out the freezer.
Being fans of the film, The Big Lebowski, we gave an eulogy, a la Walter and The Dude and put Mavis to rest.
I felt pretty confident that whenever we thought of Mavis' passing, we'd laugh too hard about Manny and chicken eyeballs and deadly corpse rectal gas, to be sad. Though, I'm also sure we'd all still cry a little.
Two days later, my husband Craig came in from taking Manny for a walk. He asked Kevin what the chicken looked like that Manny got hold of. Kevin described it and Craig replied that Manny didn't kill it. It was, in fact, walking down the sidewalk and neighbors were coming out to look at it.
"The Ghost of Mr Chicken!" I exclaimed.
So, whose eyeballs were those anyway?
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