In a Dibble, for Dibbles

It is said that dogs have masters but cats have staffs. This is the story of one such staff, going nuts about her missing feline.

My holiday was ruined. My, beloved Persian cat “Dibbles” was missing. I and my roommate Suzie, both owned Dibbles. We both fell in love with her black fur and white spots, when we found her in a box on a side of a city street. Suzie calls me every day to “chat” with her. I don’t know what I am going to do now. I thought bringing her here, to my grandma’s rustic town, was a good idea. She could walk around without a leash, have fun with the other animals. Turned out, her notion of fun was quite different than what I perceived, since she chased each and every chicken, hen and cock, and hissed at goats and sheep until my grandmother growlingly had to protect them by locking them up in the barn for the length of my stay. And I idiotically thought that would have controlled her. 

But the next morning, as soon as I was awake, grandma informed me, “Your wildcat is missing. She and Mrs Hutchinson’s cat had a very nasty quarrel. They ransacked the entire farm!” Since then, Dibbles was missing. I strode across the hamlet searching for every possible place she could be. On my way, I got hold of a bicycle and rode straight to the market. The butcher’s shop and the fish shop had become her favourite hang out destination since we had arrived. The stench there was unbearable. That meant it was worth a shot. 

I searched, by literally crawling on my fours, inspecting under those tables where they chop the meat and store their fish. A butcher flung a wad of fat on the ground, on me to be exact, completely ignoring the fact that I was NOT a cat! Arguing with him, I realised, was useless anyway, as I the odour coming from my body was that of a stinking carnivorous skunk. And my clothes resembled a drunkard, who had thrown up his entire stomach and hadn’t bathed for days. I proceeded cycling in other parts of the town. Going to the beach, as I had taken Dibbles for a walk, there almost every evening of our stay. I was wandering there when some little boys, came running to me and one of them, giggling, queried, “You are the one who was just howling all over the market, right?” Rolling my eyes, I admitted. The other one, still grinning, announced, “A cat got hit by a chicken truck in the market, it may be yours.”

       If I wasn’t howling earlier, I surely started shrieking now. I rode to the market, swifter than a lightning bolt, with the boys galloping behind. As soon as I reached nigher, my cycle skidded and went crumbling down a trench, worse than Jack and Jill, and I and the bicycle, both hit our heads in a soggy puddle containing wet hay which smelled like urine and cow dung. Instantly, the boys launched into a fit of laughter. I knew what had precisely happened. 

Someone around came sprinting to my rescue, and instantaneously those boys fled the crime scene they had tried to create, only if I hadn’t been alive, much to their dismay. The person who helped me up, was Mr Hutchinson, our neighbour. He helped me get out of the pool, and even got the bicycle out using a shovel. I, by then, looked as if I was from some alien planet made up of goo and slimy dung. It seemed as if I had no human body parts what so ever.

 He offered to walk me home, expressing his sympathies about my lost kitty. Because of whom, I shall always be considered a shabby and senseless woman. We walked home, and as we neared, Mr and Mrs Hutchinson’s daughter, Laura, came running and after examining that her father was truly walking with a human being and furthermore being convinced that this human being was indeed her neighbour’s granddaughter (which was more difficult to do than my first job interview) proclaimed, “Mum was just talking to your granny. Your cat died!” 

I rushed in that mucky condition, slipping 1000 times along a 50 feet path. Hurrying inside the house, delivering the filth I was dragging everywhere, only to behold a Mrs Hutchinson whining with a snoring cat in her lap. Which WASN’T mine. If I looked worst, now adding the puzzled expression, was a portrayal of myself which couldn’t be phrased. Mr Hutchinson and Laura joined me. Laura already slumping over the sticky mud twice. As they arrived and stood beside me, I was thankful for their puzzles expression too. Mrs Hutchinson looking at the party wailed louder, “Oh Darling, your cat died! I am so sorry. Look at the poor thing…so lifeless! Oh, Jesus!”

I certainly glared at “the poor thing” which was snoring benignly on her lap. 

Mr Hutchinson finally pointed out, “Millie look, Mr Cat is breathing, he is fine.”

Mrs Hutchinson in her snorty voice clutched the cat in her arms and examined him as a doctor examines a blood vial. “Oh yes. Mr Cat! I thought it was your poor kitty. Very sorry biscuit, very sorry.”

I was bizarrely perplexed, “But why did you-”

“Shhh!”, Mr Hutchinson whispered in my ear. “It’s her cataract. She cannot see well.”

“But why couldn’t she hear Mr Cat snoring!” I muttered.

“Oh, she is also slightly deaf.”

“Oh!”

For me, her deafness was not slight at all. That ragdoll was snoring like a hell hound! And was nowhere identical to my Dibbles! Anyhow, I apologised for her condition and for the dirt, I had caused in the house. And left dejected, with Laura and Mr Hutchinson trying to convince that my cat would “be along” soon. 

At home, my grandma did not allow me to enter, ordering to go to the barn and clean myself (while also threatening to disown me if I ever got this dirty again), with the water used for bathing her cattle. While doing so, she thrust upon me also the job of milking the cows. Afterwards bathing (in an open barn), I proceeded to grab the gloves from the shelf and sat there getting the milk out of cows, all the while thinking about my poor sweet Dibbles. Where and how she would be right now? And Suzie! I had completely forgotten about her! She’s going to go absolutely nuts! Oh, she’ll never forgive me! 

I filled one container, set it aside and started filling the next one. Subsequently, when I was done, I turned to seize the next container beside myself. And lo! The one I had filled first was empty! I looked around, but there wasn’t a single calf who could have drunk it. I immediately saw a few trickles of milk going towards where the goats were sitting. It was at the other end of the barn. But goats don’t drink cow milk… 

I slowly walked up close enough to recognize, a non-vegetarian black creature with white spots, with milk dripping of her whiskers, whom I thought to be lactose-intolerant, camouflaged among the black and white goats, licking and cleaning herself off the mischief.

Aazka

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