Wednesday, August 13, 2014

David and Goliath, or-- Cats and Mice and things . . .

     I understand lot of young inner-city "gansta" wanna-bes are playing "the knock-out game" these days. They walk down the street looking for an unsuspecting victim, and then knock them out for no apparent reason. Usually it's an old person--sometimes in a walker (these "ganstas" are really brave don't you know). One of two have fought back. There-in lies a story.
     Someone posted a really cute seven-second video on Facebook a couple of days ago. A rat (most likely a pet one) sneaks up on the family housecat and jumps on the cat's tail. The cat, scared out of it's wits, runs off. End of video. I guess it is a seven-second cautionary tale about how some things just don't turn out the way you expect them to. I saw another this morning. In this video, a cotton-tail rabbit chases away and eventually trees a rattlesnake. Again, most likely the rabbit (probably a momma) had little ones in the area. Or maybe not. It may only prove that some little critters you just don't mess around with. The same, I guess, is probably true for people. Some of the smaller ones I have know have been the most dangerous. And some were pretty old. Been around a while. And not used to taking a lot of crap.
     Anyway, it brought to mind a story that old Willis Netz used to tell. Willis was a transplanted South Dakota farmer. He came to Spokane, Washington to live nearer his children in his old age. He has since passed on. I met him there, many years ago. A very nice man. But he was full of stories, among other things, and some of them were really funny. And some could even be repeated in mixed company.
     One he told about a neighbor farmer, from back in the days when Willis was young. An old German guy, according to Willis. And as mean as a snake. The old farmer resented (among other things) the fat, and mostly useless housecat that belonged to his wife. He complained that all the damned thing did was sleep on the sofa, except to get off every once in a while to eat or use the box. Then, right back to the sofa. Kind of like some of the above mentioned "ganstas."
     One day, the old farmer is out in the barn getting some firewood out of the wood-box. When he pulls the last piece of wood out, he discovers a tiny mouse in the bottom of the box. It has no way to get out. So, the old farmer gets an idea, since his wife is not home at the moment. She had gone to town to do some shopping.
     He goes in the house, collects the fat old housecat from off the sofa, and carries it out to the barn. There, he unceremoniously dumped the cat in the wood-box with the mouse--slams the lid shut, and sits down on the box to await what happens next.
    According to the old farmer, all hell breaks loose. For the space of a couple of minutes, the contents of the box erupts into the full-blown fury of a life and death struggle. Squeaks from the mouse, hisses from the cat.  Round and round the two beasts go. Finally it's over. Total silence. Not a peep from the box. Figuring the cat is now probably enjoying lunch, the farmer opens the box.
     To make a long story short--the mouse is still sitting there. Unharmed. The cat however, is dead. The victim of an apparent heart-attack.
     What's the old farmer to do?
     I asked the same question of Willis.
     "What do you think he did?" Willis said. "The wife was probably the only thing on Earth that the old farmer was really afraid of. So, first he lets the mouse go--probably figuring he earned his freedom, having neatly vanquished a foe many times his own size. Then he collects the dead cat, smooths down it's rumpled hair, carries it back to the house, and puts it back on the sofa where he got it from--hoping the wife will believe the cat died of natural causes."
     "Did it work?" I asked, with bated breath.
     "Must have," Willis replied. "The old farmer lived to die of natural causes himself."
     Moral of the story? . . . Either, don't mess with your wife's housecat--or, You just never know how a story is going to end. And, oh yeah, never underestimate the little guy (or gal) . . .they might just put you in the ground.
     I recommend this story as required reading for any hoodlum out there considering playing "the knock-out game."
     Have a nice day everyone!

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