It was a typical hot summer’s morning in St. Louis, Missouri, with one exception, it was moving day. Humidity high, chance of rain, and Ralph, our Yorkshire Terrie, was in heat. Why my wife named her Ralph is beyond me, but then again, many things were beyond my comprehension that day. Around Ralph’s flank was a two layer diaper to keep her from spotting the freshly cleaned living room carpet. We kept her in a roomy cage as well on the back patio. We also have a cat, Shags, named such because of his bushy hair that never lays flat but flares in many directions at once. Shags is a Rag-Doll, a large breed of cat that makes our little Yorkshire look like a tea cup. They do not get along, no, they do not get along at all. They despise each other. For good measure we had Shags de-clawed, not only for Ralph’s sake but for our own.
As I said this was moving day. We were moving from our little apartment to a full size house. It will be a big change for us and our pets. They will have a large back yard to roam in and fight in, and we will have a house where we have plenty of elbow room.
I got up around six and placed a fresh diaper on Ralph, changed the kitty litter which is a job in itself, as you may imagine. The moving company was to arrive around nine, so I thought I had plenty of time to relax. Most everything was boxed up over the last week, and being a small apartment we had few items anyway. All that remained was a few kitchen items, some food, our bedding and a large pile of goose down pillows laying on the living room in front of the television. I brewed myself a hot cup of coffee and decided to take in one last view of the red brick water treatment plant that’s been our scenic tranquility for the last four years. Behind me, creeping un-noticed was Shags.
He employed stealth that morning. I did not hear him at all, but then again I was transfixed by a water plant worker backing up a truck. Shags, moved low to the floor, quietly, smoothly. If one were to see him in this manner, with the morning sun bristling across his back and his crazy hair going all directions, they may have imagined seeing a lion with mange stalking some unsuspecting pray on the African, Serengeti. The pray was Ralph, who had pushed his cage door open and stood as bold as a Yorkshire could stand wearing a diaper. “Why wasn’t the latched, locked?” My wife would ask me later at the hospital.
In one bound the cat pounced, grabbing the dog by his diaper and turning him over onto his back. The diaper slid off Ralph and she bolted past me, darting through the legs of my chair and into the living room. I only caught a glimpse of her nothing recognizable really, just a bolt of gray as she flew past. Shags lay on the patio chewing the diaper and having a good time pulling it apart by the threads. Before I could stand, and before the driver of the truck at the water plant got his rig fully backed into the dock, Shags ran past me and into the living room. What happened next was beyond words.
The cat rounded the corner into the living room and disappeared into the pile of pillows. I stood looking into the living room still holding by coffee cup. The pillows moved slightly on one end of the pile followed by a shallow growl. On the opposite end of pillows, a violently movement like a land upheaval before an earthquake, followed by a loud cat like screech. The two movements moved rapidly toward one another then the pile exploded with pillows and goose down filling the air. The two creatures were in a rage, biting and tearing at the pillows. Through the snow fall of down I could barley see Ralph as his teeth tore into a pillow. She began shaking it cruelly back and fourth sending down flying in all directions. Shags grabbed a big blue pillow and bit into it; he then pulled and tugged until it’s packed down burst like a missal. Down flew to the ceiling and began circumventing the room. The battle raged, with lots of growls, cat screeches and load purrs that sent chills down my back. I looked into Shags eyes just as he grabbed another pillow that toppled down upon him. They seemed to be on a mission to destroy all the pillows. Maybe I was wrong all this time thinking they hated each other. Maybe all this time it was the pillows.
Then, they began chasing each other in circles then wrestled in the debris of feathers and pillow casings sending more down into the air. The living room became emulsified with feathers. Feathers hung from my hair and floated lazily in my coffee. The two interior decorators darted out of the chaos of the living room and down the hall, feathers trailing behind them. Ralph chased Shags into the bedroom where they hopped up onto the bed. My wife screamed the loudest scream I have ever heard. I rushed into the bed room where the dog was chasing the cat under the bed, and then the cat was chasing the dog knocking over packed boxes that spilled their contents onto the floor.
My sweet wife, that up and to that very moment would never hurt a fly, was now gritting her teeth, cussing with words I never knew she knew, and throwing items at the dog and then the cat. One o f the items, a German glass snow globe with an exact replica of some valley in the Alps hit me in the head. That is the last I remember. I woke at St. Joseph, Hospital with a knot on my forehead and feathers still in my nose.