Tag: baseball

Day One: Leaping Away From Love

Buddy licked his lips, belched and rolled over, sighing as he felt the afternoon sun’s warmth on his belly.

It was his favorite time of day and he was enjoying fresh air on the balcony, sitting in his favorite chair and surveying the world below like a little king. If he’d had a belt, he’d loosen it after scarfing down every last morsel of turkey and licking his bowl clean.

He waved his tail, thinking of how he’d pass the time later. Perhaps he would have a nap, then demand that Big Buddy take out the laser pointer. With a little luck, he might be given catnip as well, otherwise he’d have to meow relentlessly for it. Failing that, there was a new plastic bottle ring he’d stashed away for later play, and if Big Buddy were to fall asleep while watching baseball, Buddy could entertain himself by repeatedly waking his human via ambush. That was always delightful.

A squeak interrupted his thoughts, too high for humans to pick up but still well within his own hearing range. He sat up and cocked his head forward as his ears swiveled, trying to pinpoint where the noise had come from.

Sudden movement on his peripheral vision snapped his eyes to the target: Down below, among the cars and trees, a tiny animal scurried from beneath the cover of one car to another.

Buddy wasn’t sure what it was, exactly, but he knew he wanted to catch it.

He hopped off his throne and crouched low, poking his head through the balcony railing as he tracked the rodent.

The light box inside pumped out its usual weekday sounds: The crack of a ball against wood, the cheers of tens of thousands of humans, and Big Buddy alternately celebrating or sighing in frustration.

For all their supposed seriousness, humans were strangely invested in watching other humans play with toys.

Buddy caught movement beneath the rear bumper of a squat SUV. Two rodential faces peaked out from cover, chittering in human-inaudible frequencies.

His tail thrashed against the floor as he watched the diminutive trespassers brazenly moving about on the edge of his territory. They were mocking him, he was sure of it! He would have his revenge by ruthlessly hunting each of them down and jumping around joyfully on his hind legs, which he always did after he won at hunting games with Buddy the Larger.

The rodential duo took off, abandoning the cover of the SUV for the lower-hanging body and bumper of an old Nissan Skyline.

Bud’s tail thumped furiously. The twitchy little interlopers were getting ready to run again.

Buddy leapt from the balcony before he was consciously aware of what he was doing, meowing an “Oh poop!” as he dropped the 14 feet to the ground. He hit the ground hard but shared the impact on all four limbs. He’d be sore later, but the thought was gone as fast as it came, replaced by the primal instinct that had caused him to jump in the first place: The hunt.

His targets were now well aware of his presence, chittering furiously at each other between cars. Bud stalked the more plump of the two, crouching low so he could track its movement.

A distant subwoofer thumped the air, sending vibrations through the ground to his paw pads. The pudgy rodent took off, gunning for the fence at the far end of the lot and the safety of the trees beyond.

Driven entirely by instinct, Bud gave chase without realizing a car had turned the corner and was pulling into the lot, fast.

“Mrrrrrrooowww!” Buddy exclaimed, dashing away from the vehicle.

It was still moving, still coming toward him with that awful, furious thump from its speakers. Buddy ran and ran until he could run no more: out of the lot, away from his building, up the street, past strange houses emanating strange smells and into a park, where he hoped the car couldn’t chase him.

He collapsed on the grass and sprawled out, chest heaving. That was too close, he thought.

Now he had another problem, one he’d failed to consider when he jumped from the balcony: How would he get back inside? He couldn’t just walk into the apartment building. You needed a human to open the front door, then get past a second door that only opened via some sort of human sorcery that involved waving a little piece of plastic in front of the handle. He knew that much from his night walks with Big Buddy, when the stimulation was almost too much to bear — the smell-taste of flowers at nose level, the spiral cascade of water from the sprinklers, the far-off hum of the deathway, where thousands of cars rumbled down endless lanes of hard human-made ground.

If by luck he was able to slip inside as a human was entering his building, he’d have to cross the lobby, walk down the hallway and finally reach the door to his realm and domicile. Could he reach the door bell? If he meowed loud enough, would Big Bud hear him?

Buddy the Cat

“What do we have here?” Buddy had been so lost in his thoughts and worries that he hadn’t noticed the human walk right up to him. He suddenly felt very vulnerable and rolled onto his stomach.

It was a human boy. He wore a dark baseball cap and a wide grin that didn’t reach his eyes.

“Easy,” he said, reaching out.

Buddy hissed, arching his back. The boy took another step forward, hand still extended. Buddy retreated a few steps, cautiously keeping his eyes on the boy as the fur on his tail spiked outward.

“Here, kitty kitty,” the boy said mockingly.

Buddy took another step away, then felt a pair of human hands clamp around his belly.

“Gotcha!” said another human boy, who had approached from behind as his friend served as a distraction.

Buddy squirmed, lashing out with his claws.

“Hey!” the second boy said. “The little fucker scratched me!”

“Bad kitty!” the first boy said, slapping Buddy on the top of his head. “Ohohoho! He’s pissed!”

The boys laughed as Buddy struggled.

“Come on,” the first boy said. “There’s a pair of gloves and some beach towels in my mom’s car. We can wrap the little shit up in the towel.”

“Where we going, Spencer?” the second boy said, holding the still-struggling Buddy tight as they walked toward the car.

“We could take him beneath the railroad bridge,” Spencer said as he opened the trunk. “I’ve got half a bottle of lighter fluid. We could have ourselves a little barbecue.”

The boys wrapped Buddy in a towel, muffling their laughter. He heard car doors closing and a crystalline human voice singing through speakers. Vibrations felt through his captor’s hands told him they were moving.

“Careful,” Spencer said after they had parked. “Just hold him, don’t be such a little bitch, dude. He’s not gonna hurt you.”

Buddy didn’t understand what they were planning to do with him, but he instinctively knew his life was in danger. He went slack.

“S’okay,” Spencer’s friend said. “He’s not struggling anymore. I don’t think he has any fight left.”

“Oh, he will,” Spencer said. He pushed back the towel, uncovering Buddy’s face.

“We’re gonna have some fun with you, you little shit,” Spencer said, leaning in close. “We’re gonna…”

Spencer howled as Buddy chomped on his lip with all his might.

Spencer’s shocked friend loosened his grip, and for a second or two Buddy swung from the shrieking teenager’s face, the latter’s panicked breath radiating in hyperventilating blasts. His smirk had evaporated, replaced by flush cheeks and a mask of pain.

Buddy released Spencer’s lip, tasting blood, and ran for his life. As he disappeared into the trees he could hear Spencer sobbing hysterically.

When he was sure the boys weren’t following him, he crossed a human yard in a blur and scurried beneath a short wooden staircase leading to a porch. A lawnmower droned in a yard nearby. In a neighboring basement, someone pounded out the opening kicks and snares of a song about a prince buying flowers.

“And if you want to call me baby…” a male human crooned over the drums and guitar, “just go ahead now!”

As Bud’s breathing slowed and the fear chemicals subsided, a new kind of dread filled the vacuum. Neither his eyes nor his ears nor his nose could tell him where he was.

Buddy’s PSA: Dudes, You Can Adopt Cats Too!

Big Buddy: [The Human] Somehow people got this ridiculous idea that cats are exclusively pets for women…

Little Buddy: [The Cat] …which is absurd because we’re basically small tigers. I mean, look at me. Who wouldn’t run in terror if they found themselves on the wrong side of these claws?

Big Buddy: We’re here to dispel the idea that cats are for women, and tell you that caring for a cat is a manly thing to do.

Little Buddy: That’s right! Extremely manly.

Big Buddy: We do manly stuff around here.

Little Buddy: That’s right! We watch football, we drive around in a rugged pick-up truck and we grunt a lot.

Big Buddy: We don’t actually do any of those things.

Little Buddy: But we would, if we cared about football and trucks.

Big Buddy: We’re into other manly stuff, like baseball, basketball, huge starship battles and fight club. We funkatize entire galaxies, facilitate the spread of interstellar funk and blast funky bass lines from black holes.

Little Buddy: We don’t talk about fight club.

Big Buddy: And besides, the most badass canine is a wolf…

Little Buddy: …but the most badass feline is a tiger!

Big Buddy: That’s not even a contest. A tiger is clearly more badass than a wolf.

Little Buddy: Significantly more badass! A veritable fount of badassery. More badass by several orders of magnitude.

Big Buddy: I think they get it, little dude.

Little Buddy: I was just making sure.

Big Buddy: So if you’re a dude thinking about adopting a cat, don’t let dumbasses tell you cats are “feminine” pets…

Little Buddy: …cause then you’d be missing out on having your very own little tiger buddy. RAWR!!!

Big Buddy: Maybe we could do without the roar. You sound like Elmo singing in falsetto.

Little Buddy: I do not! I sound like a terrifying jungle cat.

Big Buddy: Okay, Elmo.

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Not Elmo.

International Cat Day: Interview With Buddy

Big Buddy (The Human): We’re here with Buddy the Cat to celebrate International Cat Day. Welcome, Buddy!

Little Buddy (The Cat): Thank you.

BB: I appreciate you joining us. I’m sure our readers do too.

Buddy: Yeah well, you told me no treats unless I do this interview, so let’s get it over with.

BB: I love the enthusiasm. Our first question is from Mrs. Caldwell’s third-grade class in Skokie, Illinois. Rebecca, age 8, asks: “Hi Buddy! What’s the best thing about being a cat?”

Buddy: Hi, Rebecca. Well, the schedule’s pretty good. Plenty of time for naps and siestas. The food’s usually pretty good too. But I’d say the best thing about being a cat is my status as an apex predator. No one messes with you because they know that you can decapitate them with a single paw swipe. Other animals don’t step to me because they don’t want to see their entrails spill out like a waterfall or their arterial blood sketching a map of Hawaii on the ground, you know what I mean? I’m a very ferocious creature.

BB: Ahem. Maybe we can take it down a notch on the questions from kids?

Buddy: My bad.

BB: Our next question is from Mr. Piper’s eighth-grade class in Rye, New York. Charles, age 13, asks: “Buddy, do you have any tips for getting puss…” Ah, Charles, this is a family blog! Sheesh. Your teacher approved this? Oh! Sorry. The whole question is: “Buddy, do you have any tips for getting pussy cats to come when called?”

Buddy: Sure, Charles. It’s really simple: Do you have any treats? If the answer is yes, then it’s worth our time to acknowledge you and approach. If not, well, we have napping to do.

bud_may2020

BB: That’s great, thank you, Charles. This one’s from six-year-old Cindy in Mrs. Cooper’s class in Bakersfield, California. Cindy says: “I have a dog. Woof woof! Do you like dogs, Buddy?”

Buddy: Yes I do, Cindy! I like them far away from me, in someone else’s home, dragging their butts across someone else’s carpet, preferably very far away so I don’t have to smell them.

BB: I can just feel the love, can’t you? Okay, now let’s go to 10-year-old Ashton from Mrs. Draper’s second-grade class in Lincoln, Nebraska. Second grade, Ashton? Really? Okay. Ashton writes: “Hello Buddy! As president of the Americats, are you happy that baseball is back this season? And who do you think is gonna win the World Series?”

Buddy: It’s a terrific thing that baseball is back, a tremendous, tremendous thing, okay? The American people love baseball, believe me, and we’re gonna have the number one baseball season in history, okay? It really will be. I like the Yankees, Ashton. I know a number of them personally and they’re tremendous people, just terrific people. They’re going to win the World Series over the Dodgers, and the Red Sox aren’t even going to make the playoffs because they’re losers. They’re fired.

BB: Okay. Finally, here’s a question from Lisa in Mr. Park’s fourth-grade class in Peculiar, Missouri. Lisa asks: “I love my kitty cat, Mr. Wobbles, and he loves me. Do you love your human, Buddy? What’s your favorite thing about him?”

Buddy: Hi Lisa! Do I love my Big Buddy? I love it when he feeds me treats and catnip! I guess you could say I love him even though the service is slow and sub-par around here sometimes. I’m very forgiving. Still, he could improve. My favorite thing about him? Hmmm. He’s a pretty good mattress.

BB: Oh, that lukewarm endorsement has moved me to tears! That’s all for today. Thanks to Buddy for generously taking time out of his busy napping schedule, and for all the kids who submitted questions. Don’t forget to do something special for your own cats today!