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Sammy the Cat

by Steven Craig




Sammy the cat came inadvertently into my family’s life when I was 24.

My brother had been attending college, using drugs and smoking the Mary Jane and likely other things. Wandering about the campus was this black and white abandoned cat. It came to his notice that the kids were using this cat to test their drugs on. And the cat seemed to enjoy the hits of cocaine and paraquat. It ate rocks and relaxed to the drafts of marijuana. In an odd moment of distorted sentimentality, he took it upon himself to rescue this miserable creature from the same fate he could not move himself from.

He took it home to our mothers house.

My mom, a cat lover from way back, did not really notice anything different about this cat, not for a while, other than it was much more amusing to be around it than all the other cats, which watched it in total disbelief.

For here was a cat that never slept. It ate anything from crickets to rayon, chased sunbeams and shadows alike, and this feline, rare among its peers, enjoyed water.

Yes, its brain was fried, and my mom never did really notice it. It did indeed sleep but only when it was moving and had its yellow eyes wide open. My mom is a smart woman, and with her degree, chased down Nazis and taught over 1600 kids to be Americans, but with this cat, as with all her others, what ever it did was normal and to be expected. After all, this was Sammy. And here, is only a small part of his story.

Sammy loved my moms house. All the faucets dripped, but best of all was the cool pink bathtub and its dripping facet. Sammy would sit upright at full attention beneath it, in the exactly calculated spot, that the drip would just impact the tip of his firm right ear. With no other motion, he would flick the tip with a flourish, and await calmly the next drop.

This would go on for hours.

Sometimes days.

Now, my mom would come home from work tired and rusted from two jobs to support us kids and her cats. Retiring to the bathroom, and undressing, she would pull back the shower curtain and bent over to turn on the water, only to be greeted by his yellow eyes, looking directly at her, with intent and wonder on how she dare interrupt his leisure pursuits. It always unnerved her and with a growl and wave of her arm, she would shoe Sammy out of the way and out of the tub.

Still, even in her shower, Sammy would creep back in, and wait at the back of the tub, looking, waiting intently, drops of water seeming being wasted that could have produced such deep ear pleasure.

At some long last, my mom had enough and summoned me to fix the drips.

Now, access to all faucets are though a wall in older homes, and my moms was no exception. Here, there was a linen closet with a wood hatch that I removed, and with a nearly proper tool, turned off the waters and removed the facets shutoff values. With them in hand, I ran off to the hardware store and acquired a matched set and returned to my moms house. In a few minutes, the new brass was in its place, the hatch closed and the water turned back on. In testing, the water ran freely, and shut off completely. After many months of frightful suffering, my mom was likely to shower now Sammy-free.

4 days passed and one evening my mom called me at my home. I asked her about the shower and if it was working fine and if Sammy had moved out of the tub permanently.

Her response was unexpected. It seemed that she had not even seen the cat since I left, but she knew he was around because she heard him from time to time.

A light went on in my dim head. “The hatch”

I told my mom that I would be right over, that I knew where Sammy was.

Indeed, when I got there I heard the faint sounds of a Sammy meow that was always high pitched and very short. From inside the walls. I opened the hatched and called his name.

“Sammy” “Sammy”.

I could hear creaking and dragging sounds, a few meows to the effect of “wait for me pleasssse”. After a few moments, Sammy dragged himself out of the inner walls, just as white as a ghost. Covered with drywall dust and spider webs, he was glad to get out.

He immediately headed for the bath tub.

My mom turned the spigot just enough to give him a little drip.

And Sammy was a happy cat again.



Some months passed and I was at my moms house one evening while she was out. I enjoyed a little game of tease the Sammy cat with a flashlight. He would go intently and intensely ballistic at the sudden appearance of the spot on the floor and chase it at his highest speed. Talons extended and teeth bared, there was nothing to prevent him from demolishing this spot of light, save for the fact it was only in two dimensions.

Something about his previous life as a drug addict made that light appear to him to be something tactile, dimensional, perhaps even tasty.

I was evil.

I moved the light and the spot obeyed, moving in figure eight’s, quickly to the right and then back to the left, in endless left turning circles and then in endless right turning circles. Sammy was always just about on it, always just about to grab it, the look in his wide yellow eyes was that of eminent victory.

I turned the light off.

He would stop, and look in every direction, so quick, his eyes moved like a blur. His ears at full stretch, his mouth panting and claws deep in the carpet, to again bust out again when the light was produced at the far end of the room.

I ran the light up the wall.

Sammy tied to fly up the wall to snag it. He circled, and jumped on furnishings and would leap at it. Just as he would reach it, I would move it. Down.

Twisting and turning in mid flight, with every ounce of energy, he would try to direct his furry at the beam on the floor, only to see it move away again.

Up the curtain it went. Sammy in pursuit, clawing up the curtain to the very rod bracings, and leaping at the ceiling to grab the spot.

It did not move off the ceiling.

But there was nothing to hold on to up there. The flurry of paws seeking closure was impressive, but to no avail. Falling to the floor, he never took his eye off the spot.

Once more the spot was on the carpet moving quickly wall to wall, Sammy full of a thousand kilowatts of energy, in tight pursuit.

Just then, my mom opened the front door.

In a moment of sheer genius, I ran the flash light beam along the floor, right past my mom, and out the door.

………..

I last got a glimst of Sammy’s white tipped paws that night in the darkness, bounding down the dark street toward the spot distant street light.

Sammy was gone.

My mom would put food on the front porch in hope that he would come back and find the snack so she would recover him. The big black snake that lived under the front porch was the only taker, and was deeply appreciative.

About a week later, my mom called me at home.

I asked her if Sammy had come back.

She told me, no, she had not seen him, but she was certain she could hear him.

I told her I would be right over.

No, it had nothing to do with the wall.

When I arrived, she directed me to her bedroom, and we listened. Every once in a while, that distictive short, high pitched meow was heard. It was coming from someplace high. Outside.

I went out into the backyard, and there in the full moon light, I could see the top of the tree in a florish. Sammy was there, at the top of the oak tree, leaping in all effect to claw in the full moon.

With a step ladder and a blanket, Sammy was netted and recovered. Safely removed to the indoors once more, Sammy retired again to his bath tub.

A year passed, and Sammy had gotten out and got into trouble before returning meekly home. He had a bleeding tear in his side, from what one could only speculate.

My mom took him off to the vet, and there he needed to receive an anesthesia shot to knock him out so the vet could clean and stitch the wound.

Sammy took the first shot and looked wide eyed at the vet and my mom, tail flicking, but unmoved.

A second shot.

A third followed.

No effect.

The vet was perplexed, and took vital signs, and found all systems normal, not a single clue that the animal was about to calm down.

On the fifth injection, Sammy laid down slowly, tail flicking, and calmly watched the vet, almost smiling.

A sixth injection and at last, Sammy was ‘under’.

Now, this vet was sweet and sensitive to all living creatures but he realized that it took enough sedative for half a dozen cats to get any effect at all. He watched vital signs, and all was as good as they get.

He cleaned the wound, and began to stitch, turned to grab a scissors, he returned his gaze to an empty operating table. Sammy was gone.

But not too far, it seems he was indeed asleep, just up walking around like he always did, and at full speed, running around the room, thread and tools in tow, bouncing on the floor. In no time, he was out the door and down the hall into the waiting room.

Now, this can mortify a vet. The affect on the others with their animals waiting to be cared for, to see a cat running wildly with a doctor and attentant in full chase, open wound, and implements bouncing along attached to this side, well, is unmentionable here.

Dogs shied away at his approach, women screamed and lifted their legs off the floor as Sammy ran under the chairs, into a corner, and laid down, fast asleep. It was that way he was again taken into care and removed to the operation table once more.

With an attendant in firm hold of the elusive carcass, the vet again cleaned the wound and renewed the efforts to mend it with succors.

This time, it was a success, and Sammy was returned to my mom, none the worst for wear, but the vet had seemingly aged 5 years.


Sammy lived a long and adventurous life with my mom. He had it all, and in time, aged as do all cats that one comes to love and know and understand.

Sammy came peacefully to the end of his days enjoying his favorite spot, content, and at peace with the world. In the tub. Drops of water caressing his ear.







08/24/2008

Posted on 08/24/2008
Copyright © 2020 Steven Craig

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by A. Paige White on 08/24/08 at 03:37 PM

This is an awesome story! More! More! Encore! Encore! You have such a marvelous story telling gift. My pick for potd. Sammy the cat. Wow, what a story!

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 08/24/08 at 11:28 PM

Oh, Sammy, you rascal!!! What a read! Thanks for sharing his many lives and experiences.

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