And Then Cat Had a Boat
December 19th, 2016 by Mike Coughlin
“Hi, Cat,” said Dog, his yellow tail flopping back and forth as he grinned.
Cat sat on the front steps of a random house she’d decided earlier that day was now hers. Cat’s muted black hair stood up ever so slightly on the back of her neck as she moved nary a muscle, spare her eyes which looked Dog up and down, in response to Dog’s ridiculous bark.
“What are you doing there?”
Cat looked at Dog thinking that she’d just been asked the single dumbest question since the last time Dog opened his drooling mouth.
“Why are you doing that? Is this your new house? Do you have a new Master? Is your new Master AWESOME like mine is?”
“I have no ‘Master,’ I’ll have you know,” meowed Cat. “I sit here because this house now belongs to me. I have added it to my collection.”
Dog cocked his head. His ears grew bigger.
“You have more than one house? But what about when your Master needs to pet something?”
Cat sighed dismissively. The suburbs were so drole in their sad way. To be in Paris…
“Is there something I can help you with?”
Dog’s tailed began to wave so fast that his body flailed with it.
“I’m gonna go to the water and swim. Do you want to come?” Slobber hung from his mouth like a desperate rock climber who had just slipped and now was slowly stretching from cliff’s edge to the mountain’s base, all that weight held by the flimsiest of frayed rope.
Cat glanced to her left, her tail letting loose a single thwap like a nun with a ruler.
“I don’t do water, Dog.”
“You must! It’s so so so so so so so so so so much fun!!!!!!!!” Dog hopped up and down at this point. “I promise, you’ll love it. Everyone loves water!”
For a moment, Cat contemplated killing Dog. A leap, a single flick of her wrist, and the buffoon would be gone and Cat could return to surveying her kingdom.
Dog smiled and waited for what he knew was going to be a yes to his amazing question.
“Dog, you have asked me this question many times before. Why do you persist?”
“I have?” Dog stopped to vigorously scratch his right ear. He then smelled his paw. Then licked it. I’ll have to remember that for later, thought Dog. “Well, it’s just so much fun and everyone likes fun and I’ll bet you like fun so I thought I’d ask you to come on my fun run. Hey, fun run. That rhymes. See, Cat, we’re already having fun. Plus, there’s fish there!”
Cat narrowed her gaze, lowered her head, and in a whisper to the wind replied, “Fish, you say…”
This is it, thought Dog. Look at Cat, Cat is going to go to the water with me. Oh my dog! I wish Master were here instead of driving around in his car like he does every morning. Oh, a car ride would be fun. I wonder if I can ride in the car later? Maybe we could even play fetch. Oh, boy! Fetching is the best thing ever, along with car rides, and food, and Master. No, Dog, focus. Cat and water fun time. Fun. Fun. Fun. Cat will have fun with me now. This is going to be the greatest day since yesterday!
“Alright, Dog. I’ll go with you to … the water … but you’ll need to bring me this fish as I sit upon a chair, a chair you shall provide me.”
From her crouch, Cat leapt off the stoop, landing next to Dog. Cat arched her back into a U shape as Dog panted like an idiot in her face. The smell was of warmed garbage and feet.
“WATER!” barked Dog over and over again as he began to run in circles. Cat immediately regretted her decision.
Cat surveyed the lay of the beach upon arrival. Two birds, the hints of a mouse nearby, and comfort in knowing she now had an enormous litter box, should the need arise.
“Isn’t it awesome?!?!?!!?!??” He was panting. Cat didn’t understand why he was always panting. And smiling. She suspected one of the human servants of the world was drugging Dog. That or Dog was simply an idiot. Or both.
“Come on, Cat,” Dog said as he smacked her in the face with his tail on accident.
Cat stared at Dog, once again replaying a scenario whereby she swiftly killed him and then took a nap.
“Have you no control over your own body, Dog?” The last word may have been “worthless scum” the way Cat spit it at Dog.
“Sorry.” And he was. Dog had never been so sorry in all his life. Dog had let down Cat and knew Cat would hate him forever. Cat would never be his friend.
Cat felt pity. Then disgust at her own pity. What mind games had this four legged basket of superballs played upon her?
“Go on, Dog,” she sighed. “Go play in the water. I’m going to sit here on this chair and sun myself.”
“YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Dog practically leapt out of his fur. He ran off towards the water and almost made it before he smelled something in the sand. Dog quickly sniffed it, found it to be one of the greatest smells of all time, and decided he wanted to keep it forever. Dog frantically rolled over the smell.
Cat thought he looked like a fish out of water flopping before death. Fish is tasty. Fish after a kill is even better. No, Cat thought, I’ll let him live for now.
After he’d splashed in the water for five million days, Dog ran back up to Cat.
“Cat! Cat! Why aren’t you playing in the water?”
“I told you, Dog. I don’t do water.”
“Everyone does water! How do you clean yourself if you don’t play in the water?” Dog wondered aloud.
“I clean myself with my tongue, you mouth breather.”
A single leap. A single swipe of her claws. That’s all she would have to do.
“OH! I can do that too. Wanna see?”
“Dog, no – ”
But it was too late. Cat sat and stared in horror as Dog dove his head towards his crotch, lapping up his shamelessly presented Shame with great joy. Dog looked up for a moment at Cat, breaking his form, proud of himself. Good, it’s over, thought Cat … before Dog returned to licking himself.
“Dog, just … stop. Go into the water.”
Do anything, you idiot. Just stop doing that.
“You should come in the water. You can swim with me. It’s like running but in water so it’s also like flying. I wonder if I can run on a cloud? Can you run on a cloud? Maybe we could eat a cloud after we play in the water!”
Dog held his breath, strained his pricked up ears, everything in his life had built towards Cat’s response.
“Dog, I said I don’t – ” but then Cat stopped herself. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted a rowboat tied ashore. She looked it over. The green paint had chipped away from the battering of the water but it hypnotically bobbed, calling to her. She looked at the rope anchoring the boat to her beach. Stupid people, she thought. What is a rope to a cat’s paw? Cat would have Dog pull her with it instead.
A boat was a must for Cat now. How she’d ever been so boring as to not have a boat momentarily caused her embarrassment. She quickly swallowed that thought, making sure her face remained stoic.
“Yes, a boat is fitting for my lifestyle. It isn’t quite a yacht, like I’d prefer, but this will do for now.”
“Boat? You have a boat, Cat?”
“That one, over there. Fetch it for me.”
Fetch! Dog took off. It was only after a few yards that he stopped.
“There’s a rope, Cat,” howled Dog. He traced the rope from boat to land and back again. Hmm… “Wait, hold on. Cat, this isn’t your boat. It belongs to someone else!”
Cat slapped her tail once.
“Dog, that is now my boat and I’ll hear nothing to the contrary. Bring it here so that I may ride in it. Once you do this, you shall have your time with me in the water.”
Cat will go into the water! Before he could even finish that thought, Dog had the rope in his mouth as he plopped through the shoreline.
Cat floated off her chair and approached her new toy. Slowly, she slinked, examining it from every angle. The paint needed to be redone. The oars looked like they were affixed with wire. There was no motor. But it was dry inside and most importantly: no other cat had a boat. It was her Catamaran, she mused.
Dog stood, waving his tail and smiling.
“Green isn’t really my color but it will do. Dog, prepare for the sea.”
“You are going to be so happy, Cat. This will maybe be the best day ever for you.”
Cat boarded her ship, immediately fixing herself at the bow. I’m the Queen of the world.
“Dog, pull me now. Pull me from shore.”
Dog bit down on the rope and paddled like he was in the Olympics. Michael Phelps would be jealous. Dog was the best dog ever and was making Cat so happy as they made their way out past the nearby dock. They were nearly 20 feet from shore and Dog couldn’t believe it; he’d never swam so far in his life.
“Isn’t this fun, Cat?”
“Keep swimming and keep the chatter to a minimum. I’m enjoying the smell of fish.”
Dog’s eyes bulged.
“Fish? I can get you a fish!”
With that, Dog dove down, losing the rope and disappearing into the dark blue beneath.
“Dog! You idiot. What have you done?”
Cat was miffed with this development. Dog had pulled her far beyond the realm of any reasonable expectation and now was gone off on a hair brained adventure. Cat had no motor and might be forced to row herself to shore. Sweat could result. How disgusting. What was Dog even doing? Did the moron really think he would catch a fish? When he gets back, a slap across the face would be in order.
In a flash, Dog burst through the surface, more whale than canine for the briefest of moments. The splash came dangerously close to getting Cat wet. For this, he will pay. Cat had made up her mind that Dog was now a liability.
What is that?
Did he really?
Dog looked up at Cat as he furiously kicked his feet. He grinned as he held a fish in his mouth.
“How did you do that?” Cat puzzlingly asked.
“Oh, I do this all the time. I’m really good at fetching things.”
Cat was impressed but ensured she showed no sign of it to Dog. Best not to encourage the idiot.
Dog knew Cat was happy, though. Cat had to be happy. Everyone was happy when Dog brought them something! Oh, joy of joys, Cat would love Dog forever. Cat needed the fish right now. Dog had to give it to her before Cat could starve any longer. They could even share it. Oh, Cat, this will make you happy and then you and me can spend every day together.
Dog began changing the cadence of his feet. He was no longer in one place but rather seemed to be climbing some imaginary set of stairs under the water, or perhaps bouncing off a trampoline. This perturbed Cat.
“What are you doing, Dog? Stop. You’re getting water all over the place!”
Dog made his move and flung himself onto the edge of the boat, half hugging it, before tumbling over, landing at Cat’s feet. He dropped the fish as he stood there, eyes wide, grinning, tail out of control.
Dog then did as he always did when wet and shook. Water flew all over the place. Cat was in the line of fire. After the fury of mad fur stopped shaking, Dog smiled. Cat, however, sat, drenched in water. She was not amused.
“See! Fish, fish! Aren’t you happy now, Cat?”
Cat clenched her jaw and steeled her eyes.
“Look over there.”
“Where? At the trees? Or the sand? Or the fish?”
“There.” Cat motioned towards the port side of her craft. “Look. Over the side of the boat.”
“I don’t see anything, Cat.”
Dog stretched his neck, his front paws draped over the edge of the boat.
“Cat? What am I looking for, Cat?”
In one motion, Cat thrust her paw out and pushed Dog. She watched as he flopped over the side, unwillingly diving face first into the lake. Dog thrashed about as he tried to gain his bearings, taking in everything that had just happened.
Cat looked at Dog in the water, then at the setting sun, then at her fish.