I'm in trouble again with Patty. Here's what happened; you tell me if I'm to blame. Put your coffee cup down.
Once again I would like to point out that somehow I have earned the reputation of not possessing as much veracity as mendacity, a reputation I have neither earned nor deserved, but rather had thrust upon me by people unfamiliar with artistic verisimilitude. You know who you are. Henceforth I will not breath a word except the truth, subject to the most intense scrutiny by my peers.
Those of you who know what it costs to heat a domicile in these inflationary times will not be surprised to hear I still have the wood-burning stove I bought back in the seventies, and since it still works almost as good as new, in the sense you can build a fire in it which will warm the vicinity up to about six inches away, it is still in use in cold weather.
I'd been intending to put it out in the garage for about the last three months, there to stay until next winter, but for one reason or another having to do with lack of ambition for dirty, physical labor, it's still sitting in the middle of the living room floor in June.
Then the cats got into it this evening. Traveller kept pawing at the door until it opened, then he and the other cats took turns parading through it, leaving a trail of ashes across our new, powder-blue carpet. I didn't know until this evening Willoughby is pigeon-toed. Patty was not amused. For some unfathomable reason she blamed it on me.
Anyway, I started dismantling the stove and the pipes and preparing to put everything up for the summer. This means, of course, I probably won't dig it back out again until next January or so.
Now, I can't stand to have Patty unhappy with me. When Mama's not happy, nobody's happy. So I made her a mild Margarita. They always mellow her out, and this one did the trick. It also made her romantic. Soon she appeared in the living room wearing a short nighty. A very short nighty. She walked by me several times to let me get the idea.
Just about that time I found one of these fireplace kits under the stove someone had given us for a gift years ago, and it was still in the box. I looked at it. One item was especially interesting, a bellows for blowing air on the fire to make it blaze, and it was still brand new.
About that time Patty walked by and I got this sudden urge to be playful, so I stuck the tip of the bellows up under her skirt and squeezed the handles.
It was supposed to go "Whoosh!" and blow air up her skirt. What it did was go "Pop!" and blew a cork up her skirt. Way up her skirt. Patty let out a screech that could be heard to Jericho and jumped straight up. She landed on Maccabee, who let out a howl and ran for the door. He and I tied for it before the bellows hit the floor.
Surprisingly, she let me back in in less than an hour, but it was only so she could chase me around the house trying to jab me with that bellows. You'll never guess where she was trying to jab it.