Kitty Cat Cockroach Games
Every night it's the same thing: Pansy the long-haired calico sneaks in through the cat door with her prize: a lively giant cockroach. She bats it expertly around the house and chases it down. She lets it run a bit, then recaptures it. She is careful not to damage it, making it last as long as she can in order to get the most mileage out of her prey.
Tonight I was lying flat on my back enjoying the cool slate floor, relaxing after a harrowing evening fighting the computer. She knocked the cockroach over toward me and it tried to hide under my back. I batted it away. The floor felt too good. I couldn't move. A minute later, she knocked the cockroach back toward me. Did she think I was on the opposing team? SCORE!
I tried to knock it farther away, praying that she would let me relax.
The third time she whacked it in my direction it scuttled into my hair. Frantically I leaped to my feet, shouting and thrashing both hands through my hair. I started running in place at top speed. Did I think I could somehow outrun my hair? Did I think at all? Probably not. Probably the cockroach-in-the-hair reaction was some sort of atavistic reflex governed by the ancient lizard brain--something that natural selection had preserved because it enabled individuals threatened by deadly vermin to survive long enough to mate and pass down that life-saving bit of DNA to offspring. I bless the wisdom of natural selection that I didn't have to consider alternative courses of action while feeling an arthropod scurry around my head!
Pansy cowered as she tried to figure out if I was signalling victory or defeat. Quickly she considered the rules of the game she had invented and pondered her strategy. When a muted "click" alerted her that an exoskeleton had hit the wall she whipped around to retrieve the insect in play for another round.
I hid in the bathroom with the door closed until the thundering paws outside became silent. Just in case the worst happened, I watched the crack under the door with my bottle of Windex in hand. Eco-nut that I am, I had no Raid, but a spray bottle of anything made me feel more secure.
Pansy's soft warbling chirp at the door let me know her mood had shifted and she was experiencing the euphoria that comes after an intense work-out. After she called to me a couple more times I took the chance of opening the door a crack and peeking out. Next to her on the floor I spotted the cockroach upside down, legs in the air. It appeared to be immobile. Slowly I reached through the crack with the Windex. Aiming carefully, I let him have it. No reaction. Whew. With broom and dustpan and a quick flush of the toilet I disposed of the body.
Pansy watched me carefully. I glared at her. She gloated.
Game over. Pansy, 1. Dana, 0. Cockroach, -1.