up a tree (a Broken World story)
She called to ask if I would help her. Her cats had gotten stuck in a tree.
Well, she didn’t exactly call so much as let it be known that assistance was required. Commissioner Gordon had the Bat Signal, apparently she has a cat signal at her disposal. One that shoots straight into my head over infinite distances. Always one to don the mask and cape I jumped at the opportunity to be of service and headed to the scene of the distraught female.
On the drive over I distinctly remember thinking “Should I have brought a ladder?” The old adage “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” suddenly sprung to mind. As I don’t drive a fire engine, as cool as that would be, I simply didn’t have the resources to bring a ladder. Which made the next adage spring to mind; “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” The fact that my oft-sprung mind was already jumping to cutting down her tree worried me a bit.
And that’s when I saw it.
The aforementioned tree.
The tree full of cats.
So many cats that if the tree had not been enormous in stature and firmly attached to the Earth it would have toppled over due to the sheer weight of the felines occupying it.
Hundreds. The tree was thick with them.
Had Schrödinger been there I could have looked him in the eye with complete and utter confidence and stated that not only was his cat alive and well but was no doubt stuck in the tree that loomed before us.
But he was not.
Having died in 1961 made that challenging.
Nobody was standing over his grave in Austria wondering if he was alive or dead in his coffin… although I would take my hat off to the man that did.
Like I said, he was not present. It was just her and I.
Me and her.
And what seemed like an infinite number of stranded cats.
I imagine you’re wondering if I was beating myself up about the absence of a ladder. I was not. What clearly was required was a kitty escalator, and even a fire engine wouldn’t have been able to haul one of those over on such short notice.
I imagine you’re wondering what a kitty escalator would look like. Me too.
The two of us sat looking up at the army of Felis silvestris catus which had taken up residence within the cozy confines of the mighty oak (genus Quercus of the beech family, Fagaceae) sitting behind her house and said nothing.
I think, despite not having either a ladder or kitty escalator on hand, she was happy to just have someone there who was just as up in the air as to what to do with these cats as the cats themselves.
Before you suggest opening a can of tuna and trying to coax them down, let me reiterate the formidable number of cats we’re talking about. Had a can of tuna been opened anywhere in the vicinity of that tree, the holder of said can would come to know the true meaning of the word avalanche. And probably make up a few of their own. Like catpocalypse.
I imagine you’re wrestling with what a cat avalanche would look like. Probably like snow… just softer and purrier.
But I think we can both agree, despite the softness and purriness, it would not pleasant for the holder of the can.
Tigers are soft (but not purry… more like roary) and you don’t see people lining up to approach them with tuna.
I didn’t see a line of men willing to help her either, despite the fact that she has the eyes of a tiger.
It’s all I can do to stop from inserting an Eye of the Tiger quote.
I went to hold her hand but thought better of it. Needless to say it was a long night.