Friday, October 9, 2009
Death of a Twin
The Krueger Scratch
By Sharon Donovan
One Halloween, a tiny black kitten came trick or treating to my condo, purring his way into my heart. Kneeling down on the pavement, I struck up a conversation with him. “Are you lost?” I ran my fingers along his sleek fur, mesmerized by his owlish green eyes. “Don’t tell me someone dumped someone as cute as you?”
“Meow!” Oh, yeah. Here’s one I can swindle, paws down. Pour on the catnip charm.
“You’re just the sweetest thing,” I picked him up and scratched him behind his ear. “What? You’re hungry?”
“Meow!” Now you’re catchin’ on. Another minute and you’ll be singin’ like a canary.
“I bet you’d like a nice bowl of Kibbles ‘n Bits, wouldn’t you? And some nice fresh water?”
“Meow!” Ah, rats. Just when I had a hankerin’ for grilled salmon and a chaser of cream.
“Don’t you worry. You just found yourself a home.”
“Meow!” Hit catnip.
“As long as you promise to be a good boy, no tearing the place apart. Got it?”
“Meow!” Cat’s honor. Ain’t no misbehavin’.
The little darling was a holy terror from day one, raking me with his razor-sharp claws. The little beast had yet to be named, and with Nightmare on Elm Street all the rage, what name could be more befitting than Freddy Krueger? And just to do his namesake proud, his favorite game soon became the “Krueger Scratch”.
Mischievous and playful, one day Freddy snuck up on me from behind, giving me a mean swipe with his claw. Ears back and eyes gleaming, I was in for it. “So you wanna play a game of tag, do you?”
“Meow!” But it’s a game of cat and mouse. Holy Mackerel, get with the program.
All in the name of good sportsmanship, Freddy had a competitive streak. One night he joined the Penguins for a little hockey. Perched in front of the television, his head swiveled back and forth. Just as he gave the puck a good swat with his paw, the Penguins won the game. Convinced he’d scored the winning goal, Freddy seemed to grin like a cheshire cat. ““Meow!” Oh, boy. Fancy Feast, oh boy.
As the Christmas tree went up, Freddy joined in, batting at ornaments as fast as they went up. He kept one eye glued on the football game. Just as the tree was as picture perfect as a Norman Rockwell painting, the Steelers scored the winning touchdown. Freddy celebrated by making a ten-yard dash onto the tree and bringing it down with an impressive tackle. “Meow!” Who’s rollin’ in it now?
One frigid night in late January, we were hit with one of the worst snow storms in years. Football played on the television, but Freddy showed no interest. Wailing like a banshee, he raced from the door to the window, desperate to get out.
Early the next morning, Freddy’s desperate pleas made sense. When I took the garbage to the dumpster in the parking lot, I came to a dead halt. A small black kitten with owlish green eyes identical to Freddy, sat straight up in the snow, frozen to death. As I looked up to the window, Freddy looked down, his mouth open in a silent scream.
Apparently, Freddy had an identical twin. Sensing his danger, Freddy made a gallant effort to save his brother. And when he failed, he mourned for three days, refusing to eat or play.
I learned a valuable lesson through Freddy. Cats are a lot like humans. The little demon with the Freddy Krueger claws warmed his way into my heart for close to twenty years. He is remembered for his love of sports, his mischievous pranks, but mostly, for his act of brotherly love.
When Freddy Krueger came trick or treating one Halloween, little did I know the paw prints he’d leave on my heart. And as much as he liked to play, I envision him every Halloween, lifting the lid of his catnipped-lined coffin, waking his twin by saying, “Whatever happened to the Krueger Scratch?”