This morning, the rug is clean. But lately, for about two weeks now, there's been a dead cricket lying somewhere in the middle--dead as in squashed, although only partly, as if someone had decided, at the last minute, not to step on it but simply skewer it with a sharp stick.
But dead, and that's the great thing. I've actually learned to live with bats in this old house--although we got the place bat-proofed, supposedly, a couple of years ago, and haven't seen once since (well, one). But every year about this time, the blasted crickets appear--or at least their infernal chirping arises from all corners of the natural world just outside my basement window.
Sometimes, of course, the find their way in. Like mice, they skinny into cracks and crevices that we live with, oblivious. And if they make it down here into the basement, they make my life miserable because of their scratchy, eternal chirping, which they don't stop until, I suppose, they find the lover they're crooning about or for, or the sun rises, which ever comes first.
But lately they've being murdered, which I like greatly. I hear them now, just outside the window, which is where they belong.
Lots and lots of wonderful things have been written about cats, but one of my favorites is this: cats don't really live in your house, they allow you to live in theirs. So I'm being presumptuous if I say that Bennie, our cat, really has never really pulled his weight in this household; that statement assumes he's some kind of employee, which he's not. He's a cat. He's not even our cat--he's simply a cat.
He's just about fifty, in cat years, and therefore, I suppose, believes himself somewhat superior to us, his significantly older and more feeble housemates. But he's a big fella, and sooner or later those extra pounds are going to catch up with him, as they do with all of us.
Maybe it's a workout thing with him, I don't know; but, this summer, lately, one dead cricket sits right in the middle of the basement rug down here when I come in the morning, his gift to me (maybe I'm being presumptuos again). Bennie is, in no in any shape or form, proud of what he's done. If he were, he'd stand here panting, dog-like, and beg for some kind of bone-dry dog treat. But no, discreetly and not as if to be so needy as to trumpet his own virtues, he's usually elsewhere when I come down in the morning and find this one partially-quashed cricket, dead as a mackerel, right there in the middle of the rug where the game ended.
I'd like to say he's finally earning his keep, but that too would be, well, somewhat typically "colonial" for a white, European male.
Maybe I ought simply to be thankful that his recreation contributes to the public mean in the Schaap house. I think he'd like it said that way actually. Certainly--for sure--he's not killing crickets for us.
One of our friends once called our Bennie a "blue-collar cat," and he is. The Schaap cat which preceded him was a snow white tom who considered himself regal, very important. Bennie looks quite generic.
But, he's a cat. And, with unspoken dignity, I'm sure he'll appreciate the fact that I've dedicated the morning's post to him. After all, he's deserving, always--squashed crickets or no squashed crickets.