The House Guest


Meet Tuna.
Tuna is not on Facebook.
But if Tuna were on Facebook his profile would show that he has many friends.
He is an escape artist.
And he is in a complicated relationship.


Meet Hunter.
Hunter is not on Facebook.
But if Hunter were on Facebook his profile would show that he has no friends.
He prefers routine.
And he is in a relationship with his parents. He has one aunt who likes him. And another aunt who says she loves him. But she lives in Georgia.


One fall afternoon Hunter was napping.
It was the kind of day nobody likes, except nappers. It was very drizzly and very dreary.
A car pulled up and the new people, a young couple with a little baby who had recently moved into his downstairs, walked into his house.
They were carrying a cat.
"Over my dead body!" is what Hunter screamed, trying to sit up before they scooted down the steps.
They disappeared.
And that was that.
Hunter hadn't been able to do the stairs to the basement for a long time anyway.
He put his head down and went back to sleep in order to rest up for his routine barking hours that were to begin at four PM.
Tuna in the meantime wondered who that big dog was. Tuna likes dogs. Tuna likes everybody and everything. Except perhaps living in a basement.
Which is exactly where he found himself with his foster family.
But sometimes they would pack up that baby of theirs and go away for the day.
Sometimes they would be gone overnight.
Tuna decided he did not like this.
This is when Tuna began to meow.
Because if he meowed loud enough and long enough, not only would that noisy dog above him start barking like a lunatic, but the people also up there would come down to see him. They would give him treats and they would do laundry.
Sometimes they would even stop to play.
The upstairs people were certain that the upstairs dog would consider Tuna as a casserole.
That is why they took great strides in keeping Tuna out of Hunter's belly and why Millie's sweet Sven installed a door at the bottom of the steps.
But Tuna took that door as a challenge.
Just another lock to pick.
And Millie found it impossible to make it through that door with a basket of laundry, unaccompanied.
"Sven," she would yell. "Look out. There is a cat upstairs."
Sven would peek out from under his book and say, "Okay."
And Hunter would lift his head and narrow his eyes.
The house guest managed to zip his way upstairs quite often.
He is very good at tripping people up.
And squeezing his way into places he should not be.
Sometimes with permission.
Sometimes without.
Due to his persistence, he has become a common sight upstairs in Hunter's domain.
He and Hunter have become friends.
The unlikely pair hang out together.
When I say hang out together, I mean that so far nobody has eaten anybody.
What I would like to know is who ever said that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks?
That is false.
Hunter is ancient, yet passionate about his new lot in life.
He was unaware of the loaf of French Bread that was lifted off the island and dragged to the bottom of the basement steps.
In his defense the crime occurred after that wild night when everyone in the house, but one, was sleeping very soundly.
Since then, Hunter has become an enforcer of feline law.
He now notifies Millie and Sven when Tuna is using a chair as a scratching post. Even if they don't give a shit.
He notifies them if Tuna gets stuck inside a drawer.
He blows his whistle if that cat dares to sit on top of the fridge.
And if there is one thing that pisses that old law enforcer off more than anything, it is zooming.
"There is no running in this house!" he bellows through his oversized mega phone.
"What's that Louisa?"
My sister says Hunter doesn't have megaphone.
These days the downstairs door is only closed when the family that is trying to work their way out of the basement is home and Tuna is watching TV with them.
Otherwise, the door is left ajar so that Tuna can make a run for it in case his best friend Hunter, who hates his ass, gets super snarly and his fur goes up and he starts barking through his curled-up lips, saying things like, "I mean fucking business. Get out of my face you stupid cat. Scram Tuna Burger!"
But you know how it is.
All friends have their little differences.
If they don't, they probably aren't being honest with each other.
These two believe in honesty.


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