view from under the pew: belling the cat

Gary Mitchell: CNJ columnist

Editor’s note: Amos is a church mouse, who types by hopping on the computer keyboard keys, but he can’t operate the capital shift, and he shuns punctuation marks – except dashes and hyphens.

belling the cat

marcellus the mangy
ungodly cat has been
running amuck here boss
terrorizing little mice
hamsters guinea pigs and
even experimental white
rats like willifred

it s crisis of biblical
proportions cried henny-penny
who had just escaped from
the-sky-is-falling insane
asylum for lunatic chicks
it s raining cats and dogs
minus the dogs lamented
the addled chicken the sky
is falling again the sky is
falling again

bertie woeworm just happened
to be wiggling by and he took
up the refrain the cats are coming
the cats are coming woe is us
woe is us the sky is overflowing
with flying cats oh woe is us
we ll all soon be mush

things were getting a little
out of hand boss even sammy
salamander was sobbing
wherever he swam and little
dewey duck was wringing
his webbed feet in despair

so boss at our next meeting
of the wishy-washy american
rodent and toad society – warts –
willifred the white rat enumerated
marcellus the cat s heinous crimes –
scaring little baby rats chasing
elderly mice unmercifully scraping
his claws across linoleum kitchen
floors in the dead of night screeching
and howling with his buddies in the
alley after midnight and worst of all
sneaking up on poor helpless critters
when they least suspect dire danger
anywhere around

what will we do where will we go
there s no place to run no place
to hide a chorus of baby rats cried

then willifred the white rat
recalled a remark that
theophilus the noble first-
century cat offered about
how to handle troublesome
obnoxious 21st century cats

if you re having trouble
with a renegade cat just put
a bell around his neck and
you ll always know where
he s at it s as simple as that

and boss all the warts members
voted unanimously to bell
ol marcellus and make life
better for everyone
the only problem was who
would be the poor
unfortunate soul to do
the deed – and wouldn t you
know it boss i drew the
short straw

with bell in tow i tiptoed
straight to the nefarious lair
of marcellus but he wasn t
there ok so i get to go
home says me to myself
but then willifred s voice
came floating through
the air we re counting on
you amos don t fail us

so i set up an ambush
just above the cushion
where marcellus sleeps
i nearly fell asleep
waiting for that mangy
cat to show up and then
when he did i nearly died

after the monster finally
settled in and closed his
eyes i quietly lowered my
little lasso with the bell
attached but it hit him in
the nose and the ringing
of the bell woke him up

he chased me into the
nasty old cat litter box
and i went up and out
on top but then i tripped
and fell on the cat s
backside i jumped down
just in time to avoid
his swatting claws but
when i turned and looked
back my lasso with its bell
had looped itself around
marcellus s tail

the cat was belled
exclamation point here boss

now the tolling of
the bell signals peace
in our time – at least in the
church pew underworld