3.24.2013

The wildcat memoir

 I'm writing this post thinking what strange things can happen in real life while you're working on a manuscript that never make it into to your book of fiction. I, for one, am writing a paranormal romance that involves witches, the spirit world, FBI, a lot of fighting and a lot more of kissing.

But this morning among all the other things we were talking about during breakfast on my family’s farm in Brazil, my father mentioned how a wildcat has been killing all his chickens. He’s already down ten chickens, as far as he can tell.
So, we all talk about traps, hunting and poisoning and all the things we ought to do to stop the slaughter. Every one of our suggestions presents its problems. For instance, the last trap my father put up wasn’t strong enough to hold the cat who, feeling cornered, broke the thing and escaped leaving behind a good chunk of its fur.

One of the things I love about spending time on the farm is how laid back the weekends are. After lunch, every one in the family goes their own way searching for a nook to lay down and spend the next two hours taking their “siesta” -- which by the way is not the term we use in Brazil.
Because I’m on a deadline, my snoozing hours have to be spent in front of my laptop working on my manuscript for the second book of The Living Energy trilogy. So, I'm sitting on the open patio area that also works as our dining room. The structure is open on two sides and if I look left I can see the grass, the fish pond, and farther down the main gate to the property. When I look right, I see more grass, the back of the chicken coop, and the cane sugar plantation down a slight hill.
So, I’m typing away until I hear a chicken freaking out and, when I look toward the chicken coop, I see the cat dragging the struggling chicken and trying to jump with it through a whole in a dismantled mesh my father had put up ages ago. Immediately I get up and move toward the scene dragging a kitchen rag on my way and throwing it at the cat in hopes to save the poor bird. The rag flows in the air dancing like an autumn leaf-- completely useless. I’m still grunting animals sounds at the miscreant trying to scare it, but all in vain.
I’m separated from the victim by a wire fence that goes around the property to keep -- err, chickens away. By now, the cat had succeeded at going through the mesh and I’m running toward the gate to go around and get him. So, I have to run around the barn, the chicken coop, and by the time I get around I only see the tall grass quivering. Then, brick size rocks are flying over my head (my husband, who had heard me screaming and came running after me, is trying to bomb the cat). I’m walking toward the overgrown grass concerned of stepping on a snake or something more dangerous--to me--than a wildcat.
Finally there, I stand still for a few seconds with the bitter taste of failure spreading over my mouth. The cat was nowhere to be seen -- the damn thing is so small it can hide under the rainy season’s overgrown vegetation or run away underneath it without leaving any tracks. The quivering grass was the chicken kicking its legs in its struggle to hang on to life. It also failed.

Needless to say, I was in a stupor of adrenaline for the next few hours and couldn't write anything.

The cat is still at large.




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