The protagonists in this story are a rocking chair, a fuzzball gray and white cat named Fuzzball and a human male named George. Fuzzball, who resembled a tightly packed dust bunny that has been growing for ten or so years under a bed will have the smallest part of this tale. This is a story of man versus chair.
The chair was an antique, handmade affair, that had been made sometime prior to 1850 in England and brought to America by its immigrant owners in the 1860s. It was made of mahogany with a leather cradle for a seat.
It had parked many human keisters by the time the altercation between it and George occurred in the early 1970s. The young couple who owned the chair had received it as a gift from an elderly neighbor lady who was leaving to spend her remaining days in a nursing home. She knew they would care for it.
The adversary of the chair was George. George, was, well, George. On his good days George made it all the way up to curmudgeon. On his normal days George was a self-centered, low-life, crank. He also hated cats. In the late 1920s he, along with his wife, became the parents of a baby, although full-term, it took only six months from the wedding day to emerge from the womb. In plain English, the wedding was a shotgunner. If you happened to be Catholic such a situation was the shame of shames. Shame.
George was in his late seventies by the time of his battle with the cat chair. In his life he had been a thief, a bum, a child molester, a drunk, a low-level hoodlum and an all-around not nice guy. His three children had headed to three of the most distant corners of this country after their graduation from high school. They did return to attend George’s funeral, more than likely to make sure he was dead. I went for the same reason.
George was a little man not more than five foot eight and since his youth had sported the same mustache as his hero; Hitler. Facially he even resembled the tyrant. Now back to the battle of man versus chair.
Having never been restored, the chair had its problems. One of the rockers would fall off if a person attempted to move it so the young man applied glue to remedy that problem. The other major problem was the leather covered seat was deteriorating as was the heavy cloth banding that supported the seat. This would have been a costly fix so the young owners, temporarily, placed an old baby blanket in the seat so their cat could have a place to sleep in peace. And the cat, being a cat, gave the chair plenty of use with no discernable damage to the chair. The wife made a hand crocheted sign that hung from the back of the chair that said simply, ‘THE CATS’ CHAIR’.
It was Thanksgiving Day. The young couple had been married only a month and the new wife wanted to show her mettle in the arena of cooking a feast from scratch. The guest list was: one widower, one bachelor, one female cousin of the groom, two of the groom’s aunts and two uncles, one of whom was George. George and his wife were last to arrive. George made a beeline for the rocker where the cat was doing what cats do, sleep. “Raus Katze” were the first words out of George’s mustache shaded mouth as he pitched the cat from his place of peaceful slumber and the geezer plopped his skinny butt in the chair and in a period faster than anyone could say “DON’T!!!” the seat of the chair broke and George, having slipped between the frame of the seat, was folded in half at the waist and tightly trapped by the sturdy old wood and screws of the chair. With his arms and feet both in the air and his butt on the floor he resembled a swimming octopus.
The other guests laughed and raised a toast from the bottle of brandy they had been nipping. The toast was to the chair.
The remaining four men turned the chair over, and George was now upright but still imprisoned by the chair. The cat came by and gave him a nose rub. The other men shook George loose from his entrapment. He was silent the rest of the day.
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