Zonk and the Squirrel Tartare by Sean Finucane Toner
December 26, 2014 § 1 Comment
A Holiday Smile:
A striped-tabby named Zonk was a summer present from my lover Liz. The kitten was a gift to teach me how to love, a practice child to cleanse some of the tumult from my blood. In his early days he slept against my head, treading as if I were his mother. He tore up historic newspapers here, knocked a soda to the floor there, and Liz taught me not to scold a cat for his miscreancies. No cat-child deserved anger.
Come December, I was bah-humbugged to the core and pined for an end to the radio’s relentless jingling bells. I unchained my rattling Yuletide ghosts on the little guy when he ascended and brought down the baubled tree.
Christmas morning Zonk batted around rolled wrappings, then focused on his catnip-mouse gift when I tied it to my seemingly erstwhile fishing-pole gift. He tore after when I cast the line the length of the living and dining rooms. He pounced and clutched and kicked his prey as I reeled it in. And then we played catch all over again.
“Merry Christmas,” Liz said to me and our catnip junkie.
One post-holiday snow-laden night Zonk brought home a freshly dispatched squirrel and play-battled it outside our kitchen door.
“He brought you a present,” Liz said.
“Bad cat, bad cat,” I said in a “good cat, good cat” tone as he prepared his Squirrel Tartare.
That night was not his first at the table, nor the first he pawed and clawed and batted pieces of turkey meat off his plate and onto his chair. But I’m sure it was the first time he felt as if he could pick out a present better than a tie for his father.