When I was just a chubby little checker, we lived in a beautiful country home.
We had a 5200 square foot house surrounded by ten acres of rolling land. Cattle grazed in the fields and crapped by the pond. It was truly a gorgeous place to live, and I was blessed to have spent several years calling that my home.
I really loved the dozens of secret hiding places on that property, my favorite being the huge satellite dish nestled in the corner of the yard.
|The line that a man hated to hear in 1989?
“Honey, there’s static on the Quasar. Knot’s Landing is coming on.
Will you go out and adjust the satellite?”
One day I crawled into the bowl of the gigantic dish that resembled something produced by NASA, and I saw my white mutt, Buttermilk. He was walking along the fence at the back of the property, about 100 yards away.
Yeah, the dog’s name was Buttermilk. He was a creamy white kind of color. You know? Like Buttermilk.
“Buttermilk!” I called to him from the dish, eager to play with him and pick the cuckleburs and fat blood- filled ticks that resembled kidney beans from his ears.
“Buttermilk, come here!”
And Buttermilk appeared, from the opposite side of the house. The white creature walking along the barbed wire fence wasn’t my mutt.
I watched the animal closely, and I realized that it wasn’t a dog at all. However, it was a huge son of a bitch with a long white tail dragging the ground. In fact, it looked like a cat. It was a huge freaking cat with the longest and wierdest-assed tail I’d ever seen.
“Hey,” I yelled to the creature. “Hey, cat!”
And the thing looked at me. And it screamed like a woman.
I was only 8 or 9, so I didn’t cuss, but if I did, there’s no doubt that I would’ve said, “shit.”
I ran as fast as my short little legs would take me, making sure that Buttermilk and his cuckleburs and ticks were following me.
“Mama!” I screamed.
I called for my mother, and I found her watching the critically acclaimed makeup-tip video by Donna Mills, “The Eyes Have It” on the VCR in her bedroom. Mama’s eyes were covered in blue eyeliner as she studied the television screen.
“Some kind of animal screamed at me. It screamed, Mama! IT SCREAMED LIKE A WOMAN!”
Mother shot over to her bedroom window and looked to the back yard. She saw the animal, now only 30 or 40 yards away, and she gasped.
“Holy shit, that’s some kind of panther!”
We live in Tennessee. Panthers don’t frequent these parts very often.
Mama sprinted to the huge cordless phone, pulled up the 3 foot long antennea, and she dialed animal control. We personally knew the animal control guy. He was fat, and I think we called him Catfish. Or maybe it was Skeeter. I don’t know. There’s so many Catfish and Skeeters running around Tennessee that it’s hard to keep track of them all.
When Catfish (or Skeeter) showed up, the animal was gone. As we described it, he laughed.
My daddy came home a while later. As we described it, he laughed.
My mother called 23 friends that afternoon. As she described it, they laughed.
I called 1 friend that afternoon. She wasn’t home.
Weeks later, a news report surfaced about some weird-o in a neighboring town that had kept wild animals caged on his farm. An emu went missing. And some kind of weird lizard. And a panther. An albino panther.
They never found that bastard.
And nobody laughed.
|Do you happen to have any Fancy Feast on hand, dear? No?
Well, I’ll take a dish of you, with a side of your mother. Add a little
Buttermilk as well.
Linking up with Yeah Write this week.