building the mystery

Today as I was washing dishes, making pasta, listening to music and trying to keep Mateo from destroying anything, I thought that maybe I heard a dog barking. I don't have a dog, so I ignored it for a long time. It got louder, though, so I finally popped my head out to see a large hunting dog (floppy ears and everything) baying up an oak tree right by my house. I followed his gaze, expecting to see a raccoon or something, but instead saw Wormwood, my jet-black cat, about ten feet up and clinging desperately.

I wanted to help, but being a little preoccupied, I called my dad over in the other house and asked him to come out and deal with it. He did, with a few well-placed snowballs, and then came laughing to my door to tell me that the hound dog had run off, side by side, with the orange cat who sometimes hangs around and fights Wormwood.

Sherlock Holmes used to say that you eliminate all the theories you can and the one that remains, however improbable, is the truth. I don't have time to suss all that out, but this is what seems to me to be the most plausible explanation: The orange cat (we'll call him Fred) got in a fight with Wormwood recently and lost. As he crawled away in shame, Wormwood called him a mouse-licker. Fred burned an even brighter shade of reddish-orange.

Determined to have his revenge, he went home and found Chuckles, the next-door neighbor's hunting dog, whom he'd helped out with some legal issues the year before. "Chuckles", he said, "you owe me a favor and I'm calling it in." The rest, as they say, was history.

If you've got a better theory, I'd love to hear it. For now, though, I love this one more piece of evidence that the world is a strange, mysterious place of wonderment. Oh, and that you can't trust the cats - they're up to something.


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