Whenever it gets close to Halloween, I start thinking about my dear old Abyssinian cat, Tut, bless his long departed soul. He died of old age about a year-and-a-half ago, but I’ll always think about him every Halloween and here’s why:
(I wrote this column on Oct. 18, 1996)
TUT THE PUMPKIN KILLER
You can always tell when it’s getting close to Halloween at my house. (Last weekend we finished harvesting pumpkins from our garden.)
Several weeks ago, son Karl and I wrestled with the biggest squash in our garden, a monstrous 100-lb. “thing” we called Jabba-the-pumpkin, and shoved it to the patio just outside the sliding glass doors to my office.
Tut, an indoor feline with a large reservoir of territorial imperatives deep within his breast, took immediate offense to that “disgusting pile of orange stuff” that was leering into his house.
I first realized there was a problem when I discovered Tut flattened against the rug and peering around my desk at the huge pumpkin. His tail looked like it did that time Karl was experimenting with his static electricity generator.
I picked him up and petted him and took him over to see that it was just a silly old pumpkin.
There was an explosion and I was suddenly standing there by myself, looking down at my shredded shirt. A trickle of blood started to run down my chest, and another, and another …
Tut finally decided we weren’t being invaded by the planet Orange and soon ignored the pumpkin.
Until last weekend.
My wife harvested the other 10 normal-sized pumpkins and, without thinking, piled them up outside the office next to the Jabba thing.
Everything started to move fast at that point, so you better let me set the scene:
** Lois was down on her knees just outside the office, repotting some of her plants.
** I was just entering the office.
** The sliding glass door was open and the sliding screen door was closed.
The first thing I saw when I walked in the door was Tut. Only it was a Tut I had never seen before.
The cat was frozen in time. Every hair on his body was standing straight up, making him at least three times his normal size. He was staring across the room and through the screen door to where Jabba-the-pumpkin had just given birth to an invasion fleet of miniature Jabba-the-pumpkins.
“Hey Tut … ”
The sound of my voice was all it took. Tut let out a tremendous SCREECH! … launched himself through the air — colliding with the innocent screen door — his body stretching the plastic screening to its limits! Something had to give.
Hearing the crash, Lois looked up in time to raise her arm as the screen door flew out of its frame and came smashing down on her head.
I stood there in amazement as Tut tried to carve a face in the giant pumpkin with his claws.
That night as Lois and I lay in bed discussing our killer attack cat, we heard the coyotes howling across the canyon from our house.
“Good thing Tut’s an inside cat,” sighed Lois.
“Yeah,” I smiled into the darkness. “Those poor coyotes wouldn’t stand a chance.”
(I miss ya, Tut. /Gary)