The Case of Cadaverous Crows and the Complicit Cat



Every morning as I come into work I am greeted with the piteous cries of an apparently famished feline named Ghosty (named so because his abundant fur is as gray as a ghostly vapor tickling the glassy surface of the lake before the dew has ceased settling on the emerald blades of grass that borders its shores) who begs me to scoop a cup of food and pour it into her dish so that she might nourish her feeble frame and assuage her ravenous hunger. These mendicantive  meows are repeated thrice a day and so, finding her food dish empty, each time, I render up another generous scoop of the odiferous and stomach-turning pellets, which apparently smell much better to Ghosty than they do to me.

I’d been repeating this ritual for weeks, wondering in awe at how a moderately sized cat could devour such prodigious quantities of food at regular intervals, but then I began to notice the peculiar noises that assailed the Country Living workshop during the daylight hours: an ominous flutter of wings, the tinny sounds of furtive foot treads on the metal shingles of the nearby roofs, the sharp clack of something hard against Ghosty’s food bowl, and then again the swift beating of wings.

When I emerged from the workshop I discovered a host of black-feathered scavengers gathered on the gutters of the nearby roofs, eyeing Ghosty’s food bowl with ravenous intent–and waiting for the moment I departed so that they might make another raid upon food that Ghosty had left in her dish uneaten!

It suddenly occurred to me that these crows, who were weeks ago lean and cadaverous–mere flying skeletons bristling with dull black feathers–were now fat and sleek, with burnished and glossy feathers that gleamed back the light of sun. Ghosty wasn’t the hungry cat she was pretending to be; she was complicit in a plot to feed the crows.

Ghosty was merely pretending at enormous hunger and when I filled her cat dish she was taking just four or five bites to satisfy her mild hunger pangs, and then wandering off to do whatever it is cats do all day (I suspect, laze around in the sunshine or bat around shrews unfortunate enough to cross paths with them). Three times a day Ghosty, that cunning connoisseur of con-artistry, was fooling me into laying out copious quantities of cat food so that she might feed a famished and feathery murder of crows who she had made a bargain with.

Just what that bargain is I can’t say, but my paranoia is growing more intense. I dole out only parsimonious portions of cat food at a time and I keep one eye to the sky, in case a flapping deluge of crows should descend, and another to the ground for Ghosty, that crafty trickster of a cat!

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