Genghis Cat hasn’t been getting a lot of coverage in this blog lately because, well, we haven’t been seeing much of each other. Since my husband installed a cat flap, ol’ Genghy’s been spending a lot of time outside and only coming inside occasionally to eat, hassle me for food or just generally snarl. I like to look upon it as training for having teenage boys in the house.
But then last week, Mr Justice came up with the bright idea of taking Genghis in to school for Show And Tell. This term, his class is focussing on animals and another kid had raised the bar by bringing in his pet Love Birds, who flew all around the classroom crapping all over the kids’ workbooks. For a six year old, it really doesn’t get much cooler than that – except, perhaps, bringing in the closest thing to a domestic tiger…
With Genghis’ prior convictions in mind (see “Genghis Cat“), any sane parent would have just said no, and that be that. But I think he must have caught me at a vulnerable moment because I found myself saying we’d have to ask the teacher first. Next thing I know, I’m actually asking her and she’s actually saying yes, whereas I’d really been hoping she could do what I wasn’t strong enough to do and say No. Which is kind of disappointing as I’d been counting on the education system to somewhat polyfilla in the gaping holes in my parenting. Thank Freud for the kids’ psychiatry funds, I say.
ANYWAY, the night before we’re supposed to bring him in, Genghis – displaying that famous animal sixth sense – made a big point of scratching both Mr Justice and Tiddles McGee for the first time in months. And whatsmore, he did it quite visibly right across their cheeks so that I couldn’t claim any attacks he made on innocent children at the school as being “totally out of character”.
It put me in a difficult position. On one hand I had Mr Justice compiling his legal case against me for failure to meet contractual obligations – and on the other hand, I had… well… I had Genghis Cat and the more-than-likely chance that the other parents would file some kind of Class Action against me for throwing the lion to their children. But instead of refusing outright, I found myself saying we could take him next Tuesday if – and only if – Genghis didn’t scratch anyone for a week, all the time winking at Genghis as if to say “You’ll sort this out for me, won’t you, Genghis you old stick”.
But he didn’t, and yesterday morning I found myself trying to shoe horn Genghis into his cat carrier with this really bad feeling in my heart. It was just like that scene in “Gallipoli” just before they’re about to go ‘over the top’, except with children hanging off me and the cat going ballistic.
And then, half-way to school, when Genghis started to bite his way through the mesh wire of the carrier, I morphed into that Bill Paxton character in “Aliens”, panicking and blubbing like a baby. “He’s breaking out! God! What am I gonna do? Shit shit shit! The cat’s breaking out!” And in a strange reversal of roles, Mr Justice was as calm and as cool as the gin and tonic I started needing really really badly. “It’s okay, mummy. Just keep driving.” he said.
So I did and when I calmed down, Genghis calmed down and stopped his escape attempt. And in time, we made it to the school without the whole thing becoming like that car scene from “Cujo” but with the rabid cat on the inside of the car (which is my third pre-1986 movie reference in a row, which in itself should pretty much tell you what kind of state I was in).
And you know what? The Show And Tell went much better than expected and no-one lost an eye or even got scratched and Genghis is now fully-recovered and happily sitting behind me on the bed as I type this, his bells a-jingling in that way they do when he’s casually licking his own arsehole. I’m not sure what the message is in all of this except to say I won’t be making that mistake again. Next time I’ll find it within myself to say a firm N.O. from the outset and show those kids who’s boss. But hang on a minute, what’s this? Why yes, Pixie, of course we can take Genghy to kindergarten next week. As long as he doesn’t scratch anyone between now and then. (Between gritted teeth:) Tiddles, quick quick, come here and take the cat’s tail. Now pull it. Pull it really hard with all your might and get me the hell out of this mess.