The End of Pumpkin

One day, long after I had moved out of my parent’s house, I received a phone call from my mother.

“Pumpkin has gone missing again.  This time he’s been gone for two months straight.  I don’t think he’s coming back this time.”

Pumpkin is our fat, orange cat.  He has been known to leave the house for weekends or weeks at a time for one reason and one reason only.  He’ s a whore and he has sexy business to attend to with the other kitties of South Berwick.  I don’t know where he goes or what makes him come back, but every so often he leaves, gets himself a good amount of tail, and then strolls back into the house innocently and starving, looking at us like, “What?  Can’t a cat get a little ass once in a while without being looked at like a whore?” 

I think it’s amusing.  I commend Pumpkin, that pussy hungry whore.  Literally.  Good for you, Pumpkin, good for you.

A few weeks later, I got another call, this time peppered with tears and sadness.  It was confirmed.  My mother had found Pumpkin by the mailbox, at the end of our driveway.  His vacation was over.  Apparently, on his way home from bedding his latest hussy-probably that of the Calico or Siamese variety–he was hit by a car.  Poor thing.

And so in realizing she has to bury our cat pumpkin, our mother does what seems logical.  She pushes a wheelbarrow a quarter mile down our driveway, out of the woods, out to the mailbox.  She picks up the cat, surely brushing him and talking to him, because that seems normal.  Then she puts him in the rusty, old wheelbarrow and pushes him back to the house. 

Later she buries him in the backyard, with the other animals that didn’t quite live a full life.  We all feel badly, but since none of us had seen him in a while, I think we all prefered to pretend he was just out chasing tail still.  That and we didn’t live at home anymore and I think Pumpkin was at least ten, meaning we were over it. 

That is until it got interesting, as  it always does. 

Katie calls me one day to relay a great, great incident at my house. 

“Pumpkin is back. ”

“I’m sorry, what?  Pumpkin?  The same cat mom buried a few months ago?”

“Yeah, he’s back.  You’re going to love this.”  Oh, I knew I would.  I live for these stories. 

One day, while washing dishes in the kitchen, my mother sees Pumpkin, ten pounds lighter, ragged and crazy looking, prancing out of the woods toward the house.   I think any other person on the face of the earth would have thought, oh, jesus, is that our cat?  Or,  Good god, I hope that ragged ass stray cat doesn’t think he’s coming towards this house.  But no, no that was not the reaction.  Instead, my mother lost it, and called my sister to tell her that Pumpkin’s ghost was back, and that it waltzed right back into the house through the sliding glass door, as though the sliding glass door was a time warp or a gateway back into the here and now.   And so then he was Pumpkin again, not the ghost of.  

Holy fuck, sometimes it just doesn’t get better than a phone call from home.

“She buried the wrong fucking cat?”

“Yeah, someone else’s dead cat is in our backyard.”

Pumpkin ended up living a few more miserable years.   That was his last whoring expedition, and the rest of his days were filled with stalking the front yard, hissing and spitting in the nastiest of manners and generally showing us all how ugly slow cat death can be.  My sister ended up having to put him to sleep on day while my parents were away.  It was about six months overdue, but we won’t ask her about that.  That little story tends to cause a lot of family fighting, even though it is another great story.  Maybe for another rainy day. 

Rest in peace Pumpkin.  You were always one of my favorites.

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