No household can be truly harmonious without a cat or two. Chiefly they serve as fluffy, pettable ventriloquist’s dummies (as in, “Julia says, ‘Is this all there is? It’s all ashes — ashes!'” or, “Sky told me he thinks you look great in those briefs.”) More importantly, though, cats’ scapegoat function turns them into the unsung (and unwilling) heroes of many a marriage.
Take this morning. When I came downstairs, one of three prints had fallen off the gallery wall. I looked down at the back of the broken frame and thought, “I suppose Ken has his reasons for bringing a frame down here and tossing it in with the moldings.” Ken came down two hours later and knocked on the bathroom door to ask me if I’d taken down the middle print.
“It’s down?” said the ever-observant former newspaper reporter.
“Yeah, it’s lying in with the moldings.”
“Oh. I thought you put it there.”
We both thought of the picture rail — surely such a classic hanging system hadn’t failed?
“I’ll check it over very closely,” he said.
I popped my head out. “It must be the cats — but how?”
As I combed my hair and applied my beauty unguents, Ken began and quickly finished what I’d already come to think of as the Failure Investigation and Root Cause Analysis of the Gallery Wall Materials Drop. Turns out the mechanism he’d cobbled up to connect the pretty hanging cord to the back of the frame had failed. Not surprising, since like many engineering fixes, it was supposed to be temporary and lasted about a year before releasing an expensive asset onto a hard surface.
Well, I never liked those frames. As is often the case when you buy original art framed from the artists, the art is priceless, but the frame was cheap. The trick will be matching a new one to the other two.
I’m happy to report, then, that we ruled out both the moldings and our furry companions, the Empress Julia and our Weird Little Dude, Sky.
I went into the closet to dress. The cheap, plastic light fixture was lying on the floor, a little to the left of the doorway.
“Did you take down the light fixture in the closet?” I asked.
“No — is it down?”
“Yeah.” We looked at the cats. Pretty clever to use an accident downstairs to engage in vandalism upstairs. Julia stared back with her usual poker-faced feline psychopathy. I spoke for her. “I didn’t do it. But if I had hands, I would.”