SOCIAL DISTANCING, Chapter 52: In Which I Am Feeling No Pain

By Liz McLeod

Still Your House Manager


“Well, it’s done!” I declared as I flourished my Certificate Of Vaccination in the just-slightly-irritated face of Miss Carol T. Cat. 

Actually, I lie, she was more than just slightly irritated, and with a single swipe of her paw, claws fully deployed, she swept the intrusive document out of her personal space and under the big blue chair where she knew I’d probably leave it because who wants to have to pick that big heavy thing up anyway? I’m too old for that kind of exertion. I’ll know where it is when I need it, and that’s good enough, I guess.

But back to the matter at hand. “I got my shot!” I proclaimed triumphantly. “Covid can you-know-what my you-know-what. I’m IMMUNE, baby. Or I will be once this miracle of modern science takes full effect, and it won’t be long now.”

Miss Carol sighed. “I am of course pleased that you have taken this necessary step, but was it necessary for you to call the matter to my attention in just such a manner? Perhaps you had not noticed that I was busy about my work.”

“What work?” I snorted. “You were sleepin’.”

“Much of my most creative thought is accomplished in a state of REM slumber,” Miss Carol retorted. “Just now I was, in a dream, plotting complex strategy for the neutralization of that bold and offensive squirrel that capers outside my window. He shall soon meet his fate – if you will permit me now to resume my nap.”

“Well, I’m sorry,” I insisted, “but I’m just too excited. Do you know what this means? We talk an’ talk about ‘light at the end of the tunnel,’ but this shot is a real step in th’ direction of that light! Because you don’t GET to th’ end of th’ tunnel unless you MOVE TOWARD IT! It’s like them stoplights on th’ corner, you know? ‘Push Button To Cross Street?’ Well, you can push th’ button all you want, but you won’t ever get across the street unless you actually start walkin’. AND I’M WALKIN’, BABY! WATCH ME MOVE!” 

I strutted ostentatiously about the room in such a manner as to cause Miss Carol’s eyes to narrow in resignation. Strutting ostentatiously is dangerously close, in her view, to dancing, and she invariably finds any attempt I might make in that direction to be profoundly offensive to art, culture, and common decency. “Are you aware,” she finally intoned, “that the vaccine may carry with it certain side effects that may cause you a degree of discomfort? You should at this time take to your bed to forestall the effects. Close the door after you do so, because your dissonant, raspy breathing interrupts the flow of my dreams.”

“I’ve had no side effects at all,” I boasted. “None at all. They gave me this paper, it says ‘you may experience headaches, muscle pains, fatigue’ – well, I mean, at my age, I ALWAYS experience headaches, muscle pains, and fatigue! So you can’t call THOSE side effects at all. And chills? Well, I turn the thermostat down to 50 degrees every night because the price of oil is goin’ up, and you’re tellin’ me to worry about chills? Hah, I say. HAH. No side effects for me!”

Miss Carol regarded me with a mix of aggravation and pity. Nobody mixes aggravation and pity like Miss Carol.

“There is one thing, though, “ I noted. “I woke up this morning with – well, kind of a pain in my jaw.”

“No doubt the result of overexertion,” Miss Carol snapped. “Such would not occur if you did not flap it quite so much. I recommend an extended period of complete silence. You may begin at once.”

“I’ll tell ya one thing funny that happened, though,” I chuckled. “When the person at the place was about to give me the shot, she took a look at my arms and said ‘well, give me a second here, I need to find a place to inject you that isn’t – ah – all scratched up. What happened, were you in an accident recently?’ An’ I says ‘no, ma’am, I adopted Miss Carol on purpose. All them scratches an’ scars on there, that’s all from her.’ An’ she says ‘well, you know,  ferrets can be hard pets to keep under control!’”

Miss Carol’s eyes grew wide, and reflexively her claws deployed.

“Ain’t that funny?” I chortled. “She thought you was a FERRET!”

“And of course,” thundered Miss Carol, “you corrected her offensive statement immediately!”

“I did,” I snorted. “I told her you wasn’t a ferret at all. I told her you are a RIDICULOUS FAT BARREL CAT.”

Miss Carol exhaled in a sharp and highly pointed manner. She’ll be glad when the pandemic is over.

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