Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
After three weeks of Tundra's not leaving the house, April decided to do something about it. She went shopping at the nearby drug and sundry store, and she came home with a three foot long Water Cannon. The Water Cannon was basically a large syringe. It was made of transparent blue plastic and featured a pistol grip, but it had no trigger. To arm the Cannon it was necessary to locate a small reservoir of water like a birdbath or child’s wading pool. Placing the muzzle of the Cannon into the water, you pulled back the plunger at the rear of the weapon, which drew water up into its transparent blue plastic body. Then all you had to do was locate your target, take aim, and push the plunger in, which produced a quick, forceful jet of water.
April put the stopper in the kitchen sink and filled it up with about eight inches of water. She placed the Water Cannon on the counter and then walked into the living room and began keeping vigil through the peephole in the front door. There was a picnic table in our yard. No benches just a table. This was Mushroom’s favorite spot in our yard. April sat down on the couch and flipped through a magazine. She watched TV for a moment. Then she checked the peephole again. She repeated this routine for about thirty minutes. The final time she checked the peephole a smile affixed itself to her face. She walked deliberately into the kitchen, armed the Water Cannon, went back to the front door, and then peeked through the peephole one more time. Satisfied that everything was in order, April flung open the door, raced into the yard, and let Mushroom have it with the Water Cannon. Mushroom jumped straight up into the air and in a split second he was gone. All that remained was a small puddle of water that would soon evaporate beneath the California sun.
“Well,” April said as she came back into the house with the spent Water Cannon slung across her shoulder, “I don’t think he was expecting ‘that.’”
The next day Mushroom returned. “There he is,” April said, looking through the peephole while clutching the pistol grip of the loaded Water Cannon. “He’s lying down on the table,” she reported. “Are you ready?”
Holding Tundra in one arm and cupping his chin with my free hand, I was, indeed, ready. April had theorized that Tundra could possibly gain courage from seeing Mushroom retreating from the spray of the Water Cannon. I was dubious. Cats learning from human illustrated front yard field demonstrations sounded, at best, fantastic. But what did I have to lose? I agreed to hold Tundra and force him to watch as April gave Mushroom a second dose of the Water Cannon.
“You go out first,” April ordered. “Make sure Tundra has a clear view of the action. When you’re ready, say, ‘Okay, April,’ and then I’ll come out and douse him. Got it?”
I nodded that I understood. I didn’t want to say, “Okay, April,” and have the whole thing reduced to a comedy routine. April pressed herself against the wall near the door with the Water Cannon held in an upright commando style position. I opened the door and walked out into the yard. Mushroom rose from the table. Mushroom had never been overly impressed by my presence, and he gave me a bored look. I positioned myself about ten feet to the side of the table. I held Tundra’s chin and forced him to look at Mushroom. I could feel resistance as Tundra tried to avoid Mushroom’s eyes, but I held him fast. “Okay, April!” I said loudly.
April burst from the doorway. Her teeth were clenched and her weapon was at the ready. Mushroom froze as he beheld April running toward him. His eyes were wide with surprise and his front legs were spread apart as he braced himself for what he knew was coming. April pushed in the plunger. The jet of water caught Mushroom fully in the face and chest. He actually yowled before he disappeared over the fence. April held the Water Cannon over her head in both hands and did a quick victory jig. “You see, Tundra,” she crowed, “he ‘can’ be intimidated!"
Elaine looking majestic.