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Golden Rain on a Sunny Day

by Bill Metcalfe

       The weather this day was so enticing that I strolled past the bus stop where I could have climbed the steps into the packed bus which stank of yesterday’s sardines or of exhausted runners riding home on 8 wheels. But there are wonderful days when one just wants to walk, regardless of direction or purpose. Pure pleasure. Hence, I would avoid that crowd and walk on to visit my new friend at his home.

         As I headed for his side street, I felt that I had found my place in a jovial promenade. The sunlight flowed over this world like liquid gold. Every person, or couple, that I passed shared the same ecstatic smile. When their heads bobbed in greeting, I expected everyone would break out into song as in a musical. Untethered bouquets of flowers, scattered about on bushes and on grass, seemed to dance with the softest breeze. I half expected the birds on branches to chirp a joyous song to celebrate that day. Almost unconsciously, my lips puckered and through the gaps emitted their whistled version of that old song, SINGING IN THE RAIN.

         When I turned onto my friend’s street, my blissful state was ruined by the insertion of a piteous meow. Around and around I searched without spying a feline creature in distress. Then a fuller, louder meow alerted me to the presence of a lovely, longhaired cat clinging halfway towards the top of the telephone pole I was approaching. Off to the rescue, thought I, as I jumped onto the pole to begin my upward climb, without regard for the warm, black goo smearing onto my shirt and hands.

         As I approached the imperiled animal, it moaned and moaned. And with each miserable moan, it climbed higher and higher. The cat’s moans evoked a muted echo from the small group of bystanders who now encircled the pole’s base. They were as tense as the audience for a tightrope walker who forgot his net.

         I tried to maintain a friendly face by not spoiling my harmless appearance with mouth-wrenching grunts. Upward, as I continued, so did the cat. Lifting my head, I watched as it mounted higher and higher. Above us, plump, puffy clouds ignored our plight as they scurried about the sky, like clumsy children playing tag.

         At last, I saw that the cat had run out of pole. Its only option at that height, other than myself, was to traipse off on the telephone wires or to fly. As I approached closer, I spoke softly and held out my hand in a friendly gesture, hoping for the cat to accept my rescue effort. Success, I felt, was in my grasp.

         Would you believe it? Without a hiss, the cat pissed on me and then leapt into the air to fly twenty feet before landing paws first on the earth. By the time, I regained dry ground I could find neither the cat nor a sturdy stick. Never, never, look upward into a golden rain, thought I, as I wiped the yellow liquid from my face  onto my blackened shirt.

         I stood alone. The spectators were vanishing down the street in a receding wave of laughter.

         With my thoughts now crammed with negativity, I still trudged, soggy and stinky, on the way to my friend's house. My mind twitched with the alternation of footsteps. With each step of my right foot, I prayed for the loan of a dry shirt. When my left foot struck the ground, I cursed that damned, flying furball.

         Eventually, I stumbled, still soggy and sticky, to my friend’s  door with the hope that he would be battling a terrible cold.

         As a man of known hospitality, my friend opened his door before the echo of my knocks faded. Rather than giving this supplicant the sweaty shirt off his back, a clean, dry one was brought forth from his bedroom. But first, I had to take a shower to remove the stink that encircled my head.

         Returning to the living room, my hair was now damp from the shower, but so was the bottle of cold beer that he offered me.

         With drinks in hand, we settled comfortably into our seats.  But not for long. I had to jump up and employ amateur theatrics to augment the verbal account, from my viewpoint, of this day’s failed attempt at a good deed. Clutching my drink, I struggled to climb the imaginary pole without spilling a drop. Exaggeration was called for, so I moved as though I were scaling Everest.

            Midway through my reenactment, I confronted a vision that caused me to cease. Slinking into the room through the kitchen’s open doorway was a lovely, longhaired cat. It pussyfooted into the room with an aura of complete innocence, spun about and, with a flick of its upright tail, vanished.

            I tightened my grip on the neck of the bottle as I planned to throw it at that creature, but, as I was a guest, I couldn’t go that far.

            I was stung into silence. The cat had won.

            On my return trip, my mind plotted heinous revenge on that cat, even though I knew it was safe in the protection of my friend. I did spit on the pole as I passed it. It was the least I could do.

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