Three baby chipmunks frolicked around my front door this week, completely innocent that inside dwell a kitten and terrier genetically programmed to Eat Squeaky.
I was tossing footballs with my oldest son when a twin left the garage door open and one Squeaky darted into the house. I wondered if I should call Animal Control, but it was Saturday. Besides, maybe I could extract Squeaky myself. I worried he would starve, but my kids’ grandmother assured me Squeaky can survive on crumbs.
Back up two days. I was in Borders when I spied the Belly Dancing Book & Kit for $9.99. With my perpetual interest in exercise and the exotic, I figured belly dancing would finally get me the zero-percent body fat of Sherry Jeffries, alias Ankestamen, the sinuous dancer on the box.
The kit contained zills—finger cymbals—but I still needed a veil for arm work. Despite my soccer mom rage, I’m uber-feminine, so I visited the fabric store and selected an iridescent pink swath of silk. Eagerly, I read the spiral-bound book about belly dancing being a practically prehistoric art. I told myself I wasn’t exercising; I was reaching across the river of time to my ancient sisters.
Soon I was clanging zills in the rec room while my pets watched. My Jack Russell Terrier, Bandit, wore an expression that read: My ancestors left the royal estates of Britain for this?
My kitten, Piki, looked alarmed, yet awed. I imagined the Egyptian goddess Bastet invaded his brain and was thinking, My! I’ve never seen a beginner with such dangerously perky hips!
In five minutes, I looked back at the kitten, and Piki was asleep. Oh, God. I bored to sleep a cat whose definition of entertainment is chasing raisins across the kitchen floor. But perhaps I did bewitch Squeaky; in the midst of The Half-Moon, Squeaky ran over my foot. Bandit and Piki’s heads sprang up, millennia of genetics commanding them to Eat Squeaky.
Squeaky ran across the room, then terrier, then kitten. Bandit barked like Satan was at the front door selling chocolate for his son’s Pop Warner team. Poor Squeaky! I crated Bandit and Piki, but Piki howled. Bandit bit and clawed his crate’s bars.
If you’ve ever shared your home with a Jack Russell Terrier, you know they have more tolerance for pain than an elite MMA fighter on meth. I was terrified Bandit would split open his gums or paws, so I released him. Piki mewed pitifully, so I let him go, too.
Nervously humming “The Circle of Life,” I resumed belly dancing. I tried to create a sensuous mood while Bandit thudded around the house, frantically seeking Squeaky. My cat thought, Whatever, and he wound himself around my legs. He tangled with my veil, which tangled with me. Cat, veil, and I fell to the ground.
I wonder how many minutes it’ll be until Animal Control opens on Monday.
Nota bene: Despite the drama I doubt my ancient sisters experienced, I still enjoy belly dancing. It’s the most vigorous core workout I’ve ever gotten, better even than the time my bodybuilder friend Yuri swore we could do 1,000 crunches in a row. Still hate you, Yuri.