Monday, September 16, 2019

Museum Cat

                                                        Museum Cat
                                                     By Valerie L. Egar

            I have the best job a cat could possibly have. Like my father and grandfather before me, I am in charge of rodent control for the Higgendorf Town Museum, a small museum located on a side street by the canal in our beautiful town.
Glass cases display examples of the lace made here hundreds of years ago. Another room is an exact replica of famous philosopher Erik Rothensburger’s study with his original manuscripts. Paintings of local scenes line the halls and then, there’s a gift shop. It’s tiny, but a very important part of my patrol. No mice nibbling our candy!
I live in the museum office at the back of the building. I rest all day, sleeping in a warm sun patch or near the coal stove when it’s winter. Mrs. Schenk feeds me at noon. Sometimes, when the museum isn’t too busy, she plays with me, dangling a string or rolling a ball across the floor.
When all the visitors are gone and she’s about to leave for the night, she opens the office door and lets me into the museum. “Time to patrol,” she says.
I stretch and walk slowly into the museum. I don’t want to look like some scatterbrain cat that doesn’t know what he’s doing. I sniff the baseboards in the lace room, check the heating grates. No evidence of mice.
In the philosopher’s study, I look under the desk. I sit on his chair and then the windowsill. On moonlit nights, the light shines on the desk and I like to think a person might be inspired to great thoughts looking out the window at the moon.
I hear the tiniest sound and cock my ears. Someone jiggling the front door? I peek around the corner and see a shadow. Someone is trying to get in!
            Though I’m only in charge of rodent control, no one is going to take anything from the museum on my watch! I think quickly and creep into the lace room. I jump to the top of the glass display case and wait.
            Soon the door cracks open and a man creeps inside. My cat eyes allow me to see well in the darkness. Although the man carries a flashlight, he looks straight ahead and doesn’t look up. One, two, three…..jump!
            With a loud growl and hiss, I leap from the top of the glass display and land on the man’s shoulders, scratching and yowling. I grab him around the neck and claw his head.
            “Ow! Ow! Ow!” he screams. I nip the bottom of his ear as he runs for the door.
            I guard the open front door for the rest of the night. When Mrs. Schenk arrives in the morning, she quickly realizes there’s been a break-in. “Oh, Randolf! Are you OK?”
            I rub her leg and purr to let her know I’m fine. 
    Not a minute later the police arrive. “We’ve caught the burglar,” the patrolman says. “But we want to know what happened to him. He looked awful.”
  Mrs. Schenk pointed to me. “Randolf  stopped him.”
  I am proud to say I am now an honorary member of the Higgendorf Police and have been elevated to Chief of Museum Security. Mrs. Schenk adopted two kittens for rodent patrol and I’m teaching them exactly what to do.

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                 Copyright 2019 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied or distributed without permission of the author.
                    Published September 7, 2019 Biddeford Journal Tribune (Biddeford, ME)

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