Muffy, Puffy, and Sybil-Margaret “PUD-PUD” POFF CLEARED AND RELEASED BY FBI

Remember when a Texas woman was arrested for sending explosive devices to President Barak Obama and Governor Greg Abbot? Investigators found a cat hair under the address label on one of the packages and matched it to one of the suspect’s cats. The following post details facts not reported by newspapers. It has run on this blog before.

*

Three cats suspected of helping owner Julia Poff mail explosive devices to former President Barak Obama and Texas Governor Greg Abbott were released from custody Thursday afternoon following questioning by federal law enforcement officers.

FBI crime lab investigators had found a cat hair under the address label on the package containing the explosives and traced it to the Poff cats. It is alleged that Ms. Poff sent the potentially deadly devices to former President Obama and Governor Greg Abbott because she was mad at them.

Muffy, Puffy, and Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud” Poff were taken from the Poff home in Brookshire, Texas, 34 miles west of Houston, Thursday around 9:00 a.m.

Muffy

FBI Agent Arnold Specie, chief of the Houston Bureau, announced in a press conference late Thursday that after intense grilling, officials were satisfied the cats had no connection to any nefarious activities.

“The only thing they’re guilty of is shedding on paper their owner later used to wrap the explosive devices. You can’t fault cats for shedding.”

He said there’s no doubt these are the right cats. “The fur of all three exhibits white hair. That’s true even of Puffy Poff, who is mostly orange but has a couple of white spots on her underside.” He assured the press that DNA testing will confirm the hair belongs to one of the Poff cats.

A reliable source, speaking on condition of anonymity, however, said he’s not so sure. “They know more than they’re telling,” he said. “It’s impossible to get anything out of suspects that keep falling asleep in the middle of questioning. And every time Muffy rolled over, Specie gave her a belly rub. Specie’s always been soft on cats.”

The early morning raid, which involved a number of federal agents as well as a Houston PD Swat team on stand-by, rocked this usually quiet community to its very core.

“I could tell something was going down,” said neighbor Esther Bolliver. “I was outside watering my rose bushes when I saw these men wearing dark suits and ties crouching behind Julia’s privet hedge. One of them was holding out what looked to be a can of sardines, and saying, ‘Kitty kitty kitty,’ in a high-pitched voice, you know, like you use whenever you call cats. I thought it was Animal Control.”

Mrs. Bolliver ran inside and told her husband. “I said, ‘Bert, come outside and look,'” she said.

“I knew they was G-Men first thing,” said Bert Bolliver. “It was the fedoras gave ’em away. Animal Control don’t wear fedoras.”

Puffy

Ten-year-old Jason Bolliver, who had been kept home from school with a sore throat, added that the raid was exciting. “It’s the best thing that’s happened here since my teacher had her appendix out.”

Agent Garrison Fowle (pronounced Fole), who led the raid, said capturing the cats proved remarkably easy. “The sardines did the trick. Those cats ran right over and we grabbed them and wrapped them in big terry cloth bath sheets and stuffed them into carriers. It was a snap.”

Neighbors, however, contradict Agent Fowle’s account, pointing out that the Brookshire Fire Department had to be summoned to get Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud” out of a  live oak near the corner of the Poff property. It is believed she bolted because she realized the sardines were bait instead of snacks.

Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud”

While at the Poff residence, BFD EMTs bandaged second-degree scratches on Agent Fowle’s face. They also administered Benadryl to Agent Morley Banks, who had broken out in hives.

Agent Delbert Smits was airlifted to Ben Taub Hospital in Houston. Information about his condition has not been released, but Mrs. Bolliver observed Ben Taub has a first-class psychiatric emergency room, and she thinks that’s why Smits was taken all the way into Houston.

“By the time they got Pud-Pud down from that tree, the poor man was staggering around like he had a serious case of the fantods.”

After their release, Muffy, Puffy, and Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud” were relocated to an unspecified location.

Special Agent Fowle said the initial plan was to fly them to Washington, D. C., in the care of Agent Banks,  for further debriefing, but Agent Banks put the kibosh on that, saying there was no way in hell he was going to spend one more minute in the company of “those [expletive deleted] cats.” Fowle said Agent Banks has been granted sick leave until he stops itching.

When  the commotion has died down a bit, Muffy, Puffy, and Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud” will be honored for their part in the capture of their owner at a joint session of the Texas Legislature at the State Capitol in Austin and a reception hosted by Governor Greg Abbott at the Governor’s Mansion.

British Prime Minister David Cameron introduce...
British Prime Minister David Cameron introduces President Barack Obama to Larry the cat at 10 Downing Street in London, England, May 25, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) [Public domain]
Former President Barak Obama announced that on their next swing through Texas, he and Michelle want to take the cats out for a catfish dinner.

“Let me be clear,” President Obama said. “Although totally and completely innocent of any crime, these cats surely had a positive influence on the perp. The activity Muffy, Puffy, and Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud” witnessed was fair and balanced, targeting both a Democrat and a Republican, and as such is the first bipartisan effort I’ve come across since my first inauguration.”

After law enforcement officers left, neighbors expressed concern about the cats’ future welfare. The Bolliver family, noting the three felines spend most of the day sleeping on the hood of their Buick anyway, wanted to take them, but their offer was rejected.

Instead, Muffy, Puffy, and Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud” will make their home in Houston with Special Agent Specie.

Update: The White House has reluctantly announced that President Donald Trump will  invite the Poff cats to a gala celebration at the White House, a huge one, huger than Obama’s fish dinner or Trump’s inauguration even. Muffy, Puffy, and Sybil-Margaret “Pud-Pud,” however, declined the invitation, on the grounds they will be busy that night grooming their hair.

*

Kathy Waller has published stories in the anthologies MURDER ON WHEELS, LONE STAR LAWLESS, and DAY OF THE DARK, all published by Wildside Press. She co-wrote a novella, STABBED, with Manning Wolfe. She’s working on a novel. A native of Fentress, Texas, she lives in Austin with two cats and one husband.

William, the Road Home

Heading home

Cocoon, Day 3: less artfully constructed than on Day 1
Blocked from getting in floor; plowing through to front seat; blocked again
Intrepid explorer; access to front seat still blocked
Cruising again
Tired, bored, or resigned to being blocked; snoozing on the interstate
Preparing for touchdown
The last leg of the journey

 

Video, Hat, Hair, Chewed Up Manuscripts, and Humphrey Bogart

First, the BOTA Sealy film festival was a singular event. A little underwhelming for David’s video.

During the “offensive” block, two policemen stood, then sat, in the back of the room. I don’t know whether they were monitoring language or potential riots. Before long, they were looking at their cell phones. There were no riots. Language would have amused seventh-grade boys–although the seventh-graders I dealt with were polite when I was around.

It was explained to David that his film was mid-offensive to provide laughs between offensives. The audience was small. I don’t remember anyone laughing at anything. The poIlicemen would have laughed at David’s video if they hadn’t been looking at their phones.

I laughed. When I asked David how he got Ernest to come up and stick his nose in the lens, he said he knew if he put something different in the living room, the cats would do something.

That was a long time ago, when they were kittens. Now they run under the bed, mostly for the maintenance man. Ernest disappears when he hears leaf blowers. William is not impressed by lawn care.

The highlight of the weekend for William and Ernest was visits from the kitty tech, who fed them, gave them their insulin injections, and played with them. She brought them a peacock feather. William’s interest is minimal. Ernest tries to eat the feathers.

Ernest also pulled a couple of loose pages from my novel manuscript, which is in a binder on the floor beside my chair, and chewed the corner off one. Last night he slept on the other one. I haven’t had the energy to pick them up. Anything he eats can be reprinted, and paper biodegrades inside cats. I hope. As long as he doesn’t eat string or thread or anything else that could cut into his GI tract and require CT scans and possibly surgery. So far we’ve been lucky. Just scans and enemas.

The highlight of the weekend for me was the booths set up on Main Street. A vendor who displayed a hat that wasn’t for sale–it was hers–told us about Images Boutique, around the corner, where she bought her hat. Because mystery writers need hats, I went looking for a fedora.

The owner had to open both doors to get my wheelchair in–it was a wheelchair kind of weekend–and the store was so packed with merchandise that I couldn’t get more than six feet into the store. It’s an “upscale” resale shop. Because I almost couldn’t get in, I received 25% off on a hat (not a resale). And the owner and I had a long and delightful conversation about everything but hats.

When I got out, I realized it wasn’t the kind of hat I wanted–the top is fedora but the brim is wide and circular, not the kind that turns down in the front and up in the back. I wanted the kind my father and Humphrey Bogart wore.

But it’ll keep the sun off, and it will be excellent for bad hair days. I have a lot of those. I’m going to my hairdresser and tell him I want my 1972-2010 cut, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll tell everyone it’s not his fault.

In the 1980s, a woman in the row behind me at a performance of Die Fledermaus at Texas State University leaned over and said, “Who cuts your hair? The back is perfect.” In the 1990s, a woman sitting next to me at a library conference said, “You have the perfect haircut. And my husband was a barber, so I know a good cut.” In the mid-2000s, a woman waiting on the porch at East Side Cafe asked, “Who cuts your hair? They do a good job.”

Chemo and another drug have done a lot to my hair, even after it grew back in. But I want my old hair back, or as close as I can get to it.

That’s a nice hat, but I don’t want to have to wear it every day.

Well, we’ve gone from videos to cats to hats to hair.

One more thing about hats: I have a snapshot of my father holding me in the yard the day they brought me home from the hospital. He was wearing his fedora and looking at Ime as if he didn’t know what he’d gotten himself into. It didn’t take him long to find out.

I also have some snaps of myself wearing the hat. But I’ve been having bad face days.

And about videos: David is working on a screenplay. I can guarantee it will not be offensive.

***

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

***

I’m author of short stories in anthologies Murder on Wheels, Lone Star Lawless, and Day of the Dark. One of my stories appears online in Mysterical-E, https://mystericale.com/pre-2015/index.php?issue=131&body=file&file=forall.html

I’m working on a mystery novel that will soon be finished if the cat doesn’t eat it.

The Case of the Missing Roomba

 I ordered from a business I won’t name but you know what it is–a roomba costing over $300. It was supposed to be delivered by ten o’clock last night.
They have posted a picture of our door–definitely ours–with package on mat. THE DELIVERY MAN DID NOT KNOCK, so I didn’t spend the evening opening the door.
Today, no package on mat. I will chat–or maybe request a phone call–and tell them what happened. I think they bear some responsibility, since THE DELIVERY MAN DID NOT KNOCK. I know he didn’t, because we were home all night and the cats didn’t go flying under the bed.
David said don’t order another one. He said he’d vacuum.
I like to vacuum but am not sure I can handle a vacuum cleaner now, or in the future.
My friend said when her package was stolen around Christmas, the company sent her another one. I hope they send me another.
If they do, I will be happy. If they do, David will be VERY happy,
I really want a roomba so I can see if the cats will ride on it.
*
There are more cat + roombas on Yotube.
*
Does anyone know why my post will not double-space, even though it triple-spaces on the edit screen?
*

I’ve Been Waterin’ the Yahd

Sometime back in the 1930s, my grandmother picked up the telephone receiver just in time to hear the Methodist minister’s wife, on the party line, drawl, “I am just wo-ahn out. I’ve been waterin’ the yahd.”

To the layman, the statement might not seem funny, but my family has its own criteria for funny.  And so those two sentences entered the vernacular.

They were used under a variety of circumstances: after stretching barbed wire, frying chicken, mowing the lawn, doing nothing in particular.

My father would fold the newspaper, set it on the table, and announce, “I am just wo-ahn out. I’ve been waterin’ the yahd.”

I am wo-ahn out now but not from waterin’ the yahd.

Last night David, the family’s official printer, printed the manuscript of what I’ve been calling my putative book. It runs to over two hundred pages, 51,000 words. It isn’t finished–far from it. There’s more to write, scenes to put in order, clues and red herrings to insert, darlings to kill. All that stuff. And more.

However, for the first time it feels like I can stop calling it putative. No longer supposed, alleged, or hypothetical. It’s looking more like a potential novel. Possible, Even probable,

Now, about being wo-ahn out.

Last night I started putting the manuscript, scene by scene, into a three-ring binder. That required using a three-hole punch.

I hate using three-hole punches. I hate fitting the holes in the paper onto the binder rings. They never fit properly. Getting them on the rings requires effort. It’s tiring.

When I went to bed, I was all the way up to page 37.

Then I woke at 5:30 this morning. Instead of turning over and going back to sleep, I got up. I just couldn’t wait to get back to organizing my manuscript.

But I didn’t organize. I managed to drop the whole thing and then couldn’t pick it up. I had to wait for David.

By the time the notebook and manuscript were back in my possession, I was sick and tired of the whole thing. I played Candy Crush.

If I’d had any sense at all, I’d have gone back to bed. I was sleepy. I felt awful. I needed to sleep.

But did I go back to bed? Noooooooooooooooooooooo. That would have been the act of a rational person.

I stayed up added to my sleep deprivation.

I could go to bed right now. I could conk out and tomorrow feel ever so much better.

But will I? No. Because I’m too tired to stand up, too tired to put on my pajamas, too tired to pull down the sheets.

I am just wo-ahn out. I’ve been waterin’ the yahd.

***

Look above the notebook in the picture and you will see the tail of William the Cat. I lay on the bed all afternoon doing trivial, unnecessary tasks. William lay on the bed all afternoon and slept. He should be writing the book.

 

 

 

The Move’s A-Foot

I sit in the new living room, in my wheelchair, the only chair in the apartment, looking out across the balcony at the new view—sidewalk, pink crepe myrtle, grass, trees, and a stone.

The stone is massive. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a sword hilt sticking out the top. In fact, I would be delighted to see a sword hilt sticking out the top.

A closer look—with the camera’s zoom—suggests the stone might be hollow. Removing a sword would be easier if the stone were hollow.

Just off the patio stands a tree. At first, I thought the trunk was split, like the tomb of an ancient magician who had broken free.

Closer examination of the photo suggests it might be three small trees, three trunks, no split.

So much for whimsy.

After we’ve moved, and when it’s stopped raining, I’ll get out from behind the camera and see what’s really out there.

I’ve been concerned about the view. Our old living room looks out across a broad swath of green and shade. During our seventeen months in quarantine, it’s provided entertainment: bushy-tailed squirrels gathering acorns, residents walking dogs, Amazon and FedEx employees delivering boxes. The window has been like a great big TV screen. I was afraid the new place wouldn’t afford the same quality of programming.

But not to worry. We’re only yards from the swimming pool. In the hour or so I sat here yesterday while David hung shower curtains and found fire extinguishers, a multitude of bikinis, beach towels, and flipflops passed. Not as entertaining as squirrels, but they’ll do.

We’re not really moving moving—just to a larger apartment, about three inches away. But we have to pack as if we were moving thirty miles. Sigh.

David deposited me here and went back to meet the movers. He incarcerated the cats in a bathroom. Yesterday I prepped it. Cats don’t usually need puppy pads, but Ernest throws litter all over the place. Still, I might have overdone it.

William is yowling. He’s usually the calm one. Ernest is saying nothing. He’s probably crouching behind the commode. He’s the fight-or-flight cat. David administered calming spray but still had to hunt him down and then chase him to get him into the carrier.

Oh dear. There is a new sound coming from the bathroom. It’s either Ernest trying to demolish the litter box or Ernest trying to tear through the wall. We’ll find out later. Maybe we should have put them in the larger bathroom.

Packing. David is a minimalist. He packed his stuff in fifteen minutes.

I’m a keeper, and the descendant of keepers. I have boxes and boxes of Waller pictures and other memorabilia going back generations. When I packed two years ago—my knees had decided they didn’t like the stairs in our previous apartment—I intended to organize and scan and do whatever else that should be done with old family photographs.

We’d hardly gotten settled, however, when the rest of my body and part of my brain joined my knees in revolt. I unpacked what had to be unpacked and then sat down and stayed there. Most of the family history is still in the boxes and bins it arrived in.

I felt bad about that. On the other hand, when it came time to pack for this move, a goodly portion of my job was already done.

This temporary solitude will probably be the high point of my day. Soon there will be men carrying in boxes and wanting to know where to put them. I didn’t sleep last night and frankly, my dear, I don’t give a you-know-what about where they put them.

I am tired and irritable and want a cup of hot tea and a bed. I feel like crawling inside that hollowed-out stone and staying there until Labor Day.

I should stop complaining. I should be grateful I’m not stuck over there watching strangers who might or might not be wearing masks box up the contents of the china cabinet because my wife said she’d been there, done that, and it was worth the money to pay someone else to do it. I should be grateful I’m not lugging boxes in the rain.

Well. William has stopped protesting. I don’t know whether he’s come to his senses and given up or what. Maybe he’s fallen ill. Maybe Ernest had as much as he could take and went mad and walloped him. I feel I should check to make sure they’re okay.

But opening the bathroom door could mean disaster. I guess I’ll just sit here and listen to the ceiling fan creak. And I mean CREAK. We didn’t turn it on yesterday and so the creak didn’t make it onto the Condition form. We’ll have to email the office and add it.

The creak makes William’s and my caterwauling sound almost pleasant.

Naming Characters: Steve Dauchy MacCaskill

I’m posting at Ink-Stained Wretches today about one of my favorite characters, who is based on a friend I knew back in my hometown: Steve Dauchy.

Steve was my second cousin. He was also a cat, which makes him an exemplary cousin. He was the kind of cat who belongs in a book.

Click on over to read about Steve.

Not Steve, but close

Over at Ink-Stained Wretches: Coconut Oil and Cat Bites and Other Stuff

Waiting outside the vet’s while Ernest the Cat has blood drawn for a fructosamine check and playing with the Chromebook, always a pleasure since Chrome so rarely lets me log in on the first, second, or third try. Today it was fourth.

Why do browsers tell you to use your old password when the reason you changed your password in the first place was that you couldn’t remember the old one? Today I did remember the old one but Google didn’t believe me. It took a while to convince it I was me.

But no matter. I’m in.

Instead of complaining further, I’ll say that last week I posted at Ink-Stained Wretches. You might like to click over and see what was what. (About the same as what’s what now.)

You’ve possibly read bits of the post here before, but most of it is new, concerning 1) a brief update on my progress at reading all forty-seven of Anthony Trollope’s novels this year, and 2) the connection between coconut oil and cat bites.

Here’s a link to that post: William Bit Me. Again. And Jenny Kissed Leigh Hunt.

P.S. The drawing at the top of the page doesn’t represent Ernest. Ernest doesn’t bite. So far.