A continuing tale of life in the boonies


The killer cat of Wrinkle Circle

A cataclysmic event has launched a quiet Farmington cul-de-sac onto the front pages of major weekly newspapers in Northern Strafford County.

To be more categorical, the residents of Orchard Circle, a private development for the elderly, are being terrorized, daring only to shuffle out of doors during daylight hours in large panicky clumps.

And the cause of this catastrophic situation?

In the words of Mabel "Chatterbox" Amsden, "there is a huge, longhaired, gray and white, presumable male, cat that is attacking our (presumably tame, tiny, timid and terrified) pet cats.

"We are desperate. We are having no luck at all getting help from any source," Mabel continues, revealing that the domesticated kitties of Orchard Circle are getting ripped to shreds, and that she is frightened to put her poodle outside for fear of it, too, being torn into small pieces. But, more sinisterly, cat-scanner Mabel has spied this maniacal beast of prey skulking in the tree-line at the back of the property, obviously waiting for some frail oldster to toddle unwittingly into striking range.

"I wish I had a gun. I can shoot. I would blow him into a million bits," says Mabel, adding in response to a reporter's question that no, a catapult would not do the trick.

"And don't suggest the Animal Officer," pipes up Mabel before her interviewer can say Animal Officer. She then embarks on a catalogue of unbridled feline fascism, stretching back over a decade. As recently as this past summer, Mabel explains, Orchard Circle was plagued by more than a score of cats, and consequently the property manager had hired Milton's war-hardened animal veteran, Larry Trask, to do battle with them.

"Cat-ch 22?" asks the reporter.

"No, but he got 10 or 12 of them, and the company paid him $10 a cat," replies Mabel. However, the humungous savage ripper, the one causing the ongoing transfer of pensioners' life savings to the coffers of veterinary surgeons, either outwitted Trask or prowled into the picture after the purge. Anyway, it is currently the scourge of all it surveys, to use a catch phrase.

But getting on with the catena and back to John Fitch, Farmington taxpayers' very own hired gun, "Can't he help?" the reporter queries Mabel.

"Due to the fact a kitten escaped from his truck, he got upset and doesn't come here any more," says Mabel.

"Not so," responds Fitch, who estimates some 45 cats were scuttling around Orchard Circle when he was first called in as a cat-alyst.

"Half of the people feed 'em. Half don't. Half love 'em and half hate 'em," says Fitch, maintaining that the cat-lovers' section of Orchard Circle had once liberated the fruits of his Have-a-Heart trap.

While he was cat-napping? Certainly not.

"Hey, I'm not going to get in a neighbors' dispute. But if it gets a health problem I'll shut 'em all down," caterwauls Fitch, skimming aside his Animal Control bonnet and tugging on his Health Officer's cap. Meanwhile, on Orchard Circle senior citizens shiver, kitties quake, and poodles pace in perturbation. Further fur may fly ere this petrifying pussy is catafalqued.

Battle Front II

While Orchard Circle is desperately firing off distress rockets in the hope of attracting reinforcements, several hundred yards to the east, the Goodwin Library is girding its loins, but with another war in mind.

Beulah Thayer has suggested that five yellow ribbons be placed on the library door to honor a handful of young men of the town who are currently camped in or near the Saudi desert. The famous five are Keith Gagne, Andy Servetas, William Merrill, David Funk Jr. and Edward Cilley.

Gagne and Servetas are two rugged, unflinching and reliable individuals who began their military training at Farmington Town Hall dances. Funk, too, once reported for duty there on a Friday evening as a chaperone, but two hours of pounding music wore him down and he slipped out of a side door and down to the Smokey Lantern for a medicinal can of Bud.

In Funk's defense it should be pointed out that a two-hour artillery barrage will not generate as much insufferable din as a heavy metal band cranking out a three-minute number - remember the Marines in Panama City were cunning enough to play the stuff at Noriega, until he staggered out of that embassy like a gassed bee.

Be this as it may, if and when more Farmington servicemen go to the Gulf, additional ribbons will appear on the library door.

December 17, 1990

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