Short Stories: Rex’s Waterloo! – By Geoff Burrowes

– By Geoff Burrowes

Her name had to be Chunkie. She was too scrawny to be anything else! She was grey with stripes of black running through her sparse fur. The other kittens in the litter were furry and their fur was glossy black or shiny white. They loved to be picked up and stroked and purred contentedly when they sat in someone’s arms.  Chunkie was not so obliging and was likely to claw and spit at whoever was trying to pick her up!

Eventually she was the only one of the litter that was not taken in by another family and so she became ours. Chunkie never put on weight and grew to be a lean unlovely animal with the same sour personality. Some tomcat must have found her attractive however as after she was grown she produced her own litter of kittens.   

Chuckie – defending her litter

We lived on a corner lot, in a two story white wooden house with a red corrugated iron roof. On the ground floor were the kitchen and the dining room.  On the second floor were the pantry, the living room and the bedrooms and bathroom. These stuck out way further than the ground floor and were supported by tall wooden pillars on concrete supports and this provided a nice bottom house for the dogs and cats and  for us to play under. My mother’s pride and joy was her garden with a rose bed and  canna lilies and daisies which she tended lovingly and with great care. Unfortunately a good cover drive from the bottom house put Mum’s flowers in deadly peril.

On the other side of the house we had a round vat with the wooden staves held together by three green metal bands. A tap at the bottom allowed us to run the sweet rain water directly from the vat.  We were supposed to boil the water before we drank it but when we were thirsty from playing that didn’t always happen. Amazingly it never seemed to affect us!

REX- relaxing at home

    We were on a corner and on the next cross road, Orange Walk, Uncle Johnny had a dog called Rex. I think Rex, like most of the dogs in Georgetown, was a cross breed or mongrel. He was a big dog, black and white and was not afraid of anything on two or four legs. Whenever he came across another dog who felt the same way they would have a snarling brutal fight – Rex was a warrior and won most of his fights. But he had the scars to show, for example his left ear stuck up straight while his right permanently flopped over his jowls. It didn’t bother Rex – he trotted down the road with his head held high, as if saying “Who t’ink dey bad to meet them I more than glad!” He came trotting confidently up Brickdam one day and the neighborhood dogs who saw him coming put their tails between their legs and slunk into their yards.

Our back gate was open and Rex trotted down the steep slope of the grass verge and across the wooden bridge over the gutter and into our yard. He noticed the old “Daisy Milk” carton under the kitchen steps and inquisitively stuck his nose in. If Ken Corsbie was telling this story he would ask ” Now who tell him to do dat?”

What Rex didn’t know was that Chunkie’s kittens were in the cardboard box. There was a high yowl of rage and a streak of grey that landed on Rex’s back. Chunkie sunk her claws into the soft skin just behind his head still yowling and Rex added his agonized howls to hers and took off down Brummel place and around the corner into Croal Street! The howls faded away.

Chunkie, some time later, trotted into our yard as if nothing had happened and climbed into her box and started licking the kitten’s fur clean.

None of the litter had Chunkie’s mean streak and they were all happily adopted.

I don’t know if Uncle Johnny locked Rex up, but he never came strutting into our neighborhood again!

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