The Puking Game

We do not know the rules.

We suspect it goes something like this.

One of the housefloofs goes and pukes quietly. Their object appears to puke somewhere where it’ll take some time to notice, and not leave any clues to the puker’s identity.

We’ve found three such pukes over the last three days. “Someone puked in the living room,” my wife announces.

I check it out, like I’m doubting her report, right? No, I want to conduct forensics, clues like hairballs. But there’s nothing distinguishing about this puddle of upchucked kibble.

“I didn’t hear anything,” I say. Everyone who has an animal knows that each pet has signature sounds associated with their puking. They usually have a preferred place, too. This doesn’t fit any of our animals.

Did our animals bring in a guest floof to puke, to mess with our heads?

“I didn’t hear anything, either,” my wife said.

Of overriding concern when you have a puker is the source’s health. Is this the first sign of serious trouble or a one-time gack attack?

The second day was more concerning. One day is an incident; two days are a worrying coincidence. “Someone puked again,” my wife called out. “On my rug again. Why do they have to puke on my rug?”

“Maybe they’re sending you a message.” I checked out the vomitus. It was as undistinguishing as the first. Again, I’d heard nothing.

I looked around. The three cats were sitting there, watching, like spectators, you know?

Two of them appeared to be smirking.

Now there’s a third puke, except…

Hearing the noise, I rolled out of bed and stumble through the gray drizzle of six AM autumn light. I already guessed (because I saw Boo back in the bedroom and Papi sitting outside on the patio as I oriented myself and ordered, “Left foot, right foot, go forward,”) that it was Tucker, caught it in act.

Yes, indeed. This was a standard hairball.

Was it part of the game, or genuine illness?

Seeing me, he hurried over. “Meow?”

“I’m not feeding anyone,” I answered, guessing that’s what he asked. It was still just after six. I’d stayed up late writing, and I was going back to bed. As I climbed back between the sheets, I saw Boo, Papi, and Tucker watching me. Round one was over.

I wonder who won.

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