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Mr. Fixit -
Spring Cleaning

By Hank Roll

I know it isn't exactly spring but 'things happen'. I was cleaning all the superfluous bytes out of my hard drive and accidentally dumped some WIN.INI files, which seem to have some effect on booting up, which to you non-computer types is 'turning on' the computer. So while I pace around waiting in agony for my Guru (Knowledgeable computer Nerd) to disconnect from his Y2K problems, I notice that the cat is having little conniptions running around in circles. I discover that she has got into something that a sick skunk must have thrown away and she is trying to get away from her own smell. When she tries to stop and lick herself clean she must get the odorous taste in her mouth because she runs to the litter box and chews on whatever she finds to dilute the taste. And she's the only one I've ever met that has worse bad breath than I do.

So I decide to help her and give her a bath. I have a couple pair of old jeans drying on chairs in the shower and I'm using the sink to recondition my lawnmower motor so I figure I'll just flush the stink off of her. Big mistake. She is relatively unpetrified by immersion in the bowl but when I let go with my left hand to flush, she finds a weakness in my armor- the long sleeved steelworkers gloves and the catchers mask and chest protector are adequate protection against her flailing 70 claws but I have neglected to protect the parts she can't reach. After some futile attempts to rip thru the padding and disembowel me, she wriggles and st-r-e-t-c-hes out three feet and digs twelve needlelike claws into my groin. Needless to say, I am distracted. Which allows her to spin like a centrifuge out of my grasp, up my arm, over my head, take a retaliatory nip out of my ear in passing, and disappear into the night.

Although I grab the good towels and quickly try to mop up the water she has shed like a sprinkler, I apparently miss most of it and it goes down thru a hole I had drilled for an antenna when I had decided to install a commode-side TV.

Unknown to me it percolates down into a puddle in the middle of the kitchen floor.

When I discover it and try to mop it up with the kitchen towels, it is too late, it has soaked thru and as I wipe it up, clumps of dirt peel off right down to the linoleum floor. I try to remove it so it will form an interesting matching pattern with the original design but every time I try to feather the edge it crumbles back and reveals more of the prehistoric patterns.

I finally just give up and dump a bucket of water and crush a Bon Ami container under my foot and try to squeegee the mound of dirt over to the cellar steps.

(Friends have commented on how nice my kitchen looks with the new floor and then dropped subtle hints about the walls and ceiling but I'm not falling for that.)

No matter how many times you clean the cellar steps they seem to gather just as much dirt as last year. As I slosh the wet mound of dirt down the steps many spiders and other crawlies lose their homes. I am threatened with action by the Rent Control Board and the S.P.C.A. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Arachnids). The stairs are washed clean and I squeegee the pile behind the furnace where it will help act as a heat sink. But I have forgotten about my collection of typewriters and answering machines under the stairs: I have to move them out to dry, but I have nowhere else to store them. I finally decide the driest place would be under the waterbed where I already have a thriving dust bunny ranchero.

But there is no access, the only open side is behind the bed against the wall. Experience has taught me that you can't move a waterbed; a water-filled mattress will take wherever it and gravity decide would be the most ruinous and horrifying path despite anything you scream or try to do to stop it. So I connect a winch to the light fixture and with wire and duct tape lift up one of the mattress corners and cut a two foot hole out of the bed support which will be replaced with a three foot piece of masonite. I lower the machines into the hole but trying to push them along is nearly impossible, especially with two in a row. So I do the obvious thing: I drill one inch holes around the baseboard and use broom handles to push them into place. The same device should work just as easily when I want to retrieve them.

And the space under the stairs makes a perfect spot for my mushroom farm which was taking up all the space in the kitchen cabinets where my cereal collection should be. As soon as I move the cereal down out of my bedroom closet I'll be able to move my winter clothes back into the house, if I can remember where I buried the clothes hamper.

But first, I have to find that stinkin' cat....
Hank Roll    

Originally published in March, 1999 issue of The Atrocity, the newsletter of The Aabsurd SIG.   Reprinted with permission.

Webmaster's note:   This is HUMOR no cats (or dust
were harmed in the writing of this tale!!
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© 1999 Amby Duncan-Carr   and   Hank Roll.   All rights reserved.

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