Perhaps because I never saw my basket of yarn as anything other than benevolent until it turned on me and almost destroyed my dog, I now look at every object I own with a suspicious eye. What if the couch––solid and immovable––were to suddenly tip under the soft weight of Winnie and fall back and crush the children in one, quick blow? What if I left the stove on and cooked every animal and beloved object not only in my apartment but the entire building? Or what if I didn't make the bed and the cats crawled under the covers and, trapped by a maze of twisted blankets and a wall of pillows, suffocated, their plaintive cries unheard by the only person who could save them? It's absurd (and more than a bit of an exaggeration, I might add!) but after the skein of red yarn I bought for a scarf intended for my sister ended up in Duncan's intestines, let's just say I'm cautious.
That's why every morning, after making my tea and preparing my five fruit breakfast, I take all of Duncan's toys––Percy, his penguin, the Bah-Bah, the Birdy, Buddy and the Baby, and perch them atop my DVD shelf where he can't get to them, rip them open and choke on their fluffy innards. He doesn't like it one bit and upon my arrival home in the evening, insists emphatically that they all immediately be returned to the ground where he can play with and terrorize them. I leave only the tennis balls for him to play with, while I'm gone and perhaps, if he's very sly, a stray kiwi.
This morning after tending to my rituals I went in search of the toys and discovered that Duncan had taken action while I showered, spending that valuable time hiding his little, armless and legless, and sometimes faceless friends, all over the apartment. Percy was tucked away on his pillow, nestled down between the blanket Chelsea gave him for Christmas and the throw mom knitted for him. If it hadn't been for Percy's bright yellow beak I may not have noticed him at all. The blue bone was concealed in Winnie's fort, an old shoe box I keep under an end table where she hides for hours, peeking up slowly and carefully so that just the green of her big eyes are visible. Buddy was stashed between the bed and the window, down among the blankets where it would've been all too easy to miss him. After a careful search of the entire apartment I'd rounded everyone up except Bah-Bah, who remained unaccounted for. Duncan ate his breakfast, indifferent to my search, or so it seemed, until I returned to the bedroom to find him curled up on the bed, the mangled lamb tucked under one paw while he received a very attentive and thorough bath.
He was not happy when I took him away and placed him up on the tower with the rest of them. He sighed loudly, harumphed and wouldn't look at me when I left. I'll make it up to him and stop by Hero's for a bully stick before I come home.
It's the time away from home that alarms me. He and the cats have all day to plot and plan and I'm beginning to doubt I'm smart enough to keep up with them.