GIFT: The Gift of Aversion By Linda Helterline

Week 7 Word: Aversion/Gift
Word Count 500
The Gift of Aversion
By Linda Helterline
Cats are weird. Sometimes they are attracted to things that move…but not too fast, and especially if it moves in a jerky, sputtering way. Sometimes they are attracted to things that are new and different. However, if the things are new AND different AND FLASHING…well, that’s like the trifecta of the cat world!
Enter Alex, a small yellow barn cat and Susie, a black and white barn cat. Having the two of them was like having two-thirds of The Three Stooges. They were the self-appointed rodent population control squad for the sheep, and were local instructors in tolerance and patience. During the winter months, the cats were convinced the sheep had been provided for their comfort. Why else would the sheep grow those soft, warm coats?
But today the flock was staying in the barn for the whole day. Around the pasture walked a very tall fellow who carried a collection of tools, noisy machinery, and many shiny rolls of wire. The squad quietly watched him from the top of the hay mow, chasing an errant mouse from time to time to keep from getting bored and keeping mousing skills sharp. Little did they know that all of this entertainment was a gift from the sheep, their movable heating pads. The sheep were firm believers in the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Getting there was their never-ending challenge. Since the last unsanctioned visit to a nearby farm, a brand new electric fence had to be installed, complete with five strands of wire and thirty-two hundred volts coursing through its expensive veins. Hopefully the sheep’s aversion to having something invisible force their eyeballs into introducing each other at the middle of their faces would convince the wayward ovines into staying inside the new fencing.
Late in the afternoon the bright sun revealed itself and the miles of wire which had been incorporated into the fence line became shiny: see “shiny” above. However, he was still drilling holes for the posts. The noisy motor would stop and start. It served as a cat repellant, and its unpredictable, loud starts and stops would convince even the most curious cat from visiting the site of the newest construction.
Finally the fellow packed up his tools and unpacked a large box. This he placed on a wall and it began making clicking noises and flashing lights: see “flashing” above. Was it alive? Now they were being about as attracted as a cat can be! After all, the noisy machine and the fellow were gone and the miles of unattended, shiny wire were just sitting out there. It was time for the inspection, so Alex took the lead.
As they walked slowly around the perimeter of the fence line, all seemed safe. But one of Alex’s feet brushed up against the bottom wire of the fence! ZZZAAAPPP!! She was SURE it had been Suzie! Who else could it have been? SLAP! Moe and Curly were at it again.
Cats: 500 words

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