The Chronicles of Mingo

No Room at the Scorpion Inn

Mingo and I had just had an interesting interaction where I was determined to comb the mats out of his tail and he was equally determined to not let me. I had to scruff him, which he hates, and instead of a nice soothing brush I had to use the grooming comb and work fast because Bitey Bitey McBiteCat.

So we weren’t speaking.

I retired to my little old lady armchair to check for blood and he crouched in a corner and stared at the floor. Fine, I thought, go sulk. Then I saw he was poking at a twig on the floor with his nose and jumping back.

Oops.

It was raining and sometimes when it rains or even when it doesn’t, two-inch brown scorpions get into the house. Normally, they are sessile and flat and shaped like a forked twig, easily killed by the cowardly human. (No, I don’t have a picture and no, I’m not going to ‘rescue’ the thing and usher it outside. They’re icky and they sting. Also the hair all over my body stands up in horror when I see one. You wanna save the big bug, you get over here and do it.)

This one, however, was not sessile and not flat. Its sting was curled up over its back and both claws were snapping at Ming, who dodged and kept coming. I suppose, from its point of view, it had discovered a warm, dry, spot and was taking a stroll when it suffered an unprovoked attack by a furry and annoying monster. I can empathize with that viewpoint. So can my other two cats, come to think.

Anyway, I’m yelling, “Ming, get away! Stop that!” as if he’s going to pay attention all of a sudden. I’d never seen a scorpion so active and while I corralled Ming, it might scurry away and hide somewhere. In the house. Where I don’t know where it is. Ick.

I did grab Ming, who was totally pissed off to have his fun interrupted, and tossed him in the back room. Then I slammed a ceramic coaster on the scorpion. End of coaster, end of scorpion. Mingo spent the rest of the evening returning to the spot, hoping his neat toy had come back.

Do I have to say I had a glass of wine? Probably not.

Mary Holland

Mary Holland writes alternative-world fantasy for grown-ups. Her books include Matcher Rules, The Bone Road, and The Dog of Pel. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with three cats and an ever-changing assortment of wildlife.

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