Which was how I came to be on hands and knees as the cat-chicken combo zoomed under the dining room table.
Of course, we were a little traditional then, and since my ex is Japanese, that meant a very low table and we sat on the floor in seiza to eat. (This was also the time when we used chopsticks-only. Which means the Princess is deadly with chopsticks even today.) What I’m trying to say is that the table was knee-high, and since I was already on the floor I figured why stand up, I have a chance at catching him.
That was probably a mistake.
Anyway, I scooted forward and lunged under the table. The cat, sensing my approach while terrified and blinded by his headgear, performed an amazing leap to escape the doom bearing down upon him. Unfortunately, the table was so low that his application of upward force ended with another splat and pieces of chicken falling to the (carpeted, you can imagine my despair) floor.
Now, being partly under the table myself when he did so, and having a healthy respect for his claws and their proximity to my face, I recoiled and earned myself a stunning knock to the noggin. The table rattled, a container of chopsticks falling over and rolling, falling like rain as the cat found himself with an Elizabethan chicken ruff instead of a chicken hat (chicken diving helmet? What is the proper term? Anyway.) CrankyDuck!Cat decided to use his sudden return of vision well, and darted out from under the table.
However, the chicken-as-ruff, while not interfering with his vision (much), did decidedly interfere with his means of locomotion. In other words, he tripped over the chicken he was wearing and rolled, smearing yet more chicken on the carpet. (We got our deposit back, but it took me AGES to get the grease out, dear God.) He recovered, staggering, and bolted across the living room portion of the apartment, heading for the hall.
By this point I was swearing and the Princess had ventured forth, cutting through the kitchen, to see me wriggling out from under the table. “Mommy?”
“It’s okay, honey.” I gained my feet and heard the cat hit the wall near the master bedroom door. He’s heading for the bed, of course he is, dear God… “Just a slight…ugh…problem…”
“Why are you under table?” Bright-eyed with puzzled interest, she regarded me solemnly.
I had no time for explanations. “Stay right there.” I darted for the hall, sliding through the kitchen (the chicken grease on the floor soaked into my socks) and hitting the hall at warp speed. There was a shiny smear on the wall (easier to clean up than carpet) and the goddamn cat had gone into the master bedroom, found the futon in there too low for him to hide under, decided the closet was no good either (another greasemark on the mirrored doors) and sought escape just as I hit the doorway.
Thus it was that I got hammered in the shins with a cat wearing a (sadly bedraggled by now) chicken.
The Princess had not listened to my directive to stay put, being drawn to the curious spectacle unfolding in our domicile. (Seriously, she was only, what, three-four years old at the time?) She was at the other end of the hall, giggling at the sight of the chicken-wearing cat, and Cranky!Duck, seeing his avenue of escape partially blocked by an (admittedly half-sized) human forced him to think on his feet.
Which meant he jagged left, through the closest open door.
Into the bathroom.
“JESUS CHRIST!” I yelled, and followed, just as there was the rattle of a key in front door’s lock.
…to be continued…