I've been holed up in the sticks for years now. But no matter how hard I try, I just can't get off the commute. At first it was west in the morning from Glen Wild to White Sulphur Springs, then back east at night. I did WSSP for Shewho and WSSP II for Chuck and Tess. Then for a minute my commute shortened to about a mile, down to the shul and back. Those were the days. But last winter's ass kicking sent me out to WSSP for the duration, commuting east in the morning, to the studio, then back west at night. When the freeze eased up in April, I attempted to hook the water back up, only to find so many leaks that I gave up, demolishing the whole kitchen and adding on a mud and laundry room. This is what faces me every morning- an ever expanding construction zone. I mumble to myself "I'm such an asshole".
So it was earlier in the week, that I put the cat in his sack, started up the truck and headed for "home". I know plenty of people who bring their dogs to work. As far as I know I'm the only one that commutes with his cat. Cheeky loves the freedom. He vaults from his bag, ready to kill any bird, snake, bug or frog that crosses his path. Sometimes he shows up to return to the comforts of WSSP at the end of the day. Sometimes he doesn't. I worry. But the next day he always shows up, putting my mind at ease. On this particular morning I headed down the hill towards Denniston Ford, when I noticed something unusual off to my right, bedded down just off the road. At first I thought it was a whitetail fawn. But something wasn't quite right. No spots. It had small ears and kind of a short snout. I pulled the truck over. Cheeky meowed. Whatthefuck was this?
I spend a lot of time in the woods. I know every critter out there. But this thing had me stumped. I walked up to it. It didn't move. I didn't want to get too close. Goddamn thing could be rabid or poisonous. It looked up at me and batted it's big eyes. Sure didn't look dangerous. Cheeky meowed again. So I got back in the truck and crossed the river. A friend's mom had called about parking at the church, showing up later in the day. I told her about the mystery beast, and she knew all about it. It seems that one of these rat deer had gotten into South Fallsburg and word spread fast through the ranks of Hasidim. Was it an extinct animal? A sign? It wasn't a red calf, but a kangaroo/rabbit/deer/rat sure got the tribe talking. God MUST have sent it.
Turns out that the mystery critter was a Patagonian cavy, half of a pair that had found a home in the Catskills, after being busted in NYC by the cops. The Fallsburg cops picked up the cavy, giving it VIP treatment, in the back of the squad car, returning it to the river banks of the Neversink. According to the DEC they are completely legal. I love it. In 10 or 20 years these damn things could be all over the place. I hear they are good eating. Just when you think you got it all figured out, something like this greets you on the commute. My neck is on a swivel these days. I swear we just passed a walking fish with his thumb out. Cheeky meowed again. "No room in the front."