by Paul Raworth Bennett
BREAKING WEATHER ALERT: For several days now, from mysterious origins thousands of feet above, it’s been literally raining cats and dogs upon the leafy streets and stately old mansions of Beech Bottom, West Virginia.
On every block, thousands of drenched, collarless and confused kitties and pooches – of all breeds, shapes, and sizes – can be seen wandering, foraging, and socializing.
Many roads and sidewalks have become so thickly carpeted with dazed animals that vehicles and pedestrians have had to take detours, occasionally spooking small pet stampedes through front yards (fortunately, despite falling from great heights the furry visitors have sustained minimal injuries, so no broken bones or other serious mishaps have been reported).
And they seem to be having quite the party: “There’s been a whole lotta barkin’, meowin’, chasin’, tail waggin’ an’ bum sniffin’ goin’ on up an’ down my street,” complained local resident and former hillbilly Bubba Roy, straightening up from pulling potatoes in his overgrown front garden. “It’s been so noisy, sometimes I hafta cover ma ears when I’m outside workin’ these here potatoes. But them animals all seem pretty happy, and they’s not afraida humans.”
Not unexpectedly, the animals are also doing what comes naturally: “Yessiree! It’s been right funny, alla this fornicatin’ goin’ on,” cackled the leather-faced, five-toothed farmer, walking over and leaning in weathered overalls against his rickety picket fence. “Dogs, cats, they’s all doin’ it… sorta like a regular pet-triple-X out there! People aren’t even botherin’ ta look the other way no more. Any time, I can step onta my front porch an’ see at least twenty or thirty pairs a critters just givin’ er! But I guess ya can’t blame ‘em for just doin’ their thing.”
Efforts to break up the widespread, open-air copulation have proven highly ineffective: “At first, people’d try an’ use them garden hoses ta spray them animals apart, see, but they jus’ couldn’ keep up with alla that action, so everyone’s just kinda given up rather than havin’ ta run all over hell’s half-acre”, Roy continued. “It’s a little embarrassin’ fer them parents wit’ younguns, I think, but them boys an’ girls are gonna hafta learn about them birds an’ bees one way or another. Fortunately, there hasn’t been much fightin’ over the ladies – just a buncha growlin’ and barin’ teeth is all.”
And then there’s another problem: all of that excrement. “I’ve got my sanitation crews working 12-hour shifts, and we just can’t keep up”, lamented Rod Templeton, Beech Bottom’s Director of Sanitation. “On the filthiest streets, we’ve had to call in the fire department to hook up to the hydrants and hose everything down. That does a pretty good job, actually, but with only so many fire crews across the city, they’re pretty stretched as well.”
Fortunately the dark, mysterious, pet-laden rain clouds have had two inexplicable silver linings:
First, nobody has been hurt by falling animals, who are landing in the form of large raindrops that – after bouncing off the ground – transform instantly into anything from a two-pound Tabby kitten to a two-hundred-pound English Bull Mastiff.
“It’s been really crazy,” said Roy, “cuz you’ll be out walkin’ or drivin’, and alla sudden some puppy will appear outta nowhere, right in fronta you. Justa other day I was drivin’ to ma A.A. meetin’ an’ some poor little poodle lands right on toppa my front windshield, see, scarin’ the bejeezus outta both of us!… Them adults, they’s kinda freaked out, but them kids just love it, jumpin’ up an’ down an’ squealin’. An’ it’s a good thing them rain’s been comin’ in squalls, ‘cuz luckaly none a them friendly critters has been run over.”
Second, the chaos – although widespread – has been remarkably short-lived. Much to the relief of local animal-rescue organizations, after a few minutes the cats and dogs spontaneously disappear as rapidly as when they fell to Earth.
“Dunno how it happens,” marvelled Roy. “One minute you’re lookin’ at some cute little kitty, and then the next thing ya know she’ll just disappear, right in fronta yer eyes! Quick! Didya see that German Shepherd over there? Poof! Gone! Can’t believe it. Haven’t hada snort of moonshine in twenty-two years an’ I’m still seein’ stuff like this!”
And sure enough, right before your correspondent’s eyes, within about two minutes several dozen animals vanished like bursting soap bubbles in a playground.
“Good riddance! They’s sure messed up the place an’ made one helluva racket,” said Roy. “Glad they’s not stickin’ ’round, cuz otherwise how onna God’s green Earth are we gonna feed an’ house ‘em all? Now if you’ll ‘scuse me, Mister Newspaperman, I’ve gotta get back to ma puhtaytes.”
So although the situation seems to be righting itself, stunned Beech Bottomers- who up to this point thought “raining cats and dogs” was just a figure of speech – are hoping that dazed dogs and startled cats won’t ever fall from the sky again anytime soon.
Asked how this event could have happened, a local meteorologist said she’s completely baffled. But Mr. Roy had a theory: “Betcha them Russians sent ‘em over. Or maybe it was that Zuckerberg, or that Kim Jong-Un.”
Stay tuned for further developments.