Gopher Control, Revisited

A. V. Walters


Today was a day to catch up in the yard. The lawn was entirely out of hand. I had to use the weed whacker to get it down to a level where the lawn mower could be used. (We’re talking push-mower, here.) Calling it a ‘lawn’ is laughable, anyways. Really, it’s just an assortment of weeds, kept shorn. I tell Elmer, it’s not mowing, it’s “weed control”–sounds more agricultural that way. But when you keep on top of it, it looks downright passable. I’d planted the back corner, and suddenly the rest of the yard screamed for attention. Thus the Weed-Whacking-Extravaganza. (Good seats are still available!)

Once trimmed down to a tidy “level,” it became apparent that the gophers have really gone to town. The lawn is riddled with gopher holes (and valleys). Really, what’s up with that cat? He stayed out of sight for the noisy, weed wacking part but came out to investigate when I’d raked up and gone back to gardening. Now, he was peering down a gopher hole and looking pretty smug.

“Hey you, cat, what’s up with all these darn gophers? I thought we had an understanding here–you’re in charge of gopher control.” He smiled and yawned. “Really, look at this, there’s more gophers than ever!”

“Yes,” he nodded and began washing his face.

“Well, what are you going to do about it?”

“Do about it, what’s to do? These gophers are under control. I’m supervising.”

My jaw dropped. “Gopher control, butterball, means you’re supposed to hunt and kill these pesky gophers!”

The cat sat up and stared. “Excuse me? You never said that. You just said gopher control. Your instructions weren’t very specific, so I handled it my way.” He turned his attention back to the hole.

Damn cat. “I’m glad we’ve finally had a chance to clear up this little misunderstanding. Perhaps with this clarification, you can now do something about all these gophers.”

“Not so fast,” the cat looked up, “You can’t just go changing the rules, willy-nilly.”

“And why not? What’s the problem? Now that you know what’s expected, you could just get rid of the gophers, right?”

“It’s not as simple as that.” He stood up and turned his back to me. “It’s a question of trust. I’ve formed relationships.”