El Gatto was Mack’s cat. Mack had been an almost full time student for just over a decade. Older and more established than other students, he had two things that drew people to him. The first was a big old house that he had bought the summer after his sophomore year with the help of his uncle. From that point forward the young home owner rented every room in the place to friends at a good price to pay off the mortgage. The second was his ability to be connected enough in the community to get most anything you craved for at a price.
With the purchase of his house came a small and lovable kitten which would melt the heart of the most avid cat haters, El Gatto. He was golden in color, never scratched or bit, no shedding or dandruff, and had its own cat door on the third floor where it would sneak out to the litter box on the enclosed porch.
At a party one fall, a young and silly stoner came to one of the many Friday fun nights Mack had hosted. Smaller then a party, but more fun then sitting around drinking, Mack would have people over to pick up their pleasure. This young and nameless boy made quick friends with El Gatto. Such good friends, in his mind, should always share. So the boy, who had bought a few hits of acid from Mack, thought that his new best friend El Gatto should share that ride and gave him a full hit to suck on.
For weeks the once lovable El Gatto had acted strangely. He could no longer jump off the couch and land on his feet. When he tried to get up on the couch he would often over estimate the jump and hit the wall behind it. Moving from room to room and especially when attempting to make it though his private door, El Gato went straight in the wall head first with a loud thud.
Mack’s growing concerns over his long term housemate came to a boil on a Friday fun night when the same boy came back and confessed to causing this problem. Mack, a friendly Finnish giant of a man, lost his temper for the first, and only, time giving the boy two black eyes and a broken nose.
Unfortunately for El Gatto, his trip never ended and he remains in a state of fascination and friendliness while falling a lot.
A month after El Gatto’s permanent change began, another Friday fun night ended with the breaking of a bathroom door. It was later that month the trouble with the house began.
The first water bill, nearly four times its normal size, arrived. After a house meeting on the conservation of supplies was held, everyone pitched in to pay the extra cost. With limited financial resources, Mack, in his role as land-lord, was unable to replace the bathroom door.
A second month came with an outrageous bill in the mail box for water. “This had to be a broken main, or pipe, or meter,” Mack thought, and took issue with the water supplier in town. After replacing the meter and some pipes by the sewer, all should have been fixed. Until the third bill in three months arrived. With no other recourse to take, Mack stayed home sick for several days, trying to figure out what to do.
Mid morning on the third day in bed, Mack got up to use the broken door bathroom. When he arrived, he found that El Gatto, in his stoner state of mind, had discovered a new trick - how to flush the toilet. But he didn’t just flush; he sat on the lid and was fascinated by the water swirling down the drain, much like Mack did the first time he had dropped acid all those years ago. And that is what El Gatto did, every day, all day long, for three months – sit on the toilet lid and watch the water flush down the drain in amazement.
With a few notes of instruction about closing the door to the other roommates and repairs to the bathroom, El Gatto was soon trained to follow the environmentalists golden rule: ‘If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down’ with the added amendment ‘But only flush once.’ Soon the bills were back to normal and El Gatto became an accepted member of the house again.