Oh knuckles, rot, and hairballs. This was bad. Bad-bad-bad. Should have put some preventive measures in place. Set a counterweight on a timer. Too late now. It was working exactly as intended, exactly as he’d known it would. Now he was stuck, gazing in the cube of dazzling light. Too fantastic to look away.
“Cat, I need you to—” on very the edge of his vision he saw Putter licking his paw. “Damn it. I need you to push me. Give me a nudge, eh? Come on cat. Putters, hey—meow? Ah for crying…Hey, meow-meow-meow, how about helping me out here, huh?”
His eyes began to water. He hadn’t been able to blink in more than a minute. It was starting to get uncomfortable. If only he could break his gaze. His body was frozen, entranced. At least his mind was free, and he could talk. Ah! What if—and he tried blowing. Filled his lungs as full as he could manage and blew. Nothing. The cube was much too heavy for that.
Fear began to creep into him. How long could he last like this? What if he couldn’t find a way to break his gaze? What would happen? Then came a new thought, and with it relief: he would pass out eventually. He couldn’t stay like this indefinitely. Could he? Following that question came dread. Maybe the cube wouldn’t allow him to sleep. Maybe it would hold him captive until he died…maybe beyond even that. He began to panic.
“Putters, come on, kitty, please. You want fish? Fish-fish-fishy? I’ll give you fish, eh? Just come over here, block my view for a second. Come on, lick my face, do something. Get in front of this infernal cube. Please. Oh, for the love of…Hey, Putters, oh no, cat, come on, where’re you going? Hey. Hey! Putters, come back.”
Putters nuzzled against his ankle, purring.
“Oh for crying out…Putters, face, not feet. Come on.”
This continued for another ten minutes. The cat ignoring him, he trying to coax it back to the table to block his view, but no sound or combination of words he’d tried had any useful effect.
Eventually he fell silent. He decided if something would save him it would be a thing he hadn’t thought. Just then a spider slid down a strand of web and landed on his nose. A half second later Putters was on the table and attacked both spider and the face it was on. The old man fell backwards out of his chair. He whooped and cheered, thanking both cat and spider for saving him.
From that day onward he made safety his number one rule, and fed Putters a fish every week. As for spiders, he let them live in his home.