Remember the 1961 Twilight Zone episode starring six-year-old Billy Mumy? Bill was a child actor in the sixties, with one of his most famous roles as Will Robinson in Lost In Space.
For me, his most memorable role was as Anthony Freemont, a little boy in Peakesville, Ohio who made the rest of the world disappear because it displeased him. No one can make Anthony mad. If they do, they will be sent into the cornfield.
You don’t need Stephen King’s imagination to know what that means.
Anthony is described in the plot summary as a monster. A mutant with godlike mental powers that include mind-reading. Everyone is under his rule. Even his parents. Children and adults both tiptoe nervously around him, constantly reassuring him how everything he does is “good.”
I saw this episode during a Twilight Zone marathon a couple weeks ago, and it struck me that I’m living with my very own Billy Mumy.
His name is Opie. He’s eight-years-old with a handsome face, ginger fur and golden green eyes.
But like the opening narration for Twilight Zone’s “It’s A Good Life” states… When you look into those eyes, you’d better think happy thoughts. Because the mind behind them is absolutely in charge.
Billy… I mean, Opie, came to us as a three-month-old kitten, running amok in my yard among the raccoons and fox. He fell into place easily among the Wonderpurr Gang, and made fast friends with Barney.
Barney had insecurity issues and the devil in Herman took advantage by picking on Barney. It wasn’t until Opie joined the family and befriended Barney that things shifted out of Herman’s favor.
Opie read Herman like a book and taught Barney not to be afraid of him. In return for these lessons, Barney taught Opie how to spray stuff that he didn’t like.
This is how Opie evolved into Billy Mumy. I mean, Anthony Freemont—the Twilight Zone kid.
Barney has moved on, but his lessons on retaliation for things that displease him are still going strong. For a while, everything displeased Opie. The only kick he got was giving Herman a hard time. Then Peaches moved in and Opie fell in love and lightened up.
So much so that he allowed her son, Jack, to move in after Jack had something bad happen to him and became very sick. Opie took Jack under his wing and today they are more than brofurs…they’re in a serious bromance.
Then along came Dori, and Opie was done. She charmed the dickens out of him, and entertained him mostly by hounding Herman for attention.
I feared the worst when Frank moved in a year later, but nope. Frank was tired of brawling and wanted a quiet, easy life. He let Opie be The Boss and was content to kiss his ginger ass.
Around here, Opie is known as The Watcher. He watches everything, mostly from a floor basket where he blends in so often you’re not aware you’re being watched.
But you are.
All the time.
Like Santa Claus, Opie sees you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake. He also know when you’re opening cans of Fancy Feast and there will be hell to pay if you feed him last.
Our newest – Candy – sized up the situation right away and made googly eyes at Opie. He now thinks the sun rises and sets on Candy.
We’ve had two-years-worth of Opie Joy. Then Jesse got a hole chewed into his butt, and his recoop time demanded he take refuge in Ray’s office. Opie set up camp outside the door. I was deluded into thinking he wouldn’t mind having Jesse recover inside a room that wasn’t being used.
I was wrong. But I didn’t know that yet. So I invited Nikolas inside to escape the dangerous heatwave that had settled over our town. Nik is Dori’s dad. He’s a nice guy. Never causes trouble.
Frank doesn’t like Nikolas. Frank also doesn’t like Jesse. And when I gave in to my delusion that everyone was going to behave like one big happy family…
All Hell Broke Loose!
Enter Billy Mumy cat.
His pal, Frank, wasn’t happy that Nik and Jesse were indoors, so Opie soaked the office door. He then soaked the cat bedding. He then soaked a wall or two. A rug or three. The bag of dog food for the raccoons. Nothing was considered beyond being soaked.
I quickly ran out of cat pee cleaner and patience.
As I write this Opie has entered my office and is gazing at me with his lovely golden green eyes. He’s really gorgeous. I mean, this cat has the most awesome orange fur I’ve ever seen on any cat in the entire wor–
Okay, the asshole just left.
Where was I?
Oh – just ran out of cat pee cleaner and patience.
Once Jesse was healed, he and Nik were escorted back outside with profuse apologies and a new garage fan. Still, the spraying has not quite stopped.
I made the Cardinal Sin of forgetting that Nik had slept on a cushy pet bed whilst enjoying his air conditioned suite in Ray’s office. This past weekend I put the bed down for someone else to enjoy. The next morning it was soaked.
I washed it. Twice! Put it down and again it was soaked.
I washed it again. Twice! And this time I covered it with a layer of Downy dryer sheets and a thick towel folded in half with another layer of Downy dryer sheets in between the layer.
I then put Opie on the bed and rubbed him all over it to get his personal stink ground in.
So far so good.
Good Opie! That’s real good!
If you’re interested, here is a clip from the Twilight Zone episode, It’s A Good Life.
Do you have a Billy Mumy cat at your house? A cat that holds you hostage with threat of bad behavior? I would love to hear how your cat rules your roost.
Thanks so much for leaving a comment, and have a Wonderpurr Day!