Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Arsonist Who Loved Catnip, pt 2.

In the aftermath of a traumatic event, such as the shooting of a chief fire inspector by a medium-sized gray tabby, details are often lost. Shock causes the human mind to block out certain unpleasant details. Such a detail is the direction that Muffy took when she leapt from Mrs. Bertram’s arms and fled into the rapidly-descending darkness.

The homeless folks near the alley between 15th and 16th streets, next to Gilswitch Parkway could have told you. It’s not that they were anywhere near the place to which Muffy fled; they were just exceptionally perceptive. Some would even go so far as to say that the Gilswitch homeless were psychic. Those people were wrong. They just happened to be very insightful with regard to the minds of cats. It didn’t matter what those folks could tell the authorities, though, because no one would ask them.

This is a real pity, because they could have shed a great deal of light on the inner thought processes of certain inscrutable public officials, based solely on the behavior of their cats. More pitiful still is the unpublished state of Gilswitch indigent Herbie Wexler’s commentary on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, in which Wexler flawlessly identifies in great detail the habits of each cat’s owners!

Had there been anyone in proximity to the alley running behind the Tower of Flour Bakery, such a person might also get the idea that an event of great feline import was occurring in that back street. Had they heard the news of the pistol-packing kitty, they might also have made the connection that Muffy had holed up there, but probably not. The rattling and banging of three garbage cans and the enthusiastic yowling coming from somewhere nearby would have likely signaled nothing special.

The simple reasoning behind this is that most humans have no real understanding of the grammar and syntax of cat speech. And since no cat is likely to ever make a lexicon available to human beings—a species that they deem as woefully lacking in even the most basic modicum of intelligence, but useful in their own way as slaves, and several steps above the common dog—we are likely to remain in the dark. (Greater than cats’ scorn for homo sapiens, though, it is the utter feline contempt for typewriters that keeps this language barrier wide open.)

Had any human being been able to translate, they would have discovered that Muffy was getting a gang of like-minded cats together to carry out her nefarious plans. Normally, in feline cultural exchanges of this nature, an expression of dominance must needs be offered, typically by emerging victorious in a duel. Muffy, however, merely met any objections by extending one paw and asking “Wanna’ thumb wrestle for it?” Of course, in the cat world there is no appropriate response to that question.

The first to join up was a scarred, one-eyed tom named Cyclops. Inexplicably, the name had nothing to do with him having one eye. Instead, he had seen the name in a dumpster on a piece of cardboard that had once backed a child’s toy. Cyclops liked the name, which, when clearly enunciated in the language of cats carried the sense of independence-yet-cuddliness. In other words, it expressed typical feline aloofness.

Added to Muffy’s revolutionaries before the evening was up were Fonzie--she of samurai stealth and very accurate incisions—and Boo-Boo Kittie—an adorable Siamese runt with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of explosives and incendiaries. Finally, there was Cat. Cat was an aged, nearly-crippled, tailless feline who was recruited as a repository of ancient feline wisdom and philosophy.

These five were the charter members of the “Feline Quest for Rectification of Human Injustices, Both Personal and Accidental.” While it may seem a long and clumsy name in English, in the tongue of cats, it is pronounced simply “Hiss!”


HMSnow said...

I have noticed in many writers a greater tendency toward Dickensian prose at or around half past two in the morning. Glad to see you confirming this observation in grand fashion. Ah, the social ills of felines! What shall be done to write-- er, right-- these wrongs?

Allen said...

Yes, I once accidentally produced The Pickwick Papers in its entirety in an early morning frenzy of writing.

I hadn't really planned on continuing the story, but it was a hot and steamy night & I couldn't sleep, so... Viva La Gato Revolucion!

"Here we go writing prickly prose
Prickly prose prickly prose
Here we go writing prickly prose
At two o'clock in the morning."
--not T.S. Eliot

"This is the way the story ends
Story ends story ends
This is the way the story ends
Not with a bang but with a ROWR!"
--Also not T.S. Eliot