It’s been a heavy month for essay subject matter, so I do hope you’ll enjoy (or at least forgive) a somewhat lighter change of pace in this last week of Pride Month. A small, silly gift I promised to the wonderful Ezra – happy 28th and the reunion of your family. May you be together happily for many years to come.
It was a massacre, to start with. Last few weeks had been turmoil and the smell of salt water; all of a sudden the sun was out over my bed while the moon hung through the window, and the normal patter of hairless paws had become a regular rumble. Naptime was gone, like I hadn’t set up an exact time for it. The dogs danced, I tell ya. But soon as it came, it was gone again. Any sane body would’ve been celebrating. Then there was me.
I walked in off my rounds to find the door open and the halls quiet, limp as the gift dangling from my teeth. It was a blues kind of day, that sound that came down like raucous water from the window down the street and made humans stand too close together and sway. They were doing it now, my humans. Yeah that’s right, I have some. Comes a time when the wild terrain gets too much for old paws, and you have to hang up prowling the hard beats and alley streets.
These ones were alright, anyway. Didn’t have to climb too high to keep an eye on them, and it hadn’t taken them long to sit still for my hard-thinking power reclines. They didn’t take gifts, either, no matter how much I subdued the birds first. I respected that. On the streets you couldn’t trust a source that took bribes. Maybe that’s what did it. Maybe I was going soft, and not just from my luxurious coat. Maybe it was just that the catnip trail had gone cold. Either way, I wanted answers.
I let myself into the bedroom, following the trail where Curly had disappeared for the last few hours. They were a real looker as humans go, with a long thin braid like a siren song for batting at and fingers so long they could reach all the way down to the bottom of the treat bowl. I stretched myself under their hand, ready to do the hard work of detecting once a few good backrubs were in my system. I waited.
I meowed. Half a scratch, barely the contraction of a butterfly before it realizes it’s landed on the wrong nose. Something was rotten here – even a harsh battery of tongue grooming caused no response. It was time to let myself up on the bed.
My hair curdling feeling worsened when Fuzz didn’t appear to lift me up. I had checked that they weren’t in the chair, keeping watch over the city streets while I did important investigative work (shoddy work, but they were only human – the mean streets got to the likes of them). It looked like it would fall to me to look for clues.
Whoever had been here wasn’t making it easy – a coat of sea salt smell stuck to every surface, bleeding grey lumps into black towers and hiding any trace of evidence. These were professionals, and whatever they’d taken had left my humans greyer than naptime without a hot electric noisebox.
I left them there, ready to stalk the grungy forgotten corners. The trail led me to a closet, the spare nap corner where I kept what needed to be secret. I don’t know how I missed it before – the salt smell was overwhelming here, even months after things had settled back to normalcy. The removable fur my humans kept was hiding something, resisting my catted attempts to get free. There, among them, it couldn’t be –
There was fur right in the middle of my humans’, tied up in it. This was big. This was the nest of it, the big rat. I pulled back my claws, knowing what I had to do.
“KP, no!” Square, solid hands lifted me into the air, hands I’d always relied on to scratch my ear and feed me. So, Fuzz had been in on it the whole time, leading me into a trap. They were wearing their fanciest fur, the kind that meant traveling. I should’ve been watching my back. They were rumbling as they carried me, trying to get rid of me. They let the smell in I yowled, refusing to be silenced.
Fuzz locked me in the clink, roof so low I could barely leap and reach it. I don’t know how long I stayed there. When I listened I could hear blues noise, my two humans low and soft together. Making plans, no doubt. Traitors.
Rests became dozes became naps. Before I knew it I was having real sleeps, settling in like some kind of sad domestic kitten and not the overseer of my domain. They warned me against keeping humans. Said they were crafty, out there. I counted the blacks turning into greys, waiting.
By the time the prison opened I’d prepared my revenge. I let out a fierce yowl, letting myself be lifted up to calm them into a false sense of security. The salt-smell was immediate. This was them, my adversary.
“Hey Kittypie, long time no see. Did you miss me?” I prepared for my attack, caught off guard by the.
Clearly they had learned the error of their ways. I’d seen a lot of rookies go rough, thinking they knew what was what in the harsh world. But the soft sides always came out. I rumbled my forgiveness. Ya meant well, kid.
“Yeah, I missed you too.” Salt was looking at my humans, nuzzling their faces. But the fingers were still scratching my chest, so I let it slide.
The sound in the air wasn’t blues noise, wasn’t birdsong. If I didn’t know better, I’d of called it almost real purring. But even these old ears play tricks, crowded on all sides with three salt-cinnamon-sweet humans swaying together and rumbling. Before I knew it, I was joining them. I must be getting soft after all.
But the salt-hiding-catnip I could smell on the counter didn’t hurt nothin’ either.