Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Story of Jeff the Cat, Part II

In the time before time… when all was fire, and flesh and claw, the cat would rise from a place in the north of the city.

There came a time when the queen would decree a travel westward, into the face of the burning sun and into the place of the barren wastes, where trees bearing fruit grew spiny and creatures scuttled on their bellies across the earth.

The queen traveled ahead to the wasteland, choosing the place they would call home. The matter done, she called forth the cat, the wise canine companion and their human manservant.

The cat, always quick to anger, was without guile, and so demanded his transport not by carriage on the roadways, but passage in the belly of the silver beasts that coursed the sky.

“Ha!” declared the manservant. “They stow you in a crate like precious cargo!”

But the cat did not respond. The knowledge of his error was plain. He would ride in the beasts' belly, feeble from the elixir given him by the manservant to ease his nerve. The queen would receive him and place him first among the clan to inhabit the new dwelling, before even she gave up her temporary residence to come to the new place.

Alone he hid beneath the porcelain throne, waiting, until one day (he knew not how long) the door was thrown open and the dog and the manservant arrived with the comforts of their home. But it was not the cat's home.

For three years did the cat dwell in the desert, his displeasure constant, his look one of an ever growing madness. Still did the cat strike out against the queen and the manservant and queen, and why they suffered him to live, none could say.

In the third year the foolish dog came to the cat’s house, and here she made a bed for herself.

She wore not the gruff solemnity of her canine kin whom the cat knew, but appeared with a wild madness, her mind adrift, her thoughts as thin as the wind.
The foolish dog, though the cat paid her no heed, would go undeterred in her interest and affection for the cat.

“We are friends!” she insisted.

The cat slinked away, needing no companion but his own stewing anger.

Until one evening, long after the queen had retired and the manservant watched over his companions, did the cat demonstrate to the foolish dog his disdain.

The manservant met the gaze of each of the companions. “I ask you three, what is best in life?”

The foolish dog, always quick to answer with no thought in her brains spoke first:

“To have fresh dog chow. To find oneself on a warm spring day with the sun on your tummy. To eat rocks and vomit them.”

“Wrong!” barked the manservant. “Cat! What is best in life?”

“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”

The manservant eyed the cat for a long time, before turning to He Who They Called The Melbotis.

“Dog. What is best in life?”

“Knowledge of the place within the pack. The trust and love of The Queen. Quiet nights by the side of the manservant.”

The manservant seemed pleased.

The cat sat silently. Behind his eyes, the flames of chaos flickered and began to ebb.

Coming soon: Part III


mcsteans said...


J.S. said...

I especially like the part where the manservant makes each of his pets answer questions to see whom he will deem worthy of his affection. The League and McSteans better be ready to answer some questions next time I have dinner with ya'll. (also, I'm kind of down with the belief that fresh chow and sun on your tummy are pretty awesome)