Both Carly and her mother approach me and I sit down, looking up at their staring faces. Carly crouches down right in front of me eyes narrowed as she scrutinizes my feat of strength. I give a slow blink of endearment to her and continue to wait for them to pass judgment given their newly-discovered understanding of my unique abilities.
“Old Caesar couldn’t do that. He’s been eyeing that mouse for weeks.”
Eh? Could Carly’s mother be talking of another cat? Now that she mentions it, I can smell the presence of another cat in their apartment. In between my earlier drowsiness and my current hunger, preoccupation clouded my perception somewhat. Smells like an older cat, as well, so I should remember to pay my respects when I get the chance.
“There’s actually been quite a few things that have seemed a little strange lately. The robber, my door busted open, you showing up in my car… was it all you, Chuck?”
Okay, so first of all, I really need to do something about her calling me Chuck. That needs to stop. Such an… undignified sounding name. I’m not sure how to communicate my displeasure though, so for now I just blink again and move my tail a little, a quick flick to express both my frustration at my unfortunate christening and impatience to find more food.
“I guess I can’t really expect you to understand what I’m saying along with your super-strength, huh? Blink once if you agree.”
Oh, well that’s convenient. I blink. Carly stares at me even more closely than before. Her mother is the first to speak.
“Carly, I think your cat does know what we’re saying.”
“It could just be coincidence. Chuck, blink once if you understand what we’re saying.”
I blink once.
“Blink one eye if you beat up the man who broke into my apartment.”
I blink one eye, though it takes a bit more concentration. I don’t know if I’ve ever blinked with just one eye before.
“Sure is a lot of coincidence, Carly.”
“There’s no… I mean, I don’t think he could understand me when I first got him… or at least it didn’t really seem like it. Though I didn’t really test him, either. When did this happen? This is unbelievable.”
This is humorous. If they only knew about the rest of my recent exploits. I can only imagine their reactions. Suddenly there is a voice from elsewhere in the apartment, deeper than Carly or her mother’s and a bit rough-sounding.
“Hey Melanie, look at this on the news! There’s this video going around of a cat stopping a bank robbery! These news hounds will do anything to get people to watch, huh?”
Okay, so maybe I won’t have to imagine their reactions. Carly and her mother run into the room. I follow them at my own pace. In the other room, a male sits in a chair in front of one of the same boxes that Gladys had, a container which smells of the same scent that was in the kitchen coming from a small white box next to him. And sure enough, there I am in the Tee Vee, though I’m also out here, so how does that work (on a side note, news hounds? They get wolves or dogs to put stuff on the Tee Vee? Perhaps I have underestimated the wolf dogs)? It moves from an image of someone speaking, looking straight out at us, to black and white images of my time in the building. It’s fun to see what it looks like when I kicked the one guy in the face, to see myself in action. And kinda weird, too. It seems there are several different materials the humans use that can show you yourself or show you events that have happened in the past or even happened elsewhere. Entertaining, but I don’t know how useful this is. Carly puts a hand over her mouth when she sees all this, she must be impressed.
“Oh my god.”
“I know, right? It looks pretty good. Probably computer generated.”
“No, dad, that’s my cat.” She turns and looks at me. “You… you’re on the news. They have video of you…” she looks back in time to see the man attempting to kill me, “… getting shot and… wait, what?”
The one she addressed as ‘dad’ turns his head but does not rise from his seat. “Oh hey yeah, it looks just like him, but come on- ”
Her mom chimes in. “Ben, this cat just moved that ten ton refrigerator with one paw. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. I think we may be in the presence of… a celebrity, I guess? Or maybe an alien. Or a new species. My point is, there’s something remarkable about this cat.”
“Not to mention he speaks French. Like, we could just ask if he’s an alien. Chuck, blink once if you’re an alien, twice if you aren’t.” She seems a bit nervous about this question, and I’d really like to set her at ease, but I don’t know what she means by alien, so I ask.
“Man, what a squeaker!” her father says.
“Huh. I wasn’t expecting a meow. What’s the idea, Chuck?”
“Maybe he doesn’t know what ‘alien’ means?” Once again her mother is spot on. One day I will be able to listen to these humans and not have to wonder what new wards mean. Today is not that day. Carly folds her arms in front of her and looks up at an angle.
“Oh, well an alien is, you know, something that’s not from this planet.” She pauses. “And the planet is where we are right now, the ground and everything around us. Does that help?”
I blink once in spite of the mysteries created by all this new information. Okay, so they call the land a planet for some reason, and apparently It’s possible to leave it? I can only assume they mean by going up. Are birds aliens, then? Or is there some kind of land that is even further up than the birds fly? I’d always thought the sky just went up forever. This doesn’t really concern me, as I can’t jump that high anyways, but I’m naturally curious about it all. The humans must either know the answers to these questions or be extraordinarily incurious.
“So… are you an alien?”
I blink twice for no. At least, I don’t think I’m an alien, though I can’t say for sure about my father. Maybe he fell from the sky – I wouldn’t know. But I don’t think he did, and I don’t think he was (or is?) an alien. I’m just the strongest cat, simple as that. I’m still hungry though, and getting a bit bored with the humans’ discussion of the nature of my existence, so I go over to one of their movable walls (I can tell by the shape and also the faint feel of fresh air and the accompanying smells) and then glance back at them.
“Hey. Let me outside. I need to hunt.” Their attention captured, I scratch the wall lightly to emphasize the immediacy of my need, though my claws still leave a mark in spite of my gentleness.
“Looks like your alien cat wants to go outside.”
“Dad, he just said he wasn’t an alien!”
“Right, right, just let the dang cat out before he tears up my door.”
Carly opens the door for me and I dash outside, her and her parents following, though her dad lags behind a bit, either out of age or the distracting influence of the Tee Vee, I’m not sure. This particular door leads out the opposite end ot their apartment that we entered, and once outside I feel immediate pleasure. It’s the kind of day that makes you close your eyes with joy, and I feel the strong urge to roll around on the ground and take a bath, which I resist. Getting some sun can wait ’til later, and will in fact be enhanced by a full stomach. I’m delighted to see that there is a lake or river out here as well. My eyes catch the darting movement of fish within the rippling waters and I know that my hunger will soon be sated. I wait for just the right moment and spring out upon the water, one paw grabbing a fish, and then jumping from the unstable surface to the other side. I’d rather not get wet if I don’t have to. From behind I hear Carly cry out.
“Holy crap! Well, there he goes. Though he came back last time, so I guess I shouldn’t really worry.”
Indeed she is correct. For now, a meal, and then some exploration of the forest that stretches out in front of me.
( ©2017 Sean Dorsey )