He used to sit by the back door and sing “ow.” He meant “out,” of course, but just couldn’t form the “t.” Cats are good at vowels, but they struggle with certain sharp consonants. As I sat on the arm of the couch, the singing analogy reminded me of high school choir, where we would warble vowels forever, and then spit out the consonants as if they were acid.
His elderly companion, a much abused calico, was glad to see him gone, but I missed the little rascal. Adopted at the same time, and nearly the same age, Siam and Marbles were far from littermates. Slightly larger initially, Marbles had beaten Siam up once, and he never forgot it; he made her life as miserable as possible, but it’s likely he would have done that anyway.
When I checked into the house during the day, as my friends traveled, I sometimes found cat scat behind large plants. “I think Marbles loses her potty training when you’re gone,” I remarked sympathetically.
“No,” the male owner assured me, “Siam hides and scares the shit out of Marbles.” That turned out to be the truth.
When I arrived unexpectedly one day, I found Siam blocking the doorway into the laundry room where the litter box was located. Marbles was some distance away and in misery. “I know what you’re doing,” I told Siam. He grinned in a feline manner and sauntered toward his food dish.
There were inappropriate times for a cat to be out in the neighborhood, because of released dogs, or roaming wild predators. Siam disregarded all of that. He would hide from me in the house, creeping close to the outside door I was using, and then run away when he saw an opening. One time, he followed the backs of my heels so closely, I had no idea he was there until I opened the door, and then he was out and gone.
He didn’t just torment humans, he tormented neighboring animals. Much smaller than the wild horses, he stayed away from them, but big, fat, pampered dogs were fair game. He would walk fence rails with a “nyah, nyah, nyah, you can’t get me” attitude. He would sniff disgustedly at certain dogs, knowing it unhinged them. As they sniffed back, through the restraining fence, he would dig in the flower beds of their house and relieve his bowels. Confined to the fenced yard, the dogs were reduced to sitting on their haunches and howling in frustration, which got them in trouble. Siam knew that. He especially liked jerking the chains of Rottweilers and a duo of Hellfire and Dalmatians.
Sometimes he would disappear when I was cat-and-house sitting, and he wouldn’t reappear for hours. Siamese cats tend to bond with one person, and he was primarily bonded to the female home owner. I was sort of liked, but below the wife and husband, and even the husband’s brothers. “She left me again!” Siam’s hurt and fury were obvious. He ran away for most of the day. Even though he made my life as a sitter difficult, I understood him completely. When he came back, like an orphaned child, we cuddled and I assured him I would be in-and-out until Mom reappeared. He believed me and he wasn’t disappointed.
I could never stay overnight, so my frequently traveling friends found a young woman to do just that. They were afraid of bloody nocturnal cat fights, and the fear was well-founded. Since most any human female reacts strongly to the cries of a baby, Siam took to walking around the house in the dark and imitating a crying human infant when the poor young woman was staying over. “I can’t sleep!” She wailed to me. Siam just smiled.
A male neighbor got sick of the smartass Siamese cat who was digging up his flower beds. Rather than make friends with Siam, which might have worked, he tried to catch him in a mink trap. Siam was never caught, of course, and never presented a target for a gun, but hard feelings ensued. Unable to do anything else, the neighbor, who knew the culprit wasn’t the homebody Marbles, nonetheless would scream at my friends, “Have you lost your Marbles again?!” when he saw them out in the yard. Pleased with himself, he would snicker and snort and wander to another part of his property. Altercations were limited to grumbling, and it was a good thing.
For all his tough cat behavior, Siam was more fragile than Marbles, and preceded her in death. She didn’t mind; when I came to visit, she had me all to herself. Oddly though, Siam didn’t seem to leave the house. I would often see a brown cat out of the corner of my eye, especially in a group of pictures. When I mentioned this curiosity to a mutual friend, a committed cat person, she affirmed my impressions. “The portrait cat sneakily gestured at everyone. Do you remember all the moving paintings from the Harry Potter books? Where do you think Rowling got the idea? An advanced spirit like Siam could certainly inhabit a painting and make his presence known.”
I would blow the whole thing off, were it not for the fact that a dead person once took over an Ouija board, and answered questions only I knew. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio…”
Chuck gave us five sentences, one of which we were to incorporate into a roughly 1000 word story.
- The shape fights the motionless ink.
- The portrait cat sneakily gestured at everyone.
- It walked inside the spaceship and then it sat down.
- When does the family document the thunder?
- The rough sex arrives by adhesive smoke.
I chose number 2.