Saturday, April 5, 2014



Sportster Howard


Me being a cat, you would assume I rejoiced when Judy hit those last keystrokes on the computer, THE END, as she finished the last chapter of our newest book, MASADA’S MARINE. Except the cover and design (which is going to be awesome) and writing the acknowledgements (which is long), my job as co-author is complete.

Most folks figure I will return to what cats love to do most, nap, sleep, and purr. Not true. I have not reached the top of the tree of life by sitting on the fence post, like Top Cat, the mangy orange who roams our neighborhood.  This lean, dirty feline reminds me of a persistent predator always hunting as he prowls through heat, rain, and high winds. On too many occasions he had shadowed my door in the dark of the night.

Our showdown was ugly. It played out just like a scene from Gunsmoke, or my favorite old TV western with Steve McQueen, Wanted Dead or Alive.

I love you Steve McQene
Like my buddy Steve, Top Cat had driven me, with his threatening visits, to my limits of tolerance. I had to mow him down, dead or alive.

That night when he came to taunt me was like every other of his nightly visits. He talked smack to me through the screen, “I’m gonna to take everything you have, soft kitty - that rhinestone necklace around your fat neck, your store bought food and I’ll even sleep with your mama.” He sneered.  I’m gonna grab that scrawny tail of your’n and whip you around til you  see  stars swimming in your head, then dump you with the fishies in the Pacific.” I

The comment about sleeping with my Mom is what pushed me over the edge. I may have been the underdog, with no claws and living the good life but there was only going to be one Top Cat in this town. Like Gunsmoke’s, James Arness, I monitored the trouble maker’s movements from my various lookouts -the kitchen patio door, the front door, and the bedroom window sill. I learned his routine and his ways. Sure I was drawn to envy him and his life as a drifter. Top Cat’s a bounty hunter who makes it his business to investigate any and every bush, rock and tree –all the places of refuge for rabbits, lizards and birds. Imagining his lifestyle sent a titillating thrill through me that twitched my tail, even from my perch inside on the window sill.

I call him Top Cat because he slinks through town filled with the notion he rules the neighborhood. He has put the fear in many of my friends, like Danny Cat, who lives a few doors down and whose only aspiration is to become a Hollywood star. I decided his reign of terror and taunting had to end, Top Cat had to go down.

 That fateful night of the showdown the buzzard cat had pushed me into a rage.  I became the screaming mountain lion ready to pounce on its prey and risked everything to take him down. That night changed my life. Top Cat stormed the front door and I screeched with an anger that took possession of me.  My eyes reflected a red fire of fight.  I only saw my enemy. I slammed my body against the iron security screen door in an attempt to reach him. The metal banged and I saw movement coming up behind me from the living room. I turned and attacked with no hesitation and no regret. I was not going down. Like a veteran home from Iraq in a flashback. “Take no prisoners!”

I have no memory of that night, but the next day Judy showed me several deep punctures lined up and down her legs.  “You did this,” she told me.

 How could it have been me? I would know if I had harmed her, and why would I? For over a week, I felt the gap in our relationship. Judy convinced I had attacked her and me in denial of what I had done. I was confused, but I did understand, for the first time, my position in our relationship was on shaky grounds. She accused me of something I never thought I was capable of doing, and I had no way of proving my innocence.

It was exactly one week later, another Saturday night, when cats are feeling their catnip and are prodded by the crickets chirping   their invisible chorus. Top Cat arrived later than usual. Judy was in bed. If she had been my victim  during the last squirmish, I was relieved tonight she was out of the way and only hoped Top Cat would be on the receiving  end of my wrath..

 He came to the patio screen door. I saw his white flea collar glow in a moonbeam.  He was stealthy, but I had been waiting all week. I hadn’t slept. This was the night it would end. Top Cat was going down, dead or alive. If I survived.

Gotta take a nap!! Stay tuned!



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