This story is as much about me, and my earliest days, as it is about a grizzled, old, orange Tabby Cat.
It is still hard for me to believe that I will soon be the same age as he was when he entered my life, and I his.
Hello, dear reader, it's time for a bit more of my back story. ;-D
It's been almost 9 years since I last wrote an entry in my memoirs, and the best excuse I can give for my writer's block is that at first it was just exhaustion from writing the latest of 22 chapters, but it eventually came down to being pre-occupied with caring for and worrying about Daddy as his work life took a turn for the worse at that time.
I wish I could say that I had all 22 chapters saved on file, but I don't. At the time I wrote them Daddy was still learning many of the ins and outs of his computer (And so was I!), and besides, we never gave a 2nd thought to saving what I posted on the old HOWLING WOLVES BOARD from Entertainment Weekly.com.
Maybe we should have. Think of the possibilities for a book or something, who knows?
To catch-up read: My Earliest Days Online: Remembering 1998 to 2002.
Anyway, today I want to share with you the only piece left from those days. Luckily it is the last one so makes it easy for me to prepare for continuing from where I left off as well as maybe trying to re-write those missing 21 chapters.
I never thought about starting over because I felt I couldn't duplicate the quality of writing I brought to those stories. I felt it was best I carry on from where I left off, but am willing to re-think this idea.
Where I left off works as a good place to introduce you to my story because the period covered marked a new beginning in my life.
I would like to dedicate these chapters to the memory of my Mentor, Tom (1986-1998), who you will meet, and see here, in the only pictures Daddy has from all the 12 years of Tom's often rough life.
TOM was an outdoor Cat Daddy's family had since birth, who took to the indoors, at his insistence, when he took charge of him in the last 3 years or so of his life.
He lived only a few short months more after I entered his life, long enough to impart his hard fought for wisdom into this young whippersnapper, before passing on.
Let me begin with a PROLOGUE that led into the much more lengthy main piece itself....
Hello dear reader, when last we gathered here our weeks old hero had just been introduced to his new home environment, exploring the unfamiliar sights of a bedroom cut off from the rest of the house, and ending up under the bed to get his bearings....
After a few minutes I started calling out "where are you?"
Not knowing what I said, but responding to my frantic cry, the person I came to eventually call DADDY beckoned me out of hiding with some things that were reasuringly familiar: Dry food, water, and "Oh Happy Day!" a litter box!
I suddenly realized just how badly I needed to...well, use your imagination. As I tended to business and then chowed down, I never noticed Daddy leaving the room. I slept under the bed for 3 hours, so content and at peace was I that I felt I could face anything.
Suddenly I awoke to the sound of loud, insistent scratching at the door to my sanctuary, and an even louder voice saying, "Who's there? Let me in, Damn it!"
Over, and over, and over...
I shivered under the bed in terror...
And now to continue...
Who The Hell Are You? And Other Fine Points Of Making A New Acquaintance:
My first weeks in my new home had their good moments and their bad. The bad mainly centered around that frightening and mysterious Presense on the other side of the bedroom door, but also included my first times in my carrier as Daddy rode me on his bike to the vet.
During my first week, I was getting used to the smell associated with that angry voice beyond the door, and it was getting used to me as well. I realized it was another Cat, and its questions, while never changing, were a little less angry sounding, and a bit more on the inquisitive side:
"Who are you? What are you? Are you like me? Why are you here?"
What made me still afraid, however, were statements like:
"I live here! You are not welcome! He loves me! LEAVE!"
I couldn't understand why Daddy allowed this to go on. Didn't he understand a word of what was being said? If not, then why not?
The vet made me nervous. All this poking and proding, and sticking things where the sun don't shine, & the needles! Quite uncomfortable to tell you the truth!
But the good was outweighing the bad: Daddy's constant reassuring presense, his playing with me with toys, the food (oh, the food was wonderful!) with a bowl all my own, and no need to share!
Sleeping on the bed, or in Daddy's lap, I felt safe and at home.
I began to get bolder and more self assured. I explored the highs (that I could reach) and lows of my environment. Using my claws to climb up the bed sheet from the floor, and leaping onto a very low chair, or up at the hanging cord of the window blinds, I was very proud of myself indeed.
I even dared to tiptoe up to the door and listen to that voice or its owners movements in the other room. I was still afraid to say anything to it, however.
Finally, one morning, I awoke to find the door to my sanctuary open, and Daddy's voice from afar...
Nervously, I jumped to the floor, stood up, and slowly, cautiously, walked toward the sound of his voice.
The first thing I noticed was that this room was larger, with so many new things to explore, I didn't know where to start! Shelves, a couch, toys, a window from which all sorts of interesting sounds could be heard on the outside.
But no Daddy and no sign of that OTHER voice.
I found another room with a table and another window, and saw Daddy, standing at the entrance to another room, looking at me with a smile. He knelt down and encouraged me toward bowls of food and water.
Happily I scampered in his direction, but was suddenly brought up short when a HUGE yellowish-orange wall of fur stepped from behind Daddy and blocked my path!
I skidded on the floor and fell on my rump! I looked up and said meekly, "hello"...
My first thought was, "Whoa, he's OLD!"
My 2nd thought was , "Mother of God help me! I'm dead!"
I stood back up and walked forward, offering another meek "hello"...
He stared at me for what seemed like forever, hissed "Why are you here? GO AWAY!! And SLAPPED me visciously upside the head in a blur of yellow so furious I was knocked skidding across the floor with him charging right for me!
Daddy quickly seperated us, grabbing my attacker by the scruff of the neck and tossing him in the bedroom and closing the door.
I was so dizzy and afraid that I couldn't stand. Daddy picked me up and petted me, muttering in my ear.
Calm again, I was set back on the floor and allowed to explore to my hearts' content.
That day Daddy started using one particular word to get my attention, for food, play, or just because he wanted to. I learned to recognize that word and to realize it always led to something good and pleasurable.
Although I didn't fully understand, yet, it seemed I'd acquired a name all my own...
For the next 3 weeks I was allowed out and about under Daddy's close supervision. I warily took advantage of this freedom to get used to my new surroundings.
I discovered that while I could climb onto the couch, I couldn't get on tables and chairs or even the window ledges, which was damn frustrating, especially since Daddy was not inclined to be of any help in this regard.
The other Cat and I warily kept our distance as much as possible. While I was curious about him, he didn't SEEM to want to have anything to do with me. The slightest thing would set him off, and he would gruffly say something mean to me, and slap me.
Just his yelling "BOO!" if I even looked in his direction was enough to send me running to find a place to hide, his laughter ringing in my ears...
I learned very quickly that his food and water bowls, and litter box, were off limits and getting too close was liable to earn me a slap if he was nearby.
I also learned that he was familiar with the world outside the apartment which, while it went a long way toward explaining his appearance, only lent an air of mystery about him in addition to the fear I already had.
So, a month into my new life and home, I was settling in more or less satisfactorily, memories of my Mother and siblings were beginning to fade a little, although late at night soimetimes, when I'd least expect it, I'd let out a wimper for my Mother.
Awakening to my cries, but not knowing what I was saying, Daddy would pull me close, and pet me back to sleep.
At the foot of the bed, a Battle-Scarred Old Warrior lay and watched....
****UPDATE - JUNE 5, 2012****
I wish to thank, and Congratulate, Dana, of Crazy, Poetic Life, for leaving not just the 2200th, but also the 2201st, comment, on this blog since it began on New Year's Day, 2010.
Like Elvira Mistress of Felinity, and I, and Daddy Kiril, too, she is a very versatile writer, indeed! :-D
She left Comment #2201 to this story, I, MAXIMUS: A Cat Tale, calling it "very interesting and unlike anything I have read".
She also liked something Daddy has done, about a "Storyteller".