Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Brief History of Staff (4 of 4)

Chaos was a pampered only-cat for a few years until my wife walked into the backyard one day and found a bird. Apparently, this was some kind of special bird (too small to eat, that’s all I could tell by looking—birds aren’t my kind of pets). Well, we couldn’t keep a bird but her sister had just taken in a stray cat and they though it would be a fair trade. “She’s a sweet little thing and growing really quick.” Yeah, really quick because she was pregnant. Once again a swarm of kittens was inflicted on my quiet home. And the mother was, at best, an incompetent monster. Not only was it her first litter but she also hated them and wanted nothing to do with them. Chaos stepped up and became their parental figure, master of the guild, trainer and mentor. Their mother escaped the house and never looked back as soon as they were weaned after a few unsuccessful attempts to eat them. Of this litter, we kept three: Zeno, Chucky, and Whiskey. Zeno I have spoken of before. Chucky is sadly much like her mother—a true cat—but she also fell head-over-heels in love with Chaos and remains with us still, trying as best she can to be domestic (and failing). And Whiskey? Well therein lies quite the story.

The more observant (and Celtic) might observe that I’m spelling Whiskey’s name wrong. That’s deliberate. Water Horses are strong enough without helping them along with the magic of naming.

When the horrid cat had her kittens, she gave birth to four that lived…and Whiskey. I tampered with the natural order and received a changeling in return. She was born dead in a placental sac that didn’t break open. I gnawed through it with my teeth (the only tool handy), sucked the mucous from her nose and mouth, and made her live. She was brain damaged, prone to seizures, lacking in coordination and depth perception, and, well, rather simple at times but she was also a rare and wonderful fey treasure.

I have never known an animal filled with more joy, more raw pleasure at the simplest events of daily life, more in love with the experience of just being alive. Oh, she was a pooka, a prankster that lived just outside of the normal world and saw everything just a little off from the rest. She didn’t cry or mew, she trilled. Emblematic of her behavior and her problems was her love of swirling her humans’ legs. Ducking her head, she’d charge forward—and miss. Realizing her error, she would stop and throw her hips sideways in order to finally make contact then circle around for another try.

It’s not really surprising that she didn’t die. One day she disappeared, back into the fairy realm she’d come to visit from. Very sad, but appropriate.

I could go on—almost two decades of cats makes for a lot of stories—but I believe this will suffice for my purpose: a brief history of the staff this far.

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