Saturday, December 11, 2010

Part Three: The Cats Of The Animal Companion Book Circle

Peaches as a kitten


            Part Three
Peaches And Andrew

            Peaches and Andrew are brother and sister.  They are also high officials in the secret feline cabal known as the Orange Cat Contingent.  Few people are aware of this powerful entity, founded many thousands of years ago by the venerable orange tabby known as Tutankhitty.  Peaches and Andrew came to us by way of a feral cat rescue service.  Andrew is the only member of the Book Circle who can't read.  He's slow.  Literally.  I don't mean that he is stupid.  His orange coat is so huge and thick that it's impossible for Andrew to do much of anything.  He's a prisoner of his coat
            Andrew moves in increments.  One seldom sees him in transit from one place to another.  He simply arrives.  Fox and I can be in bed, alone, reading.  We turn the pages of our books.  Andrew is suddenly between us, settled and calm, purring.  How did he get there without a hint of disturbance, without moving a single molecule of air?
            Andrew may be a prisoner of his coat but he is also an alchemist.  He has taken his imprisonment and turned it into a form of enlightenment.  It's obvious that he loves being with us, with his family, and that his love is deep and it brings him great joy.
            When I read aloud for the Book Circle, he sees everything as a movie.  That's cool, because Andrew's rare comments help me evaluate the potential for film adaptations of my books.
            Peaches is a short haired orange tabby, virtually the opposite of Andrew.  She never shuts up.  "I want a treat, I want a treat," she says.  "Scratch my tummy or I'll keep making this noise.  Yeooowwwwwww, yeooooowwww.  What's up today?  Are you gonna read aloud or do I have to do homework?  When are you going to write a mystery?  Or a police procedural?  Your stuff is boring.  Too much mystical crap.  I want a good explosion or two.  How about a firefight between a tribe of cannibals and a unit of Navy Seals?  Yeoooowwwww!  Where's my treat?"
            At this point I must give Peaches exactly three Whiskas Chicken-flavored Dentabite Treats or she will not stop making that noise.  The other animals receive a single Dentabite.  These treats are fattening and expensive.  To keep the peace I lure Peaches to a location where she can't be seen by the other members of the Book Circle.  She gets her three treats and she's quiet.  Three treats buys her silence for a while.  We can continue our discussion of my poems, novels, satires and essays.
            You have now been introduced to all the members of the Animal Companion Book Circle, a group formed to discuss my literary works.  We have Bear, Gabriel, Obsidian, Peaches, Andrew and General Stonewall Jackson Cichlid.  We meet in the front room of our RV.  The General's aquarium is on a table a few feet from my computer.  The other members gather where they may.  Peaches likes the dashboard, where she can get elevation over the rest of us.  Andrew crawls inside a cube-shaped cat-house with a circular door.  He puts his head on the lip of the door and watches the proceedings.  Bear must, I repeat MUST, sit between my back and the back of the chair.  This forces me to lean forward and sit with half my butt off the chair but it's out of my control.  If I don't let Bear  into his little squeeze-space, he'll sit on the floor at my side and make a sound, something between a whine and a command.  "Whup," he says.  "Whup."  It's a quiet but insistent sound.  Frankly, it's obnoxious.  I move forward and Bear jumps into the space between the chair and my back. 
            You might discern that our friends are spoiled and manipulative. I've seen far worse.
            Gabriel sits on the couch with Obsidian.  They metamorphose into a composite creature, a brown ball of fur with four alert eyes.
            Thus gathered, we begin our experience of the extraordinary work of the world's most obscure talented writer, Art Rosch.
            I am Art Rosch and this is my reading audience.  I don't mean to exclude my wife, Fox.  She's read all of my work, many times.  She keeps the RV clean, she makes sure the bills are paid on time, she feeds the dogs and cats and cleans the cat box.  Fox is always nearby and ready with a pithy comment or a wry observation. 
            Every creature aboard this thirty eight foot RV is committed to the support of my writing.  I may remain the world's most obscure talented writer, but I am not without a core group of devoted followers.  I'd like to expand my fan base.  Sooner or later, readers will recognize a good thing and they'll subscribe to my blog.  An agent will realize that I'm a hidden treasure.  He'll make a three book deal with a big publisher.  My life will change.  I'll miss the peace and quiet of my RV and my little circle of friends.  I'll appear on the Daily Show and be appalled at how fat I look.  I will be mistaken for Philip Roth, who will be mistaken for me.
            There is no such thing as real life.  It's all a fantasy in which the characters exercise bad judgment, get into trouble, and mostly blame everyone else for their misery.
            My definition of a hero is someone who takes sole responsibility for his or her predicament and fights to change it for the better.
            My effort to change my predicament for the better is right here.  It's my Animal Companion Book Circle. 
            It's always good to know who are your true friends.

Coming next, a discussion about the novel, CONFESSIONS OF AN HONEST MAN in which General Stonewall Jackson Cichclid blows a lot of hot air.



1 comment:

  1. What a fun story!. The images are precious and the flowing style carried me along. Smiles.


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