Dear fans and friends, it’s Zoe here . . . Zoe the Fabulous Feline. For those who may not know me, I am a tuxedo cat—a true tuxedo cat, I might add—and I live with the woman I adopted about seven years ago; her name is Emily. I am a writer, and all my stories have at least a germ of truth, although you might need a microscope to find it. Other stories are one hundred percent true. This is one of those stories.
Before I get to it, I have to tell you about the other major player in this story. His name is Vic. (Perhaps I should not be using his real name—you know, change the name to protect the innocent. Except he’s not.) Actually, his name is William, but everybody calls him Vic. I don’t know why, because “Vic” is not even his middle name. An interesting tidbit about Vic—and the basis for understanding this story—is that he is a descendant of the Blackfoot tribe; at least that is what he says. Now, I don’t know anything about Indian tribes, let alone his ancestors, so I have to take him at his word.
Vic had been an ironworker in his day. He is an old man now … old and retired from the construction company that employed him for decades. Spends a couple of hours each morning pumping gas at his son-in-law’s station and handing out chocolates to all the customers. He has to hand out candy because he has a face that would scare his own mother. Deeply lined, leathery- looking skin, with a cragginess that either resulted from all those years in the sun or was inherited from his Blackfoot lineage. Or both, I suppose. He has the kind of face you see in old photographs of a Native American elder. Another way to imagine his face is to just visualize Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones—as he looks now, that is. Picture Mick and you’ve got Vic in your mind’s eye.
Now we get to the fish gist of the story. Vic is a family member, unfortunately. I say “unfortunately” because that means I have to see him frequently. He makes my fur stand on end, and so I avoid him at all costs. When he acts like a foolish human and persists in trying to get my attention, then I do what any respectable feline would do. I arch my back to signal that he should cease and desist. If he pushes on despite that warning, I hiss, spit, and growl. Loudly. One time, he foolishly persisted even after all my warnings, and was rewarded with a painful swipe of my paw—lovely, long nails unsheathed.
The rest of the family members are baffled by my reaction to Vic. You see, as a Native American, Vic loves animals and they love him back. He talks to wild animals, and they talk back. He and the animals understand each other. Let me give you just two examples of the natural trust and love between Vic and wildlife.
One day while Vic was out in his backyard, a squirrel approached him. Vic talked softly to the thing while holding out some food, and, without any hesitation, that rodent ate right out of Vic’s hand! Vic named the squirrel Sheba. After that, Sheba was a daily visitor to the back door of Vic’s house, and Vic fed her every day, talking to her here and there. In the spaces among Vic’s chatter, Sheba would chatter back.
Wild birds love Vic too. At the gas station, birds fly right into the booth where Vic sits waiting for customers to pull up to a pump. At least one bird always perches on Vic’s shoulder. It stays there while he goes outside the booth and pumps gas. One day, after he’d finished taking care of a customer, Vic extended his arm and pointed his index finger out parallel to the ground. Well, wouldn’t you know it! The bird walked on down from Vic’s shoulder to his finger; there it stayed while Vic walked to the driver’s side door to collect the customer’s payment. The driver was amazed by this display of man-bird bonding.
Vic’s got other stories similar to these that he loves telling us about. He especially likes to relate these stories after one of our stand-offs. He just doesn’t understand why he cannot win me over. Time and again he tells the family, “It’s the dogs. Zoe smells the dogs on me.”
No, Vic. It’s not the dog smell on you that bothers me. I like dogs. What I don’t like is what you did when I was a mere six-month-year-old kitten. There I was, lying on the floor in my new home, minding my own business, when you came into the room, knelt down beside me, and putting your hand on my belly, spun me around a few times. Maybe you thought it was funny, but I did not. My human stopped you when she saw what you were doing, but by then, I was already quite dizzy.
Yes, my friends, that is what he did. I know now that he regrets having done that. I know he’s so embarrassed about it that he has convinced himself that I don’t like him because he smells like a dog. Well, yes, he does. But that I can tolerate. It’s the damnable, dizzying memory that I can’t tolerate. Maybe one day I will be able to forgive and forget. That day will be the day he enters the room where I am and it does not spin.
Emily’s Sunrise Editing Services
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