Boy oh boy, it's been a while since I contributed to this thing. Life just gets in the way, y’know? Can’t write these things as often as I’d like. Some of you may even have started weaning off your meds as a result of the time lapse. Well, hold your ponies! Call up your favorite pharmacist 'cause here's another Biography of a Nobody entry, hot off the electronic presses, just for you. Aren't you special?
Now, a lot has happened this summer that is blog-worthy: The wife's garden has produced enough juicy gems to warrant opening a private grocery store, we had a wonderful family vacation camping with friends and relatives at Itchy Island Lake (the mosquitos were beautiful this year), and our little four-limb drive baby became a certified bi-ped, chasing the house cats at a speed they had hoped was impossible for human self-propelled travel. Not to mention alien visitors enslaving all of man-kind in the lower forty-eight, there was that too, I suppose.
But all that is just day-to day filler. Oh sure, the kid walking was kind of a big deal, but hey, soon he'll be riding bikes, followed by driving cars, and so on. So forgive us if we're trying to make sure that achievement bar stays waaaay up over his funny-shaped head and we don't let on too soon how proud we are of him. We figure once he pilots a research craft to Mars then we'll shower him with more "atta-boys" than he'll know what to do with. Only then will it be okay to let his noggin swell with pride, when there's really not much else he could do to impress us anyway.
With that kind of sound logic, this blog entry is dedicated to my wife's girly cat, Sierra. Yessir-ee! Cats don't impress anybody (since that would mean they would need to defy gravity by getting up), so I can feel totally at ease to make her the center of attention right here, right meow, knowing with full confidence that the fuzz she has for brains could not possibly expand and consume us all in binge ego-feeding frenzy.
Now, as some of you may know, Sierra was recently the highlight of international news coverage because one night, she did not come home! My wife was horrified! I was fine; we had a spare cat. But collectively, we were consumed in gut-wrenching fear for our beloved Sierra's very survival in this harsh Northern Canadian wilderness. We had to resort to twice the amount of sleep-aid medication as usual just to keep us from chewing our finger and toe nails to the quick (yoga four days a week helps with the required bendiness to reach the lower extremities, if you were curious).
But, true to teenage form (I figure she’s probably 18 in kitty years the way she looks at us sometimes) she comes sauntering back into the house nearly 40 hours later, as if absolutely nothing happened, grabbing a small snack on her way to her usual cat-shaped dent on the couch, then promptly going to sleep.
Her fur was matted and full of grass and leaves. We just wanted to shake her wildly above our heads, asking “What the frick happened out there??!” But we all know you can’t get any information out of a cat, it’s true. For one thing, history has shown us, repeatedly, that they make useless witnesses.
Prosecuting attorney: Isn’t it true, Mr. Whiskers, that you saw Mr. Simpson repeatedly stabbing his wife on the evening of June 12, 1994?
Mr. Whiskers: (In the middle of licking himself, raises his head in inquisitive surprise, tongue sticking out half-way.) Prrt? (Resumes licking himself with impressive leg control.)
Prosecuter: Mr. Whiskers, I remind you that you are under oath. Yes or no to seeing the defendant commit his wife’s murder?
Mr. W: (Dead silence as the cat stares forward unblinking for two full minutes, then again resumes licking itself.)
Prosecuter: Mr. Whiskers!
Mr. Whiskers: (Looks at the attorney.) Meow?
Prosecuter: Oh for God sakes! Bailiff, squirt that cat with the water bottle, would you?!
So yeah. We have tried communicating with our two cats here at home but what a waste of time. And money. Hooked on phonics does not work for house cats apparently. Then, of course (many people will agree with me here), since options were limited, the next logical step to take was to learn the feline language in order to find out what happened during Sierra’s crazy night out. I'm sure you would have done the same.
It took me weeks just to learn rudimentary catonese. By a human being this had never been done before, because most people know a lost cause when they see one. But I am not like most people; I forged on! To do this right I knew I would have to immerse myself in the way of the cat. Think, eat, sleep and smell like a cat. Think of everyone else as inferior scum, like a cat would. Heck, I’m French. I was already there on that last one.
But the reward came at long last. After nearly a month of living la vida felina, after countless attempts to squeeze my butt into the litter box (I never could get used to the feeling of dusty gravel between my toes), breaking my teeth on kitty kibble, and incessantly hissing at that ugly cat next door that keeps walking across our patio, I mastered the language of the domesticated cat (Note: don’t be fooled by the limited vocabulary; the complexity is found in the subtly various tones). And for some reason unbeknownst to me I kept pronouncing things with a Scottish Fold accent. I really don’t know why.
Anyway, the fruit of my labour is the following one-on-one interview with Sierra, our beloved girl cat, translated to a close enough resemblance to English, exclusive only to paying Biography of a Nobody subscribers! Which reminds me… please send money. Preferably large bills, but substantial coinage will do. I do understand that times are tough, so whatever you can find in the couch cushions would be acceptable. I will also accept grocery store coupons for Shake n’ Bake Southern Cajun flavour. Or Ranch.
* * *
Biography of a Nobody: Hi Sierra, thank you very much to agreeing to this interview, fans are really eager to hear about your adventure.
Sierra: Not at all, Mezzer, I’m very happy to be here.
BOAN: I’ll get right to it. The question that seems to be on everyone’s mind is: Where did you go that night you didn’t come home?
S: Now Mez, “What happens in northern Canada stays in northern Canada, remember?" (Sierra laughs coquettishly as she says this. Weird. Until then I had no idea cats could laugh, let alone coquettishly.)
BOAN: I believe you’re thinking Vegas. Usually it’s just that nobody cares what happens in northern Canada.
S: Oh. Well, it wasn’t anything crazy, really, just a wild night that got a little carried away, that’s all. It all started because I was looking for my blue toy mouse, and I mean everywhere, but couldn’t find it! I mean, I was playing with it just the day before!
BOAN: The upstairs toilet hasn’t been flushing well since around then. I think my kid dropped it in there.
S: Gross. That little guy is digusting, you know that? He keeps trying to grab on to my tail with his sticky little mitts.
BOAN: Yeah, those things get around, that’s for sure. So what happened next?
*Sidenote: I’m getting tired of writing the whole acronym for “Biography of a Nobody”, so I’m going to shorten it to just “B”. What? My hand is cramping. I’ll be increasing my productivity by 75% by typing one letter instead of four, if you don’t count all this extra filler I’m putting in here to defend my position.*
S: So anyway, I go to check Roswell’s bed (Roswell is the spare cat) to see if that rotund, pudgy fuzz-for-brains is hiding it, and guess what I come across? A small Tupperware container right full of some of the best catnip I’ve ever come across. This was really primo stuff. I don’t know where he got it from but he was holding out on me, that punk!
B: That explains the circle of alley cats hanging behind the garage a couple months ago. An ugly calico was wearing a red bandana and a spiked collar.
S: So I take a hit, y’know? No sooner than it was on my tongue, I was gone. Totally out of my mind, gonzo. Ever try that stuff?
B: Once, in elementary. I’ve stayed away from the ‘nip ever since.
S: So you know what I’m talking about, then. The next couple hours after that are a complete blur, can’t remember a thing. All I know is I came to on the edge of a riverbank, at the base of a cliff. Must’ve been there awhile because I was half-covered in mud and silt from the water, and the sun was way low on the horizon. So there I was, shivering wet, no clue to where I was. The only thing I could make out in the dusk about a hundred yards away to my right was a bridge, but no one around. I figured I was at least fifty miles from home or anywhere for that matter since it was so quiet. Anyway, I followed the river bank since water leads to towns, y’know?
B: And so, lass, yeh went towerds the bridge, ah’d wehdger.
B: Sorry. Scottish Fold thing coming through again. I meant: So you went towards the bridge, then.
S: Of course not, I went the other way.
B: That was the town, you hairball. We live, like, five hundred meters from that bridge.
S: Woops. Did I mention I’m more of an indoor cat? My sense of direction is a little iffy.
B: Oh, I know it, kitty. It’s a miracle you can find your way to the litter box at all, which I do appreciate by the way. Don’t start crapping on the carpet now. While we’re on the subject, is that kitty litter brand okay?
B: I mean, I’ve been experimenting with different flavours now and then to mix things up, but I never get to hear your and Roswell’s take on it. Ha! I say “flavour” as if you would eat it, though I know, of course, you don’t. I just like saying it that way, kinda silly. Some brands are waaay too perfumy, others too dusty. I dunno. I’d like to try those sawdust pellet litter types but I just think the pee would go between everything and pool up at the bottom, y’know? And the pellets themselves! I bet Roswell would actually eat that stuff, am I right, eh Sierra? I mean he would just… aww Sierra! Geez cat, that’s gross. You’re licking your nether-bits right in front of me as I’m talking to you! Show some decorum for crying out loud!
S: (Nonchalantly, looking up) Hmm. Oh, sorry. Thought you were doing a sidebar or something there, didn’t seem all that important to the interview, you know? (The disgusting cat puts her leg back down.)
B: It’s fine. Really.
Remarkable flexibility, though. Just saying.
S: (She winks at me, smiling.)
B: Ugh. Okay, so you’re trudging along the river bank, going the wrong way, then what?
S: I wanted to climb up the cliff on my side to get a better view from up there but it was way too steep to climb. So I kept following the river north. Or west. Yeah, west. Anyway, I think I must’ve picked up some sand fleas or something because after a while I started itching like a mother, my back foot scratching at it like crazy! A cat’s flexibility (another disturbing wink in my direction) can only reach so far, so I walked up to a nearby spruce trunk and started rubbing my back against it. It felt soooo good, really good grinding up against that tree (Eww, from me) until I realized my fur was all full of sticky sap and I was glued to that thing! Really, very much stuck. No, I’m wrong, I think I was travelling south.
B: You were stuck to a tree!? Oh, Sierra. Good thing you’re pretty.
S: I always think of rivers as flowing southward, I don’t know why. The more I think about it though it must’ve been north. And you, shaddup. So, I’m meowing for hours, hoping someone will hear me and come help, but nothing was out there. Nothing! Useless wilderness should just pave itself over. Nice warm concrete, that’s all a cat needs.
B: Uh, and food. Get hungry?
S: Well yeah! The little food angel never came to visit me! I was stuck there the whole night and never got a crumb!
B: Food angel?
S: Yeah, you know, comes and refills our food bowls every night. I bet she’s pretty.
B: What?! I fill up your food bowls every night! Not an angel, me! Been doing it ever since we brought your little grey SPCA butt home.
S: No kidding? But the wet food in the morning, that’s the angel’s doing, I bet.
B: Nope, me again.
S: Filling the water bowl?
B: Still me.
(Sierra stares at me for a while as she processes this new revelation. I see a glimpse of what I think is pure love in her eyes as she realizes the care and compassion I give her every day without ever asking anything of her...)
S: Well? Where were you? I was hungry, dude! (dude?)
B: Sigh. (I actually said that; sighing in itself would not have been adequate.) I was at home in a warm, cozy bed, not losing sleep, you little mongrel. (Damn cat stare, she could see right through that little lie.)
S: Right… Anyway, after a full night stuck to the stickiest tree in the world, and after my stomach invaded my kidneys and liver to feed itself like Germany threw itself onto Poland (let it be known that cats know human world history and war tactics, a slightly unsettling thing as far as this human is concerned), I finally had some luck. It rained. It rained hard. I was completely soaked, my fur reeked – as wet cats tend to do, not just me – but the sap was degrading. Eventually it broke down enough that I was able to pull free. I licked my fur clean, and you know, the sap is actually quite good, a surprisingly decent meal. Maybe with some Bretons and a little Camembert…hmm. So, after a few hours of following the river, I came up to a nice house just sitting atop a nice gradual embankment away from the river’s edge. I clambered up, clawing at the wet soil, and emerged in a nicely manicured yard, a lot nicer than you keep yours, by the way.
S: There was this gigantic dog sitting on the front porch, though, and he was not very fond of my dropping in like I did. The ugly mutt came at me full speed, bringing all his ugly with him, barking like an idiot. Well, I don’t need to be told twice –
B: (Muttering under my breath) Except when I’m holding the door open so you can go outside…
B: Nothing. So you were running…
S: For my life! His ugliness is all “Bark Bark Growrf Slobber” running stupidly and my prettiness is all “Zoooom, see ya sucker”, and I’m at the end of the driveway by the time that cretin’s leash yanks his collar back, laying him flat on the ground. Ha! Ugly git.
B: Where’d you end up?
S: At the edge of a residential street, apparently. I looked around, but didn’t recognize anything. And then, sudden brilliance! A white flash brighter than the sun itself reflected unimaginable light in my eyes, and though I was partially blinded by it, I knew where I was! I was almost home! I followed the road, came through the side yard, and that’s where you saw me. Went in, had a nap. My sleeping nook smells like Roswell now, what’s up with that?
B: Well, we’re all glad you made it home safely. Quite the adventure you were on. You do know, though, that the house you came upon is not even a block from our place? You were lost for what, 36 hours? You were within shouting distance from home the whole time, you silly vagrant. We were calling you, y’know. Okay. Now for our readers, because we all want to know, please tell us: what was the shining beacon that finally brought you home?
S: You were outside doing yard work with your shirt off. What are you, albino?
B: Okay, interview’s over. Thank you Sierra for that thrilling account of your ridiculous kitty adventure.
S: My pleasure. But seriously, you need a base tan or something. And do some upper body work, will ya? It’s embarrassing.
B: Thank you, cat. Get lost.
S: Again? No thanks. Hey! You could be the thing in a lighthouse that goes around in circles and warns ships to keep away from the rocks-
(The cat is interrupted by the racking of a fresh shell into a shotgun’s chamber.)
S: Okay, okay, I’m going. Me-eow.
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Biography of a Nobody