Near 500 words: TW and Cat

TW (aka The Writer) had never wanted a cat. He’d always thought that a dog was in his future. But a cat, never.

Then one Saturday afternoon eight years before, a kitten crawled up into his engine. With meows reaching across the shopping center parking lot, the kitten notified the world she wanted out. He saw the crowd gathered around his car. He popped the hood open. A tall, scrawny teen reached in and pulled out a small gray cat and handed the creature over to TW.

A white-haired woman said, “I guess it’s yours.”

The furry creature, smaller than the palm of his hand, meowed. And it didn’t just meowed. It Meowed.

“But…”

“Just take it home and feed it and put out a poop box and it’ll be fine.”

“I don’t know.”

“Follow me,” the woman insisted.

She reached into her car and handed him a shoe box for the kitten.

Like a mouse after a piped piper, he followed her into the nearby pet store. Back in the parking lot, she said, “My name is Claire. Here’s my card. You can call me if you have any questions.” Then she drove away.

Despite his resistance, TW took a liking to the kitten over the next week. And the kitten took a liking to its new home.

She bonded with his couch. She bonded with his bed. She bonded with his chair. She bonded with her food and water bowls. She bonded with the poop box. And she bonded with his lap.

After several tries, he found a vet he liked. Dr. Hatch was very patient with TW. “You don’t have to be afraid of the cat.”

“Yeah, but…she’s so small.”

Dr. Hatch laughed. “Oh, she’ll grow.”

“But, Dr. Hatch…”

“Helen. You can call me Helen.” Then Helen went on to ease TW’s mind about the cat. “Have you given her a name?”

“No,” TW said, frowning. “I didn’t think it was a good idea since I wouldn’t be keeping her.”

“Oh, you’ll be keeping her.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“She’s already claimed you.”

“Guess I’ll call her Cat.”

“Very unusual name.” Helen laughed.

And that was how he’d gotten to know Helen, and they’d begun dating.

Though things hadn’t worked out with Helen, they’d definitely worked out with Cat. Cat became as close to TW as anyone he’d ever known. With others, and this included Sylvia, he’d held something back. Not with Cat.

No matter how bad a day TW had, Cat always cheered him up. No matter what he was trying to decide, Cat always had a say in the decision. If he brought home a piece of furniture and Cat didn’t like it, it went back.

Each morning he went on the back porch. Cat ran out into the yard. She chased the ball he threw for her. She jumped six feet in the air and caught it. She went after lizards and squirrels and birds but never caught them. She just liked chasing things.

On the weekends, TW took leisurely walks through the neighborhood in the late afternoon. Cat walked by his side.

There were times when TW thought he could read Cat’s mind. And there were times when he came to believe she could read his.

No matter how sick or sad or frustrated he became, she was always a comfort. Most nights Cat cozied up  to him and lay on his lap while he read or watched TV.

Now Cat stood at his front door, bleeding. She looked up into his eyes. Her green eyes said, “I’m hurting. I’m in pain. Please do something.”

He scooped her up into his arms, laid her on the table and managed to stop the bleeding with bandages. Then he picked her up and put her on the passenger seat of his car and rushed her to the vet hospital. As he drove, she closed her eyes and fell asleep

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Apple Tree Blues

Just another lyric without a tune

Chorus:
I am an old man
The devil ain’t boss of me
I am an old man
Older than Methuselee

Back in my young years
Adam said to me,
“Don’t you ever eat
Fruit from the apple tree.

Oh, sure the apples
May be a tasty fruit.
I’m here to tell you
God don’t give a hoot.

Eat them apples.
You mess up the Plan.
One thing you’ll get.
The back side of His hand.”

In old Mesopotamie
Throughout that ancient land
All the folks were folks
In apple-eating clans.

They drank them ciders.
Ate all kinds of pies.
But they gave no look
To the clouds in the sky.

Noah was a non-
Apple-eating man.
Never did he taste
Dumplins, fritters or flan

Chorus:
I am an old man
The devil ain’t boss of me
I am an old man
Older than Methuselee

Noah never was
A propheting man
But Noah could tell
God had Himself a Plan.

“Better get ready.
An umbrella won’t do.
Rain’s sure a-coming
To flood me and you.”

It was a Sunday
When he told his wife.
He told her once.
Told her three times thrice.

Noah built himself
A big big boat.
Checked for the leaks,
Made sure boat did float.

Loaded that boat up
With lots of critters.
Two of each they came,
Slow ones, go getters.

It rained real hard,
Pounded forty days.
Noah and his family
Got cabin fever crazed.

Chorus:
I am an old man
The devil ain’t boss of me
I am an old man
Older than Methuselee

Said, “We’re up a creek
Without a paddle.
This boat’s not safe.
Listen to the rattle.”

The boat didn’t sink.
The water went down.
The boat hit a rock.
Noah stepped on to ground.

With seasickness gone
The fam settled in
Raising apple trees
In the way back when.

The Good Lord He looked
Down with godly aim.
“What am I gonna do?
Noah’s more of the same.

Snozzling down cider,
He’s gone apple loose.
Told him not to drink
Any apple juice.”

So God threw up His
Mighty mighty hands.
“I’m outta here; just maybe
Martians will follow the Plan.”

Chorus:
I am an old man
The devil ain’t boss of me
I am an old man
Older than Methuselee

Uncle Bardie’s Movie Spotlight: Let the binge-ing begin.

ANNOUNCEMENT: For the last few years, I have spotlighted Creators, Music and Movies on a regular basis. Doing three or four blog posts a week takes up quite a bit of time. Unfortunately this has left me with less time to devote to longer project such as a noir novel called The Man Without a Tie and longer short stories such as Jesus Junction.

Beginning next week, I have decided to cut back to two blog posts a week.Those blog posts will be my anchor post on Sunday and my Wednesday post. From time to time, I will spotlight a creative artist, a movie and a song. Those will be included as a part of the Sunday and Wednesday posts.

I want to thank all my Readers who continue to follow and read Uncle Bardie’s Stories & Such. So read on and enjoy the entertainment for today.

This week’s Spotlight Movie is the TV series, “The White Queen” (2013):

George R. R. Martin has said that his “Game of Thrones” was partially based on a series of English civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses. Now that you’ve completed your “Game of Thrones” viewing and you’re thirsty for another series, maybe a series based on the inspiration might be just the thing. I recommend “The White Queen”.

“The White Queen” is a ten episode miniseries adapted from Philippa Gregory’s trilogy of what she calls “The Cousins’ War”: The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter.

The Wars of the Roses were a series of wars from 1455 to 1487. Two families, the Lancasters (the red rose) and the Yorks (the white rose), fought for the English throne. They were two rival branches of the House of Plantagenet.

But the rivalry didn’t start in 1455. It originated under the reign of mad king Richard II back in the Bad Old Days of the 1300s. King Richard exiled and stole the lands of Henry of Bolinbroke. Henry returned to England to reclaim his estate as Duke of Lancaster. Finding Richard unpopular, he did a why-not and crowned himself King Henry IV. After all, he had as much right to the throne as any of the other contenders, and he had the army.

Though there were uprisings during his reign, England was mostly at peace during his years and the years of his son, Henry V. When Henry V died at thirty-six, his son, and heir, Henry VI was only nine months old. While waiting for Henry to grow up, a Council of Regency ran things. When Henry became an adult, he was not a very good king, and things went from not-so-good to bad to worse.

The Yorks became fed up and went to war against the crown. They were just as Plantagenet as the Lancasters. At first, the Yorkist Richard, Duke of Gloucester, only wanted to get rid of Henry’s bad advisers. After a while, he decided he could do the king job much better than Henry. During one of the battles, Richard was killed. His son, Edward, took over the leadership and eventually defeated Henry and the Lancasters.

Much of this part of the story can be found in Shakespeare’s plays, Richard II, Henry IV Parts One and Two, Henry V, Henry VI Parts One, Two and Three, and Richard III. Seven of these plays have recently become two excellent BBC series.

It is at this point that “The White Queen” picks up the story, a part of the story left out of Shakespeare’s plays.

One fine day, Edward is out doing Edward stuff. Chasing down the bad Lancastrians, going from here to there recruiting more troops. He comes across the widow, Elizabeth Woodville, and he is smitten. She is not only a Lancaster. She is also a commoner. Not the kind of wife a king should have. Not only does his mom disapprove, his buddy-in-arms, Warwick, isn’t happy either. He has other plans for the new king. He is to marry a French princess.

But Mel Brooks summed it up best when he said, “It’s good to be the king.” Edward decides he doesn’t want to learn French. He marries “the witch” and tells his subjects, “Don’t worry. Be happy.” You’d think that would be the end of it. You’d think there’d be no more civil war. If you thought that, you’d be wrong. It’s Game of Thrones English style.

Uncle Bardie’s Music Spotlight: Stoplight Kisses

Once upon a time there was two fellers name of Phil and Don. They were something else. They had darn great harmonies. Other artists like The Beatles and The Beach Boys sat at their feet and learned their harmonies from these two masters. If ever there was a group perfect for radio, it was The Everly Brothers. They were mighty pleasing to the ears. Here they are singing Til I Kissed You:

Now I can hear your protests out there. How does the Everlies and their “Til I Kissed You” relate to another song, “Stoplight Kisses“? Just take a listen and you’ll see.

Near 500 words: TW goes home

TW’s (aka The Writer) strategy had worked. TW suggested he might be having a mental breakdown. Dr. Hollings gave him a year‘s sabbatical at full salary. TW couldn’t believe his luck. And his sabbatical was to begin the next day.

First the appointment with Dr. Christine Baxter, then the sabbatical. TW was having a good day.

Sitting at his desk, staring at the computer screen, he got to thinking. Maybe he did have a nervous breakdown. Maybe he only dreamed he saw Sylvia standing in Timbuktu. Maybe he only thought he saw a white streak across the sky. Maybe he only imagined he passed out.

If he did imagine it, it was some vivid imagination he had. Then decided it was real.
He checked his email, answered a few that needed answwering, and shut down his computer. He reached into his drawer and grabbed several files and stuck  them in his briefcase. Every thing else was of no consequence.

“What’s going on?” Buddy said, coming up from behind TW.

“I’m taking a year-long sabbatical.”

“You are? But why?”

“I told Dr. Hollings I was having a mental breakdown. I needed to retire. He offered me the sabbatical instead.”

“Are you okay?”

“I have questions I need answers to.”

“Can I help?”

“Come to think of it. If I need you, will you take care of Cat?”

“Sure.

TW reached into his pocket and pulled out an extra set of keys. “These will get you into the house. Cat may be shy of you. Just come in and stick around until she gets used to you.”

The two shook hands. TW grabbed his briefcase and was off. He dropped off his desk keys with the receptionist, then stepped out into the afternoon. He went over to Human Resources to fill out the paperwork for the sabbatical. Since Dr. Hollings had contacted HR, everything went easy.

Twenty minutes later he pulled up into his driveway. He pulled out his house key to unlock the front door. The door was open a crack. He pushed it open and listened. No sound, not even of Cat.

“Did I leave the door open?” he whispered. He’d never done that before but it was possible. So many strange things happening lately. Maybe he’d been distracted.
His fingers tightened around his briefcase. Just in case someone was still in the house. The house was dark inside, except for the living room light he’d left on. He softly made his way into the kitchen. No one.

Then down the hall to his bedroom. No one. And no one under the bed or in the closet.
Next he checked his office and the bathroom. No one. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Nothing missing.

Then he realized Cat was hiding. Usually she greeted him. Maybe she had gotten out if he left the front door open.

He heard a meow and a scratching at the front door. He breathed a deep sigh of relief, walked to the front door and opened it.

Cat stood on the Welcome mat, looking up at him. Then he realized she was bleeding.