Monday, August 9, 2010


Peep was suffering from insomnia.  She had slept less than eight hours out of the last twenty-four, and she hadn’t slept at all in at least six hours.  This was entirely unheard of.  She couldn’t recall having been awake this long in her entire life, but here she was, wide awake.  

She’d tried lying on one side, then the other, and who knows how many curled up positions.  She even tried the sprawled cat pose, thinking that maybe an overly warm tummy was keeping her awake.  None of them worked.  Counting mice didn’t work either, although she’d never known anyone who’d successfully used that to get to sleep.  As she counted each mouse Peep imagined springing at it, which did not promote sleep.

Peep gave up and decided to check the house.  The Daddy had come home last evening, so it wasn’t that she was worried about him driving all the way home from Mary Land.  He was sound asleep, little noises coming from his mouth.  Not quite snores, more like, well, snizzles.  Kind of cross between a whistle and a very soft snore.  She considered jumping on him and waking him up to either keep her company or stroke her to sleep, but she decided he was probably way too tired from his long drive.  Peep had been to Mary Land, and she knew how far it was to get there.  In her view the ride took absolutely forever, although the Daddy hadn’t been gone quite forever, just over one night.  

There was nothing interesting going on in the house.  There was less squishy food than when she’d last looked, but it was likely Fuzzy had sneaked in to grab some.  LT and Rudy had eaten earlier, and were probably sound asleep right now.  They were both early and late night prowlers, leaving the hours right after midnight for sleep.  Peep jumped up on the counter and walked across it, just because there was no one around to tell her to get down.  Small satisfaction, but not what she wanted.  She wanted SLEEP.

Peep went out the cat door and surprised a possum, nosing the grill.  Daddy had cooked on it within the last few days, and the smell of grilling meat was enticing to possums, who hoped that some little bit had been dropped, or that at the least there were lots of drippings to lick up.  She didn’t know if he had been successful, as he ran off with his possum waddle.  Possums had the strangest way of running.  Peep supposed it was because their bodies were so long and their legs so short.  

The yard was quiet, except for cicadas.  They never seemed to shut up.  Peep imagined that tinnitus must be like having cicadas in your head 24/7.  She was so glad she didn’t have that.  Why was she thinking of tinnitus?  Oh, she was so tired she didn’t know what her mind was going to think of next.  

Peep carefully moved off the porch and slunk through the yard.  It didn’t pay to advertise your moves at night.  There might be someone else out there bigger and meaner.  Peep decided in her case just about anything would be meaner, including several of the field mice she’d overheard in the yard.  She was a very nice cat and some of them had truly nasty language.  Sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you.  So, really even the mice with bad language weren’t any threat to Peep.

Oh, my, now I’m getting delirious, Peep thought.  I’m saying silly sayings in my head.  Say that ten times fast, Say silly sayings, say silly sayings, say…oh, bother.  I have to get some sleep.  She heard small cat snores coming from the cab of Daddy’s truck.  He’d left the window open, and LT was probably snoozing on the seat.  Should she jump in and keep him company?  Probably not.  He’d just tell her off if she couldn’t fall asleep right away and she knew that wasn’t going to happen.  So, cross off that option.

Peep headed toward the garage and thought she saw a white cat crossing the yard right in front of the garage.  Greymalkin?  No, she had a lot more grey on her than this cat.  Actually, this cat isn’t so much solid white as foggy white.  Like a thin cloud.  Almost as though you could see through the cat.  Cats aren’t transparent.  The cat then walked right through the wall into the radio room.  Cats can’t walk through walls.  Ghosts walk through walls.  There aren’t any ghosts, are there?  Peep didn’t really want to find out, particularly if that ghost was coming to take her, well, wherever cats go when they’re not here anymore.  And not like going to Tibet, but REALLY not here.  Never here again.  

Peep was thoroughly terrified.  She ran to the cat door as fast as she could, repeating to herself, “There’s no such thing as ghosts, there’s no such thing as ghosts.”  She burst through the cat door and bowled Rudy over.  “Rudy, I saw a ghost.  By the garage.  White.  It walked through the wall into the garage.  I think it’s coming to get me.  I’m losing my mind.  I haven’t been to sleep for six hours and I’m hallucinating.  Save me, PLEASE.”

“Settle down, Peep.  Come over here to the couch.  I can’t understand what you’re talking about.  What am I supposed to save you from?  Midnight possums?  I saw one by the grill a little while ago, just before I came in.”  Rudy talked slowly and calmly of routine things.  She didn’t know what was up with Peep, but the first priority was to get her calmed down.  

Peep crouched on the sofa, shaking.  Rudy hunkered down next to her and began grooming her ears.  A good grooming is always relaxing, both for the groomer and the groomee.  Peep explained in more coherent terms what she’d seen in the back yard.
“Oh, that’s just my friend Harry.  He really is a ghost.  I’m surprised that you saw him.  We’d just had a chat and he was heading back to the radio room.  He likes to sleep in there.”

“You know a ghost?  A real live, dead – whatever – ghost?”  Peep began to shake again.  Rudy had just gotten her calmed down.  Darn, she thought.  Shouldn’t have mentioned him.

“We’ll talk about him in the morning.  Right now, you need a good grooming and then some sleep.”  Rudy finished Peep’s head and proceeded down her back, taking extra time when she found a tense spot.

“I can’t sleep, Rudy.  I really can’t.  I’ve been up for at least six and a half hours now, and I hardly slept at all yesterday.  I…am just too…wired…to go to….”

Sweet dreams, Peep.
Photo courtesy of Verity Cridland -

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