Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

This had been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.  It had started on Monday with the hurricane coming and the yarn lady in a strange mood.  Then the power went out and it just got worse.  The yarn lady fell in the dark and hurt her head and the winds came up and blew and blew and blew.  They climbed into bed in the dark and slept through the worst of the storm, but Clementine kept waking up and wondering if the roof was going to blow off.  She was glad that there were no big trees near the house to fall on it, but she knew from the news reports they’d listened to before the storm that there were problems that could still happen.  For goodness sake, there was a lake not fifteen feet from the front door.  The bank looked pretty steep from what she could see from the living room window, but if it flooded as bad as the forecasters were predicting there was a good chance that there could be water lapping at the front door.  The weather forecasters had talked about storms surges that might be eight or ten feet and Clem knew the house wasn’t eight feet higher than the lake.   
Morning came, as it always does, whether or not there was a storm.  Clem looked out all the windows and saw leaves and branches that had blown down in the storm.  She shivered, but wasn’t sure if it was due to the destruction from the storm or the cold.  The electricity appeared to still be out.  That day she and the yarn lady mostly spent in bed, huddled under the covers.  It was chilly and without power in most of the state there wasn’t much to be done or anywhere to go.  The radio had all sorts of reports about the horrible damage caused by the storm all around New Jersey, but it looked as though Clem and the yarn lady had been very lucky.  Other than a lack of electricity there was no big problem.   The light from outside was enough for them to get around and it was toasty warm under the covers; too warm in fact for Clem to stay under them for very long.  It was fine for the yarn lady since she didn’t have such a fine fur coat to keep her warm. 
When it got dark, though, it was scary.  The yarn lady lit some candles so they could see to get around and she used her wind-up flashlight to help her get around in the dark.  The candles cast shadows that moved as the flame flickered and the flashlight’s beam moved around so much when the yarn lady walked that it was disorienting.  Clem climbed onto the bed and decided to sleep until the power came back on. 
Unfortunately, although cats can sleep up to eighteen hours a day, they can’t sleep for forty-eight hours, which was about how much longer it was until the power came back on.  Clem tried to surf the web on the iPad when the yarn lady went out one day but discovered that although it worked, she couldn’t get on the internet.  She hadn’t realized that the internet had something to do with electricity, but obviously it did, since she couldn’t get online.  The browser flashed little blue boxes at her that said something about no internet connection.  Clem sighed and figured she’d at least play a few games of the cat fishing game the yarn lady had downloaded for her.  It was way too easy for a mature cat like Clementine, but at least it helped pass the time. 
She had just finished a game when she heard the sliding door open in the kitchen.  It was already dark outside so Clementine saw the bouncing light of a flashlight beam and heard the noisy girl’s voice.  The noisy girl was the yarn lady’s daughter, who lived nearby.  She came over now and again to visit, and it appeared from the conversation she was having with whoever was with her that they had come to drop off something for the yarn lady.  Clem stretched in preparation to get up and as her spine cracked the lights blinked on.  Clem finished her stretch with a smile on her face.  Maybe now life could get back to normal.  She jumped down and went to visit with the noisy girl for a moment.  Clem called her that because, well, she was noisy.  She had a loud voice and talked a lot and was usually excited about something or another.  Clem preferred calm people with quiet voices like the yarn lady and some of her friends.  Family was family though, and Clem went out to say hello, since the noisy girl was somewhat of a half-sister. 
The two admired Clem for a few minutes and she allowed herself to be petted and fussed over.  She thought maybe they might provide treats or some special delicacy if she was particularly friendly, but they just wanted to admire her.  After they left, Clem powered up the iPad again.  It had been days since she’d been able to surf the web, and she was looking forward to following up more on the research she’d been conducting on cats in history.  It had become a little bit of a hobby with her since the yarn lady had written her last cat story, the one about Rudy and LT going to visit Pottawatomie, Kansas. 
It truly was unfair that other cats had real life adventures while, she, Clementine was stuck in a house.  LT and Rudy had the run of the neighborhood, and had taken a trip all the way to Kansas.  Emma, Kid and Buddy (who were the cats that lived with Val, the yarn lady’s friend) spent much of their lives outdoors, coming in only when it suited them.  They were the ones who had rescued Lemuel and the rest of the turkeys from becoming Thanksgiving dinners a year ago.  The noisy girl had two cats, Ursula and Tatum, but they were indoor cats like her.  The difference was that neither of them had the slightest interest in going outside.  Tatum had spent almost a year of his early life in a three foot by three foot cage in the animal shelter and still shuddered at the thought of not having a ceiling overhead and walls close by on all sides.  Ursula didn’t seem to care one way or the other.  As long as she had someone to play with, indoors or outdoors were the same to her. 
Being alone was the other problem.  There was ‘LT and Rudy’, ‘Emma, Buddy and Kid’ and ‘Tatum and Ursula’.  All those cats lived with at least one more feline, and here she was all alone.  Well, except for the yarn lady and the stuffed animals, and the stuffed animals were snooty and only talked to each other. 
To combat her loneliness, Clementine had taken up historical research.  She had a list of topics that she’d compiled, and now it was time to look further into finding the real story behind these historical tidbits.  The yarn lady had accounts with all types of databases and academic institutions that she used when she was doing her research.  At least one of those would include research from the cats’ point of view.  Clem was sure of that. 
Jumping into the account she’d set up on Google Docs, Clem ran a claw down the list.  It would probably be best to start with something simple, preferably a topic that didn’t cover hundreds of years and several continents.  Ah, she thought, this one is the very thing.  It had to do with the prophet Mohammed.  That was a fairly brief time period and it should be easy to find more information on this. 
The document Clem had created included a link to the webpage she had originally found.  She clicked on the link and started reading the text, snuggling down into the covers as she read.  The heat had come back with the lights and it was delightfully warm in the house now.  So, the story was this –
The Prophet Mohammed had several cats and he loved them very much.  He respected them, and one day while he was resting he heard the call to prayer.  His favorite cat was asleep on his sleeve, and the Prophet did not want to disturb this beloved cat.  He had to answer the call to prayer, and resolved the dilemma by tearing the sleeve off his robe rather than disturb the cat. 
That information was all well and good, but how did he tear his sleeve without waking the cat up?  Clem had watched the yarn lady sewing and knew she used scissors to cut cloth, it didn’t tear too easily.  There must be more to this story.  Clem started typing in various search terms and following leads.  It was boring and mostly fruitless until she found a website that featured a photo of a cat with hypnotic eyes.  She looked at the page, and found she couldn’t read the words at first; all she could do was stare into the cat’s eyes.  Then gradually the words became clearer….

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