Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kissing the Cat in Ye Olde Englande

Clementine was very confused by her recent dreams, or travels, or whatever they were.  If they were dreams, they weren’t like any she’d ever had.  Dreams usually didn’t make sense; cats and humans popped in and out with no rhyme or reason and they certainly didn’t start at point A and get to point B.  These ‘whatevers’ were perfectly sensible so long as she accepted that one minute she could be lying on the bed and the next be on a different continent hundreds of years in the past.  The dreams also had details in them she didn’t know, but were confirmed by further research when she returned from wherever she had been; things like the name of the cat who became the Japanese Lucky Cat, or that Mohammed wasn’t sleeping in his robe when he took the sleeve off. Oh, so confusing. 
Well, she was a young cat with very little practical experience.  Maybe this was the kind of thing that happened to other cats all the time.  She could ask the others if they had any similar experiences.  Between Rudy, LT, Emma, Kid, Buddy, Ursula and Tatum there had to be somecat who had this type of experience.  Well, if it was an experience or dream that did in fact occur with other cats at all.  A frightening thought occurred to Clementine.  Maybe she was going crazy.  Could cats become psychotic?  These could be very elaborate hallucinations.  Sometimes the yarn lady watched that TV show about the man who saw people who weren’t there, and look what happened to him.  He ended up shut in a hospital and was given medication that made his mind all fuzzy.  She didn’t want that to happen to her.  Quickly she composed an email to the other cats:
Subject: Time and space travel dreams

Do any of you ever have dreams where you end up at some other time and place in history where you see events that really occurred?  This has happened to me twice recently and I saw things I didn’t know about but later confirmed through more research.  Please answer me promptly as I’m afraid I’m going crazy.

Next the question was whether to stop the research altogether and hope she never did it again or proceed and perhaps do something to test if it was a dream or reality.  Opening Google Docs she perused her list of topics.  Hmm…one of them was pretty vague and obscure.  Visitors to homes in England during the 16th century would typically kiss the family cat.  If she popped into something like that it would be pretty generic.  Not a specific person or house in history like the last two.  And maybe there would be some way that she could change something or bring something back and that would prove that she’d been there for real, and not just in a dream.  Well, it was pretty clear she wasn’t going to give this up, since she was figuring out what she should do and where to go.  Clem ran a claw down the list.  Some of the topics looked really interesting, but also like they would keep her away from home for a good while if she had to wait for something to happen or for a whole story to run its course.  Those would have to wait a bit until she had more experience with this.  It would be terrible if it turned out that she really went to these places and she got stuck and couldn’t come back.  It would be horrible if she ended up in prehistoric times with saber-toothed tigers or something like that.  They’d eat her as an appetizer. 
So, Ye Olde Englande it was.  Before she clicked on the bookmark that seemed to start the adventures Clem figured she’d check her email in case someone had answered her.  There was one response from Tatum and Ursula.  She wasn’t sure which one had composed it, but the gist was that she should make sure she didn’t do anything that would possibly change the future because then it might cause her not to exist.  Whoever had written the email watched a lot of science fiction shows it seems.  The email was full of references to time paradoxes and the universe going *poof*.  Clem snickered a little bit.  If someone was able to make the universe go *poof* it would have already happened.  It wouldn’t be because a tortoise shell/tiger cat moved a chair cushion. 
The website that seemed to take her to the past had yet another cat on the webpage.  This one was asleep on a rug in front of a fireplace with a brightly burning fire that flickered.  Clem could even hear the crackle of the fire.  As she looked, the sleeping cat raised its head and made eye contact with her…

…and Clem found herself in the living room on the hearth next to the cat.  The other cat stretched and stood up.  Clem looked at the cat, wondering if she would be able to see her, but it appeared that either she was being ignored or was invisible.  Ignored was a definite possibility, since after all this was a cat.  While humans are not good at really ignoring anything cats can pull it off. 
Clem decided she’d push the envelope in trying to get the humans to see her.  Instead of sitting in a corner she’d romp, she’d sing, she’d climb the curtains - well she would if there were curtains.  Looking around the room she saw no curtains, but there were things that she could climb on and jump off of.  Maybe she’d even try jumping on one of the humans when she found them.  Right now she was all alone in the room, since the cat had left.  She left the room by the same door the cat had used and found herself in what she figured was a bedroom, except that it had several beds in it.  There was a large one and a small one and a cradle.  There was a tall cabinet with doors and a low one with drawers.  The cat had taken up residence on the smaller bed, so Clem decided to join her.  She landed next to the other cat and it seemed as though the covers dented a bit when she hit them.  Not as much as she thought her weight would warrant, but at least they moved.  Clem vaulted over the other cat, no response.  Well, she thought, let’s try something different.  She sat down next to the cat and experimentally began grooming the other’s tail.  The cat flicked her tail away in annoyance and looked around as though she were looking for a bug.  Clem pinned the tail with a paw and the cat sprang up and off the bed with a screech, running into the other room. 
A door opened in and two women walked in.  “Maysie, whatever are you caterwauling about?  Come here dear heart.  Let dear Lizzie give you a kiss.”  The woman who had not spoken walked up to Maysie and picked her up, giving her a peck on the forehead.  Maysie rolled her eyes skyward and squirmed until she was put down.  “Thank you, Lizzie.  Now let’s sit and have a bit of a talk.”  The two sat in chairs pulled up to the hearth, as it was a bit chilly.  Clem paid them little attention as their talk was about folks whose names she didn’t know and was mostly of the gossipy sort.  Nothing useful.  She roamed the room, looking for things to do.  Out of the corner of her eye she saw movement, and all the time she’d spent chasing yarnballs finally paid off.  She did a quick waggle and pounce and was rewarded by the feeling of a squirming mouse under her paws.  With a quick bite she killed it, deciding that it was better to rid these kind humans’ house of mice (and also so she could say she had her first kill). 
Lizzie remarked to the other woman, “Did you hear a mouse?  I swore I just heard one.  You are so lucky to have a cat who is such a good mouser.  I wish my Dirk would catch as many as yours does.”  The other woman replied that she’d heard a squeak also, but not to worry.  Clem picked up the mouse in her mouth and wondered how real this all was.  The mouse certainly felt and smelled real.  As she sat there, wondering what she should do next, she felt a wave of disorientation and began losing consciousness. 
Clem awoke to the yarn lady’s voice saying, “Clementine, I am so proud of you!  You caught a mouse, and I’ve never even heard one here.  However did this little fellow get in?  I’ll be he was an outdoor mouse taking refuge from the horrible storm last week.  Well, you are now officially a mouser, and not just a yarnball chaser.  Now, may I have that fine mouse?  Since you left it on the iPad, I assume it was a gift for my supper?”
Since she hadn’t purposely left it anywhere at all, Clem wasn’t awfully inclined to let anyone have her mouse.  She put her paw on it, but when the yarn lady gently tugged on the mousie’s tail, Clem let go.  Maybe the yarn lady was still short of food, and wanted to eat the mouse.  She knew that yesterday on the phone she’d said that the local grocery store still didn’t have power and she’d have to go to another one to get anything cold, so that could be the problem.  And protein is protein, whether it was chicken, turkey, beef or mouse.  As the yarn lady carried the mouse out, Clem thought about what had happened.  She’d been to England and witnessed a guest kissing a cat, just like in her research, but more to the point she’d managed to have an impact on both worlds.  That one had one less live mouse and this one had one more dead one. 
And she’d seen the dead mouse here at the yarn lady’s place and it had been sitting right on the iPad - for real, not just a dream.  The yarn lady had picked it up and carried it away.  Clem wasn’t sure all of a sudden if it was more or less reassuring to know that she’d really been to England and brought home a dead mouse.  What if that mouse had plague germs and everyone died?  Or conversely, what if the people in Olde Englande needed that mouse to spread disease to kill some horrible possible dictator or assassin or axe murderer or who knows what.  Clem squirmed herself in far under the covers, determined to drop this research and leave well enough alone.  


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