The Fabulous Felinespy by Leila Allison

-1-

A few hours before the Fabulous Felinespy got in, Alice and Jim were abed with their cats, Amy and Battling Maxo. Alice was reading a scantily edited “speculative non-fiction ” book written by a congenial local nutburger named Renfield Stoker-Belle. Although the self professed “authoress” couldn’t hold a narrative if she were Velcroed to it, Alice found Spirits of the Wow-Signal Emoji well worth every penny of the twenty-seven she had bid on it.

“Get this, Jim,” Alice said.

“All ears,” he said, sleepily.

“‘Of all the hoodoos and haints, only the Fabulous Felinespy has never been seen by a certified supernatural supernaturalist. It’s like that scary, huge-ass phallic-looking thing (whose name eludes me, but you know the one–Right?) deep down in the sea used to be–inferred. Could say “inferred by the in-furred” if you had my wit, because only cats can perceive the Fabulous Felinespy–Squid! Goddammit! Giant squid! I knew if I hung in there long enough it would come to me–Right?'” Alice had read the preceding verbatim.

Perplexed expressions find Jim’s face easy prey when his glasses are put up for the night.  “Umm, what is a Felinespy?”

“A hoodoo or a haint–Right?,” Alice said with a smile.

“Oh, I see,” Jim said even though the perplexed, squinty expression strengthened.

“Some kind of ghost,” Alice said.  “Looney toons here says ‘it’s a mischief-making poltergeist who loves cats.’ Means it can be seen only by these little wackos,” she added with a nod at Amy and Battling Maxo.

Amy is a small, four-year-old long-haired calico (her aliases are Charlize Manson and The Brindled Owl). She’s a rescue cat who once ate bugs out of necessity and continues to do so for the sake of killing shit. Although you could hardly tell by her attitude,  Amy is Battling Maxo’s mother.

At five months, Battling Maxo (usually just Maxo or Sir) is your basic red tabby kitten; he’s almost illegally cute in form and action and a gifted slapstick comedian. Alas, as it’s so often the case, there’s a great sadness behind the smiling face of the clown. Maxo loves his mama, but that’s a fantasy palace most certainly located on a one way street.

There was a time when Amy would have stolen cars and dealt meth for the sake of any of her many (many many many) children (no more now that she’s been fixed). But that was then and this is now.  Maxo’s four siblings were adopted just before Amy turned against them.  After Alice and Jim took  in Miss Amy and her irresistible (to everyone save Mama) red son from the cat shelter that Alice and Jim do volunteer work at, the first thing Amy did to get it across to the boy that the apron strings no longer existed in her mind was to pick him up by the scruff, carry him over to the litter box, deposit him in it  and cover him with a generous amount of the freshly used contents. Always the optimist,  Maxo interpreted the attention as a good sign, and to this day he continues to pursue a relationship with obdurate Amy via peculiar, misguided acts of endearment.

An example of such happened the night the Fabulous Feinespy got in. Alice had no sooner closed her book when Maxo began a quick trot across the length of her body, which he used as a bridge leading to the headboard. Alice spoke to the little fiend on his way past her face.

“Sir,” she said, “I don’t think Mama’s in the mood for the Big Splash.” Amy was sleeping soundly between Alice and Jim. Whenever Alice saw this she couldn’t help but think of all the cold, lonely nights Amy had spent under houses and in trees. It was a sentimental little thought, which might have caused Alice to call off Maxo’s Big Splash if she had thought it a bit sooner, or if she didn’t oh so enjoy watching the Big Splash.

Jim must have been thinking the same thing because, myopia aside, he deftly plucked the flying menace out of the air just before hitting home, which would have caused much rage and discontent.

The Battling part of Maxo’s name came to the forefront of his personality. Infuriated, the little guy bit into Jim’s thumb as though it were the neck of a dik dik and he a great jungle cat. Jim is used to getting mangled by a variety of animals. He calmly allowed Maxo to battle his way back into a gentler mood. Fortunately, kittens, especially Battling Maxo, have short memories. Within seconds he forgot what he had been angry about and began to wash his right paw, which, to date, is the only part of himself he ever grooms.

“Sir, that’s got to be the cleanest right paw in the world,” Alice said before she turned off the lamp on her nightstand. It was exactly eleven PM–or, T-minus four hours till the Fabulous Felinespy got in.

-2-

According to no less an authority on the subject than that great authoress, Renfield Stoker-Belle, “Supernatural supernaturalists notice that weird, ghosty {sic] shit usually happens more at 3 AM than at any other hour of the day–Right?” She offers no support for this, but on the night the Fabulous Felinespy got in the statement rang true.

Cat People, especially those with a kitten loose in the house, are accustomed to a certain amount of nocturnal catfoonery. Drapes get swung from, stacks are toppled, incidental crockery is smithereened. It’s all to be expected and is usually slept through by the ever philosophical Cat People.

Suddenly awakening to a  high pitched, rodent-like chorus of voices chanting “Your eyes now behold the awesome majesty of the Fabulous Felinespy,” however, isn’t typical catfoonery.

Jim awoke to it. And although the chant had ended the instant he had fully awakened, he wasn’t all the way convinced that he had dreamt it. The possibility that it had been real was substantiated by a  dim yet glowing greenish-blue light which flowed in through the ajar bedroom door.

He glanced over at Alice. The light allowed his substandard eyes to make out her shape beneath the covers. He also noticed that Amy and Battling Maxo had vacated the bed, which was far from unusual, for you can hardly have catfoonery with the cats still abed–Right?

There comes a moment in every man’s life when he must show courage lest be branded forever after a coward by the Little Hemingway Man installed in his head by society around the age of six. Generations upon generations of stuff like “Whatta useless wussie; scared of a glowing greenish-blue light,” have gone into the making of this foolish Nowhere Hemingway He Man in the male head, and one may correctly suspect that it will take as many generations to undo the foolishness.

So instead of awakening Alice for support (“You mean for a meatshield–Right, ya’ pansy?”), Jim crept out of bed and tiptoed to the bedroom door. The knuckledraggish chidings of the Little Hemingway He Man in Jim’s head had less to do with this conspicuous act of bravery as much as his concern for the animals. Not only do the couple have the cats, but they also serve as mentors to a “wild six-pack” (Alice’s term) of Kazakhstan Roborovski dwarf hamsters named Polythene Pam, Meaner Mr. Mustard, O.O. Mr. Heath, O.O. Mr. Wilson, Siverhammer and Her Name is Magill, She Calls Herself Lil, But, Damn It, We Know Her as Nancy.

Although tiny, a Robo can be bred to especially ferocious and as cuddly as a great white shark.  Throughout the deserts of Asia there are Robo fighting rings. When Jim heard of this terrible abuse of animals he became a Robo mentor.  These critters replaced an earlier wild six-pack that was successfully humanized and nowadays wows the patrons of the Torqwamni County Petting Zoo.

Jim had plenty of time to think all of that and more because it had taken him an extremely long time to transit the seven feet or so from the bed to the door. When Jim and his myopia finally arrived he “peepked” (he was thinking both “I’ll have a peep” and “Let’s take a peek” at the same time and managed to create a new verb from the collision) out and saw the cause of the glowing greenish-blue light. Although what he saw wasn’t incomprehensible, it failed to assuage a slightly flighty mindset in which items like peep and peek get mulched into a new verb. Amy was sitting atop the coffee table gazing thoughtfully into Alice’s open tablet, which emanated much more greenish-blue light than your average tablet should. She glanced his way and flipped the lid shut, which terminated the spectral glow. Darkness would have fallen if not for the light of the full moon, whose discomforting shine passed through the window and was reflected in Amy’s gold eyes.

So, you caught me doing something that you think a cat shouldn’t be able to do,” Amy’s eyes said to Jim.

“Oh, no, no, no, no,” Jim thought right back at her, “Just taking a peepk.”

“A what?” Blustered Jim’s inner He Man. “Men take leaks and no crap from small mammals. Petunia Petes peepk.”

All of a sudden there was a great disturbance in the Robo enclosure. It finally occurred to Jim to turn on the living room light. Casting light on darkness is the soul of sanity. Sweet light dispels superstition and coaxes home the runaway imagination.  Although the preceding two sentences may be true some, if not most, of the time, the illumination was little aid to Jim. Although he isn’t anywhere near legally blind without his glasses, Jim’s imagination has a way of mixing in with his out of focus interpretation of the world. When something up ahead hasn’t been clearly identified, his brain will do things like reconfiguring the arrangement of a nearby fire hydrant lying in front of a farther off newspaper box as a dangerous, slouching drifter. Jim has been known to cautiously cross the street to avoid fire plugs and paper boxes.

Still, some of what he saw was clear enough, or, at least, easily deduced. It seemed that the ruckus was caused by Battling Maxo Big Splashing the Robo Habitat. He had been threatening to do so for the last week or three, but had always been thwarted by either Jim or Alice. Though unnerved, Jim had to smile. There was no chance that either cat could get past the two-inch bullet-proof plastic. Maxo just lay atop the large (large by the standards of Robos and kittens) habitat eyeing O.O. Mr. Heath as he worked out furiously in his busy wheel, like a convict doing pushups in his cell. Each tiny fiend has her and his own apartment, for they’d rip each other to shreds if there was a “gen-pop.” Maxo doesn’t bother them much at all. At first, however,  Amy viewed them as though they were furry chicken McNuggets, but over time she and the Robos have come to regard one another with Killers’ Respect.

Jim stopped smiling when he saw something that not even his inner He Man could brush off with a snort. Like all kittens, Battling Maxo has dozens upon dozens of cat toys. Little mice and birds that either rattle or exude catnip; many do both. No matter what they do they all wind up amongst the dust bunnies under the refrigerator and are subsequently replaced by dozens upon dozens more. Yet on the night the Fabulous Felinespy got in, Jim caught glimpses of all the dozens upon dozens of toys dancing in circles near the kitchen entry. Although the moonlight didn’t quite reach there, he was certain that this is what he saw. And he could almost hear them chanting: “Your eyes now behold the awesome majesty of the Fabulous Felinespy.”  Amy glanced at the dancers and dully back at Jim as though to say, “So, you see that too.  What do you think we ought to do with you?”

We have reached the point in this story where the tension is so thick that the reader has forgotten all about Alice asleep in the other room. Yes, this is where she silently and not so innocently approaches Jim from behind and taps him on the shoulder with his glasses

Even the little Hemingway He Man in Jim’s head had an “underwear moment” when she did that.

“Ho-deet-gnaow-ho-lo-hoop-dweet,” or something like that, “said” Jim, about a thousand times faster than writ,  as he spun around.

Although Alice’s face and voice were muzzy with sleep, she placed the glasses on Jim’s face, smiled, and asked, “Whaddya see this time?”

Light might restore sanity, but it must be passed through the proper prism first. Reinstalled in the sense-makers he had worn since age nine, the phantasmal quality brought on by his off-sightedness vanished. The fairy ring of dancing toys was the reflection of O. O. Mr. Heath in his wheel caught in the small mirror mounted near the kitchen. And the idea that Amy had been using Alice’s tablet went away because it was hard to believe that someone who eats flies and moths for the sheer hell of it would have much to do with modern technology.

“Um, nothing,” he said. “Maxo Big Splashed the Robo habitat–th-that’s all.”

Alice walked over to the Robo enclosure and picked up Maxo. “Little man,” she said, “if you want to live long and prosper you can’t go messing with the Klingons.” Then she paused there for a moment, and tilted her head as though she had heard something. By then all six of the little fiends were now furiously turning their wheels.

“Um-uh, you hear something?” Jim asked.

Alice thought about it for a moment. “Nah,” she said. “How bout you, Sir, you hear anything?” she asked Maxo, who once again was preoccupied with washing his right paw. “You haven’t heard nothing from the Fabulous Felinespy, have you?” she asked, with a little smile on her face.

“I say we go back to bed,” Jim said. This was the only thing he’d spoken all night that the little Hemingway He Man in his head concurred with. Alice, Jim, Battling Maxo and Amy all returned to the bedroom.

 

About an hour later, Battling Maxo and Amy emerged from the bedroom. Amy was carrying a set of earbuds in her mouth. Maxo made a few swipes at Mama’s fluffy tail, she feigned smacking him a good one to the head, but held back. Amy leapt gracefully onto the table and had to help Maxo up the rest of his way because his leap resulted in a tenuous grasp in which the cleanest right paw in the world and the filthiest left in the solar system were all that had kept him from Big Splashing the floor. Although she didn’t fetch him up all that nicely, Maxo interpreted it as a good sign and rubbed against Amy, who once again feigned a good smack to his head.

To that point, there was nothing out of the realm of acceptable catfoonery going on, except. possibly. for the toting of the earbuds–but even that can be rationalized away; for cats often tote small objects for unknown reasons.

What happened next, however, didn’t fall under the heading of typical catfoonery. Amy used her mouth to plug in the buds and watched Maxo battle to open the tablet. He did so successfully, and as was and is and always will be the case, after a display of physical prowess, he once more began to groom his right paw. An expression similar to one of those which used to cross Oliver Hardy’s face transited Amy’s small visage. She made an elaborate show of licking her left paw then she gently smacked Maxo on the back of the head with it, as though to teach him a lesson.

Before Maxo could misinterpret this as positive attention, Amy batted one of the earbuds his way, picked it up with her mouth and jammed in the boy’s right ear. She then deftly picked up the other and inserted it in her left, using both paws. She glanced at the bedroom, then listened for the unmistakable sounds of human sleep. Satisfied, she double-tapped a blank section on the tablet’s screen which summoned the  Fabulous Felinespy app that she had downloaded some time back. Greenish-blue light emanated from the tablet, and the Robos hit their busy wheels and “Your eyes now behold the awesome majesty of the Fabulous Felinespy,”  chant began anew.

Sadly, we must depart. For only cats, and, apparently, Robo dwarf hamsters, may bask in the awesome majesty of the Fabulous Felinespy.

 

Leila Allison

Image by IRCat from Pixabay

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5 thoughts on “The Fabulous Felinespy by Leila Allison

  1. Hi Leila,
    A MASSIVE congratulations!!!!!!!!!!
    There is a wee spiel waiting for you on Saturday’s Post.
    The wee fiends will be so proud and probably taking all credit.
    A huge thanks for everything that you do for the site.
    Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful achievement – Your stories are always a delight. – I reckon you and the small and furries deserve a drop of the hard stuff. It’s wonderful knowing you even though it’s only through the magic of noughts and ones. dd

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks to both Hugh and Diane. Love the heading pic. You can plainly tell that that guy is tech savvy.
    For animals:
    Mark Twain (probably quoting a dog)) said “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” This is the lesson that you animals try to teach us humans, but it has yet to stick. You animals are said not to be intelligent enough to lie. That’s everything from aardvark- to zebrashit. I see you guys lying around all the time.
    LA

    Like

  4. Cats are wacky curiosity critters, the lives of their owners all wrapped up with their fur babies, esp. at night when the cat toys dance. The story sheds some light on “the secret life of cats” and their undercover perceptions. Only a very observant and curious cat owner would know. I like the Hemingway He Man concept. Fun piece!

    Liked by 1 person

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