by Donna Lamb
10. Getting Down
The cat landed unhurt and my shriek didn’t appear to have awakened Tim. I rushed to the glass door in the window wall and opened it, taking a look up to see where the cat might have come from. Nothing up there but the bottom of someone else’s balcony, at least twelve feet up. The cat, a little calico kitten, immediately started washing its paws.
I started laughing while moving back from the window to retie the towel. I didn’t close the door and the kitten followed me in, looking around with the air of a spoiled child slumming in the home of a less fortunate cousin.
I re-adjusted the towel and sat on Tim’s hassock, leaning down to get a better look at the little cat. “Aren’t you a brave one? How did you even get up there? Did you come from the apartment upstairs?” Okay, I admit this was said in a cooing voice like one would talk to a baby.
The kitten, with one blue eye and one green looked at me and said, “Don’t be an ass.”
I sat up straight on the hassock and stared at the animal. “Pardon?” I squeaked.
“Talking to me like that,” said the cat. “No one else’s around, you don’t have to put on an act.”
It turns out that I am crazy, I thought. I swear, I looked around the room to be sure we were alone like the cat had said. Then I whispered, “You can talk?”
The cat rolled its eyes. Her eyes, I seemed to remember from somewhere that calicos are always female. “Of course I can talk. Hell’s Little Fiery Dumplings, what’s wrong with you?” The voice sounded rather cute but the attitude was like that of a waitress in a New York coffee shop. Gimme your order, awready, I got tables.
“You’ll have to excuse me,” I said to the cat. “I haven’t been myself this morning. I woke up in bed with a strange man, I can’t remember my own name and now a cat is giving me the redass. I feel an attack of the screaming heebie-jeebies coming on.”
“Hell's Pimple Pads,” said the cat, stepping back. “You’re not Catewood!” Or did she say, Kate Wood? The little thing puffed up like a three-toned dandelion and hissed at me.
“Oh, go fizz yourself,” I said. “Either I’m haloonisating again or there really is a talking cat. And if so, said talking cat can explain herself or go fall off another balcony.” I laid back on the hassock and threw a hand over my eyes in my best Scarlett O’Hara parody. “I’m so confused, all I need is another pussy giving me attitude.”
The cat made a dash toward the still open balcony door. I had to raise up and turn sideways a little to see her but she stopped halfway to look back at me. “You don’t know who you are?” she asked, sounding like she didn’t believe me.
I nodded. “Well, I found out about half an hour ago that my name is Constance Catewood and I live in apartment 415 but other than that, I’m completely lost.” The dream didn’t help, too confusing. “And if you’re my cat, how come you’re up here instead of downstairs? Did I smuggle you in last night in the pocket of clothes I wasn’t wearing?”
The kitten washed a paw. “You’re not making any sense at all.” She looked at the paw and gave it another lick. “You look like Kate Wood, but you don’t talk like her and you don’t know who I am, do you?”
I shook my head. “I’ve never met a talking cat before, I’m sure I would remember that.”
“I’m your familiar,” said the cat. “Or, I was Catewood’s familiar. And....” She stretched her neck out and sniffed of me. “And you’re in her body, but you aren’t her!” At that the kitten put back its head and began to wail, a high-pitched yowling of surprising volume coming from the tiny body.
“Sh, sh, sh!” I said, straightening up and reaching for the little animal. “You’ll wake Tim!”
“I don’t care,” said the cat, dodging. “Is he the one that’s been snogging you?”
“Well, yes, I guess you could say that–except you’re a cat and cat’s don’t talk.” I made another grab for the kitten but she forded when I expected her to dodge.
“Clumsy boob,” she said and bounced out of reach.
“Leave my boobs out of it,” I said. All I needed was for me to go one way and them another and I'd fall on my face. I tried to change direction and ended up rolling off the hassock and out of the towel. I lay there on the carpet, naked again and more than a little disconcerted. I realized just how little sense anything that had happened that morning made and wanted to start yowling myself.
The kitten dashed up and whapped me on the cheek with a soft paw. “Hell's Toaster Pastries in Seven Infernally Delicious Flavors,” said the cat. “I can’t hurt you! The bond!”
I scooped up the tiny thing in my hands and brought it close to me. “I’m sorry that I’m not who you think I ought to be, but believe me, it’s just as distressing to me as to you.”
The cat sniffed and struggled but she could no more escape my grasp than I could Tim’s. “Go ahead and kill me, then. Get it over with, that magical backlash last night already cost me two of my lives but I’ve got a spare or three.”
I chuckled. “I’m not going to hurt you, little Muffins.”
“My name is Ogen, not Muffins,” hissed the cat. She tried to bite me but it didn’t hurt at all.
“You’re so cute!” I said, cuddling her against my cheek.
“Oh for pity’s sake! Knock it off!” she complained. She began to purr. “Oh, now look what you’ve gone and done. You got my motor started.”
“Too cute!” I said, partly because it seemed to annoy the little fuzzball and she really was that cute and even cuter when complaining.
I didn’t realize what position I had ended up in, kneeling on the carpet, bent over to hold the kitten to my face with my posterior pointed at the bedroom door. I didn’t realize, that is, until I heard Tim say from behind me, “What am I looking at?”
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