Puss In Goots Photo of Gootsy.

Sue Lange

Copyright 1998 by Sue Lange

Cat Story Logo.

Gootsy was not really my cat, but my boyfriend's. The grief exhibited by this 185 pound fully-vested, local 2 boilermaker upon the loss of his pet kitty, prompted me to write the story of this most fascinating creature. I have to admit that I also cried when Gootsy died.

After the old lady died, things were tough. I hate to say it, but up until then, I had it pretty easy. The old lady and I had an understanding. We hardly ever talked. We didn't need to on account of our understanding with the food and all. I got two squares and all the hard stuff I ever wanted. Once in a while she'd toss a treat my way. It was great. And for her part, she got all the lap time she ever wanted, whenever she wanted. I was always right there because I liked lap time too. In fact, I don't know whether I liked lap time better or meal time. I mean, I'm a lover, not a fighter.

So when the old lady booked and I wound up on the street, things got real slim. So did I. That was one tough year. I started on life #3 at the beginning of that year and by the time it was over, I was on #9.

It wasn't the street life that was so bad actually, except for the cars maybe. Man, I hated cars. That's probably because of the way Sis died. Sis had a way of climbing up the tire of a parked car and curling up in the engine on cold days. She showed me the trick one time which I thought was the tops until the day I saw her go up in a puff of fur. I've never felt the same about cars since that day. They're good for getting out of the rain or hiding from dogs sure, but other than that I don't have much use for them. I've lost two or three lives on account of them. Or trucks. Can't say I'm too crazy about motor vehicles in general.

Living out in the street wasn't such a big problem but the street itself kept me from leaving the neighborhood. You see, I'd have to cross the street in order to get myself out, so I ended up staying in spite of all the other toms in the area. I never had nothing against them cats, but boy, they sure hated me and each other too! They'd sneer at me because I was fixed, but I didn't mind. Sure, I was just as thin as them and my coat had lost its gloss by the second week out, but Jesus, I didn't look nearly as bad as them toms. If they hadn't lost an eye, you can sure bet they'd lost an ear. And alla 'em had broken tails. One poor soul, I forget his name, couldn't even lift his, it was broke right at his butt! I myself had lost most of mine when I was a kit, I don't remember when or how, but my little stub was always up and always proud. Them toms had ridiculous mangy ropes attached to their behinds. And for what reason? Because they were all fighters. Not me.

You could find food anywhere on the street, but it never stuck around for long. The people that lived here were mostly no count and left their garbage everywhere, but between all the toms and stray dogs and such, the good stuff got ate up real fast. So the toms were always scraping. I wouldn't. I'd take up a post somewheres and move in as soon as a dump was made. I got chased off a lot of times, but since I was usually getting in first I managed to get enough to keep myself alive. Them toughs probably ate better, but you couldn't tell on account of all the energy they had to spend fighting for them big juicy scraps. They wound up skinny as me.

And when that plump little orange & white, "Pumpkin" heated up, those cats would cross a driveway to get to a fight. I never participated. Pumpkin was nice and all but she was just a cat. She never seemed too interested in them toms anyways, looking out from her perch on the windowsill licking her paws. She appeared to be pleasant and what not, but she never gave a thought to all the chaos happening for her benefit in the yard below. I couldn't really blame her for not being interested; them toms were a mess. Every last one of em.

So anyways when I hit year #9, feeling hungry all the time and mostly very lonely, I thought I'd make a change. I knew I only had one good life left and I got to thinking about the old lady. The street teed me off and so I decided that I'd pull myself together and just cross that street and look for a new old lady. Actually, I wasn't that particular. I like people; anybody would do, not just an old lady. I missed lap time a bunch and that's what I was looking for.

In that neighborhood, I'd seen a couple of tough old toms that seemed to come and go whenever they wanted to. They'd cross the street back and forth at their own whim. They didn't do much fighting and maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed to me that they were fatter than me and the rest of the scraggly bunch. They kept to themselves mostly so I never talked to them, but I sure did watch. You know I watched them, because they had a secret: the secret of when it was safe to cross the street. After watching them for a good-enough while, it appeared to me that they sort of listened up and down the street and felt at the ground and when they thought it tested out alright, they crossed. I tried it myself and found it was true. You could actually predict pretty truthfully when the cars were coming. So I closed my eyes and listened real close and finally ran across that street and if you can believe it, I made it!

I spent the whole afternoon patrolling the backyards of my new neighborhood. I peaked in windows, listened at doors and sniffed everywhere. But I couldn't find no old ladies. I came to the sinking conclusion that I'd have to find another neighborhood.

But by now I was getting pretty cocky. Having lost my street fear I decided I'd try another neighborhood or even a few. I got a couple more in and then I had to go and start to panic. I was hungry almost all the time that year but now I was really hungry and I had wound up somewhere without a lot of garbarge everywhere. I took this to be a bad sign especially when I couldn't even smell anything ripe. It was just so clean. I was thinking of turning around and tracing myself back to my old neighborhood, when a black and white crossed right in front of me and said, "What's up, man? New around here?"

Needless-to-say, I was quite surprised. It was a tom and not only did he not spit at me, he actually was friendly! Turns out, my buddy, "Socks" was fixed too and pretty well happy with himself. He showed me a spot where if I waited long enough, something would turn up. I was amazed. He said the people around here were pretty cool. I mean the trash was scarce and all but the folks took care of the strays in this area. Socks actually had a home but he liked to be out in the street where the action was. He wanted to know what was going on at all times with the humans, the cats and even the dogs and squirrels. Socks was real friendly-like. Most of the people in this neighborhood even thought that Socks was their cat. I believe that Socks himself was never quite sure where he lived.

Socks introduced me to another neighborhood tom, Scarecrow, Crow for short. Crow was crazy. He hated people and just about everything else except Socks. He was skinnier than me and in fact, skinnier than any cat I'd ever seen. One guy up the block kept Crow alive, barely, by putting out scraps a couple of times a week for him.

I hung with Crow and Socks for a few weeks. The food was regular but, pretty scarce; I continued to be hungry most of the the time, but I liked running with them guys. We never fought, just roamed around and told stories. They showed me all the great hiding places in the neighborhood and where all the 'coons and skunks hung out. And of course whose dogs were stupid and whose were on the right track was all real valuable information to me at that time.

Meanwhile, I gotta say, I still missed my lap time. Socks and Crow were great buddies, but they don't take the place of a human touch. A human feels kinda like my mother did when I was a kit. That's what made me like the old lady so much. So I was still pretty lonely.

I resigned myself to living out life #9 in this state until one fateful evening just at dusk. The ever-present hunger had provoked me into sniffing up something, anything, when just as I was turning the corner of a garage, I saw him. My guy. He saw me too, just as I turned that corner. I looked him right in the eye and felt something that I hadn't for a long time. I don't know how to describe it, but for a moment because of whatever it was, I forgot how hungry I was. We stared at each other waiting for one of us to make a move, threatening or otherwise. Finally, my guy said, "Hey kitty."

I'm not real talkative and in fact I learned to be quite wary of humans due to the loss of life #6 at the hands of a cruel human and his fireplace poker in his basement. I like humans for the most part, but the #6 life experience showed me that you really can't predict how each one's gonna fry out in the pan once the gas gets turned on. I guess people are just like toms. Anyway, I stayed put and he eventually left around his corner. I hung for a bit and was just getting up to leave when out of the house here he comes with a bowl of something to put a warm smile on my face. I smelled it immediately. It was the dry the old lady used to leave out for me to have my pleasure with. He set it down, real nice-like and went back inside.

I couldn't help myself, I had it gone in a minute. Again I hung for while but when nothing else happened I moved on, looking for Socks to tell the story. Socks was unimpressed, "I told you people are cool around here. I've seen those people. They're nice. They got their own cat so they don't need us too much, but they've always been straight anyway.

Still, I was suprised and in the morning just before I was going to my favorite napping bush, I decided to stop by my guy's house. I don't know why, I just thought I'd try it. I went up to the door he had gone in the night before. And guess what! There it was. That shiny bowl of dry, just waiting for me, pretty as you please. I looked around for my guy and was sort of sorry that he was no where in sight, but I didn't let that stop me. By this time I was starving again and wasn't gonna stand on no ceremony. I didn't miss a drop and turned the bowl over just in case there was something underneath it.

Well, you can pretty well guess I was passing by my guy's house every morning and every evening and I was never let down. He even put a little bowl of water out. It was so small, I just laughed at it. I mean everybody has old pickle buckets out in their backyards just full of water. It's a never-ending supply for Socks and the rest of us. Still I appreciated the gesture even if I didn't need his little bowl.

Sometimes in the evenings, I'd catch him out just before or after he put the food down. Eventually he started to hang out while I ate. Since he hung, I thought I'd hang. He'd sit on the steps of the front porch; I'd lay on the bottom step. It wasn't lap time exactly but it was at least as nice as going around with Socks and them.

About the time I was just getting to really like the guy he made a mistake. It wasn't his fault really; he didn't know. He reached out to touch me right in the middle of my back. Yikes! Like I said, I like people and all, but because of that life #6 thing, I can't trust people right off the bat, and a back is pretty risky. It was a sad turn of things because here I was desiring a little lap and this guy is ripe for it, but I just couldn't deal yet, so I whipped around and let him have a scratch. Not hard, of course; my claws were only half out. I didn't need to hurt him, just had to let him know how things stood.

I got ready to high-tail it, I mean I braced for that kick in the ribs that always comes, but it never came. All he said was, "OK, OK baby. That's cool, I get it." I was pretty surprised. Humans are nice and all but a tom is a tom regardless of species and human males are just as mean as a cat. In fact I sort of chuckled at the whole thing because he called me "baby" and must have thought I was a girl. Oh well. We hung a bit more and then he went in his house. I kind of felt sad. I couldn't remember the last time I was in a house. I guessed it was the old lady's so many lifetimes ago.

After that we spent a few weeks doing the evening routine. It was enjoyable. I even met his girl. She lived in the house with him and she was just as nice. I guess it was her cat that lived with the two of them. She was a real cat person. You can always tell a cat person. They go for the spot right away. By the time I had met her, I had gotten over my fear of my guy touching me, so when she went for the spot (directly on the top of the head between the ears) I loved her right away. I'd say we hit it off real well.

Both of them were great. We all got along, but their cat was something else. Now, I got nothing against people or cats. Like I said, I'm a lover, not a fighter, but I've noticed that most cats ain't like me and Socks and the Scarecrow. My guy's cat, Giggy they called her, was more typical of our kind. She'd sit up in the window looking at me, and never a friendly word, not a "hi," nothing. If she made any sound at all, it was just to spit. But she was curious, and jealous! Boy when those two were hanging around with me she would get to cryin' in the window. I just laughed to myself. It was even more funny because she was a black and white, like Socks. And she looked to be the spittin' image of him, but they were nothing alike. Giggy and I eventually came to an understanding but not until a whole lot of other stuff happened first.

Like the incident when the girl went to rub my belly and I had to scratch her. Just like before, it was a knee-jerk reaction because of #6 life. After I did it, she felt so guilty that I was as sorry as I could be because I done it and decided right then and there that I'd let either one of them touch me wherever and whenever they wanted. I didn't need to wait no longer to figure it out. I could tell these people were the real thing.

But there was still Giggy, Miss Giggy I called her. She might have been jealous of me, but she had no idea of how jealous I was of her living in that cozy little house. But eventually we did come to our understanding, Giggy and I, but at that time I just regarded her as the loud, mean, and pretty scary cat in charge.

And when I say scary, I mean scary. Giggy was the queen of her backyard. Everyone was afraid of her. My guy and his girl used to put her on a leash so she couldn't run out of the yard. The leash was real long and hooked up to the washline so's she'd be able to run the whole length, making it out to any corner she wanted. Whenever another cat got close to Giggy's yard, she had a way of making herself look about twice as big as she really was and that face! What a face! Classic halloween! Giggy was the type of cat you knew had to be a witch in her previous life. Later when I found out she didn't have any claws I had a great laugh about the whole thing. Nobody'd ever seen a cat as old as Giggy who happened to be 13 years. Apparently a cat will learn a lot in 13 years and how to protect themselves without fighting was one of their big lessons. I liked Giggy and she eventually liked me, but at the time we mostly just tolerated each other.

I remember one crazy time I was lolling around in my back house. I say it was mine because my guy sort of gave it to me. He felt bad because they couldn't let me come in their house. I guess they thought I'd hurt Giggy or something, as if I'd ever have the nerve to go near her, claws or no. So because he was worried about what was going to happen to me come winter (Like I'd never been through winter before!) my guy fixed up a spot in the little screened in back house for me. I'd have preferred a cardboard box at the end of the yard under some leaf litter but they gave me the back house. I said, "OK I'll take it." I'm a beggar after all.

So on this day I was lolling around on the table in my back house. I remember the day as being particularly bright, sunny and with no wind. Giggy was tied up, hiding under the peony bush. Everything was pretty peaceful and what do you know, here comes Scarecrow sniffing around. I hadn't seen him in a while. My guy had put a bowl of dry for me out in the house and the Crow thought he'd help himself. I didn't particularly care cuz I knew I'd get more eventually. Crow, on the other hand, never knew when he was going to get fed because his guy was a little crazy and not too regular with the food. Like I said, Crow was sure the skinniest cat ever. He was just too scared of everything to ever think about fighting over food. He was even too scared of people to ever make himself likable to somebody for a handout. Besides his crazy guy, Crow never really had anybody to feed him. He was perhaps the most pathetic creature in existence. When it rained on him, I always thought he looked like a skeleton. So I didn't mind him getting some of my dry. I like Crow. Besides I was just happy to be lolling around on that table falling in and out of nap land.

But peace was not to be had on this day. Just about the time Crow had gotten a mouthful down, my guy's girl took it in her head to come and check out the back house. When she opened the door, she saw Crow eating my food, and boy did she get mad! Poor Crow, startled out of a food eating reverie and then being afraid of any breathing thing on top of that couldn't do anything but freeze and stare, trying to sort through all sorts of panicy thoughts racing around in his head. Myself, I thought she was going to try and kill him because she kept shouting for him to "git." The sad part is that as she was standing there yelling at him to "git," she was standing in the only place for him to "git" to. And of course Crow can't get closer than 10 feet to any thing that breathes. I was kind of watching the whole thing in a stupor when I finally woke up completely and realized that if I didn't chase poor Crow out of there she was liable to hurt him. So I snarled at him and that might have been a mistake. Here was poor Crow: my guy's girl was snarling at him on one side. On the other side, his only ally in the world at the moment was snarling at him too and the only way out was blocked. The half-formed short-circuiting thoughts in his brain instantly coagulated into one big word that said "PANIC! PANIC!" He ran from one side of the little house to the other, back and forth, three, four times. He even climbed half-way up one of the screens. I imagine it would have continued on in this way if the girl hadn't finally gotten the good sense to get out of the way. I guess seeing Crow clawing his way up the wall made it somewhat obvious that he had no way out. So she finally stepped to the side holding the door open and Crow made a mad dash out of the house. Which direction did he go? You guessed it; smack dab into the peony bush where Miss Giggy, queen of all crabs, had just been roused from an afternoon nap. Twice as mean as she usually was, she snapped at Crow so hard he jumped straight in the air ten feet. He was already running when he landed on the ground and was out of sight in seconds. I laughed and laughed and Giggy even allowed a smile when she realized what happened. At least poor Crow got a few bites of food. After that Giggy got a little closer to me. Not real close, but closer. She definitely let me enter the kingdom at this stage.

Oh I forgot to mention my name. One great day I was finally given a name. For eight entire lives and during my whole stay with the old lady I had never been given a name. A lot of things happened on my naming day. That was the day I entered the big house, the for-real big house. Giggy's house. My guy and his girl were busy that day, working in their garden. They had a small vegetable patch with tomatoes. I loved to run through the patch and hide. Not being particularly good gardeners, these people planted their tomatoes too close together, so when they grew into tall plants it was pretty dense underneath with just enough room to get through and see out a little. It was great; my favorite place in their yard. Well, on this day the girl was very excited because on their one squash plant a baby had just sprouted. They felt like proud parents and as I was rolling around in tomatoes I guess I got included in the excitement because they decided to name me after that squash right then and there. Cocuzelle. I thought it was a silly name and was really kind of let down that after all these years of not having a name I was going to be stuck with that thing. But because the word was so hard to say, they eventually shortened it and started to call me Gootsy. Now that was more like it. I liked that name, especially when she laughed and called me "Puss in Goots." Not being the type of cat that has been blessed with boots since I'm sort of gray and brown striped all over, I'd never been referred to as that cat of all cats, "Puss in Boots," before. So the reference, inapropriate as it was, sort of made me feel proud.

It tickled me that I had an official name and a nick name on top, important-like. Later after Giggy and I had had our heart-to-heart she decided to bust my chops by telling me she had an official name too. OK, so my people always had official and nick names. I still felt important. Giggy was such a ball buster.

On my name day while all the excitement and gardening was going on, my guy and his girl put Giggy on her leash and propped the back door of the house open so they could go in and out easily. About late afternoon, they finally finished their work and went inside to watch TV. But they left the door propped open! And, naturally, I'm curious, so I wandered on in. Wow! The memories that came back to me when I hit that kitchen linoleum. There is nothing quite so comfortable to the paw as a nice smooth odoriferous kitchen linoleum. I could just see the old lady puttering around her tea pot and bread oven while I was half asleep on the register. Those were warm days and that linoleum brought it all back.

But that wasn't the half of it. There was so much more in that little house of theirs. Stuff I'd never seen before. Manly boots covered all over with smelly mud, clothes stacked up every which where. I just followed my nose and went from one thing that caught my attention to the next. I made it into one room filled with the oddest looking items; weird, large round box-shaped, claw-busting leather things, strange table-like ironing boards that made funny sounds when you ran across them and what-not. Later, after I'd moved in, I found out that all those weird things made the most horrible sounds when held in the hands of my people and their friends. The first time I heard it I thought the end of the world was coming; Giggy just looked at me in disgust when I ran out of the room. It may well have been the only time in my life when I screeched. It was just that bad. Giggy told me not to worry I'd get used to their practicing. She said maybe I'd learn to like it, their "music," as she called it. She said she learned and pointed out that it's the one time when the people seem to be really happy. She said I should try to sing along sometime. In Giggy's words, "Man, when she hits that high note, I just can't help myself, I have to join in!" Then it was my turn to be disgusted. As if I'd ever behave like a dog! Besides, compared to me, Giggy was a very vocal cat; I doubted if I'd ever feel the need to howl that way. It made my skin crawl.

On this day, however, I had no idea what was ahead and I was satisfied with smelling and seeing the house of my people. Eventually, I sniffed myself into the TV room, causing a minor ruckous that evolved into a, "Well I guess it was inevitable." They put me outside and brought Giggy in with them and there I was left with that empty feeling. I was going to be watching Giggy through the window all night. She'd stare at me and I'd stare back and if I got too close, she'd spit so I'd have to step away.

I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands. That night after everyone was sleeping, I jumped to the window sill. There was just enough room for me to settle onto the ledge pressing myself against the screen. It was almost comfortable. The window was open and I thought I saw them on that most beautiful of human inventions: the bed. Well I was sick at heart for missing them or the old lady or something so I did what I never do: I cried. I don't vocalize much because I don't need to; I always help myself. All those lives spent in the street where I learned to avoid bad scenes taught me to get what I wanted without having to howl or complain or screech. I was surprised that I hadn't forgetten how to holler. When I saw that beautiful, warm, cozy bed I just sort of let loose with it. The two of them woke up I guess and looked at me for a moment through the window. I must have looked pretty pitiful because it didn't take long for them to get up and open the door. Boy was I happy. I was just about to head for the bed when a wall of smells hit me. I couldn't help it; I hadn't quite finished exploring before I got put out earlier and it was still all so new I didn't know which way to turn first. They watched me for a while and finally went to bed. I sniffed around a bit and even ran into Giggy in a corner who hissed and turned her head. I respectfully backed away and looked elsewhere. Finally I jumped up to the bed and fell into a sleep that I hadn't experienced for a year and a half. It was deep and pure: no dreams.

Needless-to-say, I was now in. I was allowed to come and go as I pleased. I devised a little grunt to get let out or in. It wasn't really a cry. I kept a wide space between me and Giggy, always giving her the right of way she required as the master of the house. I didn't have to do it so much after we'd had a heart-to-heart during which she told me about her childhood on a farm and then how she got her claws removed and had to stay inside all the time because of it. I was sort of sad for her. She'd never had any trouble in her life; she always had plenty to eat and was never caught by dogs or tortured by children. I mean she was thirteen years old and still on life #3. But even though she'd had an easy time of it, she hadn't caught a bird in ten years, hadn't chased the squirrels past the base of the tree and in fact hadn't even climbed a tree since she was a kit. She still sharpened her claws once in a while out of habit or longing maybe. Made me kind of like her even more. She was very regal even if her kingdom was pretty small. I resolved to never let her know I wasn't scared of her. I always crouched when she hissed as if at any moment she'd strike.

One thing I had a problem with was food. I loved it. Too much. By the time I was taking up residence in Giggy's house, I was eating regularly, but I was still somewhat hungry all the time. Well, my people had one of the best contraptions for a cat I'd ever seen. It was a never-ending cat food supplier! I found it during that first search through the house. It was a bowl with a sort of silo-looking attachment. As I ate and the level of food in the bowl dropped, more food from the silo fell into the bowl. The bowl was never empty! Sometimes some of the dry would get stuck and no more would fall, but I learned pretty fast to cram my paw up inside the bowl and knock some back down. I ate the whole silo-ful the first night. The next night I did the same thing. After the third night, the people got concerned and only filled up a bowlful. It was a good thing too, I mean I was hungry but not that hungry. I just couldn't help it.

Giggy got fed once a day from a can and so I started getting that too. I didn't know what it was at first but after watching Giggy go for it, I didn't hesitate for long. I preferred the dry but eventually the can caught on for me.

Giggy was funny with her food. She never minded me eating her food, but she couldn't eat with me around. I don't know why I did it, but when they put out our dishes of canned, I would never start to eat until Giggy showed me first and then I would wander over to her bowl and eat hers. She never spat or hissed, she just got somewhat bewildered and backed away. Finally the people got wise and fed her in a separate room with the door shut between us. She'd never eat all her food at once like me. I'd down the whole can and later after the door was opened to let Giggy out, I'd find myself in the room finishing her share. Like I said I had a problem with food: I loved it too much. After a few weeks, Giggy started to look a bit like Scarecrow and I was getting mighty jolly.

About this time a very funny thing happened. You see, these people were stuck on the idea that I was a girl. One time when the Scarecrow and Socks came looking for me in the middle of the night my guy and his girl thought I was in heat. Crow and Socks were playing a joke on me howling and such outside the window and I guess it sort of looked like the ol' toms crying after Pumpkin. Well, that's what my people thought anyway. So when the day came to take me to the vet, I'll never forget the look on my guy's face when the doc told him I was a boy. When we got home he ran to the phone and called his girl who was at work and said, "Guess what! My baby's not my baby; she's my good buddy!" Well that made him happy, and her too, I guess, cuz she said she'd never had a boy cat before. I had gotten so big by now I was actually starting to look like the tom that I was. I must say I was feeling pretty proud.

I have to say that life had never been better for me. I even liked the set-up more than the old lady's. What with Giggy and the garden and Socks and Crow and all the coons and skunks that lived in that neighborhood, there was always something going on; something to get into. And to top it all, I was never hungry any more. I slept well anytime I wanted: no nasty toms or children ever bothered me. I even made peace with the cars I was so cocky. And that's when I made my big mistake.

On Tuesdays, my guy and his girl were always going somewhere in their little red convertible. I liked that little car. When they left in that car, they'd be back soon. When they left in the big ugly gray van, they'd be gone for days. So as they were leaving on one regular Tuesday, I was feeling pretty good. I went and watched them go down the street in the middle of the road. And don't you know right as I was thinking how satisfied I was, licking my left paw and watching my guy and his girl in their little red car, Bam! Some big green thing comes speeding up behind me and in an instant there goes life #9. I mean three short years representing the sum total of my nine lives up in a flick of a tail! My soul got shot all the way up to the top of the ugly van where I watched the whole scene. My head was crushed in immediately and fortunately I didn't feel a thing. The neighbor lady and her husband came out shaking their heads. They wrote a note and put it on my guy's door. Cars came and went and swerved around my carcass all day.

And then my people came home. They didn't see me because it was dark. But they read the note and came running back to the street. And oh boy! What a noise! Bawling and crying and saying my name over and over again. Jesus! I'm a cat for christ's sake! You'd think I was the be all and end all or something.

But they were sweet. They wrapped me in a towel and dug a big hole for me in their back yard, which was great because now I get to stick around for a while and watch things from up here before I dissolve. And man is the view great up here! I can see all the way over to the pet cemetary and believe me that is one place I would never want to go! Just think of all them cats and dogs so close to each other, hissing and clawing all the time. Some of 'em just want to go to sleep but the rest of 'em keep everybody wide awake. Up here I can spook around for a while. The only other resident up here is my guy's mother. She told me she used to live in the house and she doesn't really want to leave because she's got to stick around and whisper things to him to make sure he doesn't make any mistakes. She doesn't really like me. She spends her time watching her son constantly putting that ol' fear in him whenever it's necessary.

One night I couldn't help myself I had to let out an old-time howl. I guess I got to missing that bed too much. I was right above the window ledge I was on the night they let me in. I guess it was too much for me, I just let it rip. My guy came running out and looked around. I think I heard him sniff. His mother got mad at me and immediately started in: "You shouldn't have done that; that's not nice. He needs his sleep."

Oh well, I won't do it again. I'm beginning to fade anyway. It's probably time. But until I go all the way, I don't mind it up here. Even with his mother. I kind of like her. She loves my guy and so do I. Besides, she won't hate me for long, I'll break her down, just like I did with Giggy. I'm a lover, not a fighter.

Sue Lange stopped reading for ten years after she graduated college with a degree in chemistry. The amount of bookwork required for a terminally right-brained person to excel in a terminally left-brained world left her dizzy and head-broken. Following up on a friend's suggestion to check out "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," she was thrust back into the world of great writing and has been re-addicted to reading ever since. In addition, this cocky adult has even picked up pen and qwerty on her own lately. Indeed she is rarely seen without a computer screen staring her in the face nowadays, and in fact, has grown quite fat, dumb and happy in her surreal world of letters, words, and links.

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