Greebo’s Editorial Tips

I was born a poor black cat.  Okay, stop laughing.  It is actually true.  I’m mostly black, except for spots of white, embarrassingly shaped like human body hair, which show when I lie on my back.  And I was born in the crawl space of a rental house from a feral mother who was dumped as a kitten, and the neighborhood gentleman Mrs. Hoyt pleases to call The Resident Mad Feral Tom.

I wasn’t much more than ten weeks old when I had to defend mam.ma cat’s honor against a roving tom who took the opportunity of papa cat (who used to baby-sit us when mama went about her errands) being absent.

To be honest with you, I didn’t so much worry about my mother’s honor.  It was that the tom made it very clear my brothers and sister and I should be done away with and possibly eaten, so mama could turn her attention to his offspring, the getting of.

Well, I was tiny, but I had needle sharp claws, so I jumped on his head and–

Mrs. Hoyt says that’s when she decided to call me Greebo.  It didn’t hurt for the name that when the neighbor next door trapped me and my siblings (we could never resist tuna) she took me to be “fixed” (I wasn’t aware of being broken) to a feral-fixing service, which then cut half of one ear so people knew we were fixed.  She did this despite Mrs. Hoyt offering to pay for the fixing, which to be fair, she was never forgiven for.

Another thing she was never forgiven for was locking us all in a six by nine powder room, and not letting us be adopted.  To be fair, she let the Hoyts come and pet us and play with us, but she kept insisting we were feral and dangerous — she wasn’t a cat person, and to be fair, I didn’t like her — and not letting the Hoyts find us families.  Then when we were a year old she turned us out just before winter.  This is when Mrs. Hoyt took over looking after us, and trying to re-tame us, as we were rather traumatized at being dumped out into the freezing cold.  She even bought us an insulated house to sleep in during winter, and had us chipped and vaccinated.

Despite this, my brothers chose to live with the neighbors.  Okay, fine, I might have chased Maurice away.  Mr. Underfoot genuinely preferred the neighbors, even though they called him Dumb and Maurice Dumber.  Look, given how et up with cats the Hoyts are I judged my chances of being brought inside best if there was just one of us, okay?  A cat’s got to do what a cat got to do.

At any rate, Maurice owed me, because that first winter out, a fox got him in an indelicate place — to put it bluntly, the fox took an off-center chunk off Maurice — and if I hadn’t descended upon the fox like the wrath of Greebo, Maurice would be dead.

Mrs. Hoyt is still confused at my bringing her half a fox’s tail, ripped vertically.  I’d heard they were valued for stoles, but I think she threw it away, silly woman.  What do you expect from writers.

I also once saved them from a fugitive.  It happened like this, see, I wasn’t very fond of the outside house, so I convinced them to put a cat door on the little screen door to their mudroom.

The mudroom didn’t lock, because back then Colorado Springs’ Old North end was, in the main, very safe.  Besides, all they kept there were these tall plastic shelves with gardening stuff and basketballs, and the kids scooters.  That kind of thing.  Oh, and two cat beds, one in the lowest shelf and one on the highest.

It so happened that every so often a fugitive escaped the maximum security facility somewhere South of the Springs, and then the police would hunt them down and have lights shining from helicopters to catch them. We all knew what those lights meant.

Of course, the problem with that mud room — the Hoyts called it an air-lock. Shakes head at the silliness of science fiction people — is that once you were in there, you had all the time in the world to break into the kitchen.  I knew Mrs. Hoyt was there, cooking, because I’d greeted her at the kitchen window — purr, rub on glass, purr — before going to sleep in the top most shelf.

I don’t know why I know this man was a wrong one, except he smelled bad, of fear and bad intentions, and besides he wasn’t daddy, who was the only person who should be coming into the air lock at that time.

Well — flicks claw — I have my claws.  And I remembered who I got rid of mama’s suitor.  Yep, I dropped on his head.

He ran out of the airlock with me on his head, and I stayed on, yowling and scratching, and let me tell you it wasn’t easy to keep my balance, so I held on with my front claws and ripped with my back claws.  When we found the police he was sobbing, asking for his mommy, and saying something about demons.

Mrs Hoyt was very proud of me and gave me tuna.

So, what does this have to do with writing tips?

Be still, there’s more to the story.

Imagine my surprise when the Hoyts moved away and left me behind.  I thought it was understood I was THEIR kitten — albeit a near 20 lb muscular kitten — but apparently the strange pink monkeys thought I was the neighborhood cat.

So I sat my butt in front of the house and yowled ALL NIGHT.  It worked.  One of the neighbors called and told Mrs. Hoyt she had to come get me, because I wouldn’t let anyone sleep.

And that’s how I achieved my long term goal of being an indoor cat.

Now, because I know she has a lot of other cats (Yeah, not happy about that, but one is old enough he shouldn’t be with us long, the other one is really her son’s cat and just staying with us for a year, and the third is probably just an animated ball of cotton wool) she has to feed, and I don’t intend to go without my tuna, I also herd the silly woman to the chair to write at all times, so she has money to keep us.  Because, and here’s the thing,  found if you work at it, you will be successful.

So, my tips for writers are:

No matter who you were born, or to whom, or how unlikely your circumstances, you can do what you set out to do.  It just takes effort and determination.  Tell yourself right now you’re not going to give up and die when the big feral tom wants you out of the way.  You’ll chase him off if needed, even if you’re much smaller.  And you’ll do it WELL.

Develop your innate abilities.  Mine is chasing off large wild life and terrorizing neighborhoods.  This not only saved my brother Maurice and the other cats in the neighborhood, since the fox found another place to prowl, but it made me beloved by a lot of people who only heard about me.

It also made me capable of chasing off a real, dangerous fugitive and earn the gratitude of the Hoyts.

Also, as I keep telling the writer-woman, when you become what you always wanted to be, don’t slack off.  Be vigilant and always on the job, and you know, sometimes you’ll even get tuna rewards.

It’s all in working hard and never giving up.  Now go write, before I figure out a way to come to your houses and chase you to your keyboards.

Happy hunting.

87 responses to “Greebo’s Editorial Tips

  1. I don’t think Greebo’s being fair, despite all his protests. 😉

  2. I have a question: can Greebo turn, under stress or when it seems otherwise convenient to the plot, into a 6-foot-something handsome but dangerous-looking man in black leather who is irresistible to women?

  3. So wait… If I stop writing, Greebo will visit?

    I think this incentive system is backwards…

  4. And some us have a decided dislike of tuna.
    Now, salmon is another story.

  5. Thanks for that Sarah!

    You well know how hard it is when we write something that most of those who read it, pronounce not just good but wonderful, and then put it into the marketplace where it never finds an audience. I’ll try to remember Greebo.

  6. Is THAT what the tuna was for?

  7. Greebo sounds terrifying. Enjoyed this very much.

  8. I’d heard they were valued for stoles, but I think she threw it away, silly woman. What do you expect from writers.

    Good Honest writers don’t want nothing what’s stole.

    • richardmcenroe

      *checks his WIP files, decides not to comment*

    • Everyone steals, or stands on the shoulders of those who came before if you will. Truly original ideas are few and far between.
      But the craft lies in how well you buff and polish old ideas and make something new out of them.

      • Remember: if you steal from more than three sources, it’s called “research”.

        • A thing ain’t stole if you can’t identify the prior owner.

            • That’s better than pretending those don’t exist, but you need to offer a bigger taste of what is offered:

              Would Obamacare Repeal Mean More Abortion?
              By Sarah Hoyt
              Why do people have children? And why do entire populations stop having children?

              No one is very sure of this. Okay, we have all sorts of guesses, but they all seem a little… slippery. For instance we say people in the old days had a lot more children because they were assets, helpers in the farms and guarantees of caretakers in old age.

              Yeah – waggles hand – sort of kind of. Yeah, the kids were help in the farms, and could do things at ages that astonished you (like look after the cattle well before ten) but they were also a drain on food and the parents’ attention. And at a time when food was a very expensive part of life, and when attention was needed to wrest some food off the land by what were fairly primitive methods, children were a mixed blessing. Particularly when you considered how many of them never survived the time in which they contributed nothing.

              There is something to be said for the old age, but let’s face it, in primitive or agrarian societies, your “old age” i.e. the period in which you couldn’t contribute at least something to society tended to be very short.

              Mostly people had children because they wanted to have children, which is still true today.

              In fact, the only thing that seems to make people stop having children is for their society to be conquered, their ways disparaged by the invaders, new ways of life imposed on them. It seems to be a constant throughout history that when humans cannot believe in their culture and carry it on into the future by having children, they don’t have nearly as many children.

              [END EXCERPT]

            • Glad to see you’re cranking out some paying copy.

              The Lieutenant Wouldn’t Like It
              By Sarah Hoyt
              When I tell people I was raised in Heinlein’s books, they laugh a little.

              They shouldn’t.

              I started reading Heinlein as a teenager as the world around me fell into dual madness, because more and more of my teachers were boomers full of the ideas of the late sixties early seventies, and the country itself was spiraling further and further into Marxist insanity.

              Heinlein’s books were a refuge, where logic made sense, things worked, and I often found that he could explain things I couldn’t. Or not explain exactly, but get beneath the level of indoctrination and slogans, to make people understand the other point of view.

              I spent years giving Starship Troopers to people who suddenly, out of nowhere, declared themselves pacifist. About fifty percent of them reconsidered their position, because Heinlein was persuasive about honor, about defending your tribe, and about unreasonable threats.

              But there is more to it than that.

              [END EXCERPT]

            • Two excellent ones.

              But noooooo, you’re lazing about, not meeting your bloggy writing obligations. Hah.

              Hats off to you ma’am.

      • and run dating services for them.

  9. He’s just a big softy.

  10. I note in Greebo’s version he says nothing about the extra tuna on the side from the editor, or that it might not have been his idea. Good cat!

  11. I think I understand Robert’s story about Rat’s Killer a little better now.

  12. Nemo has returned from the groomer and looks smaller. I think it was 3 lbs of fur! He looks so cuuuuute in his bandanna!

  13. I grew up with a succession of English Bulldogs named John (the middle names changed). Bulldogs do not mix well with cats, not because they are mean but because they are shortsighted. If they see a cat, they want to get closer so they cantell what it is. Naturally themcat reacts to themapproach of a lumbering lump of canine grotesquerie by retreating. So the bulldog speeds up. So the cat speeds up. And that way lies bedlam and breakage.

    Since meeting My Lady I have lived with a number of cats, including a purebred Bengal named Amelia Airhead, because she would stalk wild turkey hens that were three times her sze and she one caught a bat in midair.

    Our current compliment includes Polly Dactyl the Thumbs Cat (total of seven extra toes) and Cinnamon Sugar the Cat Oroborous (he started out teacup sized. Started.)

  14. Our cat feels strongly that I should leave the bed only to feed her.
    She isn’t very helpful when it comes to getting things done.

    I’m not sure why every cat my wife brings home loves me to the exclusion of everyone else. I’m firmly in camp canine.

    • Do you avoid eye contact with felines? I’ve heard (but do not know from direct experience, myself, so ponder large saline dosage…) that cats tend to go those not looking (too much?) at them. Perhaps staring is a good idea? Of course, slow ox might have that all backwards. I also prefer the company of dogs for smaller creatures.. and horses are often nicely calming… when they aren’t imagining horse-eating creatures behind every blade of grass, that is.

    • I had a college professor who claimed that cats were all missionaries. They’ll seek out anyone who doesn’t seem to be a member of the Religion of Cat and try to convert you.

      I’m allergic, and cats follow me around like I wear tuna fish perfume.

      • I’m allergic to cats, as in “breaks out in a rash.” Never saw much use for them anyway. Being hateful creatures, they act like I’m covered in catnip.

        “Get *away* from me, vile beast!”

        “Look at me. I’m so cute and cuddly. Don’t you want to stroke my silky fur?”

        “I want to touch you like I want to stick a sensitive part into a wasp nest. And don’t try the ‘cute’ thing with me; it’s just a result of natural selection from the survival of your ancestors who were cute enough to sucker people into feeding them.”

        “Feel the pressure of my gaze. You want to open a can of tuna for me.”

        “If you’re so hot, why don’t you open your own damned can of tuna? Right, haven’t mastered that ‘thumb’ thing yet, have you?”

        “Now you need to let me go outside.”

        “Doorknob is right there, Bozo.”

        “What we have here, is a failure to communicate…”

        • Barnacle Bill the Admiral’s cat had mastered the doorknob thing and the opening of drawers. Although he had not quite mastered the can opener. So he contented himself with opening drawers and cupboards and pulling out the cans of tuna and rolling them about the kitchen floor to bring them to our attention.

  15. I wonder if Greebo might be part tiger.

    • I miss Calvin & Hobbs. Had a cat named Hobbs. Would NOT let hubby name the kid Calvin. Hobbs was not one of our bigger cats (average 8-10# size) but solid. Definitely King of the neighborhood until he passed at a rich age of 20+; and no, there were not to be any Hobbs, jr. that was prevented. Loved the kitty’s narrative. Wants me to start typing (was beaten out of me early 20’s) now I’m too lazy. Would rather read.

      Hobbs story. I was picked up by this lady, taken away from mom and my brothers and sisters, given a bed and food while she and other giant left me forever (two weeks is forever, for tiny me) in the company of two strange felines who were big bullies. I escaped to next door into the arms of a much smaller giant. Little clumsy this little giant, but very warm. Want to call me “Bugs” for awhile, but we all eventually agreed I was not “Bugs” but king of cats “Hobbs”. Sometime went by and the original giants came home. Guess I was suppose to be the granddaughters’ kitten, but live with grandma and grandpa, and the bully cats. My little giant cried and cried. The original giants decided that their original cats were not happy with me and since they were there first, the bullies got to stay and I had to be “re-homed”. This is how I got to stay with my little giant next door. The cats in my new home with my little giant weren’t bullies, they liked me, but for some reason did not like my little giant. … Or “How we stole Hobbs in 1991 … because how can you take a kitten away from his 14 month-old pal after he had just lost (cancer) the only cat in the household who tolerated him.” Who knew this is what happens when you bring home a new baby into to household of (hand raised) cats who for 10 years thought they were your babies.

      • Better to end when it’s running out of steam than keep on visiting the derelict. . . .

        Do you follow Frazz?

        • Agree. But rumor was author was getting tired doing the comic … and yes, that is a good reason to stop too. Still miss it.

          “Frazz” – no. Will have to look it up.

  16. richardmcenroe

    Man, you don’t eat a cat like that all at once!

  17. “… and then the police would hunt them down and have lights shining from helicopters to catch them.”

    I am Canadian who was living in London, England before I experienced helicopters and their search lights.

    There I was asleep with my girlfriend, who also hadn’t experienced this before, when a helicopter and its high intensity searchlight directed its beam straight into my tiny bedroom – I awoke thinking aliens had arrived on earth while me girlfriend thought rapture just kicked off.

    Greebo sounds awesome, he part of your clan.

    • It is a notable fact that the ratio of the number of men with the physique to wear a speedo and the number of men willing to put on a speedo is less than one.

  18. So which cat is an “animated ball of cotton wool”?

  19. Lovecraft was a great fan of cats, and shows a softer and more humane side when dealing with feline characters. The cat scenes in The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath are highly recommended, as is the tie-in story, “The Cats of Ulthar.”

  20. I’m thinking Greebo should chip in and write guest posts more often. Let him earn his own damned tuna.

  21. Are you sure Greebo isn’t from Sphynx and has 6 limbs, not 4? He sounds suspiciously like a treecat.

    I kind of feel sorry for the fox. Can you imagine how much of a ribbing he gets from the other foxes about having half his tail stolen off him by a “mere” housecat?

    I like cats and dogs. My wife’s cat decided to adopt me; but I got even, and trained her to do tricks for treats. Everyday is Halloween for her.

  22. I see your cat perspective store and raise it with an old draft of one of my own, hopefully not too long for the comments box…

    “Christmas Kitty”

    Normally trees are outside; they are places where the birds chatter at each other while I hunt them. One day, after the outside froze, Eddie brought Grandma a green tree with long hard whiskers. He set it in the big room and once he was done fiddling with the bottom, it stood there on its own.

    Later that night, Grandma and Eddie brought out boxes and containers for me to play with. While they tied long strings of white, of shiny and of lights around the new inside tree, I dove and hid among the boxes, hunting them. They aren’t very good at escaping when I’m hunting, especially Grandma, but I keep trying to teach them.

    Not all the boxes were empty. While hunting, I found one with a great treasure in it. A royal ball which reflected everything. I could see not only pieces of the room in it, but also my own handsome reflection. I preened my fluffy orange hair and struck my best lion pose.

    The royal ball was so much fun. I batted it across the floor and then hunted it. Not only did the royal ball help me appear my most excellent, but it quickly ran and hid under the long resting place, like a proper hunting target.

    “Harry Kitty!” Grandma said. “What are you doing with that?”

    I perked up my ears and aimed them toward Grandma. Usually that first sound means I’m about to get a treat or in trouble. Just in case, I scampered under the long resting place with the royal ball.

    “I’ll get it.” Eddie said.

    He came and stole my royal ball and put it up on the top of the new tree. Grandma does that sometimes, puts my things up high so I have to practice my climbing and leaping skills to hunt them. I think it makes me a better hunter, to have to work more to get things, as long as I get them.

    I stalked out from under the long resting place and over to the inside tree. I examined it for routes to retrieve my royal ball. It was very far to the top, higher than even the narrow bridge over the flame place.

    Grandma hunted me with the long stick with many sharp spikes on the bottom. No fair! Sweeping it across the floor, she chased me into the small food room. “No!” That’s usually a bad sound.

    At least she set down a dish of water and another one of my food before closing the moving wall to keep me inside. Sometimes she keeps me in here all night. I don’t know why she does it, but I’ve learned to live with her antics. I munched on some food and thought about my royal ball.

    There is a big rectangular window in the moving wall for the small food room. After satisfying my hunger, I climbed up a few of the shelves Grandma keeps the big food all wrapped up on, laid down and watched my royal ball out in the big room.

    I imagined the different ways I could reach my royal ball. Let’s see. If I climb on the long resting place, Grandma doesn’t usually bother me there. Then when she is gone, I could stalk over the long bridge next to the giant window to the outside and up to the narrow bridge over the flame place. From there, I might be able to leap to the top of the inside tree.

    I could also try to climb up the interior of the tree, although I may not fit very well and get stuck. I don’t like to be stuck. I’d rather run and practice hunting than stay in one place. I’d save that for a last resort.

    I crossed my front paws and laid my head on them, watching the royal ball. For now, I was stuck in the small food room.

    #

    Grandma came in the morning and opened up the moving wall. She picked up one of the white powders, but didn’t seem to mind when I casually stretched and then sauntered over to the long resting place in the big room.

    I lay there for a short nap. A few minutes later, when I had all my energy back and Grandma was distracted by something in the food making room, I crept over to the long and narrow bridge under the giant window. Leaping for the bridge, I clawed my way on. I looked at Grandma. She didn’t pay me any attention. I slunk across it to the other end.

    I mentally measured the distance from the end of the long window bridge to the narrow bridge over the flame place. Only about three or four times my length. I could easily make that. I stopped and licked my paws to ensure maximum traction.

    Stopping and wiggling my tail to build up momentum first, I ran and leapt and landed on the narrow bridge over the flame place. My claws wouldn’t stick in to hold me on, but I balanced and stopped before sliding over the end.

    Resting on the narrow bridge, I contemplated the inside tree. It was a lot farther from here to the top of the tree than it seemed when I was looking earlier. I stared at the royal ball at the top of the tree. I had to leap if I wanted my ball back.

    I backed up to give myself the most room possible. Wiggled my tail again. Thrust forward in a burst of speed. My paws started sliding a little, but I kept going. I reached the end of the narrow bridge above the flame place and pushed off with full force, skillfully clawing the edge for just a little more traction.

    Too far! I swung my paws in the air, trying to get more traction. I meowed loudly to push myself to reach just a little farther. I still missed. Crashing into the side of the inside tree, I fell gracefully to the floor, lightly touching the green long hard whiskers on the way down.

    Still, my great fall made a loud noise. Loud enough to get Grandma’s attention from over in the food making room. She grabbed the broom. I ran. She swept. I dodged. She cornered me, and then pushed me back into the small food room. I meowed.

    Grandma closed the moving wall. Just then I heard a bell ring, which usually meant she’d run off to the big box in the food making room. She didn’t even put more food and water in the room for me this time. Probably too distracted.

    #

    I watched through the moving wall’s window as Grandma worked in the food making room. She was very active today, much more than usual. Eddie came back later. They each put shiny boxes with ribbons under the inside tree, probably to help keep me away from it.

    Grandma was being really difficult about my royal ball. I wondered why she made it so difficult to get to. I also wanted something to eat. And drink. Grandma periodically came to the small food room to get a can or return a package. She always closed the moving wall afterward. Still, that gave me an idea.

    I jumped down to the floor and lay next to the moving side of the moving wall. The next time Grandma opened it up, I slipped around the corner. When she closed it again, I was long gone. Free again!

    Stomach growling and throat dry, I tried not to let it distract me. Not wanting Grandma to successfully hunt me again, I slipped under the long resting place in the big room. I was determined to recapture my royal ball. This time, I would be patient. I would wait until Grandma left to go to the sleeping place. Then I would pounce!

    #

    Grandma put a bowl and a plate on top of the narrow bridge above the flame place. She put out the flame, turning it into the soot place, and then she and Eddie left for their sleeping rooms. I was scared of the flame place, but I’d also visited the soot place before and it took forever to clean myself again. The important part was that Grandma and Eddie were away. Now was the time to hunt my royal ball!

    I slipped across the darkened floor and over to the shiny packages. I could see the glow of my eyes in their reflection. Very pretty, but I wasn’t going to let it distract me. My royal ball awaited.

    Pushing through the shiny boxes, I made just enough room to get near the center of the inside tree. I avoided the strange shiny legs and dug my claws into the bark at the center. I poked my head through the prickly whiskers, avoiding the more solid parts.

    I climbed through the green needles. I slinked around the layers. Once, I caught my shoulders on a section and had to back out again and take another path. Finally, I was more than halfway up to the top. The tree was much narrower here. There wasn’t as much to hold on to. There also wasn’t as much to block my view of the big room around the tree.

    I looked out over the room. No one watching. I saw the plate and bowl Grandma had places on the narrow bridge above the soot place. My tummy growled at me.

    There was milk in the bowl. Rich, creamy milk. The kind I love. The kind Grandma only lets me have maybe once a year. I really needed that milk!

    I shook my head and licked my paws as I considered the milk. Perhaps I was going about this all wrong? Maybe I could go up to where the milk was, drink it, then try to jump across to the top of the inside tree again?

    No, that had failed last time and if I attracted Grandma’s attention again, I might never get another opportunity to retrieve my royal ball. I must focus!

    Ignoring the oh-so tempting sweet, luscious, fatty, milk, I turned deliberately back to look up at the royal ball on the top of the tree. That was my goal.

    I balanced across the now delicate tree. I wormed my way through the sticks which tried to block me. I clawed around the trunk to get higher and higher. Finally, I reached the top. The royal ball was within reach!

    Reaching my paw up, I tapped my royal ball experimentally. It moved a little, but felt stuck on something. I got a little closer and scrunched up. I pushed on it with my nose. It moved a little more. Finally, I head-butted it and knocked it clean off the tree. It rolled down the green needles, careening crazily to the ground, and then skittered out of sight under the long resting place. It was marvelous, the way it escaped from the hunter!

    Now I just needed to get back down. I saw the bowl of milk again. Why not land there, next to it? I crouched and wiggled my tail. I leapt across the abyss.

    I missed completely. I clawed at the air to no avail. I landed in the soot place with a puff of blackness, covering my fine orange fur. I stepped out from the soot place. I lowered my head and was ashamed. I had been too greedy. You can’t have everything you want, even by leaping from an inside tree.

    I heard a whooshing sound behind me from the soot place. I leapt into a defensive posture, hair on end, tail straight out, ready to fight.

    A man entirely too big for the soot place stepped out of it. Except, he didn’t have any soot on him! What an excellent special power. He picked up something from the plate and soaked it in the milk bowl, then took a bite and smiled. Something about him made me no longer afraid, I mean, startled. I slunk off toward the long resting place. At least I still had my royal ball.

    “What is this?” He said. He watched me slink away, and then looked at the top of the tree. Then looked at me again. I deferred my grooming so I could play with my royal ball. No way was I going to give it up before getting to play with it again.

    I batted it out across the floor. I chased after it at full speed and gave it a bat. It spun away. I slid into a turn and hunted it some more. I pounced on my ball with all four paws at once. It slid away. I batted it again. It flew across the floor. At some point, the big man vanished through the sooty place again, but I didn’t care.

    Oh, what excellent hunting!

    Then I heard the moving wall for Grandma’s sleeping place open. I looked at my sooty orange fur. At my royal ball, skittering across the floor. I would hear about this. I pounced on the ball and held it in my fur, determined she wouldn’t take it away again.

    Sure enough, when Grandma arrived, she had much to say, “Harry Kitty, what have you done!? You’re filthy and you’ve taken our tree topper again. What am I going to do with you?”

    Just then, Eddie arrived as well. He’d also been woken by the commotion. Eddie stared at the top of the tree and shouted. “Oh! How wonderful it looks, Grandma!”

    I followed his eyes. There, at the top of the tree, was a tall shiny cone of golden webs, all lit up from a bright light inside. On top of the cone was a figure like a bird, but much more majestic. With its huge wingspan, I could tell it would fly quickly away. There was a golden circle above its head.

    Grandma forgot about me and my royal ball. “How did that get up there?” she asked. Then she noticed the missing cookie. She looked back at me, “I suppose now you can keep that old tree topper, Harry Kitty. Merry Christmas.”

    I curled up around my royal ball and purred.

    # # #

  23. I’m in sad shape if I need to get writing advice from a cat. Not that it’s bad advice, but I have a long history of ignoring good advice. Although if Greebo does come to my house to give me the paw, he may face obstacles getting to me…

    • Reminding me of a line from Lewis Carroll: “She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).” I think that this is an all too common human trait.

      • He took a second storey flat,
        In which you could not swing a cat,
        But such was never his intent,
        His only object was low rent,
        And to swing cats he never meant.

        Which I have heard attributed to Carroll.

  24. There’s a neat book by the Lockridges called Cats and People. You might enjoy it.

  25. Love it! Read out the part about the fugitive to the housemate and my hubby. I miss having a cat. I’d love to have another cat, but we’d have to get one of the ones that are okay for cat-allergic people to have (Rhys is allergic to cats) and hope it’ll get along with the little quaker parrot, Riley…

      • Oh, never mind. I didn’t realize that was an actual common name for a bird species, and thought it was either some Aussie term for a bird breed, or, more likely, some moniker you had made up because of some quirk in his personality.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Wait, you’ve never taught parrots to sing “’tis a Gift to be Simple”. Or Parrotts?

          Guess you just don’t know what good music is.

          Grins, Ducks, and Runs Away.

          • I confess a certain fondness for the Python’s “Dead Pirate” sketch, with the parrot’s hilarious argument with the salesclerk at the pirate shop.

      • Yep. Y’all know them also as ‘monk parakeet.’

        They’re actually from South America.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monk_parakeet

        They’re freaking adorable. Mine has learned to recognize my mother’s voice when we chat over skype, and makes it a point to bob and dance on my shoulder, to show off.

    • we had a cornish rex (miranda) They keep telling you they’re not hypoallergenic, but they kind of are by virtue of not shedding as much. If you bathe them once a week in mineral water, they’re great. (The kittens come trained to be bathed, if it’s a reputable seller.)
      They are incredibly people oriented, but they really don’t cope well with other cats. I don’t think the bird would be a problem, if you train them.
      I love parakeets but I’m allergic to ALL feathers.

      • ALL feathers?

        Even Angie Dickinson’s character in Rio Bravo?

      • I was watching some youtube videos where the owner has a cockatiel and a cat, and the cockatiel loves the cat. To the point of hissing at their owner when the cat is sleeping, while standing guard on the cat…

        • When I was a tyke my folks had a boxer who, we were told, would growl and defend we two whenever our mother felt compelled to spank us. It grew so severe they had to find another home or the dog.

          I suppose I ought be grateful they didn’t go with one of the obvious alternatives.

          • When my parents were in the process of adopting me, they dog sat a Doberman for someone in my dad’s squadron who was being shipped cross country until he was setttled in Florida and the dog was shipped to him. Before that the dog would dig go into the yard before I could get out and dig up the castor bean plants my mother was trying to plant. He’d also mouth the wrist of mom and dad when they’d attempt to spank me.

  26. Pingback: Life advice from Greebo the Cat – JHJ Writers Guild