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Old 03-02-2016, 01:09 AM   #141
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when he got about five or six months old, he sprayed her suede purse. That's when she started to call him Monster, and it stuck," Carrie told them.

Meows shook his head. "Well, at least she didn't name him Foo-Foo or something frilly like that."

Paul laughed. "Now Foo-Foo is a terrible name for a tomcat!"

"You better hope your cat doesn't talk," said Bart. "If he does, the first thing he's going to do is read you the riot act for giving him a name like that."

"If he can talk, believe me, he can pick his own name," Paul smiled.

"Yeah, I think I'd give him that option too," agreed Suzanna.

The cats finished their cake and milk, and charged off to the computer again.

"That is so amazing," said Paul, watching from the living room.

Carrie and Suzanna shrugged. "You get used to it," said Carrie.

"And your vet doesn't know? Can't he tell they're different?" asked Paul.

"Could you tell they were different before you found out the secret?" asked Suzanna with a smile.

"Hmm. No," he replied. "I see your point."

"Eeeeeeewwwwwww!!!" Belle squawked from the computer room. Bart laughed; Meows sighed.

"Ah, I see she Googled your cat's name," said Carrie.

Paul and Suzanna laughed.

"Sounds like it," he agreed.

He knew he wasn't going to live this down any time soon.

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Old 03-02-2016, 01:12 AM   #142
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End of Chapter Eight.

I hope everyone is enjoying this!

With much love,

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Old 03-02-2016, 01:16 AM   #143
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Chapter 9 – Zeus and the Vicious Beasts

Paul opened the door to the warm, spacious log home and as usual, Booger came running to him, purring. He took the bag of leftovers to the kitchen, and fixed the beautiful brown and black tabby a plate of turkey and ham. The cat dug in, and Paul petted him.

"I sure wish you could talk, buddy," he said softly, and left Booger in the kitchen to finish his goodies.

Paul settled into the couch in the living room and turned on the TV to catch the weather report. Picking up the newspaper, he scanned the front page, and yawned. It was so nice to be able to pick up the paper and not see murders and major crimes and destruction splashed all over the front page as was often the case in the city. The peace and quiet here was a tonic to his city-shattered system. And talking cats. He shook his head. No wonder they talked here. People listen to you here; even to cats, it seemed.

"So," came a voice behind him. "Who says I can't talk? You humans are so arrogant sometimes. Did you know that?”

Paul froze. This was not happening.

"Well? You just said you wished I could talk. Now I'm talking, and you're not. Cat got your tongue?" He jumped up on the couch and sat next to Paul, who stared at him.

"Well? Hello? Anybody home in there?"

"Holy ----!! You too?!" Paul finally gasped.

Booger calmly washed his paw. "You'd be surprised at how many cats can talk. I also read and I use your computer when you're not home. We're not dumb animals, like you people like to call us. And by the way, whose idiot idea was it to name me Booger? What an incredibly asinine name for a feline! What were you thinking? How would you like being named Booger? That's nuts! I hate that."

"Uhh...change it to whatever you want," said Paul. "Why didn't you tell me before that you talked and all that?"

Booger shrugged. "Maybe you weren't ready. I don't know. Maybe I didn't feel like it. Maybe I decided to choose my own time for you to know. Oh and by the way, I want to be named Zeus."

"Zeus?" Paul repeated.

"You heard right," said the cat. “Got a problem with that or do I start calling you ‘Dork’ or something?”

"Okay, Zeus."

"Thank you. Also, for your information, if we ate more seafood around here, you might lose a little of that gut there," Zeus pointed out.

Oh great! The cat not only talks, but he's a wiseass! Paul thought.

"I don't have a gut! I'm not overweight," he replied.

"If you say so. Then maybe you need to exercise. You do sit around a lot."

"I do not! Look who's talking. You sleep sixteen hours a day," Paul retorted.

I can't believe I'm arguing with a cat!

"I'm a cat. That's normal for cats," Zeus replied.

Paul shook his head and reached for the cordless phone. "Wait til Carrie hears about this."

"You're NOT going to tell anybody!" Zeus yelled, fluffing up at Paul.
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Old 03-02-2016, 01:21 AM   #144
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"Calm down, dingbat, her cats talk too. So does one of Suzanna's, and two of Joyce’s too," Paul said. "Don't worry, you're safe."

Zeus glared at him. "I better be. Or I can dummy up real quick and make you look like a babbling nutcase.”

Paul smiled and reached out and scratched Zeus's chin. "Just a very few people. And I'll introduce you to the other sentient cats."

Zeus licked Paul's hand and nuzzled it. "Are they nice? What are they like?"

"I'll tell you all about them tonight," Paul promised, punching in Carrie's number. “I’ll see if I can arrange to have you meet them tomorrow.”

"Okay." Zeus settled back to listen to Paul talk to Carrie.

Carrie picked up on the second ring. "Hello?"

"Hi. It's Paul. He talks," Paul said.

Carrie laughed. "Hey Suzanna, Booger talks!" she exclaimed, away from the phone.

"Uh, his name is Zeus now. You can tell Bart he was right. I got read the riot act about that."

"Zeus? Oh my," said Carrie. Suzanna picked up the extension.

"So, did you faint?" asked Suzanna.

"Not quite," Paul replied. "But it was a bit of a shock again."

"I'd love to check your blood pressure right now," Carrie giggled.

"This has been a day from...I don't know. Can I bring him over tomorrow to meet the others?"

"Sure. I'll see if I can get Pook and Saav over here too. That will be fun," Carrie suggested.

"Oh, Joyce is going to love this -- another talking furball," laughed Suzanna.

"I bet she will. Oh -- he uses the computer when I'm not home," Paul told them.

"Uh-oh, you're gonna be investing in a laptop soon," Suzanna warned him. "After Meows shared his secret with me, he didn't have to hide anything anymore, so Zeus may take over your computer. Meows did."

Zeus heard that. "That's part of the reason I said something. I would like to use the computer more, too.”

"Was that Boo -- Zeus?" asked Carrie.

"Yep," Paul smiled. "And I guess he's going to want his own too. Geez! This is going to get expensive. Anything else I need to know? Now’s the time, ladies.”

"Laptops are easier on their paws," said Suzanna. "Desktop computers aren't paw-friendly at all."
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Old 03-02-2016, 01:25 AM   #145
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"I can't believe I'm having this discussion," said Paul, shaking his head. "Paw-friendly computers. Well, I can handle that. Since I'm retired now, he can have the laptop I got for business a couple years ago."

Zeus perked his ears up. "You already have one? I didn't know that."

"It's been packed away for a while," Paul said to Zeus. "I'll get it out for you tonight."

"Wow. Thanks," Zeus replied.

"Listen to them," giggled Suzanna to Carrie.

"Sound like old friends," laughed Carrie.

"Well, I guess we are," said Paul. "Ladies, I'm going to go dig up a laptop for a cat. We'll see you tomorrow."

They wished each other a good night, and Paul hung up the phone and looked at Zeus.

Zeus looked back in interest.

"Hmmm...I think it's in the upstairs hall closet. C'mon, Zeus."

"Oh no you are NOT putting me in the crate!" yelled Zeus the next morning as Paul prepared to take him over to Carrie's for the day.

"Why? You never fussed before," Paul said.

"Because you were afraid I'd run all over the car and get my head stuck under the brake pedal or something. I couldn't tell you I can just sit in the seat. And how come you didn't scramble me any eggs this morning? I had to eat that fake fishy-flavored cardboard crap."

"What? You want people food now?"

"What's wrong with that?" asked Zeus, as Paul put the crate back on the shelf in the garage. "A sardine omelet topped with sour cream now and then would be nice."

Paul almost gagged. "Yuck!"

Zeus sighed. "Oh, you are going to be lots of fun to train."

"Speaking of training, can't you learn to use the toilet?"

"And cheat myself out of getting to watch you scoop my box? No way," Zeus said.

"Oh, thanks a lot," Paul sighed. "Ok. Let me get this straight. You have your own computer and desk, your own little room in that upstairs storage area with a window no less, you want people food now, more seafood, and you won't make it a little easy on me and learn to use the toilet?"

Zeus nodded. "Right."

"Then I won't change your name at the vet's," Paul threatened.

Zeus stuck out a shiny, razor-sharp claw. "Then you bleed."
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Old 03-02-2016, 01:30 AM   #146
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Paul glared at him. "I think I liked you better before you talked."

"No you didn't. Can I take my computer to Carrie's?"

"I guess so, Pook and Saav bring theirs. Crap....she's on DSL. I got a DSL cable in here I think…”

"What? No wireless? Does she live in a cave?"

Paul laughed. "No, she just has DSL. You think that's bad...Joyce is on dial-up."

Zeus shivered. "Gaahhhh! Talk about primitive."

"You be nice. And you be nice to everyone today, too," Paul admonished him, and found the cable tucked in a pocket of the laptop case.

"Oh, like I'm going to go over there and pick a fight with two tomcats who are bigger than me. Please. Don't insult my intelligence."

"Wouldn't dream of it," Paul said, his voice heavy with sarcasm.

"Oh, and another thing. I hate those stupid cop shows you watch on TV."

"Then don't watch them," Paul said, packing the laptop and power cord into its case.

"Couldn't you watch something a little more enlightening like Discovery or the History Channel?" Zeus asked.

"There's four TVs in this house. Pick one and Discover away."

"I'm a little concerned about what you're putting into your head."

"What's wrong with cop shows?"

"They're violent and all they do is show the nasty side of life, that's what," the cat replied.

"Like I said, there's four TVs. Pick one."

Zeus shook his head. "Boy, are you stubborn!"

"And you're bossy," Paul retorted, zipping the case closed. "Ready to go?"

"Sure," Zeus replied.

Paul and Zeus went to the garage and the tabby jumped up in the passenger seat of Paul’s gold Nissan.

“Now you stay over there,” Paul told him, raising the garage door and starting the car.

“Oh, please. I know how to act in a car, for God’s sakes. Whoa! Slow down! You’re backing up a little fast there!”

“No I’m not,” Paul replied.

“Oh geez, you’re going to kill us. Get out of the ditch over here!” yelled Zeus.

“I’m not in any ditch! What the hell is wrong with you?”
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Old 03-02-2016, 01:35 AM   #147
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“Me? You’re the one trying to kill us!” Zeus retorted.

“Zeus, I’m not trying to kill us. Give it a rest, willya?” Paul snapped.

"Slow down! Gaaahh! You always were a lousy driver. It's a wonder you haven't killed somebody yet. Watch the trees there!" Zeus yelled at Paul.

"Oh, shut up!" snarled Paul. "I see the trees!"

"Have you had your eyes checked? You almost crawled up that guy's tailpipe there. Can't you --"

"Either you quit back-seat driving or I'll make you ride in the trunk."

"What? That's cruel! You want me to die from the exhaust fumes?"

"You know, I REALLY liked you better when you didn't talk," sighed Paul.

"Bah! No you didn't. Want to try staying off the sidewalk?"

"I'm not on the sidewalk!"

"Darn close. Do you have a depth perception problem?" asked Zeus, as they pulled up to a stoplight.

"Get off my back!" Paul yelled at him. The lady in the car next to them looked over and saw Paul yelling at a cat. Zeus stifled a laugh and Paul stared straight ahead, his face turning red.

"Bet she thinks you're senile," snickered Zeus.

Paul just fumed silently. "One of these days I'm going to make a rug out of you," he snarled.

"You're a sicko. Light's green, you going to do something or wait for the next one?"

"Why aren't you a normal cat?" Paul snorted.

"Why aren't you a normal human? Watch the truck, there. You're going to kill us."

"No I'm not going to kill us! YOU, maybe, if you don't back off!"

"Oh, please. You haven't had this much stimulating conversation in a year. You love it and you know it. Are you staying with us at Carrie's today?"

"No. I'm dumping you and I'm going to seriously consider running away."

"What a comedian you are," yawned Zeus.

"I wasn't being funny. No, she'll be busy in the shop, and you'll be busy getting to know everyone. I'm probably going to just get some shopping done and go to the bookstore. Do you read books?"

The cat nodded. "Of course.”

"What do you like to read?"

"History and philosophy, mostly. I like your books."
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Old 03-02-2016, 01:41 AM   #148
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"Okay, then I'll pick some up for us, if I can find anything good," said Paul.

"What, they don't allow cats in the bookstore?"

Paul laughed. "Well, I don't know. I'll ask while I'm there today. Do you want anything else?"

"Maybe some tuna and crab," said Zeus, licking his whiskers.

"Oh, I was going to go to the grocery store and get you some delights from the deli. By the way, you'll get plenty of seafood today. Carrie's shop is next to the best seafood restaurant in town."

"The one you brought the scampi and scallops home from last night?"

"That's the one. Ralph always sends the leftovers to the cats at Carrie's, and to Sunshine at the B&B."

"He's the normal cat, right?"

"Yep. Like I wish you were."

"No you don't. Watch the curb," said Zeus.

"Here we are," Paul said, pulling up to Carrie's shop and apartment. He scooped Zeus and the computer case up and carried them inside and found Carrie.

"Boo -- Zeus! Hi there," Carrie greeted the cat.

"Hello, Carrie. Ack! Paul, you're choking me. Put me down."

Paul dumped him unceremoniously on the counter, getting a glare for that. "How are you doing, Carrie?"

She laughed. "You look a little frazzled. Rough night?"

Paul frowned at Zeus. "Back-seat driver."

Zeus glared at him again. “Lousy driver,” he muttered. “He’s going to kill us someday.”

“No I’m not! See what I mean?” Paul looked exasperated.

"Oh, my. Well, Zeus, come on upstairs and I'll introduce you to everyone," Carrie said.

"I brought his computer, if you have enough room to hook it up," Paul told her.

"Oh, yes, plenty in the computer room. Bring it up here."

Meows, Bart, Belle, Pook, and Saav all looked up with interest as Zeus came in. Abandoning the computers, the cats ran to greet him and get to know him. Carrie and Paul watched as Zeus introduced himself nicely to them and they began to talk.

Carrie hooked up Zeus's computer. "Looks like they're going to get along just fine," she observed.

"I think so," he agreed. "Well, I'll be back at five to get him."
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Old 03-02-2016, 01:49 AM   #149
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Paul stepped outside into the blustery winter air, and eyed the bookstore and coffeeshop, The Daily Grind, across the street. Hot chocolate might taste good. Maybe he could find a book or two on unusual cats, he thought as he crossed the street and went inside. It was busy, and he noticed they had finally installed the wireless Internet service, as several people were working away on laptops. It was quite crowded, and as he got his cup, he leaned against the wall, waiting for a table.

"You can join me if you like," said a voice at his elbow. He looked down. Sitting at a corner table for two was a handsome woman with long graying brown hair and twinkling, sky-blue eyes. "No one is sitting there," she said, gesturing to the empty chair across from her.

Paul smiled. "Thank you," he said, and sat down. "Kind of crowded today, isn't it?"

She nodded. "It usually is, this time of the morning. Pardon me for being nosy, but did I just see you take a cat into Carrie's shop over there?"

"Oh, yes, that was me. My cat likes to visit Carrie's cats," Paul said, hoping he sounded convincing.

"She has such cute ones. And there's another two or three that like to visit. I bet I know what the secret to all that is," she smiled at him.

The secret? Paul's blood ran cold and his hand began to shake. Did she know about their unusual talents too? How? Does she have one too? He put his cup down. "What's the secret?"

She pointed across the street. "The seafood place next door. I bet they love those scraps. And, Carrie has a lovely apartment with a nice window seat and those pretty balconies that’re probably a cat’s favorite spots.”

Whew! Relief flooded Paul's chest. He laughed. "You're right. Ralph always gives the cats the leftovers. They love it. My cat especially likes the window seat,” he lied. He probably does, if he’s discovered it by now.

"Best thing in the world to do with that leftover food. At least it's not wasted. And it's appreciated as well."

"Yes, I know my cat appreciates those scraps."

"I used to have a cat. She was twenty-one when she went to the Bridge," said the woman.

"Oh. I'm sorry. That's a good long time for a cat, though. I hope I get to keep mine that long," he said kindly.

The woman smiled at him. "I hope you do too. I thought about getting another, but it's only been a little over a year since Patches went. I'm not ready yet."

Paul looked at her sympathetically. "I know how that feels," he said gently, and put his hand out to her. "My name's Paul."
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Old 03-02-2016, 01:53 AM   #150
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"Sandy Larson," she smiled, shaking his hand with a confident grip. "Nice to meet you."

"Are you from here?" he asked.

She laughed. "Oh, no, I'm a transplant from the city. I came here about six years ago, and I wouldn't go back for all the tea in China."

"I am too. I retired early, and bugged out. This is a wonderful town."

"Oh, it is. The people are what make it. Do you work at anything now or are you just enjoying your retirement?"

"A little of both. I'm enjoying my retirement, and I'm working on a book..."

Sandy looked at her watch. "We've been here for an hour! Do you need to be anywhere?"

Paul laughed. "No, not really. An hour? Wow. What about you? Do you need to be anywhere?"

She shook her head. "No, I just thought I'd come in here for some coffee. It's cold outside."

"Yes, and windy. Goes through you like a knife. Would you like another cup?” he asked.

"Why, thank you, I’d love one more. Just the regular blend,” she smiled.

“That’s pretty easy,” said Paul, getting up. “I won’t be able to mess that order up. I’ll be right back.”

He returned a moment later with two full cups. “I thought I’d try the regular blend this time. I never tried it before. Always went for the cappuccino and flavored ones. Or the minty hot chocolate.”

“I tried a few of those, but just never really took to them, I guess. Or I’m just too old and set in my ways to change now,” Sandy laughed.

"Somehow I doubt that. You know, I've told you all about me, but now it's your turn. Tell me about you," he said.

"There isn't much to tell..."

He found out she was divorced a long time, in her early 50s, and a retired psychiatrist who now worked part-time at the library to keep herself busy. She lived three blocks from the B&B in a little cottage next to the Baptist Church, and knew all of Paul's friends. Sandy especially admired Carrie and Suzanna for being such successful businesswomen. She didn’t know Joyce well, but she knew who she was.

“Oh, she’s the one who bought the drug house,” she said.

“The drug house?” Paul asked.

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