Monday, April 25, 2016

The Sound of the Cat's Coat

Marvin wasn't what you would call a 'fat cat', or a real 'big cheese' sort of feline.  Yet cats from all around would do a double take whenever Marvin walked down the alley.

Marvin wasn't the coolest cat you ever saw.  He wasn't a high jumper, or a fence leaper like some of those other daredevil cats.  No, but the reason other cats knew for a fact that Marvin was 'all that' was his big and beautiful, super soft fur coat.

Marvin felt like a million bowls of fish flavoured cat food with that coat on.  It was a deep red colour, with specks of orange and sparkly blue rubies sewn all over it.  It flowed long and lean down his back, brushing against the sidewalk like a very satisfying back scratch.  Marvin liked to pop the collar on his coat and just purr down the sidewalk without a care in the world.

At home, Marvin would brush his coat with a brush made of golden bristles of softness.  He would brush it 45 678 times each afternoon before his cat nap.

Marvin spent his days strolling the alley.  Cat Alley was a pretty normal place, as far as alleys go.  But when Marvin strolled by, cats took notice.

Little kittens playing yarn ball in the gutters would stop to stare.  Teen cats would stop playing their game of Cattleship and stare.  Sickly old grand cats would come up to him for prayer.  Their eyes were getting dim, and they mistook the coat for a Friar's frock.  He told them he didn't have healing powers, and advised them to just lick their wounds and hope for the best.

And maybe there weren't any magical powers in that coat.  Maybe it was simply just a beautiful coat.  Well, let's read on and find out.

One day, down at the Ol' Trashpile where all of cats would hang out, Marvin joined his catmates as they dug through the trash for yummy treasures.  Delicious things like fish bones, broccoli soaked in garbage juice, tuna flavoured sour candies, or even Marvin's very favourite –  old, smelly socks that smell of the smell of a thousand deadly smells that just plain stink. 

Before Marvin got in there to dig around he was sure to carefully take his jacket off before hand, knowing that his mother did not want him to spill anything on it.  He gently draped it over the steel rail that stuck out from the side of the large dumpster sitting next to the cans.

It was a dark and damp alley, but during the summer days like today, on particularly clear days like this one, at just the right time like now, for just the smallest moment like this one, the sun would peak its way into the alley and down all the way to the dumpster. 

And that's what happened today!

With the sunshine, Marvin's coat lit up like an explosion of Fireworks!

The blue rubies twinkled and shone like nothing any cat in Cat Alley had ever seen before.  Cats from all around him stopped chewing on their garbage treats.  Cats licking themselves stopped licking themselves.  Other cats gathered around admiring the amazing robe of light.  It was too beautiful for words.

News quickly spread and cats from all around the neighbourhood began to arrive at the radiant spot.  Soon enough, local cats started to see the benefit of having such a spectacle in their alley.  It became a tourist attraction.  And like most tourist attractions, there was big bucks to be made.

Lou Cat, a rather hip cat, begun selling sunglasses to those who needed a little protection from the light.  "My shades are all the rage, man!" He would say to no one in particular, waving the glasses in the air to prospective customers

Marge Cat, the chatty cat of the community, brought a megaphone out and began to announce all sorts of interesting things about the coat.  "Dis here coat is made of the finest silks of North Arabia, don't ya' know?!" She would holler.  Marvin didn't have the guts to tell her that there is no such place as North Arabia because Marge Cat was known for clawing cats that disagreed with her.

Gerry Cat sat next to the coat, closed his eyes, and fell asleep.  Other cats joined him and soon enough the area was a full on cat nap zone.

The coat continued to sparkle.  Tears filled the eyes of those closest to it.  They weren't sad tears, but tears of joy.  The light just seemed to be getting stronger and stronger.  

A small group of artists began to paint pictures of the coat.  The array of colours they had splashed on the canvas looked pale and dull compared to the real thing.  Frustrated, the cats would break their paintings over their little cat knees and start over, determined to capture the essence of the coat.

Milky Cat, the Philosophical cat, had a small gathering around him as he orchestrated a debate about whether or not the coat had some sort of meaning that which portrayed an aura of logical illusions of solar reproduction.

Perry Cat, the poet cat from the next alley over, prepared and delivered a poem:

"The sun spoke, to the folk, 
Who crawl and claw, near the coat.

My eyes look, my heart it took
For the coat of coats, I'd cross the moat
Of love

This old cat, loves fish and that,
But be close to me, thus mine coat
Of dreams."

Cats all around applauded the great rhymes by clicking their claws together.

The party was wild.  What a day in Cat Alley!  Friends and family from the other side of town, reunited with their loved ones.  Cat gangs put down their weapons and declared it a day of peace and reconciliation.  

A trapeze of acrocats showed up out of nowhere, diving down from the walls and windows, swinging on the clothes lines strung between.  Cat-flips, cat-stands, cat-wheels – the whole kitten caboodle!  The crowd applauded.  The little kittens dreamed dreams.

The old timers hadn't seen the alley this hoppin' since the days of the great fish truck stall of '99. What a time to be alive!

In all of the excitement and commotion no one heard the strange noise but Gerry, who sat closest to the coat.  His eyes popped open.

"Shhhhh!" He called out.

But the good times kept rolling.

"Quiet!!!" He hollered.


"You hear that?"

A small sound seemed to be coming from near the coat.  Marvin put down his smelly sock cocktail and moved in close.  The sound was in fact coming from his coat! 

Yes, If you squinted hard enough, and turned your good ear close enough, you would be able to make out some sort of song flowing out of the coat, like chimes in the wind.  No!  More like angels pouring out purple flavoured melodies of an ancient hymn.  

A murmur floated over the crowd.  Some were too far away to hear anything.

Marvin quieted the crowd with a raised paw.  

Marge's megaphone squeaked one last time as she dropped it to the ground.

Those cats with sunglasses lowered them in a quizzical, slow-motion kind of way.

Nothing could be heard but the distant traffic rolling through the city streets.  They all waited, whiskers twitched, and their tails silently tamping the damp concrete.  

They waited... and waited... deeper into the silence they fell...  their restraint was the stuff of cat legends.  Their patience, a holy act.

And suddenly, there it was again.  The music of light, filling the air with it's distant ring, like a small bell calling the cats to dinner... or maybe prayer.  The community basked in the beauty of the sound.  Their tails patted the ground in unison.  That dungy old alley, for that brief moment, was holy ground.

Then somebody burped.


Bruno, the biggest cat of them all, hobbled over with a big can of Cat Cola in his paw and, through no fault of his own, accidentally stood in the way of the sunshine, snuffing out the beautiful and raw wonder of the coat.

"Hey, what's everybody lookin' at?" said Bruno, as his shadow blocked the 'Corium de Cattus', as Latin cats would later come to label the historic event.

"Bruno!  Move out of the way!"  They shouted.  But it would be too late, for the moment had passed.  The music faded, the glory of the blue rubies fizzled out.  It was as if it was all a dream.  Marvin looked around at the other cats.

"Way to go, Bruno!  Doing what ya' always do." Cried Rusty the Rat.  The cats thought it was mighty generous of them all to let him hang out with them, so some were a little annoyed with his complaining.  Billy Cat picked up Rusty by the tail and punted him to the curb like a football.  Rusty landed on a pile of old newspaper, rubbing his backside and thinking about what a mean rat he was being.

Yet others agreed with him.  "Bruno, why are you such a klutzy cat?  

"Dunno.  I'm not trying to be.  Just wanna know what you guys are up to."

Professor Snorgglecat chimed in.  "Dah, just the most breathtaking display of solar jusxtsposation, complex acute catricity, that will rule in catish lore for ages into which our great grand cats will only be able to speculate of its verified truthfulness."

"Oh, um.  Sorry, I think."

With that, all of the cats went their separate ways.  All but Marvin and Milky... and Bruno, who was trying to figure out what juxaposation means.  He also felt very sad with his hurt feelings spilling out of his eyes and drip-dropping into his soda pop.

Marvin and Milky understood what had happened.  What they had been witness to.  It was something that no Bruno burp could ever take away from them, no matter how loud and smelly.  They would cherish it for their whole 9 lives.

Marvin looked at Bruno, the clumsy but lovable cat, and knew what he needed to do.  He reached for his coat, and took his wallet and cell phone out of the pocket.  He didn't notice at the time but his cell phone had two missed calls on it.  And if he did notice the 2 missed calls he would remember that he changed his ring tone that morning to "Holy Angelic, Purple Beauty of Wonder", a ring tone song he had received for free with a 2 year fixed term phone plan.  

After feeling the smooth fur in his hands one last time, he threw the coat over Bruno's shoulders.

Bruno's sad puppy dog eyes turned into big happy, well-would-you-look-at-that cat eyes.  He smiled at Marvin and Marvin gave him the go ahead.

Bruno waltzed down the road in his shiny new coat.

"Hey Bruno!  Not half bad!" Came a shout from across the way.

"Brunoooo, you da' cat, man!" rang the voice of Lou Cat.

For once, Bruno would feel like a million bowls of fish flavoured cat food.

"Hey, isn't that your favourite coat?" Milky asked Marvin.

Marvin thought about it for a moment.

"Yeah, maybe, but there's more to life than just waltzing around the alley in some ol' piece of fur."

We know that the magical song in the coat was just a free ring tone, but you know what?  Marvin and Bruno don't.  They still believe that this coat is the most amazing coat in the whole wide world of cats.  It may not be true, but that's okay with me if it's okay with you.

Miles drawing Marvin with the coat

Sad Bruno before he got to wear the coat

1 comment:

Lois Gitzel said...

I'm speechlessly impressed! A lovely story about my favourite creatures!! 💞