Elizabeth Sloane dances the catillion as finalist #6

Kittilrati! Must admit I have a fondness for cats; indeed those of you familiar with the Towers know that the Satikushes inform my every move. Apparently E.M. Sloan loves these little anarchists as much as I do, and are the subject of her finalist entry into our contest, Lost Love.

Upon reading her entry, reflect on our six finalists, all of whom are now posted, and leave comments for them all.  Everyone who entered the contest can then let me know their favorite by emailing me at thorn@awordwithyoupress.com.  You are allowed one vote for each entry you submitted, and you can even vote for yourself,k if you like.  I will total up votes at the end of the week and announce our winner, reveal the mystery trophy, and announce the next contest.

Here is

Cat Chronicles

by E.M.Sloan


Dear diary, to those who live with zest:

First to depart was Pooh. Glossy black, elegant, refined. Carried her 21-year-old self with Audrey Hepburn poise. A late and finite arrival on the scene. Graciously adopted into the established odd-couple relationship of Chessie and Tommy. Pooh went in on the north edge of the yard, up in the rock garden where spring daffodils still burst through.

Chesapeake Topeka and the Santa Fe, Chessie. The first of this bunch to arrive—once upon a time a long while ago. The only one sought with purpose. Blue-gray and petulant. The CT&SF mascot, resting on a pillow. Symbol of the train line’s intended tranquil effect on travelers, yet Chessie was anything but tranquil. Even heavy with middle age, she sprang with abandon, chasing prisms of light across the floor or high up on a wall. Chessie went in left of the crabapple tree, the first of the south side burials.

Tommy Amadeus Mozart. Chessie’s uncharacteristic napping companion. Wild-whiskered, wide-jowl’ed, endearing tabby rambler. Tommy, known to pursue a dog half way around the block if one dared to enter our unfenced yard. Kingpin of purr’ers. Big ol’ affectionate buddy. He went in to the right of the crabapple tree.

Dirt Bag. Rumpled, dusty-brown, unkempt, feral. Often retreated to the hovel created for him beneath this same crabapple tree, a safe zone through all seasons. Two squares a day, heat lamp, and shout-outs. “Hey Dirt Bag, come on over!” The only one contained as ashes instead of flannel wrapped body; Baggers rests at the base of the crabapple, not far from Tommy.

Mr. Whiskers, the illustrated cat in Little Sallie Mandy and the Shiny Penny. “Tommy Whiskers was black all over and had big yellow eyes.” Whiskers. Whiskey, Whiskey Biscuit. Bicsuit. The doggiest of the bunch. Chased balls and wrestled sticks; long-haired tail held cocky and high in Pepé le Pew style. Chaser of squirrels up the steep trunked Linden tree. The one to leave too soon. He, too, went beneath the populated crabapple, left of center and next to Chessie. At peace with each other in death, as they could not be in life.

Bundles of fur and attitude; infiltrated and captured heart and hearth. Void fillers and void makers.

To those who live with zest: Give them this message from me. For each of you who has passed, for each of you here still, and for each of you yet to arrive, our swirl of unwavering argon atoms, shared with every breath for 2.5 billion years, yields courage and reason in this random upside down of a crazy world we inhabit.

You are ever present.


10 thoughts on “Elizabeth Sloane dances the catillion as finalist #6

  1. Amanda Byzak says:

    Pet cemetery! Just kidding… I am a cat lover and have my own special ones buried in my heart. Twinkie, named by a three-year-old me, after my favorite treat that his golden fluff reminded me of. His emerald eyes were always looking for mischief. He would play with goldfish in the tub (now I feel bad for that poor goldfish). He let me dress him up as a doll and pretend to play the piano–a tolerant friend to an only child. He would pretend to bury food he didn’t like and he would play fetch with my mother’s makeup brushes. The day he went missing I cried. That night I woke to the feel of him walking on my bed and his fur brushing my cheek. But he was gone.

  2. David jenkins says:

    I am not really a cat lover unless they are the wild, feral variants that people drop off on the highway. They seem to think they are members of the raccoon family that lives under our big cedar tree. They come for dinner with the coony-racs, wait for the big guy to eat his fill. The cats join Momma and her babes. I tried to tame a feral cat once. That’s when I learned that cats really can fly. Great story E.M.

  3. Michael Stang says:

    “Flannel wrapped body,” I can so dig that!
    Such a welcomed change from all the heavy drippy. This was a delight to read. Anyone who has shared their lives with felines (that would be me), could bounce from pet to pet with amusement and recognition–thank you for that.
    The universal ending was purr hairball on a pair of black trousers:)

  4. Laura G says:

    Some of this is poetry: chasing prisms of light, our swirl of unwavering argon atoms, void fillers and void makers. This is such an interesting piece because it is at once story, a poem, an obituary, a tribute, and even a list (names, nicknames, where they are now under the apple tree). Touching and fascinating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.