Smoke 2: ‘Who’s the Rat what Stole the Cheese?’

 I was born under a café, what they call a greasy spoon, where CJ worked part-time as a cook. I knew her voice and sometimes I saw her take out the grease bucket and dump it in the recycling barrel. But I didn’t have nuthin’ to do with her, not even when she brought me here to her house. She said she was allergic to cats but said I could live in the little house and catch gophers that were digging holes all over her yard.

Well, I’ve got to tell you, I’m a born hunter. Must be, because I was just weaned when I came here, although my momma used to catch mice, not difficult living under an old restaurant. They had a cheese rat once. Some guy broke in and stole a whole 10-pound brick of Swiss cheese and the cash register. He couldn’t get the register open and started throwing it on the ground, making enough racket to alert the police if we’d had any.

CJ wanted to write a story about it for the local paper, but the editor said no. The editor said they did not print any bad stories about this little town. Can you imagine? What kind of “news” paper is that I ask you. CJ worked there part-time, too. Like, ‘Who’s the Rat what Stole the Cheese?’ (The kitties know but they ain’t talkin’.) People would love to read that. That’s what sells papers for goodness sakes. CJ said the last owners got run out of town for writin’ something bad about the lumber industry and this editor was scared that could happen to her. Scaredy-cat, sheesh!

Livin’ in that broken down in-law apartment was fine with me. I didn’t want to live with no human anyway. But I was gonna miss my littermates, or so I thought. CJ put down this warm pad covered in flannel, an electric heat pad she said it was. It was awful nice for sleeping on. She left me a bowl of water and dry food and brought wet food every evening. When I heard her coming I would scoot through a space in the wall and hide under the house. But sometimes I wasn’t so fast and she saw me, or I would peek out and see her.

You know what? Curiosity got the better of me and one day I just had to take a look in the kitchen. I could always hear her moving around in there and hear water running and stuff. So I peeked in and what do you think? CJ puts down some fresh chicken livers for me. I ain’t never sayin’ NO to fresh chicken livers. That was kind of it. I moved into the house and I’ve been here ever since.

Did you know that feral cats are willing to adopt a human if you get them young enough and treat them nice? It’s a fact. I got me a pretty good human.

I’ll have more to share on Thursday.

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