A few things about this entry. It’s been a long time since the previous entry in the series–about eight months–and by that I mean, eight months since the last of the emails from which this story series is drawn. That’s a crucial distinction; of the approximately forty-five emails in that series, only about ten or so have made it to this site. Many of the emails contained personal details that were incorporated into the story in such a way that I couldn’t remove them or alter them and keep the story intact. The previous story, “A Dark And Stormy Night”, was about sixteen emails back, and about twenty months ago. So, as you may expect, some things have changed. You may see some references in this one that don’t make sense, even if you’ve read this entire cycle of stories; that’s because they refer to things that happened in emails that I was unable to carry over.
With all that said, I hope you still enjoy this story. It’s a little nonsensical, a little rambling, which is no surprise, considering that I write most of these after midnight. It’s also unique, in that it’s the only Ridgeline Drive story (or email, for that matter) to be based on a writing prompt. To be honest, I had no intention of returning to this series, especially after an eight-month hiatus; but then I saw this prompt, and two worlds collided, and I couldn’t resist. The prompt said, “A dapper man is walking home from work one evening when a cat starts a polite conversation with him…” So, in my opinion, what better way to tackle it than with the talking cat I’ve already introduced?
<Ridgeline Drive, 11:54 PM, Outside the House. The moon is shining, and an elderly, very dapper man (mid-seventies, but still spry) is walking home.>
Dapper Man (DM): <walking down sidewalk, alternately whistling and humming to himself> What a day, what a day…la di da…
Filly (F): <sitting atop the fence> Hey!
DM: <stumbles to a halt, looks around> Hello? …Who said that?
F: <rolls eyes> I did. Now, you want to keep it down a little?
DM: Where are you? I left my glasses at home.
F: Right here. <stands up, stretches> Come on, I know I’m black, but don’t act like you can’t see me.
DM: <muttering to self> Oh, great, someone thinks I’m racist…just what I needed tonight.
F: <also muttering to self> Somedays it’s like you humans and we cats didn’t even come from the same planet. <to DM> No, I mean I’m LITERALLY black. As in, fur color. What, you never saw a black cat before? <jumps down to sidewalk; DM sees her, yells, and makes a warding gesture> Oh, great, someone thinks I’m bad luck.
DM: You…you’re a…a cat!
F: So glad you could notice! Earth to old guy, we have contact!
DM: A talking cat!!
F: Hey, if you think that’s impressive, you should hear me sing showtunes. Look, can we move past the obvious communication gap here and get to the point? <looks DM up and down> Nice suit, by the way. For a human, you have pretty good taste.
DM: <slightly stunned, but still complimented> I…well, thank you. I think. Did I just say thank you to a cat?
F: Eh, your brain will catch up in a minute. My human’s brain always does, and that’s despite the fact that it argues with her body. Speaking of whom, now THERE’s a human whose taste in clothes could use some work. I mean, I’ve been trying for years to get her to wear a suit like that!
DM: Your human is a woman? But you want her to wear a suit?
F: Duh!! I mean, just look at all those pockets! Can you even picture how many treats she could carry in those? <serious expression, wide eyes> It BOGGLES the MIND, man!
DM: I think I need to sit down.
F: Please do! Hurts my neck to keep looking up at you freakishly tall creatures all the time. And while you’re at it, there’s a spot right between my shoulders that could REALLY use a good scratch.
DM: <moving as if still stunned, sits down on sidewalk and begins to scratch between F’s shoulder blades> There?
F: Oh, SO much better, thank you. Anyway, as I was saying when you walked by, you COULD keep it down, if you don’t mind. SOME people are trying to sleep around here.
DM: You don’t look very sleepy.
F: Who said I was talking about me? I’m talking about all you bizarrely-hairless humans! Well, except you. The rest of you, though, I don’t know how you do it, all this sleeping at night.
DM: Well, if not at night, when do you sleep?
F: Anytime I please, of course! <begins to groom paws> Besides, I’m trying to cut back. I’m down to seventeen naps a day. I had to give up a few…can’t sleep your entire life away, you know. Besides, the kingdom needs ruling!
DM: <to self, whispering> I know I’m going to regret this, but… <to F> Kingdom?
F: <stops grooming, looks up and narrows eyes at DM> Oh, not you too, now.
DM: Do I really want to know what you mean?
F: Stick around long enough, you’ll figure it out. Besides, you get a pass. You’re not technically inside my kingdom, so I suppose you get diplomatic immunity. For now. But don’t take advantage of it!
DM: <shakes head> You are the strangest cat I’ve ever met.
F: Boy, you must not get out much. I’m a princess among cats. Queen, really. Okay, okay, Empress, but only because you forced me to it.
DM: I suppose…hey, wait—speaking of getting out, why are you out here? You have the look of an inside cat.
F: Why, thank you for noticing! Yes, yes, we royals live pampered lives…but I tell you, I have to get out every once in a while. Some days, the atmosphere in my palace is just stifling! All that drama!
DM: But I…maybe I misunderstood. I thought you said you only have one human.
F: I do. My needs are simple, so only one servant is required.
DM: But, then, where is the drama coming from?
F: <brief pause, then laughs out loud> Oh, I see! What makes you think only humans cause drama?
F: I WISH it was that simple. No, there’s the Cell Phone, and the Laptop, and the Printer, and the Ipad, and the Television, and the DVR…oh, and the Blender and the Microwave and the Oven…
DM: What, no vacuum cleaner?
F: No, there’s a vacuum, it just isn’t ali—waaaaait a minute here! Are you trying to suggest that I’m scared of a vacuum? Like some common…common…DOG??
DM: Well, it seems that—
F: <furious> I’LL HAVE YOUR HEAD FOR THAT! HOW DARE YOU INSULT ME THAT WAY! I SHOULD—oooh, shiny! <gets distracted by moonlight on a nearby hubcap>
DM: <clears throat> Ahem. Ah, Kitty—
F: <looking over shoulder, still close to the hubcap> Filly.
F: Filly. That’s my name.
DM: Ah, yes, that makes sen—
F: But you can call my “Your Majesty”.
DM: …I should have seen that coming.
F: Indeed. <loses interest in the hubcap, returns to sidewalk> Anyway. Drama. Yes, those machines all get together, and it’s “commercial this” and “conquest that” and “I’m pissed because I don’t get to go to Germany when the human visits” and so on, ad nauseam. And then you have the human, talking to her brain and her body all the time, and not a one of the three of them knows what is really going on. Then there’s the dog, and woo-hoo, let me tell you, if your ears aren’t offended, your nose will be!
DM: That all sounds very—
F: And don’t even get me started on those turtles!!
DM: Alright! Point taken! But you have to understand, I just feel like this is all a little hard to believe.
F: <deadpan> You’re talking to a cat.
DM: Touchè. <stands up as if to leave>
F: Alright, then, smarty, if you don’t buy MY reasons for being outside, what’s YOURS? Why are YOU out at this hour?
DM: I’m glad you asked! I was just on my way home from a poker game.
F: Nice! Did you win?
DM: <jingles change in pocket> As a matter of fact, I did. Came out pretty well, if I do say so myself.
F: So you came out late to play poker? Dressed up like that?
DM: Well, no…the poker was an afterthought. I decided to go to the game to celebrate.
F: I see, and what are we celebrating?
DM: How well my date went.
F: <sputters, gets choked up, hacks up hairball> Your…you went on a DATE? At your age?
DM: <proudly> Hey, when you got it, you got it!
F: <bursts out laughing; gets increasingly louder>
DM: <first puzzled, then angry> Hey, what’s so funny about that?
F: <still laughing> Nothing! Nothing at all! It’s just…just…
F: It’s just…for once…I think I’M the one hallucinating!! <dissolves into a fit of laughter again>
DM: How rude! I tell you, I DID have a date tonight! And it was very nice!
F: <gets up, still laughing, starts back toward the house> Suuure, whatever you say! Oh, this is rich! <disappears inside>
DM: <sits back down> I think I must have been dreaming…how strange.
Dutch: <sticks head out through hole in fence> Yeah, don’t worry, everyone gets that reaction around here! You get used to it! <DM sees him, turns pale, passes out; Dutch looks down at him> Was it something I said?