Day 7 of The Cramps Birthday week. It's up to one feline to save the day.
|I am nineteen years old and now more cybernetic than cat. I have tales to tell.
When I was little more than a kitten I was cat-napped by space pirates. That was not as exciting as it sounds and, to be fair, I don’t think it was me that they were trying to steal. I’d fallen asleep in a crate filled with straw, packed around smaller crates. They wanted whatever was in them. I was just a bonus.
I woke up as the ship was leaving the atmosphere. I peeked up over the edge of the crate and meowed. A man standing near-by with his back to me jumped and spilled his coffee over his hand. He shook his hand and swore before turning around.
He was young, with a bandanna tied around his head, hair shorter than mine and wide gray eyes. I narrowed my own eyes at him and flicked my tail. He tilted his head and approached cautiously. He put the hand he hadn’t burned up to my nose and let me smell the backs of his fingers. I meowed again, inquisitive. I couldn’t very well ask anything and get an answer and I couldn’t explain anything either. I understand human but can’t speak it and humans are too simple to understand cat speech.
He gently rubbed the top of my head and behind my ears. It’s a move that isn’t fair, that always feels too nice for me to care about anything else. Like where I was, or what was going to happen. He scooped me up and tucked me into his vest, and that was alright too.
His name was Alex and at first I stayed with him in his room but eventually I was given the run of the ship. The captain would welcome me into his quarters to settle onto his lap while he read in the evenings. The pilot let me sit on his console and watch the stars float or fly by.
We had many adventures but my favorite is the one where I saved all the humans from a planet filled with flesh eating giants. I say giants, really they were only about a catspan taller than a human. Big mouths though, filled with sharp teeth.
Something was wrong with the ship. The pilot looked nervous amid flashing lights a range of beeps. The captain said, “Bugger it. We’ll have to land.” He sat and strapped down and pulled me onto his lap.
“But that’s . . .,” the pilot started to say.
“I know what planet it is. Maybe we’ll go unnoticed,” interrupted the captain.
The pilot didn’t look at all sure.
We landed rough and then the men weren’t wasting any time with the repairs. They streamed out and worked fast and I could feel the nervous energy radiating from them. They tried to keep me inside the ship but they should have known how fruitless a plan that was. And lucky for them.
A crashing sound came from the forest and there were the giants, large and nearly naked, they each scooped up one of the pirates and ran back into the forest. I immediately sunk low to the ground and followed in the underbrush. I had to run fast but the pads of my feet kept their silence.
The giants shoved my men into a cave and wandered off back to their fire, hunting done for the night.
I went into the cave to see the men all hog-tied and wriggling. I went over to Alex and he froze, watching me. The ropes were thin but strong and still no match for my teeth. Once he was free he went to the captain and untied him. When they were all free they started whispering amongst themselves. Something about a distraction and who was going to stay behind to create it. That would be a suicide mission. The captain was saying that he couldn’t ask any of them to do it if he wasn’t willing himself.
I didn’t want the captain to go. I’d miss our quiet evenings and his warm lap and the sound of the turning pages as he read.
The humans felt the same as me, though perhaps they’d miss him for different reasons, and were quite invested in the argument they were having. I wandered off, around the perimeter of the cave. It was dark in here and the humans couldn’t see all that I could. Cave paintings all around told a story of an ancient cat god and how fortunate was that?
I slunk out of the cave ahead of the captain and worked on creating the distraction myself. It was too easy. I stood atop a rock and tried to look as regal as possible and waited to be noticed.
A shout and a lot of pointing and soon all of the giants were prostrate on the ground before me. I sidled among them, flicked them with my tail, placed a paw onto the back of their heads as I passed and they shook in the throes of spiritual experience.
The captain saw me and the state of the giants and he slipped back into the shadows. I stayed a while to give my men time. Eventually one of the giants saw fit to make some offerings to me. Bowls of fruits, grains and meat. I sat high on my rock and watched them all. None of them tried to touch me and I was grateful.
In the end I slunk off in the opposite direction of the ship and into the undergrowth, I circled round and got back to my people.
Alexander saw me first. “I didn’t know if you were going to come back. Must have been nice to be royalty. I saw you sitting up there like a king.”
I bumped his hand with my head and followed him back to the ship.
I didn’t need to be treated like a king. I just needed to be theirs.