Once upon a time there was a cat.
This cat wasn’t just any cat, however. He was a cool cat. A funky cat. A cat with no name. Well, he actually had a name, but most of the audio components that comprise his name are too glorious for mere human ears. All that’s left is the husk of sound that, roughly translated, comes out as “Mmmrrowww.” We’ll just call him “M.”
As you might imagine, M was more than just an ordinary cat. By day he was a power-napping, pad-scratching, catnip-loving domestic feline. By night, a fearsome street predator, a licensed private investigator, and an aspiring author of semi-biographical literature.
Each night M waited until his pets – that is, his humans – were asleep. Then, donning his gray felt fedora, he’d slip out and head downtown to his office on the corner of 11th and Main. There’s not much work for a feline private investigator to be had these days; not yet, anyway. It was probably inevitable that he would find something to while away the hours. That something was writing.
M started small, jotting down rough concepts for short fiction on a steno pad, then erasing and revising and re-revising until it they were perfect. He wound his way through cat romance, explosive exposes, and even a brief period where he wrote nothing but neo-beatnik free-association poetry. When his “My Life as a Hat Box” hit the New York Courier-Times Top 100, though, he knew he had hit the big time.
“Hey, cat, get off of that hat box! You’re going to crush it,” she said, her eyes flashing with fire.
See, people have this misconception that every one of a cat’s fabled nine lives is as a feline. Sometimes, usually, we come back as cats. Once in a while, for some of us, we come back as something else. My third life was as a hat box. A very large hat box. A cat hat box.
“Mm-mmrow-meoooooww,” I said. I think she knew what I meant: “Lady, look, I was a hat box. I know how to stack properly. Really. Trust me.”
Amazing. Just… amazing.