He made the kittens disappear. No ….really, they totally disappeared! Where they were later found is both funny and a bit scary.
It isn’t so much the stories as submitted by my Creative Writing class although many of them are fine. It was their identity, their personal stories, that made the fiction story for a book titled “Puppies, Kittens, Laughter and Love”,
I specifically chose a Diabetes-inducing title to give my great writers lots of flexibility with the fiction but still keep the class within a reasonable range of genre for comparison.
It was a night class I taught, to be sure. These hours tend to attract older students but there were quite a few millennial types, most of them seeking what is perceived as an easy three credits.
So here ‘tis…..some stories of genius yon reader should enjoy. Each story is accompanied by my own biography of the writer.
What’s so eh, magical about this story is that it’s written by a man. He is Bruce Willis, not the famous one, and he said this exact story happened to his sister. He didn’t think he could write it in third person so he wrote it from his sister’s perspective, using the first person.
I think it’s cute, even better in that it’s true, and kudos to Bruce for writing so well from the feminine point of view.
“I’m going to make kittens disappear!” my son told me, a conspiratorial smile on his face in response to my puzzled query.
I tilted my head to the ceiling and blew a breath wind up my face, dislodging a few head hairs as this physical act helped me gather my wits.
Jeremy was such an independent child, a sweet boy really, the apple of my eye. Now he has developed a sudden interest in girls, but of course, he was fourteen after all. As I regarded that ceiling I wished Brian were here to help me parent this intelligent, amazing and quirky son of his.
Alas, Brian was killed in Afghanistan, a brave soldier for life he was when I married him. We had Jeremy then our daughter Kristina and an IED left our two children orphans and myself a widow.
Jeremy’s 14th birthday rapidly loomed and he invited a bunch of classmates for a party to be held on our back deck. One of those school mate invitees was a pretty girl who Jeremy was smitten with, Linda Lawton.
“He better not bother Salt and Pepper,” daughter Kristina shouted out from the living room. Salt and Pepper were our kittens, which we adopted from the woman across the street since her cat had a huge litter and she was desperate. Since I worked a full time job and with the kids now busy adolescents , we decided not to get a puppy after our beloved corgi died last year. We did agree to get a cat, every home needing a pet as we decided. And why get only one cat when two are hardly any extra bother? Further, they keep each other company, so we agreed.
“They are exactly the kittens I’m going to make disappear,” Jeremy shouted back to his sister, waving what was evidently a magic wand around to make his point.
After some serious questioning by his sister and myself, we learned that Jeremy’s latest interest was magic. He was, as stated, smitten with Linda Lawton, who was invited to his upcoming party. Jeremy asserted he’d have no problem disappearing our new kittens, it was only a magic trick after all.
I smiled and lifted my eyes to heaven as a quick wink to Brian, who I hoped was watching his son pursue the current woman of his dreams with his new passion of magic.
Goodness Jeremy went through so many phases that my mind boggles. Just like his Dad, in a fashion, in that Brian was an avid hunter, a collector of antique guns, an avid gardener and pretty good carpenter. Jeremy has learned to kayak, earned many merit badges in boy scouts, regularly mows lawns and walks dogs in the neighborhood, is in the National Honor Society and he is, like his Dad, quite a handsome fellow.
Now he’s into magic and he’s going to make our new kittens disappear. I mimed a smile up to Brian that this should be interesting.
Which it was. For through all charmed lives misfortune must pass. Not that Jeremy’s life was charmed, goodness with the loss of his father so young. But Jeremy had, until the disappearing kittens, been successful in all that he endeavored.
Until the day of the missing kittens that were put into the magic top hat to disappear forever. Not to mention Jeremy’s arrest for animal abuse, Katrina’s fist fight with Linda Lawton and my ill-thought grab of that antique gun during an adolescent birthday party, not the best time for this action.
Actually we did find Salt and Pepper but they were almost two years old when we discovered what happened to them. It was Kristina who first suggested that there were two cats she regularly saw in a window at the corner of the street. The last time she’d seen Salt and Pepper they were just 10 week old kittens but Katrina swore that if Salt and Pepper were grown up, in her mind, they’d look exactly like the two grown cats she saw in the window on her way home from the school bus.
As their name would imply, the team of Salt and Pepper consisted of one white cat and one black cat. Evidently our neighbor’s cat, Salt and Pepper’s mother, an all white Persian, got involved with some sort of scoundrel tuxedo cat and her kittens were all black and white with many variations therein. For giggles and grins we chose a mostly white and a mostly black kitten.
I followed Kristina one day at her urging, and got to see both grown cats and, indeed, they could well be our kittens Salt and Pepper all grown up. What we couldn’t figure out, until almost two years beyond this discovery, was how they got to this house after being dropped into Jeremy’s magic hat on the day of the party.
Jeremy had been practicing all week for his great magic show to be put on the day of his party. Kristina and I planned the menu and food. The attendees would be mostly adolescents, complete with pimples and awkwardness, a first social interaction with the opposite sex for most of them. Jeremy was confident, assuring Kristina and myself that all was under control.
Five teenage girls and four teenage boys watched mesmerized as Jeremy picked up first Salt, then Pepper, by their scruff and dropped them into the bowels of the magical top hat prop. Jeremy had already impressed this group by making Jacob Walby’s watch come off his wrist and into Amanda Smithson’s pocketbook. He also managed to have Kristina’s school ring end up in a vase clear across the room and I admit I was very impressed by these magic tricks and wondered how Jeremy managed to achieve them.
So when Jeremy dramatically lifted the tablecloth under the magic top hat, ostensibly to shout VOILA! And reveal the kittens that just seconds earlier disappeared down the top hat hole, I expected to see two meowing kittens and surprised party attendees.
Only there was nothing under the patio table’s tablecloth where Jeremy performed. Not Salt. Not Pepper. Not a meow to be heard anywhere. Goodness I was then very amazed that Jeremy managed to make two living creatures just poof, disappear!
Then I noticed the panicked look on Jeremy’s face.
Furiously he lifted up the long patio tablecloth, then he pushed everything on the table to the deck floor and removed the cloth entirely. Underneath the table we could see the shaft of the table’s umbrella, jutting down through a hole in the table carved exactly for that purpose and continuing down through a hole in the actual deck floor. There was no sign anywhere of any kittens.
I remember when Brian drilled that hole in the deck floor to accommodate the shaft of the table umbrella, to bring it down closer to those sitting beneath it. I’d complained to Brian endlessly about it but obviously the planks of the deck kept the umbrella from sliding down any more, leaving the shade provided by the umbrella much starker than I liked. When Brian got out the jig saw and told me he was going to create a little plug type of thing that would allow the umbrella shaft to slide further down but would not look ugly and leave a hole in the deck floor I was hopeful but confused.
All I understood was that a square of deck planking wood was somehow formed around the shaft of the umbrella, this square of wood matching the deck but with the hole drilled within the square for the umbrella shaft allowed the umbrella a full foot closer to the table, exactly perfect as I told Brian.
I don’t want to make a career out of this small domestic engineering type of thing but this little square of wood is how we managed to lose the kittens although at the time I figured that Jeremy really did somehow make them disappear and they would suddenly start meowing from somewhere across the yard to everyone’s joy and surprise.
At some point I deduced that the sight of Jeremy kneeling desperately below the patio table, patting hands all around as if a blind man, that those kittens had somehow, eh…disappeared.
Then began a pandemonium that a million words cannot describe what my panicked mind was struggling to deal with.
First Kristina screamed when she realized that the kittens were really missing. She shouted at all the party attendees that they should fan out across the yard and FIND THOSE KITTENS. The adolescents so ordered by Kristina didn’t respond with the quickness she would have liked as almost half of them were still convinced that this was yet a magic act and soon the kittens would magically appear.
Then Linda Lawton, the apple of Jeremy’s eye, sprang into action. “HOW COULD YOU?” she shouted, after inserting herself in front of Jeremy and the deck rail. “You wanted to do a silly magic act and now two little babies are gone, poof, what did you do with them?”
So there was this Linda harpy, sorry but she turned into a shrew though only barely 14 years of age. Jeremy was so shocked by her rage and he sprang to defend himself.
At this point, as if, pun intended, by magic, all hell broke loose. Adolescent began to shout at adolescent, Kristina screamed for Salt and Pepper, beating rose bushes and hostas to startle them out. One young man found a gardening saw and began to cut down my beautiful magnolia bush while Linda Lawton managed to get animal control out to the party. Jeremy was cited for animal abuse, some how, some way, as I argued and cried and told Kristina to shut the hell up as she screamed at Linda.
There was the incident of the antique gun, of course, but I only grabbed the thing in response to a teenage cry for some kind of heavy wood, a shout of kitten sighting. It was not loaded, hell half of it was missing. But at some point it became part of the animal abuse confusion.
This pandemonium went on for, I estimate, some 45 minutes until my parents came over and sent people home, cleaned off the deck and, of course, looked for kittens.
The animal abuse charge did not stick, of course, because how on earth could such a citation be issued without the issuer so much as laying an eyeball on the abused animal? Or animal(s), as the case might be. Besides, conveniently, the superintendent of the local SPCA was Linda Lawton’s cousin.
It’s a silly story, a bit funny what with the confusion. Jeremy got two big lessons in life, the first being an insight into the weird head of Linda Lawton, who no longer appealed to Jeremy in any form or fashion. Not that she liked him all that much, to this day referring to him as the kitten-killer. In jest, so she says.
And the vibrant and that time always successful Jeremy had his first big failure and my mother’s heart ached for him. Adding to the depth of his charge of animal abuse, the mockery of Linda Lawton, the giggling whispers of his friends, we never did find those kittens for almost two years. We had to live with the horror of not knowing what happened to those kittens, imagining slow deaths by starvation or thirst, hoping that someone saw them and took them home.
It was Kristina who finally found Salt and Pepper, as I described earlier in the narrative and that was a relief. I’d long ago figured that if Salt and Pepper somehow perished from the magic trick their bodies would be found close by. It wasn’t all that long, after all, after Jeremy shouted VOILA! that a serious search for them began. Still I had not a clue where they went, or how. It made for a few restless nights over the many months till we found them.
Salt was a glorious grown cat, long, sleek, lean, her Persian parentage obvious in her pretty white fluff. She had a couple of black patches on her hind paws. Pepper was a combination of salt and pepper, to be true, his combination of black to white fur about equal. Both cats had intriguing slanted eyes, not big and round like a Persian but definitely oriental-like with that diagonal form.
The lady who raised Salt and Pepper said she found them stuck in the fence behind her house, both of them tiny things, mewing and complaining as they tried to scale the chain link. Her name is Monica and she only moved into our community about a month before Salt and Pepper magically became her house cats.
“I figured they probably belonged to somebody, that soon somebody would put up a sign somewhere, “ Monica told us the day Kristina, Jeremy and I set up an appointment to figure out what happened. Monica petted Salt, who she called PRINCESS, lovingly. She was an older woman, widowed, had a full time job and kept busy. She told us that the only pet she could possibly have would be a cat and after she heard no word as to lost kittens in the neighborhood she figured God somehow sent Salt and Pepper (who she calls PRINCE) to her.
Later we checked that odd block of deck wood once again as we had so many times. Because Monica’s house was in a complete opposite direction than we thought possible for the kittens to get to. We’d discerned long ago that the block of wood somehow was dislodged and not plugging up the hole in the deck planks it was meant to plug. Then we noticed the rain spout and it became very evident, after looking at the setup from a new perspective, that the kittens hadn’t fallen directly to the ground when Jeremy put them into the hat and as planned, dropped them down through the umbrella hole in the patio table to the deck below, hidden by the tablecloth.
The kittens had, evidently, dropped down below the deck and somehow hit the rain gutter, affixed into the ground to, eh, carry away rainwater. The kittens probably thought they were in some kind of kitten paradise with the spout acting something like a sliding board. Then they found the chain link fence of Monica, which wasn’t but about ten feet away from our property line when we repositioned ourselves to match how it happened.
Then Monica found Salt and Pepper, now Princess and Prince, and they are indeed beautiful cats, well cared for and greatly loved.
Jeremy was going on 17 years old when we finally found his magic kittens and for a while he went sour on girls, what with Linda Lawton so down on him.
It turned out that Monica had a granddaughter who visited her quite often. Again, Monica’s house was oddly placed, sort of cater-cornered to our house. It was landscaped in such a way that we seldom saw any activity at that house, much less visitors and such.
Vivie….as Jeremy calls her, was so delighted when she found out the story of Salt and Pepper that she ran right over and introduced herself. Her full name is Vivian and she doesn’t see Jeremy as an animal abuser at all. Vivie loves Prince and Princess and knows that her grandmother adores them.
She and Jeremy proclaim that God bought the kittens to Monica and Vivian to Jeremy.
Oh, and did I mention Vivie’s brother Damian? Kristina thinks he’s very handsome and goodness knows where this might go.
It’s magic, after all.