Stranger Than Fiction
The tricky thing about writing fiction is that it can’t be too fictional. You’re supposed to create a real world that the reader can believe. Real Life. Believable Real Life.
The funny part is that Real Life is not like that. Everyone has experiences that are completely Unbelievable.
The following crazy little event actually happened. Just like this. I swear.
Years ago we had a black cat named Casper, who was as enigmatic as his name.
Casper ate his food in a straight line from right to left. He preferred his water out of stemware, making it imperative that we watch our glasses at all times. He would not lie down on a bed or blanket that had a wrinkle. He would often jump up out of a nap and run over to the piano and play a few notes. As if he had a song stuck in his head. Then go back to his nap. He had Feline OCD.
Casper liked to sit outside and watch the world. He wouldn’t exactly come when called, but he would show himself, and let us know he was okay. He came and went as he pleased. He was a cat.
When he was about seven, Casper had a temporary but serious medical condition, Between the weakness caused by his illness and the side-effects of the medication, he had to be kept indoors. He was miserable. He’d stand at the door and cry and reach up and turn the doorknob. (When he was healthier, he had sometimes managed to open the door. Truly.)
At his follow-up visit with the vet, I mentioned how unhappy Casper was to be cooped up inside, and the vet suggested we take him out for a little walk. On a leash.
We were dubious (to put it mildly) but we stopped at the pet store on the way home and bought one of those little harness-type leashes for cats. We figured out how to put it on by trying it out on our dumber cat. Then we put it on Casper and took him outside.
My husband stood in the yard with a cat on a leash. The first time for both of them. They were both very quiet and still as they tried to figure out whether this would work and what to do next.
And a little bird flew over and landed on my husband’s knee.
That’s what I said.
A BIRD FLEW OVER AND PERCHED ON THE KNEE OF A MAN WHO HAD A CAT ON A LEASH.
And the cat – who had not moved – moved. He jumped up and caught the bird and ran off. Until of course the leash yanked him short and the bird flew out of his mouth.
Casper was incensed. He crouched down for a second or two, and contemplated his situation.
Then in one graceful motion, he slid back his head and his front legs – out of the leash – and walked away.
This story has a happy ending though.
And we got our money back for the leash.