E.M.’s RWP~#153 Largesse- Humble are the Homeless

Today’s Random Word is largesse.

Until last year, Tony wasn’t known for his largesse; he’d once been totally broke and homeless.
But today, helpless cries led him to a dumpster behind the laundromat where he swept up three abandoned kittens with flushed cheeks from anger and disgust. He’d vowed never to hesitate to help care for anyone homeless and kittens also counted.
At his home, minutes later, the three precious little creatures were greeted by a clowder of roommates.
“And three makes lucky thirteen.” murmured Tony with a grin.
His two-room apartment occupied the whole basement of a 4-story building. It was quite expansive, and cozy, with nary an unhappy resident. It was well furnished and tidy too.
First, Tony busied himself with fresh towels and a large plastic milk crate creating a cozy spot for Curley, Larry and Moe, while the others just furiously swished their tails in anticipation of mealtime. Only the frightened, desperate, mews of the newbies could be heard.
Tony hung his wear-worn coat on a nail near the entrance and rustled ten cans from one of many, overstuffed duffel bags along the wall.
Now, the air filled with anticipatory yowls and purrs. Each cat waited its turn and knew its place. A scene not often realized even in single cat homes! The formerly homeless highly value routine, order, and safety.
One by one, they lined up along the feeding station and ate their fill. Each then went to the farthest corner, in a partitioned furnace room, and relieved himself or herself in the well-maintained exceptionally clean boxes. They then found their favorite spot on a number of sofas, for a thorough contented tongue washing.

Tony warmed some special ‘kitty milk’ formula and easily encouraged his ‘Stooges’ to lap some supper. He’d call the vet tomorrow for a proper check-up, a neutering schedule, and a chance for a loving adoption.
Then he sat in his, somewhat disheveled recliner and opened a bottle of wine to go with his dinner salad.
Before he settled into bed, he removed and folded his clothing and placed his wallet on a dresser after extracting a large wad of cash and placing it in a sock he’d stash under his pillow.
A rap at the door interrupted his evening ritual. Donning a tattered robe, Tony opened the door and accepted a delivery of two bags of kitty litter, a cat toy, and 24 cans of cat food from his tenant on the 4th floor. It was the price he had set for a month’s rent. It was the same charge for each formerly homeless family in all six buildings he had purchased when he had won the lottery a year ago.


Lady Jabberwocky Prompt of the Week- Harold’s Unfortunate Mistake

Prompt of the Week: Scene of the Crime

Normally, police detectives didn’t get involved in “missing persons” cases without direct evidentiary reasons but the multiple calls from alarmed neighbors, who new Harold’s unflappable routine, made them take an interest. Two of the neighbors had thought they’d heard fireworks several nights before, but now, had decided they’d actually heard gunshots and all of them were extremely worried because they hadn’t seen the ‘dependable’ Harold for days!

Officers had not been able to solicit any answers to their knocks and the putrid odor emanating from the unkempt house offered an excellent probable cause to enter uninvited.
Their first perusal was a 360 degree examination of the outside. Every window was covered to the top with debris on the inside. And, yes, the odor was nauseating!
The first to enter, after breaking in the front door, were the beat officers who needed to secure the scene wearing Hazmat suits {complete with booties} to protect themselves from the rot, as much as, to preserve evidence.
What they found sent two of them running outside to vomit!
Harold, although beloved by his neighbors, was obviously a most severe hoarder.
Rotted food, animal feces, and garbage, covered every inch of every room and it was stacked to the ceiling. Three feral cats raced past the officers the moment the door had been breached. The origins of the stench had now been confirmed.

After an excruciating search, taken in shifts, Harold had not been found but four 9mm shell casings were in clear view when they had entered the back porch!
Now, it was the detectives’ turn and foul play was clearly suspected.
Looking for clues to Harold’s disappearance was going to be a nightmare!
Up to this point, no murder could be concluded but, since Harold had no known family and was 86 years old, locating him was ramped up to an APB.
Obviously, Harold’s friendly relationship with his neighbors had been made by ‘outdoor’ interactions. Over seven years, he had strolled the exact same route through the neighborhood everyday, rain or shine. He cheerfully engaged many of them sharing humorous stories and jokes. The man was a skillful comedian… and a real charmer.

As yellow crime scene tapes were tied, and the police presence increased, most of the worried neighbors started to gather along the street. Then the detectives made an unusual discovery under newspapers on the kitchen counter; A half-eaten fresh sandwich and a dated, three day old, envelope that had contained a plane ticket.
Why hadn’t those cats eaten the sandwich?
Who had been, or would want to be, inside this house casually eating in the last six hours?
What did the plane ticket mean?

A disturbance suddenly erupted at a garage across the street!
Those feral cats were yowling, screeching, and pacing, outside the door creating an hysterical display.
Inside, Harold was found with a duffle bag full of precious items pilfered from his distracted neighbors! They had left their homes unattended, and unlocked, to watch the police. It was a beautifully planned crime that clearly counted on the affection and trust he’d engendered.
He was apprehended and disarmed without incident and cuffed, then driven downtown. Harold was found to have many aliases and it was learned he had made his living conning people throughout his life.
The suspected crime scene had been the well planned diversion to a real crime and it had taken Harold’s mistake, of befriending cats in addition to people, to crack it.

Prompt of the Week: Scene of the Crime | Lady Jabberwocky

Discovery and Sorrow

When I was young, I spent lots of my time on my grandparents’ farm. I played alone for the greater part of my stays. While amusing myself, as the adults did chores, I learned so much about the world. One of my favorite activities was rock collecting. I was too young to know the names of them but took a great interest in what, I discovered, were so many types. There’s so much to be learned when a child does her own discovering.

I used to search for “nests” of feral kittens. The farm cats often chose to birth their babes between the hay bales in the loft. I spent hours watching the mothers and learned to mimic the sound they made when they brought home a “catch of the day”. After a while, I realized my skill could locate those kittens. My yowl proved to be an excellent tool. Once perfected, I was able to call out and have the hidden babies respond. Once located, I’d handle and cuddle them. I’d name them and teach them not to be afraid of people. Ultimately, the lives of feral cats are worth little. Once in a while, my mother found a home for one but most were often taken by disease and disaster.

I cried a lot on the farm. My heart wanted better for each an every baby. It was on the farm that I learned one person can not save the world. But one person could offer comfort and love to another creature, even if it were for only one moment in time. It would have been so sad if those kitties had never known the warmth of a lap and a kiss between their ears. Don’t you think?

Homeless chptr 5

People sometimes call us lazy…

Cats are such explosive predators that the conservation of energy often makes the difference between eating and starving. We can sleep, or at least, rest for many hours at a time.

The next time I awoke, my stomach growled. I lifted my head to see Missy meticulously washing the calico kitten, which we would call Lil Bit. Actually, Lil Bit was almost a year old. She either came from small stock or had suffered malnutrition most of her life. They purred hypnotically in the corner of the cement barn, a fellowship of females that I would never know. If I hadn’t felt such hunger pangs, I may have considered a longer nap with their soothing sounds, my lullaby.

Missy had more than recovered from her initial terror and led us from the building. The foreign sounds were plenty yet Missy stepped with a confidence that I could not have gathered. That primal instinct to provide had made her strong. She approached a group of pigeons as she may have, sparrows in a dooryard. It was not successful and we ended the day in an alley scarfing down scraps from a Chinese restaurant. Egg noodles were extremely satisfying to our empty stomachs. A stack of wooden crates offered sanctuary to us for the night. We had no idea what dangers could creep up on us at any moment. The next day would be eventful, indeed.

Homeless chptr 4

I was dreaming when the roaring beast came to rest…

My mother was combing my forehead with her tongue. I felt the familiar weightlessness that mother’s attention caused. When I opened my eyes I expected to see my siblings piled on top of  me , indeed, cats were above me but none were familiar. The smell of urine hung in the air. Often used to mark territories or signal fertility, this smell was fear. Oddly, there were no fights probably due to a temporary bond against an unknown enemy.

We had been placed in a small holding pen near a brick wall. Fifteen cats of all sizes and ages were inside the 4’x4′  cage. Anxious purring ran like waves through the crowd. There was one person outside. She talked calmly and her voice was gentle.

Missy crouched beside me. Her trembling had stopped when we were reunited. I hoped she wouldn’t notice mine.

Comfort comes in so many forms. For cats, all  that’s “familiar” is necessary for balance. Dogs romp happily, obediently at their owners’ heels but for cats, it’s territory first, human companionship, maybe. So when “gentle voiced” stranger opened the cage, I struck out with anger and such force as to offer an opportunity for Missy, a calico kitten and I to escape. We ran together through screeching tires,screams of anger and ,finally to a quiet refuge in a strange “barn”.

What an odd and terrifying world we had entered. How I wished we were still on the farm.