A Cat From Canada by Bassam Imam - HTML preview

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DADDY LOVES YOU

My name is Chip Miller. I‟m a very tenacious, streamlined, beautiful, athletic North American Shorthair.

You‟re probably wondering what the heck a North American Shorthair is. Well, I‟ve got Canadian blood in me, but I‟ve spent much time in the U.S. Therefore, I consider myself a North American Shorthair.

I live in Green Town, California, a beautiful little town with a population of ten thousand, not including the companion animals therein.

My „pretend parents‟ are Bassam Imam and his fleshy android wife Linda Strathmore. I forced ... I mean I convinced my pretend father to secretly purchase a fleshy android to be his wife and also to be my beloved pretend mother.

I wasn‟t trying to be a tyrannical kitty of sorts, but I wanted to have the ability to shut my mother off, for good if 1

necessary. That is, if she ever became a nuisance for my father or me.

Fleshy androids can be pre-programmed. My pretend father threw a fit at first, saying that he wanted a „real life wife‟

rather than a fleshy android. Also, he‟d explained to me the horrible complications and problems that can occur from this kind of an arrangement.

Initially, what‟d happened was that my pretend father and I agreed that his first wife would be a fleshy android. However, if for any purpose she was turned off for good or destroyed his second wife would be his for the choosing.

The three of us lived in a beautiful white mansion, containing a perfectly mowed shiny green lawn, a three car garage a swimming pool in the back, a patio, ten bedrooms, a game room, two kitchens, two study rooms and more. Furthermore, we had three satellite televisions; seventy inch HD.

The food we ate was superb. Absolutely nothing could beat my pretend parents‟ cooking. They did their research very well, reading home economics books and cookbooks.

As for me I always had a special taste for the well-known foods and drinks. Fancy foods were certainly a delicacy but to be eaten on occasion only.

My father and I had moved from Arizona a few months earlier. The Green Town Park was always a nice place to visit.

It contained artificial ponds, beautiful grass and trees, wildlife, and much more. Water fountains were scattered throughout the park in case anyone needed to drink. In addition, several snack bars and a dining hall were open 24 hours a day.

Green Town didn‟t have the high crime problems of many cities and towns in California. I was thankful to be in Green Town.

My father and I managed to bring along our special copying machine. This machine had the capability to print any currency in any denomination. And unbelievably, the bills looked exactly like the real thing.

In effect, our pretend family was in the millionaire category indefinitely, barring an unforeseen catastrophe.

But now, let me get to specifics about my life and that of my pretend parents.

Every day of our lives was very exciting indeed. However, some days stood out like sore thumbs. To tell you the truth, a fear in my head would prick at me every so often. It was a question, „when was this beautifully sheltered life coming to an end‟? I inherently knew that regardless of how much money we had, every family and pretend family undergoes trials and tribulations of sorts. Life‟s not a joke. It‟s full of ups and downs for everyone, including cats.

2

On a beautiful Saturday morning, at 7:00 A.M., I decided to go to my personal playground. It was located on the opposite side of our three car garage.

I played with my toys, did pull-ups on the monkey bars and horsed around until 7:45 A.M. until something quite unusual caught my eye.

Someone slowly drove his dark van through our street a total of five times. Each time it appeared that the driver was eyeing someone or something. I wasn‟t sure if he was trying to break into one of the mansions on our block, steal an article from a yard or snatch a human or animal and then drive off really fast. Either way, I placed myself on high alert.

On the fifth round the driver pulled over right in front of our neighbour‟s mansion. The Martin‟s were a retired elderly couple. Both had once been stock brokers who‟d made it big. They were set for life. But unfortunately for them they were in their eighties. Not much to do at that age even as a multi millionaire.

I stopped horsing around, and then slowly crept towards the dark van but halted at the peripheral of our lawn. I squatted down, zoomed in on the dark van and extended my claws and bared my teeth.

I was ready for combat. So much so I could almost feel my blood boiling.

Then, out came a hefty pot-bellied man, over six feet tall.

He was carrying a tool case in his right hand and a wrench in his left.

The hefty man was wearing blue overalls, a flannel shirt, jeans and steel workman boots.

His hair was greasy and predominately gray but still contained about 30 percent black hair. Beads of sweat dribbled down the sides of his head.

The hefty man could never have won a beauty contest. In fact, I instantly took him for a criminal. But as he approached Terrence, the Martins‟ sleeping Beagle whom I admired so much, I came to the conclusion that the hefty man was a buncher. A buncher is a low-life thug-criminal who snatches companion animals and then sells them.

I made up my mind to attack the hefty man, choosing the Bengal Tiger method of attack.

Bengal Tigers prefer to attack from the behind. They prefer not to see the victim‟s face. It made no difference to me, however, as I only took it as a preferred strategy against an armed man.

I readied myself to run across the street, enter the Martin‟s yard and then leap onto my target‟s neck then take him 3

down really hard. My objective was to knock him out cold, not maim or kill him.

It would‟ve been an honour and a joy to take down a human being. I‟d done it before and I was looking forward to doing it again. I don‟t hate all humans, just the bad ones.

After he was out cold I‟d run back home and tell my pretend parents to call the police. It appeared that simple. But then, my plan collapsed like a deck of cards.

“Chip, what are you doing? Why are you crouched down like that? Wait, you‟re intending to attack that man across the street, right?”

“Dad, please be quiet! I‟ve formed a fool-proof attack plan.”

Chip, I‟m ordering you to turn around and come into our home. I‟m your pretend father, so you can‟t argue or disobey me.”

I turned around and then grudgingly galloped back into our mansion with my father at my tail. Meanwhile, I was pissed off as hell.

“Chip, go wash up so we can have breakfast together. Mom‟s waiting for us. She‟s starving.

Mom has prepared a delightful breakfast including but certainly not limited to your favourite entries ... French toast swimming in syrup with a large dab of margarine on top and an egg and cheese muffin sandwich.”

After hearing those words I sprinted to the restroom nearest to me, entered it and then washed and dried myself off.

In a jiffy I was seated at the breakfast table beside my dad and facing my mom.

The kitchen table was full of good food and drinks. The first thing that I did was grin at my parents. I then drank some milk.

I‟ve always enjoyed dipping chunks of French toast deep into syrup then pulling out the chunk and eating it. The eggs, muffins, milk, margarine, juice and toast were terrific.

We ate on a round table, covered with a flower-designed table cloth. That was my pretend mom‟s idea. Initially, I‟d put up an argument but back down. She wasn‟t going to change her mind. I could tell that my dad was afraid to even try to reason with my mom on this particular issue. Let bygones be bygones, as those wise ones often say.

“Chip, guess what? We‟re going to take a vacation. Dad says he wants to go to Mexico, then back to northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia in Canada.”

“Mom, I‟m not stupid. I know where British Columbia is ...

it‟s in Canada.”

4

“Chip, may a cat bite your tongue. I‟m your pretend mother and I will not stand for this back talk! Do you understand me?”

“Sorry mom and sorry dad. I‟m all ears mom. Proceed with your narrative.”

“Chip, we‟re leaving next Sunday. We have to go to the airport at 9:00 A.M. So that means that we must awaken at 7:00

A.M.

We‟ve already made all the arrangements. We‟re going to take several tours and live in first class hotels. We‟re also going to visit some zoos.”

“Mom, some zoo animals are very depressed. They can‟t go anywhere.”

“Chip, may a cat bite your tongue again! I don‟t want any more back talk!”

“Chip, she‟s your pretend mother. You must respect her.” That was the end of our combative conversation. We all got back to the business at hand which was eating our tasty breakfast.

When the alarm clock went off to awaken us for our trip I opened my eyes and hovering above me was my father. To tell you the truth I was quite stunned. Why was my father hovering over me? He appeared intent on doing something, something very important.

“Chip, before I start packing there‟s something important that I have to tell you.

The hefty man in the overalls who you were keenly eyeing and appeared to want to pounce on wasn‟t a buncher. I know that mom and I have told you over and over again to watch out for low-life thugs.

In reality, the hefty man was a plumber. He circled our neighbourhood because the Martin‟s had told him not to knock on their door a single minute before the scheduled appointment which was at 8:00 A.M.

As for the dark van, Roger, the plumber had informed the Martin‟s that his business van was being worked on at the auto shop. Therefore the temporary van had no logo or words written on it.

Oh Chip, don‟t always assume the worst case scenario regarding strangers. Besides, you should get the facts straight before deciding upon action. And, one more thing, if he‟d been an armed buncher then what would you have done. He could‟ve shot you right there on the spot.”

“That‟s right, dad. Next time I‟ll be more careful.”

“Okay, Chip. Now, shower-up and pack. Your pretend mother and I will do the same.

5

We‟re driving our van to LAX (Los Angeles Airport). Then we‟ll leave the van. One of my associates is assigned to drive the van back to our home.

Rio Grande Airlines has changed the departure time to 11:00

A.M. That‟ll give us an extra hour to goof around, unless the ticket booth line is long.”

We washed up and then packed our belongings. My pretend parents didn‟t bring along an animal carrier. I was their pretend son thereby there was no need for that. Besides, I informed them that that‟s one place I wouldn‟t be caught dead in. They understood and that was the end of it.

At 9:00 A.M. we were ready to go. My parents and I double-checked our luggage and the plugs and appliances.

We left home, walked to our garage and then my pretend mother pressed the „open‟ button for the garage door.

As soon as the garage door opened my pretend mother motioned my pretend dad and I to stand clear while she entered the van and slowly reversed it to the curb. We did as told and then we were off.

“Chip, if we have time to stroll through LAX we‟ll try to grab something to eat. Otherwise, we‟ll have to wait until we‟re served lunch in the plane.”

The drive to LAX took an hour. By the time we entered the airport parking lot, got out and then got in line it was already 10:20 A.M. Thankfully there were only three persons ahead of us.

When our turn came my pretend father handed the ticket agent our tickets and passports. The ticket agent, a young gorgeous blond with smooth long hair, smooth white skin and pretty gray eyes requested that I leap onto the counter in order for her to get a better look at my face and features. At the time I was crouched on the floor. I didn‟t blame her she was trying to do the job she was paid for.

After tagging our luggage the ticket agent motioned to a scrawny middle-aged man standing to her right to put the luggage on the conveyer belt.

The final boarding call for flight #356 to Mexico City came at 10:45 A.M.

The ticket agent told us to walk briskly to gate #12, and that she‟d notify the agents there that three more passengers were on their way. If we had run airport security would‟ve stopped and questioned us. In that case scenario we would‟ve missed our flight.

We thanked the ticket agent for the quick friendly service and headed to our gate.

Thankfully, two ticket agents were waiting for us in front of the entrance to the skywalk leading to our plane. They 6

removed a tab from our tickets and then handed the remainder of the tickets back.

Walking through the skywalk I felt a chill. But that wasn‟t an issue for me because my stomach was growling with incredible intensity. I needed food!

After entering the plane we went to our seats, which thankfully were in first class. I was expecting to receive food and soft drinks shortly after takeoff.

“This is Captain Garcia speaking. Please fasten your seatbelts. We‟re getting ready to hit the tarmac. On behalf of myself, the crew and Rio Grande Airlines we wish you a pleasant and rewarding trip.”

Captain Garcia reversed the plane, stopped briefly and then drove it to the runway. A short while later we were in the air.

Thankfully, nothing out of the ordinary happened up to this point. I could see, smell and hear the tasty articles on the food tray nearby.

It wasn‟t long before the first class flight attendants were offering the passengers snacks and drinks.

Our section contained two flight attendants. One was a beautiful woman perhaps twenty five or so, 5 feet 6 inches tall and possessing a very cute and calming smile. She and the other flight attendants in the plane wore blue uniforms with the airline logo clipped onto their left chest area.

The other flight attendant in first class was already in her mid-thirties, 5 feet 2 inches tall, chunky and not very attractive. Although I judged neither of the flight attendants according to their beauty most human passengers do. I was under the impression that the latter flight attendant understood that her days were nearly over. Being overweight, unattractive and middle-aged were characteristics that basically ended a flight attendant‟s career.

“Hi, how are you doing? My name is Claire and this is my co-worker Louisa,” said the chunky flight attendant.

Claire had a beautiful contagious smile; naturally, we smiled back at her.

“Would you like a snack and a drink?” asked Claire.

“Yes, I‟d like the mini-chicken sandwich, peanuts and some milk,” I replied.

My parents ordered after me. After we got our snacks and drinks the flight attendants moved onto the next row. I then got a mild bitching out from my parents. How dare you order before us, was the gist of their line.

I put on an act, indicating that I‟d felt bad about my behaviour, but I really didn‟t care because my stomach was gnawing away.

7

After we ate our snacks I glanced over at my parents and seeing that they were preoccupied reading the airline magazine I casually leaped onto the aisle.

As soon as my paws landed onto the aisle I scanned the first class section. Thankfully, it wasn‟t full.

Aside from us there were only four other passengers; an elderly man in his eighties who appeared a bit gaunt but dressed like a millionaire. There was also a young couple in their twenties who were making out like there was no tomorrow.

But it was the man wearing shades that gave me the chills.

He was wearing a black suit and was eyeing me for some unknown reason. He‟d forgotten that cats have incredible vision. I could see his creepy eyes gazing at me from behind the darkened lenses. In fact, he wasn‟t even blinking.

There was nothing to see outside but the glare of the sun, clouds and virtually nothing else. This is the moment when a passenger would love to see an alien spacecraft. In my case it was wishful thinking.

I walked through the curtains separating first class from economy. The economy section was more or less full to the rim.

There were people therein from every race and nationality.

However, most were of Hispanic origin. Many of them were conversing in Spanish, a language I couldn‟t speak.

I decided not to stroll through the section because there were too many kids playing around. All it would‟ve taken was one rotten one who hated cats for a fight to ensue. I wasn‟t in the mood to pound a kid‟s face in. Besides I was officially on vacation and didn‟t want to get into any trouble with the airline crew or Mexican City Airport officials.

I stayed low for a while before I smelled food emanating from behind me. Naturally, I hustled back to my seat and waited anxiously for my meal.

A short while later, we were eating a hardy meal consisting of steak, French fries, garden salad, fruit salad, a large oatmeal cookie, pop and coffee.

After eating our delicious meal we decided to hit the sack.

It was either that or space out for a few hours.

But before I could close my eyes I got into a skirmish with my pretend mom.

“Chip why don‟t you read something beneficial before you hit the sack?”

I was groggy and satiated. Nevertheless, I wasn‟t in the mood to speak to anyone, especially my pretend mother. Sometimes she could be a real bitch.

“Mom, let me sleep! I‟ll read after I wake up, okay?” 8

“Chip, that‟s it, I‟m not allowing you to sleep until you apologize to me in front of the other passengers and crew. I won‟t take no for an answer!”

“Mom, just shut up!”

That was the last straw for my dad. Up until then, he‟d remained silent.

He grabbed me by the scruff and hoisted me into the air where the other first class passengers could see me. Then, he put me down. He didn‟t have to say anything. It was obvious what he was trying to tell me; he was my pretend father and was always going to be bigger and stronger than me.

But, I‟d had it. As soon as I started to shout at my parents my pretend mom grinned. Oops, I knew she had a hidden weapon somewhere. Actually, we both knew what it was.

My mom quickly pulled down her shirt to expose her breast and then she grabbed me with the other hand. She basically smudged my face against her breast.

Well, before I knew it I was a little kitty again being breast fed by my pretend mother. I became groggy almost instantly.

But before I could close my eyes and sleep I sensed that there was something unusual in the air. So, I glanced to my left and saw the elderly man. He was enjoying the spectacle. Worse yet, he rubbed it in. I could see his lips moving and hear the quiet words that came out of his mouth.

“Kitty, you‟re a momma‟s boy,” he said.

And to add insult to injury he was carrying a big fat smile on his face. Although I wanted to rumble with him, sleep overtook me. The breastfeeding routine was like being on the operating table and being put to sleep in a flash.

I must‟ve been out for several hours. When I came to we still hadn‟t arrived at Mexico City yet. Now, I was really worried.

My parents were out cold, but so was everyone else in first class. Come to think of it even the flight attendants were out cold. Indeed, there was an unusual calm in the air. I could hear the revving of the airplane engines and the air conditioner working. That‟s all.

I decided to stroll through economy class and to my utter shock I noticed that everyone there was also out cold. It wasn‟t sleep, it was something deeper. Like, they were drugged.

After pondering about the unusual situation and strolling through the interior of the plane I decided to go to the cockpit. Step by step I approached the cockpit with increased anxiety.

9

Shockingly, the cockpit door was wide open and the pilot and co-pilot were out cold too. Worse yet, it was dark out. I had absolutely no idea where we were.

I returned to my seat but as I pulled out a magazine to read I remembered what the elderly man had said to me. I certainly couldn‟t let that go. So, I leaped onto the aisle and then onto the elderly man‟s lap. I gave him an incredibly powerful left hook to the jaw.

My punch was so devastating the elderly man‟s head flopped back and forth quite rapidly like a speed bag. I counted a total of twelve flops.

Now I was ready to close my eyes and sleep. Maybe, I thought to myself, things would return back to normal by the time I awakened.

But when I came to the world around me appeared to have flipped over several times. The situation in the plane was horrific at the very least.

I brushed the crust out of my eyes and then scanned the area. Shockingly, I saw my father lying down on the aisle looking sickly and with what appeared to be blood in and out of his mouth.

I leaped onto the aisle and then onto my father‟s chest. By now, it became apparent to me that we were the only passengers on the airplane. The curtains partitioning first class from economy had been torn down. The cockpit door had been ripped off its hinges.

“Dad, please, what‟s going on here?”

“Son, Chip, I love you so dearly. Please do as I say, and do not disobey me. For your own sake, please do not be defiant this one time.

Something terrible has happened. When I came to I was already on the aisle floor with a horrific internal wound. I can‟t survive much longer. Please, Chip, my blue duffle bag.

Open it and remove the mini-parachute. It‟s for you. Actually, I was going to give it to you as a „funny present‟ after we arrived in Mexico City.”

I did as was told and then returned to my father as quickly as I could.

“Dad, please, I love you. Please don‟t leave me. Even mom‟s gone. I need my pretend parents. I‟m just a kitty, but being an orphaned kitty is even worse. I‟ve become too humanized for my own good. I don‟t know if I can survive on the tough streets.”

“Chip, don‟t worry about that. Your pretend mother and I have made you the sole beneficiary our estate if we die. Also, I‟ve got some extra protection for you. Inside my duffle bag is a spare special copying machine (counterfeit machine). Take it 10

out of the duffle bag and then look for a rectangular tab on the left side.

Chip, push the tab. You‟ll see a tiny squared mini special copying machine that I‟ve made just for you. It‟s too small for a human but just right for a kitty. You‟ll be set for life. This gadget can print out any currency in any denomination; bills or coins.

However, because it‟s so small it‟s not as fast as the normal sized ones.”

Dad, I refuse to allow you to die on me and I will not leave this plane without you.”

My dad‟s condition deteriorated quickly and what appeared to be beyond repair. My pretend daddy was dying right before my eyes!

I did as my pretend dad requested but staying by his side until he pointed his hand in a downward direction. In all the fuss I didn‟t realize that we were descending to the ground or water at a dangerous rate. I had no idea where we were. It was dark and scary out there but I had to survive.

After kissing my pretend dad on each cheek and telling him that I love him I got the mini copying machine and put it inside my leather neck pouch. Afterwards, I grabbed hold of the mini parachute.

After giving my dad a last look I walked to the emergency hatch and then opened it. Believe me it took every ounce of strength I possessed to get the job done. But at the same time though, I wondered how everyone exited the plane without opening the emergency hatch. Nonetheless, there was no time to ponder about the unknown.

As I was unfolding my mini-parachute my dad called out to me. Naturally, I ran back to him and then leaped onto his chest.

I was all eyes and ears, waiting for some good news to be told.

“Sorry, Chip, I forgot to say something to you, I had to say it one last time ... daddy loves you!”

As soon as I was getting ready to reply to my father‟s tear producing words he closed his eyes, and his head flopped to the left.

Not to sound cold, I had no time to spare. I could see the images of low-level clouds through the windows. The present altitude was at a dangerously low level. I had to leave, immediately.

I ran to the emergency exit and peered downwards.

Thankfully, I could see daylight on the horizon. We were flying in the right direction. I judged it to be dawn. But there was something quite peculiar about the terrain. It was a rainforest of sorts. We must‟ve somehow passed through the entire country 11

of Mexico. I could only second guess where we were. Anyway, I prepared my mini-parachute and then leaped out of the plane.

My fears were somewhat alleviated as soon as it became apparent that the mini-parachute was functioning perfectly.

I slowly descended to a giant slab of forest which unbelievably was so dense with plant life it resembled a carpet.

12

BEST FRIENDS IN THE WHOLE WORLD

I made my descent onto a large, dense mass of treetops. It was a matter of which treetop I would end up on.

A short while later I landed atop a treetop that, well, from my vantage point appeared to be a mile high. I‟d never seen trees of the sort back in California. In fact, nowhere in the U.S. or Canada could you find this tree species.

As soon as the mini-parachute flopped over my head and body I pulled it off and then tossed it away. I could tell from the material it was getting ready to tear on me. Maybe, a few hundred more feet of a drop would‟ve spelled death. Anyway, I had immediate problems at hand.

I could hear a plethora of animal species in the area. Many were monkeys. None were large. In fact, these were New World Monkeys. Old World Monkeys like Baboons, Mandrills and Drills would‟ve posed a big problem for me. Thankfully, they made their habitats across the Atlantic Ocean in Africa.

13

I peered downwards and got the shock of my life. I‟d never been so high up on a treetop. I had to choose a way down; head first or feet first.

I chose the latter. Although many cat species would‟ve chosen the former I didn‟t want to peer downwards directly while descending. It was too scary of a thought, let-alone an action.

As I slowly descended onto the forest floor I took notice of a group of Spider Monkeys a distance away. But as I continued to descend to the forest floor I stopped dead cold, choosing a branch to rest on.

As I pondered about my subsequent actions a young, cute-looking monkey leaped from an adjacent tree onto mine. In fact, she landed a few feet above my position. I found it quite amusing that a monkey of any sorts would approach a feline. But, I couldn‟t complain. Maybe, she wanted to help me.

“Hi cutie-pie, our group has never seen such a tiny, beautiful cat like you. Most cats we see are larger predators.

The mere sight of them results in an automatic alarm call and our swiftly climbing the nearest tree.

You‟re so cute, beautiful, stream-lined and athletic-looking. And your eyes ... they‟re so hypnotic. What planet are you from?” asked the monkey.

I wasn‟t sure at first, but it seemed like this female monkey had some kind of a crush on me. Although I was shocked and quite repulsed, there was some potential gain in the matter.

I was lost, thirsty and hungry. Not to mention exhausted from my ordeal. I needed many friends who could help me survive in this rainforest until I was able to go back home to the states. I felt that the place, wherever it was, was too foreign for me.

The biochemistry of my North American blood wasn‟t going to change, nor was my culture.

“Umm, hi monkey. Where exactly am I? And thanks for the compliments and flattery.”

“Honey, you‟re deep in the Amazon Rainforest. How the heck did you get here?”

At that moment a burning sensation ran through my veins. I felt that maybe I should alter my story a bit. I didn‟t know this monkey or what were hidden intentions were, if she had any.

One thing I did know, primates, not all of them, but as a whole cannot be trusted.

“My memory has faded somewhat. I‟ve got amnesia of sorts.

Maybe when I recover I‟ll start remembering things.”

“Oh, my name is Melissa Black. I‟m pleased to meet you.”

“I‟m Chip Miller, and I‟m pleased to meet you too.” Melissa leaped onto the same branch that I was perched on.

She was beside me now. Actually, she was standing a bit too close to me. North American kitties need their personal space 14

and I‟m no exception. But considering the circumstances and the fact that she was trying to befriend me I gave no complaint.

Melissa began to pet me in earnest. Afterwards, she embraced me and gave me a kiss between the ears. Automatically, I cringed and pulled back.

“Don‟t you love me? Please, tell me that you love me. I‟m the only girl in my group who‟s still single and doesn‟t have a boyfriend.”

“Look, I know for a fact that I‟m an incredible catch. I‟m very attractive and intelligent. But, let‟s be friends for now, okay?”

“Suit yourself! Just try to descend to the forest floor and survive in this rainforest without me. You‟ll die.” I had to swallow my kitty pride. I changed my answer to the affirmative.

Afterwards, Melissa helped me descend to the forest floor.

By the time my paws were ingrained on the forest floor I noticed a group of twenty or so monkeys nearby. At first, I thought it was a trap.

Thankfully, it wasn‟t. The monkeys looked like they were really happy to see me. They approached me one at a time. When they were beside me they embraced me then petted my head and body. Three of them kissed me between the ears. They were amazed to see a cat that wasn‟t a predator.

“Guys and girls back off! You‟ve petted Chip enough. Listen up you females, this is my boyfriend. He‟s mine, he belongs to me and you can‟t have him.”

I cringed in fear, but stayed quiet on the issue. I formed a quick game plan in my head. I‟d use Melissa until I no longer needed her services. Thereafter, I‟d leave in a flash. I wasn‟t trying to be a naughty kitty. But the fact is cats and monkeys can only be platonic friends. Melissa was obviously mentally unstable. I had no idea what‟d happened to her during her childhood years.

As soon as the monkeys dispersed Melissa and I searched for food, which thankfully was located on the lower canopy and on the forest floor. Nuts and fruits were the main foods. I couldn‟t imagine myself eating leaves or insects. As for small animals, I felt that I could get by without flesh until I left the rainforest.

“Melissa, do you want to share these figs with me?”

“Oh yes, Chip let‟s go up to the lover canopy ... I mean lower canopy first. See that branch over there? It‟s high enough for us to see oncoming predators but low enough for us to descend quite rapidly.”

“Yes, Melissa, let‟s do just that.”

15

Our first meal together was a blast. Come to think of it, the following couple of weeks were very fun, indeed. Melissa and I became very close and I formed new attachments with the other monkeys.

But the time came when I had to go. It was painful, especially because, unbelievably I actually did fall in love with Melissa. However, I knew that we couldn‟t go any further than our present relationship for obvious reasons. Furthermore, I didn‟t belong in the Amazonian rainforest. I‟d begun to crave the concrete jungle, where I was born and raised.

I decided to tell Melissa of my plan to leave following a heavy morning rainfall. I wanted to get the best head-start before sunset. I was intent on getting back home to the U.S. In fact, I was intent on going back to our home and collecting my share of the will. Afterwards, I could live off what I inherited and also the investments that my mom and dad had hidden away. I found out about those secret investments while rummaging through my pretend parents‟ hidden articles in the attic.

Melissa and I were perched together on a branch in the lower canopy. This was one of the lowest branches in the area.

Perhaps it was only a few feet above the forest floor.

“Melissa, you appear to be quite apprehensive. Your movements are jerky and choppy. Please, if I said anything to upset you please say so.”

“Chip, you‟re the sweetest guy I‟ve ever known. Sadly, I know what you have to do. And it‟s the right decision because we can‟t go any deeper in our present relationship. You want to say goodbye, correct?”

“Yes, I don‟t belong here. I‟m a North American cat originally from Canada. I need to live in a city or a town. I can‟t spend the rest of my days here. Besides, I need to consume real meat, but not the kind in this rainforest. I‟ve been around humans all my life and have picked up some of their habits, some good and some not so good.

Please give me the best directions northwards towards America. I must return!”

“Chip, the other monkeys and I had been discussing this matter for the past several days. We didn‟t want to alarm you so we spoke about it whenever you were taking a cat nap, all the while making sure that you weren‟t listening in on us.” An elderly monkey slowly and laboriously approached us. I recognized him as Hubert.

“Chip, we loved your company, every single one of us. But at the same time we do understand that you need to leave this unnatural environment and to get back home.

Take this $400 with you. It will get you two trips. The first will be a plane trip from Northern Brazil to Northern 16

Mexico. It‟ll be a long trip and you‟ll have to hide in the cargo section.

You‟ll see a man named Roberto who‟ll be waiting for you just beyond the edge of the rainforest. An airplane will be located nearby, too.

Follow Roberto‟s directions, please. He knows exactly what he‟s doing.

As soon as you arrive in Northern Mexico, a man named Domingo will meet you near the secret tarmac.

Domingo will sneak you across U.S. the border with a group of Mexicans. Don‟t worry, Domingo‟s a very nice person and he loves cats dearly. I‟m sure you and he will get along well.

Remember, each trip shall cost you $200 in cash. Nobody in this enterprise accepts any currency but cash.

Chip here are your directions to leave this rainforest.

Understand that it will take you three days to reach your first destination. I notice your kitty watch reads 5:00 P.M. That‟s wrong.

The time is now 9:45 A.M. and the day is Thursday. You must see Roberto no later than 9:50 P.M. on Sunday. The plane is scheduled to take off just before 10:00 A. M.

Chip, if you see uniforms run away as fast as you possibly can and don‟t stop until you‟ve ditched them. Otherwise, the people operating this enterprise will consider you a potential witness against them.”

Hubert gave me a hug and then he kissed me between the ears. I kissed him on the cheeks in return.

I put everything in my pouch but not before I read the directions to leave the rainforest. My incredible feline intelligence was in full swing.

The other monkeys were very saddened to see me go. Some of them were crying.

“Melissa, I love you very dearly. But let‟s leave as best friends in the whole world. No one can take that away from us.

How does that sound?”

Melissa‟s tears were streaming down her cheeks with much force. She paused in her response then she embraced me and gave me a big kiss between my ears. The words I love you came out of her mouth but without any sound. In return, I kissed her hands and then walked away.

“Please, Chip, don‟t forget me ever. I love you so much, I‟ll never forget you. Don‟t be anyone else‟s best friend in the whole world, and don‟t make anyone your best friend in the whole world. That kind of love is reserved for the both of us.

If you cheat on me I hope you receive one hundred rejections in a single hour. That‟s how much you‟ll hurt me.” 17

I continued to walk away from my beloved monkey friends following the directions I‟d memorized from the sheet of paper given to me by Hubert. It was a very painful experience, indeed.

There was more pain on the way because I could hear the faint sounds of loggers chopping down trees just past the horizon to my east. The logging industry has no mercy on the wildlife in the affected areas. Melissa, Hubert and all the other creatures would soon have to leave quickly. Some will be killed outright from the chopping of trees while others will not be able to re-adapt to their new environments.

Meanwhile, I was drooling like a dog. Chunky saliva was dangling from both sides of my mouth. The problem had to do with flesh. I needed meat and blood. Being a natural predator it was normal for me to crave for such things.

I continued walking through the thick forest admiring the beautiful plethora of plant life and animals. A couple of hours into my walk I came across a pond. I scanned the area including the pond. Sometimes, dangerous predators lurk just beneath the water waiting for a target to take a drink. Other predators hide behind thick cover or in an elevated area.

After scanning the area and not seeing any predators I began to lick water from the pond. Thankfully, the water was potable. After every few drinks I instinctively rescanned the area.

As soon as I drank my fill I chose a tree to scale. I climbed roughly twenty five feet and then rested on a thin branch. I chose a thin branch because big cats cannot walk on these branches. My only danger therein would be predatory snakes. Therefore, although I was able to fall asleep I placed myself on yellow alert. Cats are incredible animals. When needed, they can wake up from sleep and scram in a flash.

I closed my eyes and fell into a very deep sleep. I had one dream after another, hours on end. Every single dream I had was about my pretend parents and the monkeys that I left behind. All of them were together in very single dream. We were one family in all. My pretend parents were their pretend parents. Except for Hubert, he was my uncle.

When I awakened I felt a gnawing in my stomach. I had to eat some flesh; no excuses.

I used my incredible senses to locate meat. I was intent on killing or stealing food from a larger predator, if need be.

But thankfully, it didn‟t take long for me to have my flesh.

I soon heard a commotion up ahead and slightly to my right.

Apparently, a couple of jaguars were fighting over a kill.

I quickly hid behind a tree and awaited the outcome. Both jaguars had already shed much blood. Therefore, I‟d planned to 18

pounce on the winner and then have the prized slab of meat all for myself.

Both jaguars were going at it with intensity, scratching, biting and grappling but the slightly larger one prevailed.

He was finally able to beat his opponent to death. The victor, however, was so bloodied he came out of the fight with a wounded face and body. In addition, part of his mouth had been ripped off and his jaw was broken.

I played a waiting game, and it paid off. A few minutes later the victor flopped over onto his side and died.

Sorrowfully for him, he wasn‟t even able to take a single bite out of the carcass.

The carcass appeared to be that of a small sized member of the deer family.

I quickly scanned the area ensuring that there was no danger nearby and then ran to and snatched my prized catch.

Fearing a theft of my food I grabbed hold of its neck with my teeth, dragged it to the nearest tree and then scaled the tree.

I was taking absolutely no chances. I ascended to the highest canopy, a branch that was so high only a snake could reach it. Lucky for me there were none to be seen.

It was a very tough job carrying a carcass that weighed at least twice my weight and I was drooling like crazy too.

The big payoff came as soon as I rested myself and my carcass onto a chosen branch. Thankfully, under the context, I wasn‟t a leopard. Leopards pluck out the hairs of their prey before eating. They have this luxury because in their habitats they are out of reach of most other predators.

I began to chomp down on the carcass immediately, making a large opening in the abdominal area and then gorging first on the organs.

By the time I‟d finished eating the organs I had blood pasted on my face and limbs. I felt like a lion that‟d gorged on a zebra carcass.

Although I was full, I understood that fleshy meals for the time being would likely be far and few between. I simply had to stuff myself with flesh and blood.

Naturally, I resumed eating, not leaving anything but a few scattered bones and a bit of skin. I even ate the tongue, eyes and genitals, really.

I dropped the remainder of the carcass onto the forest floor. Fearing a dangerous convergence because of the scent of the carcass I quickly descended the tree and ran for a few hundred yards before finding another safe haven; a gigantic tree with several large branches to choose from. In addition, beside the tree was a beautiful pond. I could drink my fill after 19

taking a long kitty nap. I‟d just eaten a gargantuan meal and as a cat it is expected of me to nap afterwards.

I approached the tree, scaled it and then chose a very high branch to hit the sack on. And boy, did I hit the sack. By the time I awakened it was 9:00 A.M. Sunday. I had only a single hour to meet Roberto.

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