Max is back to “read” to you an excerpt from his latest book Kathmandu, A Max & Tammy Mystery. For all published books check out their author page on Amazon US or Amazon US.
“Baby and the Grassy field…”
There are days when it just doesn’t pay to get off my couch. How was to know that this would be one of those days. Of course, it’s a little early for cat TV and it will awhile before the nice mailman comes around, he sometimes takes me along through the park so I can check out what’s going on with everyone. There was the early morning noises of my mom getting up and the slap of her slippers as she walked down the hallway. So I had really only two choices to make, stay inside and eat or plague Mom until she let me out, and, as usual, she’d tell me to stay on the deck and not to go far. Both of these things I’ve never done. Cause when you’re a big guy like a Maxtor you have got to wander and put your mark down all over the place. Today I was thinking that trailer up off Boulder Lane would be the place to be because the call of the park had gone out. The Evans family were working today; you could smell the scent of grilled meat on the wind. It’s like an open invitation to all of us cats. My only problem would be my arch rival The Maintenance Man.
No matter where I am at, he seems to pop up and spoil everything. And always at the most interesting of times. And no matter what I am doing he always gets so mad at me. Why he does this, I can never figure out.
But first I have to hustle my mom into opening the sliding glass Door so I can escape. Now I have a pair of incredible eyes that my mom simply cannot resist, couple that with my deep rich male meows and my most secret of weapons (that I only use on humans): my snork. It is a special type of noise I make through my mouth and nose. Sort of a snort but with a bit of length to it from a deep intake of air through my mouth sounds great. I mean humans really love it and snorks always make them smile. And if that doesn’t work I’ll just muscle my way out if she leaves the door open, if it’s open even a little, then I can pull the screen door open myself and squeeze through it.
I am sitting in the kitchen beside the food bowl that I share with my other half, her name is Baby, Baby is a calico, and she is quite a beauty. For some reason, she is still catnapping, so I’ll be able to make quick work of Mom and dash off to Kathmandu, so I can check it out.
In case you don’t know me, I am an American Shorthair and very handsome indeed. I weigh in at fifteen or so pounds and stand twelve inches high. I am a white cat with a gray hood and cape. We are often called tuxedo cats or mantle cats, but you can call me Max. Ever since I came to live with my human mom and dad, they have always called me by this name, and I have come to like it. I am known all over the park because of it, oh and there is my collar and name tag with my name on it so people everywhere will know who I am. I am also very hard to forget.
So here I sit with my lusty yellow eyes turned on, waiting for my mom to shuffle down the hallway and ask me her usual question that she asks every morning. In seconds, the bedroom door opens and out come those slippers. They make this odd noise as mom walks down the length of the hallway to stand over me. She bends down and strokes my headbone then she takes our food bowl that is empty and walks off to the counter under it she retrieves a slim box and pours in more cat food. Now for the question: that she always asks. She turns leans down presents the bowl to me and says.
“Max are you hungry, sweetie?”
To wit, I shake my head from side to side. Mom looks startled and with her eyes wide she asks. “No?” She places the bowl onto the floor, and I ignore it. Actually, I ate a medium sized bug not too long ago. She stands again and crosses her arms. “What do you want, Mister? I know that look, you want something.” What I want is to get outa here cause I have heard the call of Kathmandu, and if I don’t get in the wind soon, all the best pieces will be gone.
I walk over to her and do a swirl around her ankles and look up at her and snork. She laughs and smiles (see I told ya) then as those musical notes of mom laughter fill the room I walk slowly and purposely swaying my hips making my felines butt look good all the way to the sliding glass door and sit beside it. Then I turn on my yellow eyes and gaze at her.
She shakes her head and announces. “Alright. You want out.”
With that, I can barely contain myself I sort of shake a little and give out a series of “Meurs.” These are very soft cat noises, and mom loves them too. She reaches over and opens the door it slides along. When all of a sudden the phone thing rings breaking the spell of my yellow eyes. She points at me and says.
“Hold that thought.” As she scampers off to the phone thing in the living room. So close I think, but it is opened just enough that I can get my headbone though it. Luckily the screen door wasn’t closed, so freedom is inches away.
I hear my moms voice in the living room she is talking to her girlfriend, Michelle. Then I hear Baby’s voice join in. I sidle up to the door and with my paws, I sink my claws into this liner thing my dad calls a gasket whatever it is. I pull, and the door moves a little. Out of my periphery vision, I see Baby’s head come around the corner into the kitchen. Her nose is working, and she glances over at the food bowl. I pull again, and the door slides more it is just enough for me to thrust my head through it and slip my shoulders as well. I stop just for a moment and take a deep breath. This is the hard part getting my middle and my gut through. See I’m kind of pear-shaped so tight spots like this need extra attention. With a shoulder, I lean onto the edge of the door and push. At the same time I move forward and with a little squishing I power my way through and out the door. I hit the deck and make a right turn and run the length of the deck and leap into the backyard.
I don’t stop until I get to the back gate (that never opens) and again squish myself under it, boy I have got to loose some weight. I hear two things happen first my mom calls out. “Max….Baby.” As I pull myself out from under the gate, the second noise almost lands on top of me. “Thud.” It’s Baby she jumped over the gate… the show off. But she looked wonderful as she soared over me.
You see, Baby’s a Calico and is slim and trim to. She is so athletic she makes me look like a fatso, but I make it up in extreme power from my stocky frame and big muscles.
Now I put those same muscles to work as I drug myself out from under the gate (that never opens) and got to my feet…er…paws. And off I went in pursuit of her. She was halfway down the grassy alley before I caught up with her. We ran side by side for sometime before it dawned on me that she was headed in the direction of the big Grassy Field where all the kids play. We ran across the dirt road that the maintenance man uses. We arrived a little out of breath, that is, I did. Baby was hardly winded at all. I hide under a bush to scope out the field. It is filled with all kinds of people; some kind of event was going on. There were these tents set up and young people milled around talking and having a good time. An elevated floor was being erected at the North end and a sign that read “BACKSTAGE PASS REQUIRED” whatever that meant was over a doorway in big bold letters. I could see the Maintenance Mans golf cart parked beside the entrance. I needed to sneak by this quickly I really didn’t want to run into any of the parks staff, and that goes for Nicole, the park manager. Who hates me, why I do not know, but she has tried to have me taken away by the dog catcher many times.
I crouched in this bush its leaves covered me, all except for my tail, I always forget about my tail. A few youngsters a little boy and a girl started to yell and point at the bush with the gray tail hanging out of it. Then they got up and sort of run and stumble towards me. My cover blown I rose up and stepped out into the light and the field. They almost collided with me. I sat on my furry butt and allowed them to stroke and pet me over and over again. Their mother came over she bent down and told these two fans of mine to be nice to me. It was a wonderful experience for me; I have to say that I’ve come along way with small humans these things called children. It wasn’t that long ago when I was a kitten that I had a bad experience with a little girl when I still lived with my Cat Mom and my littermates before I was forced out (not my fault) and started my life on the mean streets of San Diego. That was even before I came to live with my human parents. My Mom and Dad.
But life at the big house by the big water was wonderful. All my siblings and my cat mom. But that came to an end when a large dog burst into the backyard where we all hung out. In the fight that ensued my cat mom saved us all but I not only got separated from everyone but I somehow found myself out in the alley cowering in the long grass hiding from that really big dog. I never did find my way back into the backyard, and I started to wander looking for shelter and then for food. I was much older and somehow had survived when I eventually met my Mom and her husband, my Dad. We then moved to the east county and took up residence in a trailer park where my life took another turn. Because here I am in my element, I am a king among beasts here and very well known too.
I continued to sit and wait while these small humans stroked and petted me keeping an eye out for The Maintenance Man or Nicole. Finally, their mom took them by the hands and marched them off back to their blanket and drinks. They smiled and waved over their shoulders at me which always happens. After all, I am very popular. Baby had circled around and rubbed up against me. With the sun high in the afternoon sky it was time for us to make our way to the Evans trailer and see what was on the menu and what the other park cats were up to. At least, with this big thing going on the parks staff wouldn’t be on the lookout for me.
“Rock n’ Roll…”
Now one thing that I have noticed in the park is the names the trailers all have. My most fave is called Buddy; that’s because my Dad calls me his little buddy a lot. There are others, like Coronado, or Keywest and Palm Harbor, Flamingo, Crestpoint, and Detroiter. These are all names that people seem to like, and they talk endlessly about their homes, what’s in them and all that stuff. One reason we all like to venture into any old unoccupied trailer is because well… we are curious that’s for sure, but it’s the newness of the older trailers that make them so appealing. Plus we love to leave our mark on them. As for me if they are in my territory then I have to check them out and leave my mark on it otherwise, some other bad cats will try to take credit and possession that I can’t have. Now Kathmandu is very different because it’s not only older but it’s been claimed by the Evans family who live in their family trailer next door to it. What they used it for, for a long time was an extra unit for their extra large family. But as time has gone by the older kids moved away, leaving Kathmandu more like a big storage unit where the two middle brothers slept. At least, that’s how it was until the second youngest boy took up the guitar thing. His Mom allowed it only if he practiced in Kathmandu. So with the help of some other band members, a studio with two bedrooms and a kitchen was made. Of course, there was a lot of noise generated. What with all the instruments and big black loud boxes. Complaints poured in and, of course, their Dad, that’s Mr. Evans stepped up and sound proofed the unit, and for a long time all has been well.
Now, Mr. and Mrs. Evans, they run a catering business, and the big deck of Kathmandu is where they have installed a couple of large deep freeze things. This is where all of us felines come in. The deck is setup as a food prep area where they do a lot of cutting and stuff. One of the foods that they sell a lot of is all kinds of meat. At anytime day or night, whenever the Evans are doing food prep along with some grilling. The call goes out on the wind to all us cats, and we form up alongside the deck of Kathmandu and wait for the pieces of meat that get thrown out. Mrs. Evans stands at the rear door of the enclosed deck and tosses chucks of meat to us, fish being one of the top faves, which generates lots of very quick cat fights.
So with the wind to coming out of the North, (where all the storms come from), Baby and I scampered off towards Kathmandu and a great afternoon. I felt that absolutely nothing could go wrong. But then sometimes even Max’s are wrong, though it’s rare.
As we streaked across the big grassy field, I could just hear music from the bandstand. This could mean only one thing: that the food prep was over, and the band (they called themselves The Sicko’s which made sense cause they always looked like they were going to upchuck when they played their music) were starting up. Sadly that meant that only a few food scraps would be left in the backyard. Mr. Evans always loaded the trash cans in his truck and took them away. With luck (and I am always lucky) there might be some morsels left behind. With this in mind, I reached out with my front legs and pushed harder with my rear legs and poured on the speed to get there. Baby stayed right beside me as we made our way across the field dodging small humans and blankets and people stuff everywhere.
In no time, we arrived at our destination, Kathmandu, but now all was quiet. The Evans were gone, even their trailer next door was still. The air stood still and not a smell, not even a whiff of food lingered. The rear door to the deck was cracked open. I tried it, but it was too strong to move. That’s when I heard one of the band members approaching from the grassy field. He walked up around the deck as I hopped down and hide under the rear steps. I felt a bump on my hindquarters, and I knew it was Baby. We hunkered down and went silent as the boy dressed in tight black pants and a white T-shirt walked up and opened the door. The door swung wide, and I knew we had but a few seconds to make our move to get inside. I bolted out of our hiding spot and sprinted up to the top step and into the rear deck with Baby right behind me. Boy, that girl sure is quick.
The rear door slammed as I made my way to the open sliding glass door that was right off the kitchen and looked in. Normally all around the big living room that had become the Sicko’s studio were instruments that either hung from the walls or sat on the floor. Up against the walls in a corner were the things that made a big deep booming noise, but there weren’t any big booming things all the instruments were gone. Well… at least, the ones that sat on the floor were not there. Against one wall sat a long couch, just like my parents have and there were two large windows that form cat TV. There sat the young man who I had followed in. He sat winding some black cords around his arm a smoking cigarette stuck in his mouth. He stood and dropped the cord in a crate that had the name of a dairy on it and walked off towards the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and returned.
He was only a few feet away from me. Not wanting to get caught here I scooted along the wall making myself smaller as I went. Humans can’t see cats when you make yourself small.
He stepped through the doorway as the opening bars of music started up from the grassy field along with some screeching sounds that were very loud. People all over the field clapped their hands together and cheered. The young man bent down behind one of the deep freezes and placed the black cord into the wall itself. I watched filled with curiosity as he walked backward out of the trailer unwinding more black cord as he went. I dashed to the end of the screened-in deck to see him across the street he was joined by another young man who said.
“Which plug did you use?” He asked and looked concerned as he continued to speak. “It has to be the right plug. The big Fender pulls a lot of amps, you know.”
All of a sudden Maintenance Mans golf cart pulled up, he got out and stood next to these two and made a gesture with his hands. I heard one of them say. “That’s our cue; we gotta go.” He took off at a run across the grassy field towards the thing called a stage. The first youngman continued to unravel more black cord across the field and disappeared in back of the stage.
With his hands on his hips, Maintance Man turned and walked the short distance towards Kathmandu. If he caught me here, I’d be in trouble for sure.
I had to hide like now!
“Ain’t Nobody But Me…”
He walked briskly along the side of the deck. Baby was laid out on top of one of the deep freezes all stretched out half asleep. I moved under one of the Evans work tables and moved into the shadows and waited. Maintenance Man opened the door and came into the screened in deck He picked up the black cord that stuck into the wall and looked in-between the units half bend over. Baby’s tails dropped over the edge of her perch, it lazily flipped up and down and side to side. I didn’t move for fear of my name tag on my collar might make that tink-tink noise it always did. I held my breath wishing Maintenance Man would just leave. But he wasn’t in any kind of hurry. He got down on one knee and leaned in. Whatever it was in there at the very back of that deep freeze it held his attention as he didn’t move. Now would be a good time to escape but I couldn’t leave without Baby, and she was in the middle of forty winks. Maintenance Man then reached onto his belt and pulled out his little radio thing. He pressed something with his fingertip and the thing came alive and talked to him.
Outside on the grassy field more instruments added to the din of noise coming from the stage. I figured that I was safe, so I laid down myself and in a few seconds I too dropped off to a nice catnap, and before I knew it, I was in one of my recurring dreams from my past life as a stray.
This was before I met my Mom on that life changing hot summer day was nothing but hardship. From the time I was thrown out into the alley behind the big house by the ocean until I became part of the family down the hill I survived by my wits and sometimes my rather good looks. The journey wasn’t terribly long…technically I was still a kitten but big for my age. In that short time, I became something of a survivor and as my human Dad says “his little scrapper.” If you didn’t defend yourself or take the opportunity to attack the opposition when you could, or you’d perish, and everything out there in the world wanted a piece of you. There were no littermates to keep you warm at night no cat mom to protect you and little or no food sometimes. Like the food that was left in a bowl or bowls by the good people that lived in the house.
But I meant to survive and grow, and I vowed to myself never to forget. I also wanted and tried to get back to my cat mom, but it was not to happen. The trail back evaded me. So when I met my human Mom, and they wanted me I stayed and never wandered far from my new home.
Its when I dream that I see my cat mom. Her face and the way she purred for us as we suckled and played with her. The coarseness of her tongue and how she took pride in our growth and the love she had for us seemed to be boundless. These are all things that I now attribute to my human mom but its different in her human way. That day and the following night are etched in my mind. It was during this time when I am dreaming that the horrors of it come back to me in such starkness that I sometimes wake-up with a fright.
For a short while (time isn’t the same for cats) I again struggled getting away from the big dog, that German Shepard with the huge teeth and the strong body. My cat mom defended us and drove the dog off. But not before I out of panic (I ‘am ashamed to say) purely by accident I found myself outside the backyard in the alley where I hid in the tall grass. I howled for help, but no one came to my rescue.
I wandered for a long time getting farther and farther away from the big house, never being able to find my way back home. In time I resolved myself to just surviving, getting as much food as I could and finding safe shelter. Which brought me to a house that was under construction where I could hide under it in the dirt. Next door was where fate resided and where I’d find a home. It was on that hot, hot day that the sound of water brought me out from under the house and there next door I saw this woman who was watering her lawn. I had only trusted a couple of people before, and it always came out badly for me. But my thirst was so intense that all I could think of was to drink the cool water gushing out of the hose. Maybe if I were quiet, I could sneak up on her and get a drink before she saw me. I had to take a chance. She looked nice enough and besides the sound of water splashing onto the lawn was way too much for me to resist. The sound of the splashing water literally drove me to her feet, where I lapped up what I could from the leaves of grass. She saw me and bend down to allow better access to the hose. Then she petted and stroked my headbone. Her touch was gentle, and I felt safe. She picked me up and took me inside her home to introduce me to her husband.
I was saved.
Tails from the Park is available from Amazon here. Join my Max Gang here for updates on my work.
Tails From The Park
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