Tales I Told My Cat!

I needed some help getting my next book off the ground so I enlisted the sage advice of one Mitzi Jervis: Adventure Cat!


“First off, you’re holding the phone wrong.”

Attention span

Last modified on 2016-11-02 13:57:53 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Mitzi cocked an ear in my direction.

Eventually her whole head followed. “Why are you rattling all that paper, can’t you see I’m trying to sleep?”

“You’re always trying to sleep. If I was quiet every time you were asleep I’d have to move.”

Mitzi lifted her head in interest trying to determine if I was being serious or not. I gave her a wry smile and added “No, you’re not getting your own house so don’t even ask. You already think you own everything here anyway.”

Mitzi slowly crossed her paws and put her head back down. “Prove I don’t.”
I made a rude noise and went back to writing. After a few minutes she opened a single eye and said “Well if you’re going to keep me awake at least read me a story. But make it a short one, you may lose me at any moment.”

“Yeah I noticed that about cats. Good thing this one is only…100 words long so far.”

“Only? Does it need to be more than that?”

“Well no but I’d planned to make it a proper story, not just a tale for cats with short attention spans.”

“Indulge me, I’m fading fast.”

I stared at the page and tried to think how I could turn what was an opening paragraph into a complete story. “Gimme a minute.”

“Tick tock, Morpheus’ sweet embrace awaits.”

What seemed like an eternity to Mitzi but was probably closer to five minutes passed before I had something to give her. “Okay, this is still rough, but here goes.”

“I assure you I will be more than kind in my review.”

“May I remind you that you’re supposed to be collaborating on this book, not reviewing it.”

“I would never put my name on a book I didn’t approve of, regardless of how little I had to do with the actual writing of it. But that is a topic for another time. Distract me sir, and remember one hundred words, no more, no less.”

“I’m starting to sense there’s something that cats and book critics have in common. Probably their predatory ancestry, but anyway here goes…”

Sara rushed in, the early sun highlighting her form like a christmas ghost. I could see the excitement in her face, her posture. And the wings. I could see them clearly as she tried to fit thru my door. I met her in the foyer, awkwardly hugging and trying not to stare at the arching white wings nearly touching my ceiling.
“It’s OK to look!” she said, hugging back. I could feel all the muscles added to support the wings. Sara did a 360, barely able to contain herself. She saw the question on my face and nodded. “Yes, they work!”

I looked at Mitzi wondering if she was awake or not. Eventually she stretched out both front feet and said: “Not bad. You’re sure it was only 100 words long? I nearly dozed in the middle there. Couldn’t you make one shorter? Maybe a short poem instead?”

“You mean a haiku? I don’t think I’m clever enough to make up a book of haikus.”

She sighed and fixed me with an unblinking gaze. “If you would just learn to purr we could make great strides in human/feline communications.”

“You’re probably right but that’s not going to happen any time soon.”

“Well this will do then. Make me a book of 100 word stories and I’ll happily endorse it for you.”

“Say What? I’ve already written two-thirds of it!There’s…65,000 words in this book already!”

Mitzi lolled on one side and I swear she started grinning at me. “Cruft does accumulate over time doesn’t it? Make two versions; one for humans and one for cats with as you say, short attention spans.”

“I have a counter proposal. I’ll keep writing 100 word stories till you fall asleep. If you can stay awake for enough of them, we’ll make a second book for ADHD felines such as yourself.”

“Now who’s being predatory? You’re taking unkind advantage of my inborn nature. Increase the daily kibble quota and you have a deal.”


“You could give me the supplemental kibbles now. Purely as a goodwill gesture of course.”

“Not till I write the next one.”

“A test of wills begins! That’s…almost Shakespearian! I like it.”

“You know about Shakespeare?”

“Less chatter, more writing! Never bet against a feline when there’s kibbles on the line.”

All the clues were there

Last modified on 2016-05-19 12:57:48 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Things I actually encountered on the walk to work:

  • An unusually diffuse quality to the morning light.
  • The smell of dirty water everywhere.
  • A trail of discarded playing cards leading from a post box to the village apothecary.
  • A single brown shoe in the middle of said cards. I think it was a woman’s.
  • Perched on a nearby trash can was a plastic card case with one card remaining. The Ace of Spades.
  • An Indian restaurant missing all its topiary…again!
  • And finally a lurid poster proclaiming “Children admitted free!”

Such is the nature of things in the shadow of Stonehenge.

What the bouncer saw

Last modified on 2016-05-19 14:07:43 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

The bouncer saw me shout “Last Man Standing!”
The bouncer saw Doyle shout back “Who you calling a man?”
The bouncer saw the drinks, the slime, the…the pseudo-pods.
The bouncer helped me pour Doyle into a cab. And I mean pour.
I need to go back and tip that bouncer.
And maybe recommend group therapy.

Fisherton Street, Salisbury

Last modified on 2015-11-03 12:06:12 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


A placeholder till I can take a pic myself. Salisbury high street. LOUISE J. RAYNER

I walk under a bridge to get to the station each morning and once very early I ran into a guy who pointed back the way he came and grumbled “Bloody Polish!”

He was all moon eyed and jittery but I looked back there to see what he was pointing at and said “Sorry?” In that unhelpful British way I’ve adopted. He gave me a look of disgust and said it again slower. “Bloody….Polish!” then wandered on over to the bus stop on the corner.

The only thing of note along his direction was the Poultry Cross marking the 15th century location of the town market. Or part of it anyway. There useta be more than one including a ‘cheese cross’ so I don’t know what the old boy was going on about.

Huh (tunn)

Last modified on 2015-11-14 12:29:54 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I saw an armoured batman entering Waterloo station this morning. He needed a ticket just like everyone else.

I hear arguments

Last modified on 2015-11-14 09:16:52 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I hear arguments

“I didn’t move the fridge, who would do that?”
“It doesn’t match the countertop, it must have been moved!”
“It never matched the countertop, its white and the countertop is grey.”
“Bloody Hell woman! I mean its not flush! Its got a huge f-ing gap where its supposed to be flush with the countertop. You knew what I meant!”
“Don’t be pedantic, its not attractive on you.”

“I know what pendantic means, do you? Cause you just used it incorrectly.”
“What does it mean then Mr. GSCE?”
“What, pendantic? Its meaning is usually inferred by its usage, but you’ve used it incorrectly.”
“How could I use it incorrectly? If I said what I intended to say then it was the correct usuage.”
“No no no, its not just a space filler, its not some sort of McGuffin. Pendantic has a set definition and if you’ve used it in a sentence to mean something else then you’ve used it incorrectly, see?”
“I stand by what I said. You were being pendantic then and you’re being pendantic now. More so even.”
“What do you think it means then if you’re going to continue to use it for every adverb in every sentence you spout off?”
“It means you’re a bloddy micromanager and you get so worked up by details that you can’t just push the fridge back into ‘true’ as you call it you have to have a full on investigation about it. You want me to call in a private investigator? A CSI unit maybe? What does it bloddy matter who did it or why? If it bothers you, fix it. End of!”

<long pause>

<chuckle> “McGuffin!” <chuckle>

All the clues were there

Last modified on 2016-05-19 12:57:48 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Things I actually encountered on the walk to work:

  • An unusually diffuse quality to the morning light.
  • The smell of dirty water everywhere.
  • A trail of discarded playing cards leading from a post box to the village apothecary.
  • A single brown shoe in the middle of said cards. I think it was a woman’s.
  • Perched on a nearby trash can was a plastic card case with one card remaining. The Ace of Spades.
  • An Indian restaurant missing all its topiary…again!
  • And finally a lurid poster proclaiming “Children admitted free!”

Such is the nature of things in the shadow of Stonehenge.

Last of a dying breed

Last modified on 2017-02-24 14:33:26 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I had a sudden vision of me as an old man. I was riding a three-wheeled bike along a country road and stopping ever so often to sweep glass or debris off the verge. A police officer came by and warned me off but he couldn’t articulate exactly how I was breaking a law by cleaning things up. I said something snarky about needing a permit these days to have some pride in one’s neighborhood so he confiscated my broom. I don’t think I’ll become that guy but I can see in all the possible futures where I just might.

Mitzi the alien

Last modified on 2017-07-28 07:06:14 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I eventually found the alien lying outside on the concrete driveway. How she finds that comfortable I’ll never know. She didn’t let my presence stop her from sitting on the bin and staring off into space. I guess if you’re an alien that’s where you’re gonna look. There are fireworks tonight and she seems very sensitive to the noise. Perhaps they remind her of some past galactic conflict? Every time an explosion goes off she looks at me reproachfully as if I caused it. She may have a point. I guess I’m just as guilty as the rest of humanity.

Laundry Day, 1936

Last modified on 2017-08-01 08:55:14 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

image2.PNGI found this shilling near a clothes line. I am humbled to think that people have hung their laundry between those same two trees for nearly four generations. That’s real permanence.
Great-great-grandma didn’t check the pockets closely one day and out fell King George. There he lay during the next week’s laundry and the week after that and so on for 81 years till I came along.
I’m going back to check the other end of that clothes line! This can’t be the only time Great-great-grandfather left change in his pocket. I know I do it at least once a week!

Portside out, starboard home

Last modified on 2017-08-10 10:51:56 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I noticed on the train home today that on the right side you could see dark gray clouds and impending rain but in the left side of the coach the sky was full of high fluffy clouds and the sun was shining thru all the windows along that side. I  never thought that it mattered which side of the train you sat on but clearly where I chose to sit would affect my mood and how I felt about the journey afterward. I wonder if the sun is shining on both sides of the coach up there in first class?

darkness travels with me

Last modified on 2017-11-01 17:26:34 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

As dawn comes later each day I’m further along my journey to London before I leave the dark behind and the day begins. One day it’s Grately, a few days later it’s Andover before the gray gives way to light. Later in the year, I’ll be at Basingstoke before there’s enough light to see by. I had a dream where I went slowly blind as the train approached London and then I wandered around the platform in a dark fog before getting back on board. My vision slowly returns but isn’t completely restored until the guard announces my home station.

100 word story: hard-nosed hybrid

Last modified on 2017-12-04 13:19:51 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I was in line for the coffee truck yesterday and the women in front of me were commenting on the nearby cars. The closest car was a grey and silver hybrid with a jutting front end and shark’s fin aerial. I heard one mutter as she walked past: “That car has an attitude..it looks angry grumpy.” She gave me a meaningful sidelong glance as if I was the grumpy man in the angry car. I placed my order consoled by the fact that just one coffee later I wouldn’t look like a grumpy angry man driving a grumpy angry car.

100 word story: On Thursdays I walk the Strand

Last modified on 2018-03-29 11:37:20 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

It is different today, and yet it is not. Little changes are made noticeable by the memory of the sameness. A new ramp made of asphalt, a fountain where there were only buskers.

The drawings on Trafalgar Square’s stony space are the same as yesterday yet different from the day before. “Your economy or Google’s?” one asks. “Write the name of your beloved in the heart!” another exclaims.

I give a nod to the statue of Washington as I pass, our secret status as expats binding us. His alabaster eyes gaze heavenward and we envy Nelson’s perspective over it all.

Dark Shore is mine!

Last modified on 2019-04-10 13:45:07 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

One night I had a dream in which I was playing Warcraft and all I did was hang out in the part of Dark Shore known as the ‘Twilight Vale’ with my 110th level night elf hunter toon and fought everything but the animals that live there. If you knew anything about how I played WOW back in the day this wouldn’t sound that out of character, nor would my choice of locales. I can’t remember what level zone Twilight Vale is so I took a look at the WoWWiki online and Oh My God have I missed a lot!

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