Who is Chuck and why does he like to travel?

I was born to be a writer and when I wrote my novel Wild Point Island, Chuck, my orange and white recently rescued feral tabby, got it in his head that he wanted to travel to the island and see the place for himself. Well, of course, Wild Point Island, can only be seen by revenants (you'll have to read the book to find out who they are) and Chuck is no revenant so instead, I concocted a plan to take Chuck with me when I travel around the world, which I do frequently. Not an easy task. First, I have to deflate the poor kid of all air, stuff him in my carry-on bag, remember to bring my portable pump, and when I arrive, I pump him back up. Ouch. But he's used to it by now and given the choice to either stay home in his comfy cat bed or get deflated, he pulls out his passport, ready to travel, every time.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Giraffes in the Wild

      Chuck gave me no peace after I kissed Daisy.  For if the truth be told, I think he fell in love too.  When you’ve been kissed by a giraffe, or if you are close enough to watch someone being kissed by a giraffe, it is as if you are hit by a bolt of lightning.  Things are never quite the same.  We were in Kenya, Africa.  Chuck, Bob and I.  On a safari.  
      After Nairobi and the giraffe sanctuary, we headed south to stay at a camp in the central part of Kenya in the mountains.  And we had one more opportunity to see giraffes.
      Our guide, one late afternoon, told us, as he pointed toward a trail that led up a winding mountain that if we wanted, he could take us up to see the giraffe.  He knew where they would be hanging out at dusk.  So we hopped into the safari vehicle and traveled up the rocky trail until we reached the top of the mountain.  We dismounted and began to walk in the tall grass toward the spot where Stephen said the giraffe tended to congregate every night.  
      My heart was pounding.  It was one thing to be in a sanctuary and to watch the giraffe frolicking in the field in front of you.  And granted, it was pretty cool to kiss one.  But to be out in the open, in the wild, knowing that giraffe were out there somewhere, fifty feet or less from you, and that any minute you might see one--well, that was something I had never experienced before.  
      Even Chuck was excited.  He stuck his snarky head out of my bag and sniffed the air.  He pointed his Chuck paw toward the trees in the distance.  Stephen motioned us to stop.  Luckily, we were down wind.  We needed to be very quiet.  Sure enough, as our eyes adjusted to the dimming light around us, we picked out first one, then two giraffe--munching on the leaves of the trees.  Casually.  Contently.  Feeling relatively safe in their home environment. 
      Then we saw even more.  An entire family of giraffe had gathered together, like they do every evening.   
      This moment was like magic.   
      I smiled at Chuck.  He smiled at me.  
      Stephen motioned that we could move closer, and as we sidled through the tall grasses, our gaze glued to the giraffe, I couldn’t help but think how lucky I was to be seeing this sight.  I knew I would never forget this place or this moment for the rest of my life.  
      And in the quiet calmness of the oncoming evening, with only the sound of wind rustling through the trees, I could hear Chuck’s purring beside me.  The Chuck was mesmerized, enthralled by the sight.  
       Being out in nature like this was better than reality T.V.  
        It was so purrfect . . . until . . . I felt a rustling.  I was so intent on watching the giraffe, so intent on capturing them on film that I had taken my attention off of my usually rascally cat, Chuck.  He had somehow managed to slip out of my bag.  Now on the ground, at my feet, he was proceeding to stalk toward the giraffe, determined, as only Chuck can be, to get a closer look.
        But, of course, he paid me no mind.
        “Chuck, get back here,” I hissed, afraid that his presence would scare the giraffe off.
        He must have heard my anxiety for he stopped, mid-step, and began moon-walking backwards, but very slowly, trying, I think, to savor every last darned minute of being a “bad boy.”  
         When he was finally close enough, I swooped him up and stuffed him, head first, back into my bag.
         “Yikes,” I heard him yell.
         “You deserve it.”
       Later, back at our tent, we kicked our heels back, poured a few glasses of wine, and drank a toast to those giraffe, and tried to forget Chuck’s little act of misbehavior.  He had almost ruined the moment, but when you travel with a cat named Chuck, you can never let your guard down . . . never!  
       Do you agree??  Can a cat like Chuck be trusted?  Do you have a cat like Chuck?

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