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 11, 2011

Meet Chuck - The Rascal Cat

     I know who you were hoping for.  Some big hulking hunk of  a guy.  The usual Chuck kind of guy.  Not a luscious orange and white tabby cat.  But trust me, Chuck is a rascal.  A bad boy of the first order. And Chuck has been traveling with me on every trip for the last few years.  He has gotten used to being stuffed into my carry-on, even though it was way easier when he was the cute kitten of yesteryear.
     His twelve pounds of hulking weight could have put me in danger of going over on my luggage weight.  After all, he has the nickname of "Belly Boy."  But he prefers to be stuffed into my carry-on.
     You might be wondering how all this got started--this unusual travel arrangement.  Chuck's idea, of course.  He was snooping in my travel diary and happened to notice Bob and I were booked to fly to Italy and Chuck, being a "gourmet," decided on the spot he just had to taste cat food "italian style."
     Which brings me to the night in question.  We arrived and did some touring, which Chuck did not participate in--he is into food and not into cathedrals and churches and statues and such--but he was getting bored in the hotel and decided to shrink down and come with us when we went for our nightly "passegiata," which is Italian for walk.  He was in my shoulder bag, snuggled in nice and comfy, his nose protruding just enough, so that if we wandered by anything that looked good enough to eat, he'd know about it, when hubby and I heard music--rock and rock--from a live band.
      We followed the music in this teeny tiny Italian town called Aquilla, which means the eagle, and we stumbled onto a party.  A slew of Italians were partying in front of a school, not far from the town square, celebrating the graduation of a young man from university.  His brother was the superintendent of schools and welcomed us over as if we were long discovered lost relatives who had just flown in.
     Now Chuck doesn't speak Italian, but he does appreciate a good wine, and he didn't mind hopping out and lapping up that luscious dry red wine from the plastic cup which was provided.  In fact, he had a bit too much to drink, but he behaved himself and became quite the hit of the party.
     A little known secret--Chuck can dance when he puts his mind to it.  And he did--with a gorgeous Italian college girl who he spotted the minute she waltzed over.  Yeah, what can I say?  Chuck loves his twin sister Ella to death, but when he's on the road, belly boy is a mover and a shaker.  And Chuck, under the illusion at times, that he was named after Chuck Berry, the original "Let's do the twist" guy that goes all the way back to the swingin' sixties, actually can do the twist, and if I had had my wits about me, I would have snapped that shot, but I didn't.  Unfortunately, I, too, had had too much wine to drink.  Bob and I had spotted literally cases of wine bottles sitting in the corner--that Italia for you--and these lovely Italians were cracking open another bottle--one a minute, it seemed to me.
     What I did see was Chuck, cuddled in the arms of this girl, swaying to the music one minute and the next, he had hopped down onto the pavement and was twisting away.  Not easy for a cat, despite what you see on cat food commercials.  Chuck managed to propel himself onto his two hind paws, stand erect and twist.
     The next morning, the poor cat had a hangover.  In fact, we all had hangovers.  Chuck blamed the wine and swore off all drinking--except for milk, of course.
      Chuck when he was a bit younger.  Courtesy of www.katelutter.com


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