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, December 4, 2011

Chuck Wrangles with the Antique Mailbox

The big question I’ve been asking myself lately is—do cats even belong in hotels—and I mean, big, fancy, knock your socks off—hotels??

Our decision to stay for a few nights in Boston necessitated that we do our research. We wanted an old hotel, a hotel with character, a hotel that had a history, one that was located on or close by to the Freedom Trail so that we could get our fill of history while we were there.

Hotel X fit the criteria. Grand and luxurious, nicknamed the old Gray Lady, it even had obnoxiously small bathrooms that dated back to the turn of the century so we could feel duly tortured while we admired the beauty around us.

Not that Chuckie cared about the bathrooms.

He is one social cat.

And while we were there, out hotel was hosting some kind of convention—what seemed like a trillion college-aged students converged there for some kind of competition—which meant HALF a trillion beautiful girls.

Now that is something Chuckie would notice.

And that is how the entire sordid mess with the antique mailbox thing happened.

The Chuckster, who sometimes seems incapable of minding his own feline business, overheard a bunch of girls admiring one of the many antique mailboxes they have in the hotel lobby.

“Do you think they still work?” one of the girls asked.

“Do you mean—can you post a letter?” her friend inquired.

“A real letter?” a third girl chimed in.

“What did you think I meant—an email?”

They laughed.

Now Chuck was listening in, and as he was stationed at an adjacent table near the mailbox in question, I saw him dart a glance at the mailbox, as if he, too, were wondering whether it was for real or for show.

And then it happened--the moment when regular Chuck turned into Hero Chuck.

He hopped down onto the floor, and without a bye your leave, scampered over to the mailbox and leapt up. His front paws somehow managed to grab hold of the opening where you would put the letters in.

I watched in horror as he stuck his sniffing nose into the opening. His entire head and face disappeared as I supposed he was investigating whether there were any real letters in there.

All I could think of was that movie As Good As It Gets when Jack Nicholson throws Greg Kinnear’s dog down the garbage disposal.

Would that be the eventual fate of my Chuck? Would he somehow mysteriously slide himself down the antique mailbox slot?

Then I realized CHUCK WAS STUCK!

In the antique mailbox.

The girls realized it, too.

Suddenly the four of us were gathered around trying to wrestle the poor meowing belly boy out from the narrow mail slot.

We finally unstuck him, and Chuck got his fair share of kisses and hugs from the very grateful co-eds, who were amazed that a “hero-cat" was even in the hotel lobby.

That near tragic misadventure didn’t deter us from inquiring from one of the bellboys, “Do these mailboxes really work?”

“Yes, they do. Is that a CAT?”

Needless to say, the Chuckster spent the rest of the day lounging in our room, safe from prying eyes, for, even though he wouldn’t admit it, the “belly boy” was no match for the unusually narrow slot of the antique mailbox!

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