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, August 19, 2012
Chuck is Hero During Baby Crab Attack
I’ve lived in Jersey all my life and I love the Jersey shore, but I’ll admit it here and now, I’m no fan of crabbing and fishing.
Every year when my sister rents a shore house near the bay, with the express intention of crabbing and fishing, I know I’ll face the pressure to finally learn how to set a trap or bait a line or do whatever they spend hours doing on the dock.
I was prepared to withstand the pressure.
But this year I brought the rascal Chuck with me, and the kid seemed curiously interested. He kept wandering over to the dock and sniffing around. He sat mesmerized watching as my nieces and nephews did all the "fishermanly things", hoping to catch a crab or two or three or four, enough for a delicious feast. He became fascinated with the concept of the crab cages being lowered into the water with chicken wings used for bait.
He insisted on perching on the built-in benches facing the water while one of my nieces walked from line to line, which were hanging off the dock, checking to see if a crab was clinging yet to the bait (the sorry heads of fish) that someone had strung to the lines.
I figured what could it hurt. After all, Chuck has always been a curious cat. An adventurous cat. I’d been a bit concerned that he’d be bored staying at a beach house, but luckily this crabbing and fishing caught his interest.
And things were rolling along quite smoothly until they weren’t.
Imagine a beautiful evening. The day had been hot, in the high eighties, but now a cool breeze swept through as the sun began to set. This is my favorite time of the evening, and my niece had just wandered out of the house to check the crab traps and lines AGAIN, hoping that something had finally either latched onto a line or crawled into a trap.
Chuck scampered out of the house, too, following my niece and perched as usual on one of the benches, his eagle eye watching her every movement.
She yanked up line after line, but there was nothing on the end but the bait.
Then, as went to pull up yet another line, she stopped and met my gaze.
“I think we’ve got something,” she said, stilling the upward momentum.
“I’ll get the net.”
After all, maybe the weight of the crab had clued her into its presence, and we would need the net to help capture him/her. Suddenly, I imagined this gigantic crab clinging to the head of the fish, chomping away and none too happy that we were disturbing his meal.
And, of course, Chuck came closer. He probably sensed that something was about to happen. Or maybe he could smell the crab on the end of the line, and didn’t want to miss out on anything.
I skedaddled down the dock toward the net that someone had carelessly thrown on the stones that lined the dock. Of course, I almost killed myself because there was a step down that I didn’t see until it was too late. But I didn’t lose my balance. It was awkward, but I managed to maintain my stride. I grabbed the net and ran back to where my niece stood there in a kind of suspended animation.
“Ready?” she asked.
I nodded and tilted the net toward the water.
Yeah, I can guess what you’re thinking. It was as if we were on some desert island somewhere and we hadn’t eaten in weeks and this one crab would be the difference between life and death, but you don’t know our family. There is no glory in telling the story of the crab that got away. We wanted the glory!
“Okay.” And I glanced at Chuck and gave him the eye, which meant--don’t do anything weird. Just sit there. Be a good cat.
She pulled up the line.
Oh my God.
There it was. A baby crab clinging to the fish head.
I scooped the crab into the net and my niece took control of the operation, which allowed me to take my camera out of my pocket and snap away.
Baby crab in net. Niece extricating baby crab from net. Niece holding baby crab in fingers. And finally niece posing with baby crab.
She didn’t seem at all disappointed that it was a baby crab. A tiny crab. A minuscule crab.
Nor was I alarmed that she was holding the crab in her hand. It seemed harmless.
Until . . . until . . . it . . . he . . . she . . . decided to fight back.
Maybe a crab lives in a family unit and didn’t realize that we were going to throw him/her back into the bay after the photo shoot. Maybe he/she panicked.
Somehow, the crab twisted around in my niece’s fingers. She felt something. A bite? Was this a man eating crab?
My niece screamed and began shaking her hand, trying to dislodge the crab, but the crab now seemed crazy-glued to the palm of her hand. The more she shook her hand, the tighter he/she clung.
“Help,” my niece cried.
My Chuckster jumped into action. He leaped into the air, and with his paw, swatted the crab out of my niece’s hand. It flew into the air and landed into the water with a splash. Immediately, the crab disappeared under the water. The entire incident seemed surreal.
We stood there for a minute, staring at the water in the bay.
“I can’t believe . . .”
“It’s lucky that baby crab didn’t eat your hand.”
Chuckie gave a soft meow.
I cleared my throat. “I think the kid wants his reward,” I said, thinking to myself that in Chuck’s world, it always always comes down to SNACKS.
To read more about Chuck and his adventures, log onto
Wild Point Island, my paranormal romance, is now available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com in paperback and ebook formats for your Kindle and Nook.