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 26, 2012

Chuck Protests Dog Bar in Long Branch . . . Almost

The Long Branch beach with palm trees 

    I took one look at the palm trees, situated sporadically on the well-groomed beach, and thought, “This will be the perfect place for the Chuckster to relax.”
    Not that I was that worried, but my rascal cat had been under a bit of strain lately, and this place . . . Pier Village in Long Branch, New Jersey had things to recommend it.
    1.   It was close by to where we would be visiting friends for the weekend.

    2.  It boasted a restaurant McCloone’s with good food and an excellent  
      view of the water.
    3.  It had shopping--cute little trendy boutiques, all built with a Victorian- 
      styled storefront that is both nostalgic and classy.

   4.  AND it had a boardwalk.  Now, the boardwalk wasn’t as long as the one
      in Seaside Heights, but still you could get a decent walk if you started   
      at one end and went all the way to the other.

The boardwalk at Long Branch

    5.  There was a beach with a lifeguard in attendance, which was important    
           because the week before, a body had washed up on shore.

The beach

    6.   It also seemed a bit of a happening place, and we weren’t  disappointed 
           when we arrived.  Music drifted through the air, compliments of a 
           beach club. A crowd had also gathered on the boardwalk, facing   
           the ocean, excited because a wedding was about to take place.  

     7.  And, finally, the place had history.  Years before in 1987 a fire had   
          destroyed Long Branch Pier, the place where seven United States  
          Presidents had vacationed in Long Branch’s glory days.  It wasn’t until
          2005 that developers, using the rights granted them by eminent  
         domain, rebuilt the boardwalk and created Pier Village. 
      Not that any of that history mattered to Chuck, but I think he was excited to see the ocean and the seagulls. 
      We parked the car in the over-priced lot and decided to go for a quick jaunt down the boardwalk before dinner. 

      We passed the stores and snuck a peek, but we were window shopping only.

Pier Village offers an array of stores--mostly boutiques

      Further down the boardwalk, the crowds thinned out. It was going to be a nice night--cool and breezy.  
      Chuckie had jumped out of my smart bag and was trotting along side, enjoying the ocean view.  When we reached the end of the boardwalk, our plan was to turn around, walk back to the restaurant, then hop on the beach for a few minutes of relaxation before dinner.

Can you imagine yourself lounging on one of these chairs?

      A few people had dogs with them, but everyone was behaving themselves.  

      And, of course, that’s when you can always be sure something is going to happen.  Something bad.

      I should have known.  I should have expected it.

      Chuck glanced to his right and froze on the spot.

      I saw the sign, too, at the same moment and issued a silent prayer that no one else would see the sign and impetuously read it aloud.   

      Chuck tilted his head sideways as if he were trying to figure it out.

       Chuck can’t read, but he knows certain words by sight. 
       The word DOG, for example.  He knows the word DOG.  

        Just as I turned to signal silence to my husband and my two friends, I saw my husband--as if in slow motion--point to the sign.  He was smiling, amused by the audacity of some people, I supposed, to be so . . . 

       “Hey, look at that sign--”

       “Bob,” I shouted, in my best warning tone of voice.

        Chuck now stared directly at my husband’s face.

        “Do you see that?  Do you see what it says?” Bob said, completely oblivious to the impending doom of his words.

        Here it comes.  

        “Dog bar.”  He paused, as if perplexed.  Then, “Oh, I get it.  You can bring your dog to the bar.”

The sign that almost made Chuckie PROTEST . . .

        It was what he didn’t say that cut Chuckie to the bone.  You can bring your DOG to the bar, but not your CAT?

        Darn it, I thought.  Why does the world have to be this way and favor dogs over cats.  I hate that!

         I scooped Chuck into my arms.  “I wouldn’t go to that stupid bar anyway.”

         He blinked at me.
         “Probably,” I added, trying in my own way to make sense out of the world, “they figure that cats are too sophisticated to go to bars.  Am I right?  Anyway, you’d rather have your snacks at home.”

          I started to walk away from that bar toward the restaurant and the beach.  Chuckie wiggled a bit in my arms and I knew what he wanted to do.  I could see it all now.  Chuck wanted to jump down onto the boardwalk, scamper over to the board and in his own inimitable way, let the owner know that he was offended.  

          Chuck wanted to PROTEST that sign.  

         “It’s not worth it,” I whispered as I held him close in my arms.  

         Finally he sighed, and we left.    

         When we reached McLoone’s, I smuggled Chuck into our booth.  

         There’s certainly nothing wrong with that!

To read more about Chuck and his adventures, log onto www.katelutter.com

Wild Point Island, my paranormal romance, is now available in paperback and ebook formats from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.


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