The Best Piece of Prose I Ever Wrote.

Oh, so much to report. Readercon (at which I met some of you, who did not buy me nearly as many beers as I had hoped). The Campbell Decision (which one might normally call “controversial”, except as far as I can tell, reaction has been unanimous). The mysterious disappearance of 22 of the 30 reader reviews from Blindsight’s Amazon page. Fan art (fan art!) Sciency stuff.

But in the meantime my bed frame split open and spilled several hundred bedbug exoskeletons across the floor. The Canadian Wildlife Service needs some stuff done yesterday. The apartment is a bloody mess, and I have a million e-mails to answer. So instead, as a kind of placeholder, I am going to take Chelsea’s advice and go completely off-topic, posting The Best Goddamned Piece of Prose I Ever Wrote. I wrote it while fostering for Annex Cat Rescue, a worthy collection of cat-crazy people who spend all hours of the night laying live traps under box cars and abducting ferals into better lives. I wrote this to help place a cat I was “temporarily” keeping until he could find a more permanent home:

Are You Worthy?


Here’s where we separate the superficial kitty-huggers from the serious lovers of real cats. Banana has had a really rough life. It shows. His ears are disfigured by frostbite, and by wounds sustained during the course of the world’s worst ear-mite infection. Several of his teeth have broken against the hard life of the street. He drools sometimes. He hides a lot. Scars and scabs and shaved veterinary clear-cuts range across his body.

The fur will grow back, of course. The scabs are healing even now. And he’s a solid cat. Everything that isn’t scar tissue is muscle. His ears will be forever twisted, though. He is doomed to pad through the rest of his life being mistaken for a Scottish Fold.

But what a heart he has. Oh, what a heart.

Dragged from his refuge in the linen closet, he purrs instantly upon contact. Once you have begun scritching those twisted ears, he firmly and insistently head-butts you should your rhythm falter. Sometimes he will not eat unless he is being scritched; then he snarfs for a regiment (pausing now and then to glance around, as if fearful of the reappearance of old ghosts). When he comes to trust you he will lie on your bed with his belly to the sun and all four limbs stretched in ecstacy.

This cat is a goddamned hero. If you’re looking for some cute and symmetrical plaything to go ga-ga over, something with the depth of Paris Hilton and brains to match, move along. You don’t deserve this one. But if you can provide a safe haven to a bruised and stoic predator, and treat him with the respect he deserves— if you ask not what Banana can offer you, but what you can offer Banana— then give us a call.

Maybe— just maybe— you have what it takes.

The calls started almost immediately afterwards. I told them all to piss off.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Wednesday July 11 2007at 12:07 pm , filed under misc . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

11 Responses to “The Best Piece of Prose I Ever Wrote.”

  1. Sunday was the only day I could attend, but I was totally going to offer to buy you a beer.

    Unfortunately, after that last talk, your posse yelled at everyone and said you had a 13 hour drive to get back home. They swept you out of that place before I even had a chance you buy you a frosty one.

  2. Ten-hour drive! We were tired!

    And we did not yell, we said we were going home now firmly and assertively. :p

  3. Last two sentences have made my day. 😀
    I had two cats who were like that. One male who went MIA less than a year ago and the other, a male, is still with us. The second was only ~1 week old when the first brought him in his mouth two years ago. This is VERY strange behaviour, me thinks. A cat who brings a kitten as a trophy to his humans?!

    FYI, I love them both very much and miss the first. He was my first cat ever.

  4. > my bed frame split open and spilled
    > several hundred bedbug exoskeletons
    > across the floor.

    Gross. Were they the remnants of a past infestation or is your place currently a bedbug hotzone?

  5. Dear Squid,

    I’d have bought you more beers – hell, I didn’t buy you any – if’n I’d found you after the Kirk Poland thang. Oh, well. Good to meet you anyway. Maybe next year at Boskone? Or next Readercon?

    – Chang

  6. Scott took the words out of my mouth. Although it does make explaining hthings easier to friends whom I’ve forced into reading his work.

    “Why is there so much–“

    “he’s a cat person”

    “ohhhhhh”

    Anyway, hope you had fun in Boston.

  7. Brian said…

    Gross. Were they the remnants of a past infestation or is your place currently a bedbug hotzone?

    Definitely the first. Hopefully not the second. I’ve saturated the place with insecticide, anyway, and the new frame arrives from IKEA tomorrow. I’ll probably bloom into rampant tumours ten years from now, but being able to get a night’s sleep without constant itching and bloodsuckery will make that a price worth paying.

  8. Okay, as if these comments weren’t enough, now I’ve started getting e-mails: “Hey dude, what’s up with all this stuff about cats?”

    I am not a cat person, really. I’m just someone who really admires certain behavioural traits, and really appreciates a certain visual aesthetic, and it just so happens that cats tend to embody those particular features.

    And if that’s not good enough for you, there’s only one thing left to say:

    Smithers. Release the hounds.

  9. You are a cat-person like Ursabelle is a cat person.

    So do we call you Squid-boy or Cat-boy now?

    – Chang

  10. Why not Squat boy? or Cuid?

  11. Y’all are my favorite kind of people: silly. :) Thanks for the cat comments, I laughed til I cried, and that’s a hard laugh for me.

    Janbo