BUTTERSCOTCH

Butterscotch came upon us one moonlit and otherwise inconsequential night. There he suddenly and determinedly was, meowingly clawing at our door, and my wife and I gave him some milk. He came the next night and we gave him some milk and fish. He must have been so satisfied with these two visits that the next night he came to stay.This scampering-pattering puff-ball of brownish-tan and white, assuming the form and function of cat, wouldn’t have himself feel like a stranger for long. As soon as he concluded that our door was opened to him, IN he rushed and quickly made himself at home on our bookshelf: between my collection of Dickens and my wife’s collection of Proust, which was right below the shelf that contained our collection of Greek drama and comedy, and right above my carefully concealed stash of Playboy magazines. As with Poe’s raven who sat atop his bust of Pallas and accompanied his days of forgotten lore, so did Butterscotch sit…but, of course, with moderation; he would move around every so often, especially during times of full moons and solar eclipses.

Butterscotch, we were and are still certain, is a cat with a game plan; there must be something behind those blue eyes (one of the few cats I’ve ever seen with blue eyes). When we had him examined, the vet found that he was very healthy (for which we were glad), very fat (which was an understatement), about 2 years old (which made sense) and a pedigree (which was one of the stupidest things we’ve ever heard). By this time we had long ascertained that Butterscotch wasn’t only the fattest and laziest cat in New York City, but second only to his talent for eating and sleeping was his extraordinary talent for not being able to do anything at all. However, we went along with the joke, paid the bill, and on the way home picked up another sack of cat food for Butterscotch.

However, I would be doing Butterscotch a great injustice if I didn’t mention one talent he does have indeed: he’s a ladies’ man. During one of his midnight wanderings, he must have gotten word to the local cat community that he had found two incredible suckers and was proud to announce that he had “made their home HIS home.” Before we knew it, more cats were showing up at our door and even more cat food was being stored in our pantry. Along with this increased influx of cats, there also arrived Butterscotch’s Personal Harem of feline female acquaintances. Many were the moonlight nocturnes and serenades of cat romanticizing that would screech and caterwaul into the quiet night. Many were the times when a revolt in Butterscotch’s harem would cause him to stagger home bruised and bewildered. But these high times and hot nights came to a rapid and happy finale, when we kept him in and finally trained him as a house cat…thus ending his “cool cat” career, if he wanted to stay in our house (like my parents once did with me…but that’s another story). Also, Butterscotch was getting older and may have been happy for some moderation in his life.

There were times when I was a kid and sent on errand by my mother, I brought home everything in existence but what was originally on the errand list. For instance, there was a time when I was sent to the grocery store for a quart of milk, a loaf of bread and a tub of butter…and brought home a snake (but you’ve heard of those things before). It’s nice to see, now that I’m in my latter and more amused days, that unexpected creatures now come looking for me. What can I say?…or deny?

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