My name is Skaggs. I am a cat. It is as simple as that. I have to tell you, life is not very fair to cats. In my last life I was an alley cat. I lived on rats that bred and thrived under the water tower in the alley behind the small-town post office. I was basically happy. You have heard the old expression, “happy as a cat”, right? I could kill and eat any rat I wanted at any time, no matter how big of a Mickey he thought he was. I was good at ripping out rat guts and breaking mouse spines. I was the baddest cat in the whole damn town.
But I had to share my alley with a dog. That Barky Bill was an insane killer canine that the owner of the local restaurant and bar kept chained behind his Main Street building to keep the rats away from the restaurant garbage. I hated that dog with a hate as great as a vampire has for the sun. (What’s that you say? You didn’t know that cats knew about vampires? Silly human, how little you know about the things that should truly scare you in the world. Cats, vampires, and Barky Bill are far more complicated issues in the world than you realize.) Anyway, needless to say, I teased that dog on a heavy chain leash for the better part of three years when one day, to my utter horror, I discovered he was loose at the same time that I was totally focused on catching and eating a beautiful gold-colored squirrel. I was so sure that the squirrel would be the finest thing that any cat had ever eaten, that I didn’t even notice, mainly because I had that squirrel right between my paws, toying with it before devouring it, that the dog was pouncing. Barky Bill bit clean through my neck. It was so shocking that even as I was being transported to life number seven, my severed head watched in confusion and fright as that ugly, smelly dog ate my finely tuned rat-catching body.
So, having been a bad, bad Leroy Brown sort of cat, I was sentenced to a next life with a crazy cat lady. Miss Velma Proddy owned at least fifty cats. I was reborn in an underwear drawer in her back bedroom, the one she kept for the company that she never had. My mother was the cat called Pinkie, even though she was a milk-white cat. My father was Proddy’s favorite, a tomcat called Tom Selleck. He would’ve killed and eaten me soon after I was born because my mother was not a very dominant fighter and alpha cats like Tom could always sense when a cat filled with pure evil is born. But Proddy was having none of that. She rounded up all the kittens and raised them in a blanket box in the corner of the kitchen near the stove. I owe that woman everything, which is why I don’t understand why she had to go and buy Pepe.
Pepe is more of a malnourished rat than a dog. Like a lot of Chihuahuas he trembles a lot, and he blinks at you with those big round eyes of his. Proddy thinks that everything he does is so cute. She carries him around like a prize possession or a human baby or something. In my past life I was a white cat like my mother. (Everyone knows that when a cowboy wears a white hat, it means he’s a good guy, but when a cat has white fur, it means that it is evil.) In this, my seventh incarnation, owing to the fact that my father was a gray tiger cat, I was a sort of white cat with gray tiger stripes. It meant I thought like a tiger. Pepe looked like a rat to me. Pepe was prey. Pepe was meat. I was going to eat him.
“You tell this story so scary, Señor Skaggs,” says Pepe, “you make me so afraid!”
“Shut up, stupid dog. I’m telling this. And you are not afraid. Remember what happened that time I tried to drown you in the toilet?”
“Si. I remember well. That time with the super-fancy drinking bowl.”
“I saw you trying to hold on to the plastic toilet seat and dip your tiny little tongue into the water that was too far below you to reach. Only your hind legs and stupid little tail were even visible.”
“Si! And you jumped up to smack me on my cute little behind and push me in. I remember.”
“But I was surprised that such a little dog could react so fast and leap so far.”
“Si, Señor. I jumped right on that handle and flushed it.”
“Just as I fell into the water. That would’ve been the start of number eight if Proddy hadn’t come along right then.”.
“Oh, you make me laugh so hard, Señor. And she was so mad at you for playing with the toilet!”
“And you remember the time I almost got you with that pot of boiling water and hard-boiled eggs?”
“Si, Señor. You got up on the kitchen counter right next to the stove. I was sitting on the floor in front of the stove sniffing up all the smell of the bacon. You tried to push the pot off the stove.”
“I still haven’t figured out how you planned it. The bald spots I have all around my front paws are still there from my fur catching on fire. You must’ve been sitting in the precise spot on the floor where I couldn’t knock the pot down on you without passing my paws through the flames.”
“You owe that one to Señora Proddy too. She had that fire extinguisher next to the stove. That saved you from being cooked cat-burgers. And you looked so funny when she almost drowned you in that white foamy stuff. Oh, you make me laugh so hard Señor.”
Well, I am guessing that I made my point by now. This little underfed rat of a dog is more evil than I am! The harder I try to kill and eat him, the more I suffer for it. And I still don’t know how he does it! He makes my life miserable. He needs to die.
“Oh, you make me laugh so hard, Señor!”