Oh, you're wondering how I happened to be in Venice, so far away from my home? Well, that's a long story. My family had some sort of business that required them to come here for an extended stay. So they brought me with them. Scott and Cassie, I mean. And their little girl, Kimmy.
I don't remember much about how I got here. As a matter of fact, I'd rather not think about it. It started with my being forced into that awful carrying thing they put me in whenever we go on long trips. And then somebody gave me something that made me sleep. I woke up here, in a strange new place...
Back home, I was content just to be an ordinary house cat. I didn't get out much. But it's different here in Venice. I think Kimmy may suspect that. When she leaves for school in the morning now, she always cups my chin with one hand and scrates me behind my ears with the other. "Stay safe, Harley she says... She probably doesn't know how easy it is for me to go pretty much wherever I want to while she and Cassie and Scott are gone...
By Jerilyn McIntyre
Illustrations by Ken Shuey
It didn't take Harley very long to start cattin' around Venice! Everywhere he looked there were cats! And nobody bothered them; in fact, seemed to welcome their being there! He later found out that they were all good mousers and with the nearby canals, the residents were happy to share their homes, as mouse-free as possible
At first Harley took the time to know all the places around his new home. but he could see a large area up ahead and one day decided to check it out... Almost immediately he noticed the tall column with what looked like a flying cat...well, a very big cat--a lion actually! In fact, he had seen quite a number of the statues in the city but he would never have thought he'd see him down off the tower, just to talk to him! Wait until you find out why!
He'd been able to make some friends with cats who hung around the Piazza:
Scruffly and Scrawny, and Fatty and Mooch are his friends...and would you believe that, before very long, even the pigeons had become friends! Who knew what would be happening?!
This was to be a big night because carnival started and there would be lots of food being dropped or accidentally taken...LOL But while they were waiting, Harley caught sight of her!
She's beautiful. Pure white fur. Lips that curl into a provocative pout. An exquisite, twitchy little nose, Her eyes are a brilliant blue, but I catch only a glimpse of them. She glances down, suddenly shy as she sees me staring at her. Someone has dressed her in a satin cap trimmed with some sort of bright glassy stone. Completely unnecessary, in my opinion. She doesn't need any fancy drape. She is the most exotic, glamorous, gorgeous Angora I have ever seen. I think I am in love...
|Off to the side, there are some tables at an outdoor eating place in the great square. I decide to take refuge under one of the empty ones...one of the things I like most about Venice. The food... Soon all the noise and the aromas lull me to sleep.|
What happened next is a new experience for me. I don't often have strange dreams. As a matter of face, I don't remember very many of my dreams at all... But this one is filled with images so real I think I am awake....a man in a cape...Angela runs away from me, and I try to follow her...
Slowly, all of these figures are replaced by the winged lion, his paw raised, his noble gaze fixed on me, swooping down from his place atop the pillar in the great square... landing only paws' lengths away from me... I can't tell if he is a friend or an enemy. All I can tell is that he is huge, and his roar echoes in my head. He bends down and lets me hop on his broad back, nestled between his shoulders, next to his wings. Shaking his great, shaggy mane, he leaps up and starts to fly over the great square, out over the water and up the big canal that meanders through the city...
nevertheless, every time, he was out he was always looking to see if he'd get a chance to see her at home...
The guys had also told him the story of the first Doge who had loved his cat so much and that ever since there had been a cat at the Doge... They also told him about carnival and told about the elaborate costumes he would sometime see, especially the Doge who always wore red... Should I tell you about the time Harley met the ghost of the Doge?! Naaah, you'll have to read the book!
Because now's the time for the magic to begin... Check this one out...If you like cats, you'll enjoy this... Children will be delighted with the beautiful and colorful pages. Enjoy and see what happens when the cat fight starts!
"Paws in the Piazza," a novella for middle grade readers, now available at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, California; The King's English Bookshop and Weller Book Works in Salt Lake City, Utah; and Pearl Street Books and Jerrol's in Ellensburg, Washington. "Paws" is still available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and on Kindle as well.
"Death in Florence," personal essay published July, 2014 in The Ultimate Writer.
"Fur Ball," humorous short story published August, 2013 in Epiphany Magazine. http://www.epiphmag.com/EpiphanyepiphmagFictionissue20.html#jmc
"Harley Finds His Voice," humorous short story published November, 2012 in Conceit Magazine (The Enchanted File Cabinet).