The Dansburry Chronicles
by Shannon Danz
Warm greetings, McCloud,
I wished to write you and relate my tales of tragedy and woe. Please note that all I am about to tell you are factual occurrences that have happened in my travels to the outrageous position in which I now find myself. Again, I insist that all I am about to relate has not been fabricated or expanded in any way. I tell you these things not to frighten you, since I understand you are of an easily unnerved temperament. No. I write you this letter as a warning which you had best heed. Don’t let this happen to you.
I find my situation is best explained if I start from the very beginning. All was well and life was cozy. My pet, as you know, is a fine young woman of impeccable character and grace. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for her chosen mate. He is rather annoying, forcing my pet to divide her affection between us. Life’s demands called her away from our residence often, and I would anxiously await her return perched upon my window suite. I watched the world pass from my vantage point, reminiscing about long ago days of hunting in the tall grass for trophies to bring back to my pet. Indeed, life was adequate.
Then it happened.
Possessions began to disappear. It was so slow at first that I hardly noticed. But, little by little I began to catch on. The first things to go were the small knickknacks and bric-a-brac my pet collected. Next to go were excess clothes and other such rarely used items. I let everything go in stride, figuring that my pet and the man were merely cleaning properly for once. That was my attitude until the day came when I opened my eyes from my midmorning nap and found that the walls were bare. This could not be ignored. My possessions were piled atop the dresser next to my window suite.
I made my displeasure known in subtle ways that were either ignored, or lost on their simple minds, until the day the furniture left. As I watched, hurt and horrified, they carried all but a few pieces of furniture from the room. The only exception was the couch, which they brilliantly thought to remove via the window. The fools. I had my laughs at their expense until she came at me with an atrocity made of strips of blue cloth cinched together with metal buckles and loops. She kept referring to the cloth and metal monstrosity as a “harness”. I am certain you are familiar with the term. If you are not, I suggest you become familiar with it for your own safety. It is a wretched device in which you find yourself unable to move in any way that is not awkward or does not pinch vulnerable areas of flesh.
I found myself in this device many times prior to that day. My pet referred to it as “practice.” I did not understand her meaning until it was too late. Once I was in the contraption, I was scooped up and carried to a larger version of the metal boxes that the bipeds move around in. It was cramped inside and felt stuffy and overheated, causing me some alarm which I contained with effort. After all, where would one be without one’s dignity?
We began to move and I tried to make myself comfortable in the tight confines. The contraption was removed and that eased my discomfort some. But, as you may already know, I am a rather portly fellow and could not get settled in such close quarters. It was hot on the floor and lumpy perched upon my pet’s lap. Eventually enough room was made for me to fit on the floor behind their seats, but it was still hot and muggy. No matter where I was, I could not stretch out as I do normally when I nap. It was rather exasperating.
After what must have been a day I settled into the sweltering nook behind the cockpit. Time became a blur at that point. I drifted in and out of consciousness. At times my pet even had the audacity to put that torture device back on to drag me about by a length of cloth. I was so outraged and embarrassed. I tried to hide myself in any tall grass or concealing plant that was available. Regardless of my efforts, she just kept dragging me back out. In-between those small breaks, during which she also offered me water, none of which I accepted out of spite, I slept.
At least a fortnight passed in which I was confined in the hot crevice. I gave up hope that we would ever stop and was infuriated at the thought of this compact mini-Hell being my new home. At some point we stopped. My pet tried coaxing me from my broiling nook, but I was far too weak and beyond being peeved at the situation she put me in to oblige her. She dragged me out just the same and placed the contraption on me yet again. She carried me past the closest patch of grass and up a hill, leaving me in an empty building.
This new place was intimidating and not to my liking at all. It smelled odd and its vastness left me feeling exposed and vulnerable. Over a period of time, my pet and the man dragged in all of my familiar possessions and furniture. I chose to stay in the bathroom upstairs and lie on the cool floor while they set things up for me. Once the bed was made ready and all of my things were inside, we all settled in for an evening nap.
Slowly things began to fall into some form of order and I became more comfortable in my new surroundings. Life was perfect in that brief time before the Invaders came. I have chosen to call them Invaders because that is precisely what they are, plain and simple. But I will put off explanation of them for now in favor of describing my paradise. It was hot, but splendid. Just my pet and I. That insolent man was there, but his presence was of little significance. Every day more and more possessions appeared. It was a time that was utopian in its flawlessness, peaceful and sublime in its perfection. Our little private Eden away from the world.
I could see other felines gathering around our haven. Not refined, educated specimens, mind you, but an unruly gang. These invaders annoyed me, looking back at me with impertinent, slanted eyes, a thin piece of sliding glass being their only barrier. But my pet never allowed them past the frame. I understood that this was my area, my space. And it was grand. That moment of contentment and joy, that instant of celebration and revelry, was when it happened.
There was a slight noise from beyond the walls of my Eden followed by many exclamations of “Ohs” and “Ahs.” The commotion that extended over several weeks would eventually end with the invasion. The invaders consisted of four furry bags of bone, and their scrawny mother. The little minx made herself right at home in my garden with her brood in tow. She was allowed the privilege of unburdening her load and going outside whenever she wished, while I, the master, mind you, am chased or called back in should I set a paw over the threshold.
The injustice of it all is beyond comprehension. The result of this travesty has been my expulsion from paradise. I have committed no sin to bring about my fall from grace, for as we both know, cats are incapable of sin or any other uncomely behavior. Regardless, I have lost my home. The minx was released back into the wild, but that does not stop her from returning occasionally to be invited back in. Three of the four fluff-balls remain. I fear they have become a permanent arrangement.
They quickly outgrew and outmaneuvered the cardboard prison my pet constructed to contain them. They have overtaken the ground floor and have begun to spill upstairs. They take it upon themselves to eat my food and drink my water whenever they get the yen. I found myself having to defend the savory chicken feast my pet had set out for me just the other day. I boxed the lad’s ears soundly, but that has not deterred the rest of them. I am beyond salvation and often find myself staring out the back portal at the now familiar figures outside and wondering when they, too will be invited in. It seems only a matter of time.
I realize that my condition is without hope, but I am not completely lost. I give you the gift of my horror to take as a learning experience. Now you know the signs to look for, and can deduce what steps may be taken to prevent such an atrocity from happening to you.
I will remain steadfast and strong, bearing any further sorrow silently. After all, where would one be without one’s dignity?
Your Humble Servant,
B. B. Dansburry