Notes from the Catbox


Meow. My name is Dinger, and I’m taking control of my pet human Max’s blog this morning.

My pet Max is kinda dumb, even for a human. Sometimes he can’t even remember my name and calls me Nonobadcat. I mean, how silly is that? I’m too genteel to repeat what he called me this morning as he dashed out to the farmer’s market. All I did was trip him because he gave me the wrong kind of cat food. I know, I know: for the last 286 days I’ve refused to eat anything but the gravy-ladled salmon and whitefish cat food, but this morning I wanted the beef morsels. With gravy, of course. How hard is that?

Anyway, Max was in such a rush to get away that he left the door to his office open. Since I’m an especially catty cat, I decided to show him. So here I am, to tell you the truth about one Max Griffin, human.

Ordinarily, I’d never read another cat’s email, but Max isn’t a feline so who cares? The first thing I saw was a note from his publisher that his short story collection, What in Dreams Abides, is releasing today. What a great opportunity for my revenge, thought I. I’ll write a review. I purred and narrowed my eyes at the thought, just like I do when he scratches my tummy. He is good for something. Sometimes.

I just pawed my way through this volume. I’m relieved to report that there are almost no dogs in this book. The last two books by Max have had those mangy creatures. The dog in The Hounds of Hollenbeck was even supposed to be super smart, which I guess doesn’t take much for a dog. Anyway, this new book has only one dog which is a big plus.

This one is all short stories. I guess as Max ages, his attention span is fading and he can’t get it together to write novels any more. I mean, he can’t even pet me for than two or three hours at a time before he has to use the bathroom or something. Bless his heart.

Some of the short stories are pretty scary, I admit. There’s one based on the old fable “The Tinder Box” that’s set here in Tulsa, or maybe in Kandahar. It’s kind of hard to tell, since the character seems to hop back and forth between the two, and then into a Disney animated movie at the end. Really, Max is getting so scatterbrained. This story has the only dog in the collection, guarding a dried-up river of sticks. Max is so subtle. Not. Dog, sticks, Cerberus, Styx. Anywhose, this dog doesn’t have much to do besides be a metaphor and gnaw on a bone.  And slobber.  After all, he’s a dog.

At least three of the stories are updates on classic Edgar Allen Poe tales. “The Eye” was really creepy, except for the crickets in the wall. They sounded tasty. The narrator needed a cat to eat them, along with that thing he left in the closet.

Other stories read like they belong on the old Alfred Hitchcock TV shows. There’s one, “Fred Cleans House,” that Max said he wrote to prove that a story about housework could have tension. I don’t get that. There was plenty of tension last night when Max and his partner Gene discussed whose turn it was to clean my litter box. I threw up on the DVD player to calm them down. It didn’t have the desired effect, though. Humans are so stupid.

Oh wait! I hear Max’s car driving down the street. I need to run downstairs and help him unload things in the kitchen. He likes it when I do that, especially when I follow him in front of him.

So, I guess Max’s new book isn’t bad, if you like short stories. It’s kind of scary and icky in places, and it re-works some old tales and folk legends in new ways. Most important, it’s only got one dog, and he’s in a minor role.

I’m outta here.


PS  Here’s a link to the other book, the one with the smarty-pants dog in it.



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