Archive for April, 2013

The TV And The Sandwich

 Peter Elbling's The Vinégar Jonesy Chronicles


Jonesy's thinking. Mr. Vinégar blog. Peter Elbling.Mr. Vinegar's Catastrophe TV at Mr. VsI’ve been getting a lot of slack lately from Mr. V about staying the night at that woman’s house next door.  But he doesn’t understand that it’s much easier to watch TV there.   At Mr. Vs place there are too many things in the way: the railing, the bottle with the boat in it, the bottles without boats in them, maps, and lots of globes.  There’s so much stuff you can hardly see the TV.


Mr. Vinegar's Catastrophe. TV at her placeSo to get a better view, I have to balance on the handrail which can be very tricky.  There are stairs on the other side of the railing going down to the kitchen and I’ve come really close to falling down them more than once.  Oh, I know they say that cats always land on their feet, but I’m here to tell you – they don’t.  And when they do, it’s hard on the paws!  So I prefer to watch TV at the woman’s place.  You can lounge on the couch, or if you want to get really close to the TV, you can sit on the bookshelf.  It’s easy peasy.



To discover how Jonesy found his 2nd home read Jonesy’s First All Nighter -  Part 2 click HERE. And Part 3 HERE.


Peter Elbling Mr. Vinégar BlogI, too, was recently involved in a balancing act, and although I didn’t fall down a flight of stairs, I was pitched head first into a vat of humiliation.  Yesterday, as we were about to eat lunch at Globe and Maps Inc., Ms. Snickety unwrapped a piece of sandwich paper (on which Ms. Snickety was clearly written), took out half a sandwich, and held it up in front of us.

What do you see?  She asked, her lips compressed into one thin line of rage.  A bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich on whole wheat bread, Ms. Gupta shrugged.  I see some mayonnaise, Mr. Chang added.  And what else!  Ms. Snickety yelled.  It was so unusual for Ms. Snickety to yell that we were all stunned into silence.

Someone’s taken a bite out of it?  Mr. Karl volunteered.  Yes!  Someone has, Ms. Snickety replied. And it wasn’t me!  No one is going to leave this room until I find out who it was.  There was a long silence.  I’m waiting, Ms. Snickety said, for the culprit to own up.  We looked at one another accusingly but still no one came forward.  Very well, said Ms. Snickety, I want everyone to take a bite out of the other half of the sandwich so that I can compare the teeth marks. Who’ll go first?

Mr. Vinegar.  Ms. Snickety's sandwich.I will!  Mr. Chang volunteered.  I haven’t eaten this morning.  Just a small bite Mr. Chang, Ms. Snickety warned, it’s not your lunch.  Mr. Chang took a bite.  It’s good, he said.  The tomato is really fresh.  Where did you get it?  Ms. Snickety ignored him and examined the sandwich.  The original teeth marks were small, but Mr. Chang’s teeth are like piano keys so the marks were very different.  Ms. Graben and then Ms. Gupta each took a bite and it was quickly determined that they were not the culprits either.

The reminder of the sandwich was passed to Mr. Karl who accidentally squeezed it so hard that some lettuce and one slice of tomato fell onto the floor.  I hate tomatoes anyway, he grumbled.  But they’re good for you!  Mr. Chang exclaimed. They’ve got vitamin C and A and E and they protect you against prostate cancer. Someone your age should be eating tomatoes all the — Thank you!  Mr. Chang, Mr. Karl snarled.  He took a quick bite and gave the now limp piece of bread and lettuce back to Ms. Snickety.  The teeth marks were not his.

Your turn, Mr. Vinégar, said Ms. Snickety.  I’d rather not, I replied.  Everyone looked at me aghast.  And why not?  Ms. Snickety asked.  I’d rather not say, I said.  Immediately a space opened up around me as if it had suddenly been discovered that I was a murderer.  I think you’d better say, Mr. Karl said.  This is a very serious offense.  If we can’t trust one another — Oh, very well!  I said, and with great embarrassment I reached into my mouth and removed my bottom partial.

Ewwwww!  Ms. Graben squealed.  I can’t eat bread with my partial in, I explained. But anything to help… I held the partial over the sandwich so we could compare the teeth marks.  It’s the same!  Ms. Graben shrieked!  No, it isn’t!  I said.  But there’s a gap between the teeth on the right hand side, she insisted.  And that’s where the gap is in your mouth.  No, it isn’t.  It’s on the other side.  But you could have eaten it on the other side, Mr. Chang said.  And moved my teeth around?  I asked incredulously.  Don’t be ridiculous.  Well, who could have done it?  Ms. Snickety said.

Have you compared it to your own teeth?  Mr. Chang asked.  Are you suggesting, Ms. Snickety glared, that I took a bite out of my own sandwich and then forgot that I…her face colored and her glasses fogged up.  She looked down at the table.  After a slight pause she whispered, I’m so sorry.  I completely forgot.  I was hungry – It doesn’t matter, Mr. Karl said, laying a comforting hand on her shoulder.  Let me buy you lunch.  She leaned against him ever so slightly.  Ms. Graben and Ms. Gupta rolled their eyes.  We left the conference room.

Oh no!  I said, in the hallway.  Everyone stopped.  What is it?  My…teeth, I muttered.  They’re probably in the trash can, said Mr. Chang.  I dumped the rest of the sandwich in there.  I’ll help you — No thank you, I said and hurried back inside the conference room.  My partial was in the garbage can with the remaining bread, two leaves of lettuce, and several slices of soggy tomato.

I washed the partial under hot water for several minutes before putting it back in my mouth. It had been such a distressing experience that despite being famished I didn’t eat anything for the rest of the day.

To see what Mr. Vinégar’s coworkers look like watch the video Mr. Vinégar and The Ants by clicking HERE. Or you can read the blog “The Name” to see pictures of his coworkers by clicking HERE.



My Other Home

Peter Elbling's The Vinégar Jonesy Chronicles


Peter Elbling Mr. Vinégar BlogAs I suspected, Jonesy has become so emboldened after his first all-nighter that he has been spending nearly every night on the streets.  It’s virtually impossible to keep him indoors.  Naturally I worry about him so before I leave for work in the morning I stand on the porch and call, Jonesy! Jonesy! hoping and praying that he’ll appear.  More often than not he doesn’t show himself right away and I’m forced to raise my voice, which I hate to do.  After a moment or two I inevitably see him on the roof of one of the neighboring bungalows meowing as if he was being tortured.

Come on, I say.  But in typical teenage fashion he takes his time, ambles across the roofs, scrambles down the adjoining wall, climbs the stairs, and then saunters right past me into the apartment.  He then bolts across the room with his tail high, and heads straight for the food dish.  Lately he just sniffs at the food, laps up some water, grooms himself, and then heads straight for the back door again.  I have a feeling he’s been spending the night with a woman who lives in one of the bungalows next door.  No doubt she feeds him cheap food filled with sugar or some other trash, which is why he isn’t eating my food.  I will have to speak to her about that.  But whether he eats my food or not, once I’ve seen him I can leave for work knowing all is well with the world.



Jonesy's thinking. Mr. Vinégar blog. Peter Elbling.Yes, I’ve been staying at that woman’s place.  After spending the night there with Prince at end of our all-nighter, I decided to go back the next night.  As I went through the cat door – I don’t know why Mr. V won’t get one of those – I saw a woman in the room.  I thought Uh-oh, I’m in trouble now.  But all she said was, I know all about you.  You’re Jonesy, aren’t you?  You were here last night.   Make yourself comfortable.  And she went back to what she was doing.  Wasn’t that cool?

Jonesy stretched out on the couch. Mr. Vinegar's Catastrophe.I jumped on the couch and I must have fallen asleep because when I woke-up the woman was gone.  I ate some food cuz she’s always got food out, and then left by the same little door.  I’ve been going back ever since.  Sometimes Prince comes by, or a couple of other cats from the hood drop in.   It’s laid back.  No curfew.  No hassles. The only rule is no fighting and no spraying.  Other than that you can do what you like.

The only problem is…Mr. V.  Every morning when I’m still fast asleep I hear him calling Jonesy! Jonesy!  If I ignore him he starts using his sing-songy voice, JONES-Zee! JONES-Zee!  Doesn’t he realize it’s embarrassing to have your name called out like some common criminal?  I’ll do anything to stop that so even as I jump off the couch I start yelling, I’M COMING! I’M COMING!  I keep this up as I climb through the cat door and jump onto the nearby roof.  As soon as Mr. V sees me he says, There he is!  What a good boy!  What does that even mean?  I’m a good boy because I wrenched myself out of a perfectly good sleep to go see him?  And when I get to the door he always says, Do you want to come in?  Now if I’ve gone to the trouble of dragging myself out of bed, climbed over some roofs, down the wall and up the stairs you’d better believe I want to come in.  So I answer – Yes! Real short and snappy-like.

I go to the food tray just in case there’s a piece of fish there – usually not.  I let him pet me a bit and then I go sit by the back door again and wait.  Now comes the guilt trip.  Oh, he says, can’t wait to go out again, eh?  Where do you go anyway?  To that woman?  When I don’t answer – it’s none of his business anyway – he gets a little edge in his voice.  This is not a hotel, you know, where you can come and go as you please.  Then he goes into the part about me not appreciating him, and all that he does for me blah, blah, blah.  I just sit there very quietly grooming myself.  Eventually, he has to go to work so he opens the door and I’m out of there.  It’s not that I don’t like Mr. V or that I don’t like my place, but I’ve got to be able to come and go as I please otherwise I’ll turn into one of those pussies that just sits in the window all day like some stone statue.  And I’d rather be dead than do that!


To read Jonesy’s First All Nighter – Part 1 click HERE. For Part 2 click HERE.  Part 3 HERE.

If you can’t remember who Prince is, click HERE to read the blog where Prince is introduced.

To read about when Prince and Jonesy first met click HERE.

Jonesy’s First All Nighter – Part 3

Peter Elbling's The Vinégar Jonesy Chronicles


Jonesy's thinking. Mr. Vinégar blog. Peter Elbling.My adventure with Prince at the cat lady’s creepy old house continued.  When we got upstairs the room was as crowded with mangy cats as the downstairs had been.  An old Siamese with one eye hissed a warning at us, but Prince ignored him and made straight for an open window.  From there he stepped onto the branch of a tree which went across the garden to the outside of the fence.  He jumped to the ground and loped off in another direction without even looking to see if I was following him.  I was following him because I didn’t know where we were and I wanted to get home.  But we didn’t go home.

We wandered around till we came to a street with much bigger houses.  Prince darted through a garden of rose bushes and round the house to the back door.  If it smelled like the last place I wasn’t going in.  But it didn’t smell like that at all.  It smelled like a really nice clean litter box so when Prince went through a little flap at the bottom of the door – It’s for cats, he said – I went through it, too.

Long Haired Cat. Mr. Vinegar's Catastrophe.I found myself in a kitchen.  The floor was tiled like Mr. V’s but this kitchen was as big as Mr. V’s whole apartment.  There was even a counter in the middle of it.  Prince went straight to a corner where an old long-haired cat was sleeping.  It looked at us and thumped its tail a few times.  Prince nudged it with his head and then went to a bowl close by and started scoffing up the food.  I’d hardly eaten any of the chicken at the other place and now all the traveling had made me hungry so I nodded to the cat and started in on the food as well.  It was top shelf stuff with lots of gravy just the way I like it.  The long-haired cat lay there silently watching us.  We were half finished when Prince suddenly jerked his head up.  His ears pinned back.  I looked over my shoulder and there standing behind us, was the biggest dog I had ever seen.  Sorry boys, the cat laughed, I forgot to tell you.  He’s back from the vet.


Scary Dog. Mr. Vinegar's Catastrophe.The dog raced towards us barking madly, the nails of its paws scraping on the tiles.  Instantly, Prince and I leapt onto the counter.  I nearly fell in the sink.  The dog put his paws on the edge and tried to climb up.  He was drooling and slobbering and barking.  I was so scared I couldn’t move.  Not Prince.  He gave a low blood-curdling yowl and as the dog tried to bite him Prince dug his claws into the dog’s nose – and drew blood!  That made the dog even madder!  I swear his teeth got bigger!  I jumped straight up in the air.  Don’t ask me how but I dug my claws into a long piece of wood just below the ceiling and pulled myself on top of it.

I could hear people yelling and running downstairs.  I have to admit it – I pissed myself.  I think some of it fell on the dog because it went berserk leaping and barking and banging into the walls.  I saw that a kitchen window high on the wall was open at the top so I ran along the wood and jumped for it.  I missed.  I tried to grab the wall to stop myself from falling.  The dog turned towards me.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw Prince leap off the counter and make for the cat door.  The dog twisted in mid-air and went after him but he lost his footing on the tiles and Prince got away.  I must have dripped to the ground.  I screamed for Prince but he’d gone.  That’s when the dog came for me.

I ran straight up the wall.  About halfway up I felt the dog’s breath on my back.  I heard his jaws snap shut – but he missed me!    I clambered onto the tiny window sill, jumped through, and landed on the grass.

I raced around the house just in time to see Prince disappear into the rose bushes.  I know he saw me but he didn’t slow down so I had to run as fast as I could just to keep him in sight.  When I got to the big road I ran straight across and nearly got hit by a car.  I kept on running and I didn’t stop until I was back on my street.  I was exhausted.  I asked Prince why he hadn’t waited for me.  Sorry, man, he said.  Dogs.  I’ll make it up to you.  I know a place to crash.  It’s cool.  I crash there all the time.

I didn’t want to wake Mr. V so I went with Prince.  He led me to an apartment close to my house.  We climbed the stairs and there in front of me was another one of those cat doors.  I thought, Uh-oh, but as if he could read my thoughts, Prince said, No dogs, I promise.  I followed him through the door into a little room.  It was warm and cozy with a nice big couch.  He was right.  It was cool.  Prince curled himself up on the couch and closed his eyes.  I lay down too but I couldn’t sleep.  I was on fire.  I kept reliving everything that had happened.  It was scary but so exciting!    I looked over at Prince who was fast asleep.  Did he live like this all the time?    Where did he live?    And how did he know all these places?    I lay awake for hours thinking about these things and so when I did fall asleep I didn’t wake till the next evening.

Prince was up and eating.  He looked at me as if to say, Ready?  I really wasn’t in the mood, I was still shaking from last night, but since I didn’t want him to think I was a pussy I ate a little, groomed a bit, and off we went.



Peter Elbling Mr. Vinégar BlogThat evening, I again drove round the neighborhood calling Jonesy but my cries fell on deaf ears.  I was about to accept the fact that he was gone forever, when from an alley across the road I saw two cats brazenly strutting toward me.  One was Prince – and the other was Jonesy!  I jammed on the brakes, jumped out of the car, and ran to him.  I tried to pick him up but he fought me as if he was embarrassed at the attention.  I let him go and walked home calling him at the same time.  I could see that he was of two minds but to my great relief he followed me.

Once inside, I locked the door and cooked the fish I had bought for Jonesy when I was out of my mind with worry for him.  He must have been starving because he devoured it immediately along with several treats.  Then he jumped onto my bed and groomed himself.  Something about him had changed.  He seemed bigger or perhaps just more confident.  As I lay down beside him I realized that, like it or not, he had become a teenager and that from now on these all-nighters were going to be the norm rather than the exception.


To read Jonesy’s First All Nighter – Part 1 click HERE.  For Part 2 click HERE.

If you can’t remember who Prince is, click HERE to read the blog where Prince is introduced.

To read about when Prince and Jonesy first met click HERE.


Jonesy’s First All Nighter – Part 2

Peter Elbling's The Vinégar Jonesy Chronicles


Jonesy's thinking. Mr. Vinégar blog. Peter Elbling.Mr. Vinegar's Catastrophe Cat Lady HouseI don’t remember if the moon was out or not, but if it was, it wasn’t shining on this place.  This place was dead.  There were so many bushes you could hardly see the house.  The yard was filled with broken furniture and years of cat piss, crap, rat turds, and rotten food all mixed together.  It stunk!  I heard some pathetic meows coming from inside the house.  Could cats really be in there? 

I followed Prince as he picked his way across smashed-up tables and chairs until we came to an open window and looked in.  What a sight!  There must have been at least 50 cats in there – I’m not kidding!  They were sleeping or licking their ragged matted coats.  One cat’s eye was all yellow.  A Siamese was missing an eye.  One cat even had a broken tail.  You could see the ribs on a couple of them.  The whole place smelled of disease.  I wanted to throw up!

Cat HoarderBefore I could ask Prince why we were there he jumped through the window and onto a table disturbing two large black cats that were curled up asleep.  They screeched, but when they saw who it was they scrambled out of his way.  He jumped down and walked across the floor.  I stayed right in his shadow.  Several cats gave me the eye but I guessed they wouldn’t try anything as long as I was with Prince. 

Then I saw an old woman sitting in the corner.  There were cats all over her.  In her lap, her arms, above her head, at her feet.  She looked thin and frail with a mop of grey bushy hair.  Prince leapt onto her lap right on top of the cat that was sleeping there.  It howled.  Prince swatted it once and it ran away.  The woman woke up. 

Prince, she said, stroking his back.  Where’ve you been?  Her voice was soft and low almost as if she was purring.  Prince lifted his head and allowed her to scratch his neck and chest.  You’ve come back.  You’re a naughty boy, you know that?  Then she saw me.  Who’s this you’ve brought with you, huh?  Why, you’re just a kitten, aren’t you?  Oh, but what a handsome one.  Oh, yes you are.  You’re a handsome kitty.  She leaned down and tickled me under my chin.  Her nails were long and pointed, and she knew exactly how to scratch me.  Before I knew it I was purring too.  So Prince is showing you the ropes, is he?  She said.  You be careful now.  Prince can be wicked, can’t you, Prince?  You take care of him, Prince.  You hear me? 

Now I knew why all the cats hung around her.  She not only knew just how to scratch you, but also how to talk to you too.  Well, she said, let’s see what I’ve got for my handsome boys, shall we? 

She reached behind her chair for a bag and pulled out little chucks of meat and dropped them on the floor at her feet.  It’s chicken, she said.  I’ve taken all the bones out.  And remember, share!   Prince gorged himself and left a few pieces for me.  All the traveling had made me hungry, but I didn’t get to eat much because Prince was heading through a door.  The other cats were glaring at me, and NO WAY was I going to be left behind.  Now where’re you off to?  The old woman said.  Come and see me before you leave, you hear?  If Prince heard, he didn’t care, as I followed him up the stairs to the next floor.

(to be continued)

If you can’t remember who Prince is, click HERE to read the blog where Prince is introduced.

To read about when Prince and Jonesy first met click HERE.



Peter Elbling Mr. Vinégar BlogI finally fell asleep trying to console myself that cats had an excellent sense of direction.  Hadn’t they made films about cats travelling across half a continent to reunite with their owners?  When those films had come out I had dismissed them as sentimental claptrap, but now I desperately hoped they were true.  The very next moment I flew into a rage at the unnamed thief who had stolen Jonesy and immediately called the police to file a report.  When the desk officer heard that Jonesy was a cat, he suggested I call the local shelter.  I promptly reminded him of the police motto to protect and serve, at which point he threatened to arrest me if I ever called the station again. No wonder this country is going to the dogs!

As soon as it was light I put fresh food and water outside the door convinced that Jonesy would return for his morning meal.  He didn’t.  I called in sick to Maps and Globes and walked the streets calling his name and asking everyone I met if they had seen him.  My luck was no better than the night before.  But refusing to believe the worst I bought a piece of fresh fish and cooked it for when Jonesy came home.  I told myself he had overslept somewhere and would come in for lunch.  He didn’t.  By evening I was a nervous wreck.  I missed the affectionate purr, the insistent little whine, the soft fur.  I remembered the times he had run across my chest in the bath.  The way he scrambled up and down the stairs of my loft.  How he fell asleep on my chest.  I tried to watch television but I couldn’t concentrate.  It was only after I had unwittingly listened to an entire album of something called Megadeath on the radio that I realized exactly how upset I was.