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. 

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