Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Ballerina Cat and the Funny Hat People - Chapter One

Once upon a time there was a really cool cat. Most of the other cats in the neighborhood thought he was an overly dramatic, egotistical, extremely neurotic pain in the Kominsky. But he wasn't all those things. At least, not at the same time. But he was hyper-active and could fire his behavior into the world like a big, modern machine gun. If a cat wasn't paying close attention, it could all melt together- a real Kominsky moment. Yet he was cool. His name was Nikolast. He wants you to remember that.

Nikolast didn't bother with many of the finer details of life. He discovered at a very young age that excellence was not measured by how well you performed something you loved. Excellence was measured by how well you performed something other people wanted for you, or from you. Passion was for idiots- losers with no hope of success. Nikolast wanted success. His mommy, Ms. Lovely, told him so every day. "Niko, if you study hard and choose your career wisely, one day you will be be a huge success."

But Nikolast also wanted to create new sounds, explore new plummets, and boldly go where no cat had gone before. Throughout Kitten High School, Nikolast excelled at his passionate interests and barely noticed his technical requirements. Yeah, yeah, stalk the birdie, wait, wait, pounce, kill. Whatever.

When he was a kitten, Nikolast wrote a beautiful cat melody. It went like this: "Mwar, mwar, moew, moew, meoo, moee, meowie, meow shmooey shmoo." I don't know if humans can understand how incredible and amazing this feat truly was. But you would expect cats to understand.

"Son, we don't meow like that. We meow simple melodies that humans can understand like 'meow' which means 'I would like a massage now', or 'meow meow' which means 'you should have fed me a half hour ago.' We don't want to teach the humans our language. If they discover we are as smart as they are, they will quickly declare war upon us and wipe us out. We simply do not have the skills with our paws to fire weapons back at them. Besides, we live in the United States, a free country. They believe in first strike nuclear determent. Very few cats survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now embrace your freedom and do as you're told."

Nikolast listened to his father, but all he really heard was "complacency" and "conformity" and "sizzle" and a few meows that may have meant, "I would like more catnip" If he was so free, why couldn't he be free to sing sparkling cat melodies? He vowed to be different. If he could not change the world, then he would not be changed by the world either.

At this point in the story, you are probably thinking, oh I know where this is headed- Nikolast is going to become a great singer, become known all over the world, and change the world for the better. He may even be invited to write an editorial in The New York Times about Africa and all the jazz cats living in Ghana. People will 'ooo' and 'ahh' at him every time he speaks.

Perhaps you are thinking- Oh I know where this is going- Nikolast is going to become a great singer and dancer, known all over the world, make millions of kitty dollars, become isolated and destroyed by his fame, addicted to drugs and alcohol, chased by paparazzi, and stalked by fancats (also called fanaticats) who are obsessed with wearing his fur as a coat. Eventually, he will slide into a drug-induced stupor and die of an overdose of sleeping pills. Wow. You really have a vivid imagination. Go write your own story.

Perhaps, like me, you are asking yourself, "Hey! Where are the funny hat people? Exactly. They're not here yet. This is a story with plot development.

After swearing to never to be changed by society, Nikolast promptly forgot his promise. He graduated from Kitten High with great passions and average grades. He enrolled in Catalist Community College. Even though his family was poor, the government had established an excellent loan program.

By this time, Niko's mother convinced him to be a success as a lawyer. Nikolast took some lawyering classes. He learned that many lawyers are sly like foxes, and can stalk a defendant like a cat, but most were sharks. He didn't want to be the only cat in a room full of sharks.

Then he decided to become a success as a Doctor. Nikolast took some doctoring classes. One day, he went to the teaching laboratory to study anatomy. There, pinned to the surgery table, was a dead cat. Niko ran for the exit. There was no way he was going to cut open a dead cat.

Next, Nikolast tried engineering. He sat through many classes about engineering. Nikolast thought the subjects were very boring. Mostly, it semed that engineers were trying to find ways to make money by not allowing other smart people to design stuff. One day he asked his professor what it was that distinguished engineers from other intellectuals. "We have a Professional seal!", his teacher replied. No wonder bridges fall into the river, Nikolast thought.

One day, Nikolast was walking past a room full of female cats in tights and tutus They were balancing their paws on a railing and staring at themselves in the mirror. Now this was something interesting! The next day, Nikolast changed his college major to ballet. It was the first of many, many mistakes Nikolast would make in his life. And it made his father and mother very angry.

"Son, your mother and I are very angry," said his father, Nicodemis. "You will have to choose another major or we will end all support for your college."

Nikolast sighed.

"Dad, this isn't 'The Dead Poets Society'. You aren't paying for my education, the government is, through a loan program at a participating bank. And I have to pay the loan back. Even if the very large, nationally known bank would fold up one day like a tent at a Jesus revival, even if the Government were 100 trillion dollars in debt- issuing furloughs and I.O.U.'s to its employees and borrowing billions of dollars from China, even if the economy collapsed like a huge blimp on fire and the only jobs available were at Cat Burger, I still have to pay back this loan, and at 6 and a 1/2 percent interest. Now if you don't mind, I will choose whatever major I want, unless you are offering to pay back my loan for me." Nikolast glared at his father, claws extended.

"You will make a beautiful ballerina, my boy." Nicodemis patted is son on the head. "Oh my, look at the time. Gotta get home before the humans lock the front door! Bye son!"

And so Nikolast, a calico cat yearning to be cool, began ballerina classes.

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