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Fup. Store Cat.

Chapter 51

In Loving Memory
Fup. Store Cat.
1988 — 2007

fup 18 fup 19
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Fup. Store Cat.
Fup watercolor courtesy of reader Linda McDougall. Click here for a larger view.
Bear
bear
Zooey
zooey

see Fup's photo album

Hal pushes the empty book cart into Tenth Avenue — and straight into the trap. Four cats and a growling ninety-pound Labrador surround him suddenly on the trolley tracks, demanding that he surrender the cart. It's Hal's fourth day of work at Powell's. (The animals know better than to try this with someone who's been through orientation.) The cart is empty. Who wouldn't hand it over?

Immediately, with a degree of precise coordination Olympic bobsledders would envy, the cats spring into position on the cart's shelves: Cesar and Fup on the bottom for ballast, Oliver lying belly-down along the length of the second shelf, and Bear standing on the open-aired top, his front paws clinging to the vertical shelf-back, claws dug into the wood. Zooey, the Lab, shoulders the cart up onto the sidewalk and, on cue (together, the cats scream, "Do it!") he starts it rolling downhill past the Annex toward the cross traffic on Ninth Avenue.

Only now does Hal come to his senses, breaking into a sprint toward the intersection - too late. Thirty feet ahead, slaloming through midday pedestrians, Bear steels his body against the speed and the wind, his knees bent to absorb the shock of partitioned sidewalk pavement as the cart accelerates past the employee parking lot, racing toward the curb and whatever traffic approaches from behind the blind corner.

The famous cats, Hal realizes, are going to die. And it will be entirely his fault.

"Aaaaaahhhhhh!" the cats scream. (Later, Gale will confirm that she heard them from inside the bakery.)

As always, they play the scene for all it's worth: Bear, ever in control, waits until the last instant to kick out his legs, tug at the shelf-back, and twist the cart safely sideways, six inches short of the street and the delivery truck just now approaching the intersection. The cart stops on a dime, out of trouble, and, as planned, out of frantic Hal's line of vision.

He'd have made a remarkable windsurfer, Bear would have, if only cats could swim.

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The Trip to Kahani

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Fup's Picks

That Cat That Changed My Life: 50 Cats Talk About How They Became Who They Are That Cat That Changed My Life: 50 Cats Talk About How They Became Who They Are
by Bruce Eric Kaplan

"All these cats lead exciting and varied lives wholly independent of the human race," notes the editor in his Introduction. Well, duh. Scant attention has been paid to the role of community in modern cat culture, so what a relief that here, finally, fifty articulate felines set the record straight. Funny, sad, occasionally shocking, but never less than true, these brave monologues reaffirm our interdependency in ways that choreographed public displays such as Paws Across America never can.

Unleashed: Poems by Writers' Dogs Unleashed: Poems by Writers' Dogs
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In "Dog Kibble," Tasha Baxter's verse exhibits a brutal economy of words: "Life is never meaningless," her villanelle announces, "there is always food." Here and throughout this collection these authors demand your attention, as if to bark, "You can send me to my room for yelling at the neighbors but you cannot silence what woofs in my heart!" Among the selections nominated for Best American Writing by Pets 2000 are Bob Barker Barry's sordid and hilarious hallucinogenic escapades with Lynda; a tragic, posthumous prose poem by Marrow Irving; and Sadie Louise Lamott's "Spoon River Sadie Louise," a wildly metered exploration of the cross-cultural dynamics within a household occupied by dogs, cats, birds, and small children. The sheer intellect of these collected pieces will renew your faith in dogs.

Is Your Cat Too Fat?Is Your Cat Too Fat?
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Too fat for what? And what business is it of this Meredith person's anyway? Bronwen sounds like the kind of lady I wouldn't like at all.

 

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