Over the summer, I got to know this big guy. Every day we had an adventure bigger than the last! Here are a few highlights:
When no one is around, I like to think of Neville as Emperor of Short Street. He reclines on his cat tree while being fed and fanned by other cats paying tribute and watches the gladiator battles between mice – the loser becomes lunch. If that doesn’t fill him, “Bring me the head of a pig!” he cries. He tolerates us humans as necessary caregivers until his true owner returns.
Today he took me to the literal rat races – a whole chariot tournament in Neville’s honor by the rats of Short. Losers became dinner, of course. Neville is a benevolent ruler, though, setting the tournament winner free, one lucky rat!
Happy to be inside, away from the heat, he was keeping tabs on the street, thinking of ways to keep the people happy while the weather turns oppressive. More mouse gladiator games may come later in the week, but Neville has decreed a day of rest (as long as his bowl is full and he is entertained). All others may lounge, relax, snooze, nap, rest, recline, or siesta, emulating their fair ruler. If the mood should strike, playtime will also be acceptable.
And I thought weekday Neville was a wild a crazy guy – weekend Neville makes me question how I live my life. He tried to hide it, but I could tell he’d been having ladies over and didn’t want me hanging around because more were coming over later. I told him to be safe and not be cavalier with their feelings – he gave me a sage nod before shooing me out the door. Later, when I inquired about the rest of his weekend, “Don’t ask,” he said. Apparently the rat chariot races went late, and he had just ushered out his ladies before I arrived. He was content with a lot of belly rubs and ear scratches today, revving that purr engine. He is the sweetest, most benevolent emperor I have ever served!
I’ve been mentally preparing myself for this day, my last one with the emperor. We’ve had a lot of good times – the Coliseum, feasts aplenty, and those two redheads… I’ve said too much. Neville has been my buddy and a mentor, showing me how to live. I tried to give him a worthy sendoff, and he promised to have the house clean and free of guests by your return. Short Street will remember our celebration for generations to come!