[Yet another response to a RocNaNo Writing Challenge: Couch Potato. In this case I started with the picture provided and sprinkled in a combination of personal experience and Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men (or at least what little I know of it, having never actually read the work.) Oh, and I kept it in the context of my Taste of Magic story. What do you think?]
Patton held Yvonne’s hand as she led him into her living room, a space with large windows that looked out into the lush back yard, and warm inviting furniture that bore the unmistakable signs of a cat-dominated household. The principal sign was right there in front of him, a huge ginger-and-white long-haired cat that was sprawled out on his back in the middle of the sofa, grooming himself. The cat looked up as they entered, and in a surprising show of modesty (for a cat) rolled his hips to cover what he had been licking.
“This is your cat?”
She went over and picked up the monster, hugging him to her face. Either the cat’s fur was remarkably long, or Yvonne was stronger than she looked to be able to lift the enormous beast. Patton figured it was the latter.
“This is my George, and I will hug him, and pet him, and squeeze him, and love him!” She squeezed the cat tightly and kissed him on the head, which the cat endured with a grumpy look on his face. She then plopped down on the sofa, still holding the cat in her lap, and reached up to pull Patton down to sit next to her. He landed and was immediately coated in cat hair. Oh well!
“So, does George do anything productive around here?”
“Of course he does, silly! George is my familiar!”
“I kind of figured that. What I meant is, what does he actually do for you? I have Hutton, my raven, who’s generally useful for gathering intelligence and watching over me when I’m having to deal with nasty people like your kidnappers” she tensed up at their mention, but Patton pressed on, “but George here looks pretty sedentary to me. How does he help you?”
The cat wasn’t about to take this insult lying down. George rolled off Yvonne and climbed onto Patton’s chest, purring loudly as he head-butted his face. Then he turned around to swipe his tail across Patton’s nose and started kneading Patton’s lap. Patton yelped as pointy claws found sensitive flesh between his legs. He raised his arms to push the cat away, but George arranged himself to drape across both Patton’s and Yvonne’s lap so that Yvonne got the purring end and Patton was left with the smelly end. The only indication that George was upset with Patton was the occasional twitch at the end of his otherwise still tail.
“Ok, I see he makes a pretty good chastity belt.” Yvonne laughed at this and scratched George behind the ears. “Anything else?” he asked.
“The primary purpose of any familiar is to help a witch or wizard stay sane. George has been invaluable to me for that, especially since the … kidnapping. Haven’t you, boy?” She leaned forward to rub her face in his fur and the purring got louder.
“Yes, I’ll grant you that, and I can tell he’s been doing a good job.” The twitching of the tail stopped and the cat turned his head to look at him. “Anything else? I need to set my expectations for Hutton, otherwise he’s going to turn into a pizza mooch.”
“George doesn’t eat pizza!”
“But Hutton does. Between pizza and Pop Tarts that bird’s eating up what little money I have left! What should he be doing to earn his keep?”
“Well, like I told you before, cats are the guardians of the home. This means that George here is always sensitive to strangers approaching, and in addition to killing any mice that should foolishly come into the house, he warns me of any magical threats and keeps things safe for the sprites and brownies. And as an added bonus, he keeps the rabbits from destroying my garden.”
“He chases the rabbits, eh?” Patton turned to George, who looked back at him. “What do you do with the rabbits?” George just gave him a blank look. “Tell me about the rabbits, George!” Patton pleaded.
This was too much for the cat. George stood up, and with one final dig in Patton’s lap jumped to the floor and stalked out of the living room, tail held high.