Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shimmee That Thin

Mom Says:

A stranger (French or foreign) who walked into the Dog of the Field’s tavern that night would have been sooo confused. A local walking in would have thought that France had been taken over by little grey aliens, fuzzy and Not Like Us, Cher, Not At All.

Luckily, however, the tavern was filled on that night of nights with foreigners who just didn’t know any better. They thought to themselves, “Huh. This iz gud innertaynmint.”

And that is because so many of the tourists were from England, Germany, Italy, Russia, and Taiwan. We can’t exactly expect people from so far away to understand our broad and deep culture, now can we?

Musashi Sez:

Um, so, speekin as not so mutch “us” as othr folks migt, I got to say, “No.” We shud egspekt grayt thins from all thoz furnrz whu vizits us, dontchu thingk? They shud be at leest as wondrfull as us, or eevn wonderfuller, sins they is so mutch olderer than us.

Mom Says:

Regardless of who is best, the fact is that the music coming up from the tavern was magnetic. Folks grabbed hold of each other and started a Conga line that wound in and out of the tavern proper and then started up the stairs to the second floor…

Friday, September 24, 2010

Myoozik In a Egsytin Tempo

Mom Says:

How can we describe the atmosphere of the little tavern in southern France, with its sudden infusion of a singer from southern Spain and musicians from Jamaica performing a song from the United States? Imagine, then, a small grey and white cat with a big personality, standing on his hind legs on a small, round table, singing:

Son nom était Lola.
Elle était girl
avec les plumes jaunes dans ses cheveux
et une coupure de robe en bas à là.

(Her name was Lola.
She was a girl
with yellow plumes in her hair
and a cut robe over there.)

And then imagine how the sound of tiny steel drums played by Jamaican kitteez, with even tinier little dreadlocks, fill the room in an unaccustomed way, accompanied by the sandy shake of maracas (very, very small maracas), gradually fills the room in a little way, with the assured voice of the kittee (the voice bigger than the kittee himself) inserts itself into the larger sound of the tavern’s conversation, gradually wedging a larger and larger space for itself.

Then turn to see who those musicians are, who that kittee is.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Maykin Frenz wift Jamaykn Toorists

Musashi Sez:

Yah, I noe that folks sez that berds of a fethr flock together, but us kitteez A) not got the fethrz an B) don’t cayr anee mor fer flockin than we doez fer bein herded.

Notwiftstandin that (as Le Prof’soor wud say), its tru that yu has yer birft littr an yu has the littr of yer hart. Myoozishunz noe this bettrer than evrboddee. Befor Paco had been in the tavern room 5 minitz, he had mayd frendz wift a buntch of Jamaykin kitteez wift instrmints (cuz they wuz conveenyintlee on toor in sothrn Frans). But givn that Paco cud not speek anee Frentch at all, an their Frentch hads the aksint, I still has not figgrd out how he convinsd them to plae backup fer him. But he wuz a kittee wift a mishun, and he REELEE wanted to sing his solo.

So I gess it just a mystree. Huh.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sayvin the Dae, in Charactr

Mom Says:

If you have never seen a dachshund wearing heavy-duty earphones and an expression of almost constipated attention, then I cannot describe the state of Le Prof’soor as he struggled to focus on his equipment over the loud strategic argument taking place in the small room. (And if you have, I don’t need to.)

Perro and Sabaka argued heatedly about the best way to break into the room across the hall. Picotero Paco kept trying to get a word in edgewise to advise against a direct frontal assault, but they paid him no attention, and finally he left. None of the dogs noticed.

Musashi Sez:

Huh. This so typcal of doggeez, eevn the bestest of them. They always arguing about whu got the bestest, baddest ideer or, possibul, teeft, whil us kitteez gots to do all the reel werk.

An this is whut I has lernd from thoz smart Writer Bunneez whu gets us out of all them plot messiz we keeps getting ourselves into: folks will always sayv the dae accordin to their partiklr charactr. So whil the brayv an valiunt Gato was riskin one of his lifs an all his limbs in a dayrin feet of ajilitee, Picotero Paco simplee went down to the common room in the tavern, an started maykin hisself som frendz.

Mom Says:

Twenty minutes later, the dogs heard the jaunty music coming from downstairs and went to investigate—even Le Prof’soor went, saying that he had a good feeling about this—all negative evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

Musashi Sez:

Yah. Yer naytiv Frentch speekrz reelee talks lik that. They eevn wers than them Inglish.

Kittee on the Corniss

Mom Sez:

Slowly, Gato made his way along the ledge beneath the window of their small crowded room. All this backing and forthing along the ledge seemed to be taking two weeks. Gato had brought Le Prof’soor’s paper back to the other dogs and told them the special knock to knock so that Le Prof’soor would let them into his room down the hall. Now all Gato had to do was navigate this ledge, which was exceedingly narrow even for an athletic cat like himself. His centimetering around the rectangular circumference of the little inn was making him nostalgic for his the espionage days of his kittenhood.

“Huh,” thought Gato to himself. (We ar tranzlaytin fer yu. Kthxbai.) “I seem to has gaynd som weyt on mai travlz. It musta ben all thoz taystee fishiz that them Greek fishrmen caugt fer us on the boat. I’m goin to has to start dietin wen this partiklr adventchoor is ovr.”

When he was halfway around the building, he heard a sound that sounded…almost…like steel drums and maracas…

But, gosh, were the odds of that?

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Not-So-Borin Ekspozishun Bit, Part I

Musashi Sez:

Our collektiv faysiz is pink, cuz we lost this partiklr tranzmishun from our ajint Gato. We hadz it all along, but we fergot wer we puttid it. So now we catch up fer yu.

Mor of Gato’s Dialog an Doin Stuff (Tranzlaytid):

Wift mai deep bakgroun in espionazh, the prospek of clymin out the windo, cayrfullee trottin across the narro ledj to the windo 3 windoz down from us, an then lickin the glass until the sillee intrlektchurl doggee gets around to notissin me an opnz his windo…well, let’s jus say that I wuz egspektin to get mai tayl froz, eevn in summr, whil I waytid.

But this Prof’soor wuz smarty-pantsier than I egspectid. Wuns he figgrd out the problim wift his radio communicayshun thingy, he egspektid me (ME!) to come to him fer egsplaynin. It’s tru. I almos started likin him. But then I got ahold of maiself.

“Yah,” I sed, “so it obveeus that the stoopid CIA not so gud at thingkin about eelektrikl thingeez. So us, we cleerlee gots to thingk past that. How kin we mayk a diverzhun that don’t rely on our technoljee? I meen, look at whut we gots: me an Perro, egspeeriensd spyz, plus Sabaka, whu’ll drool on anneeboddee whu luks nys, an Paco, oy Santa Maria, Picotero Paco, whu wud sing in front of 2 def mouseez if they sat still long eenuf…”

Le Prof’soor sat suddenlee an lukd lik he wuz thingkin verree hard. Aftr a whil of that, he sed, “So, we ar trying to deestrakt zee peeplez in zee taverno part of ze inn, yes?”

“Of cours…”

“Hmm. So… whut we needs most is…a reezn fer focussin on somthin else…” He sighed. “Whut mayks folks chanj their intenshunz? Akshun? Myoozik? Mor vino?”

“Shur, som of that…”

“Hmm. So problee, whut we needs most is the Perfikt Song.” He went bak to his compyootrz then, as if it wuz me whu hadsd to mayk deesizhunz…

I thogt hard. I did whut that fellr Winnie the Pooh sed: thingk, thingk, thingk. An then it came to me… I sed to him, “So…we needs yu to look up, um, the leeriks to this Barry Mannilow song, in Frentch.”

Le Prof’soor hezitaytid. “An am I goin to reegrret zees partikularr Googl?

“Yah. Problee, yu will. Un million pardonne…”

But then wen he lookd at the strip of paypr in mai paw, he let out a sig of relief. “O, this? I has this on my iPod! Heer! Tayk this! I noe egzaktlee how to halp yu arranj zees partikularr deeverzeeon!”

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Not-So-Borin Ekspozishun Bit, Part I

Musashi Sez:

Now, I noe that yu all ar likin that Jimbond-esq “Cat-of-Akshun” vibe that we ben workin on an orf this past yeer or so, but franklee, it has occurrd to me (an mai perdoosrz) that the mooviez an the TV shoz that ar reellee hittin it big laytlee ar the ensombul kind. An I am OK wift that, as annee kittee wud be, cuz when yu is one (verree importint peeple) in a ensombul sho, yu gets to has mor naps. So I am comin to bleev in co-oper-ayshun an lik that. Eventchoolee, I migt eevn see mai way to co-star billin, but we shudn’t get previus.

So yu shud egspekt to heer mor Narrativ Voysiz in the neer fyutchr. Lik now, fer instins.

Gato’s Innr Dialog an Outr Doin Stuff (Tranzlaytid into Inglish Fer Yu):

Ther I wuz in St. Chien de la Compagne, a shady town by nigt, as mos towns is. I sat whippin mai tayl around as the 2 dogeez an the 1 kittee performr confuzzld theirselfs eevn furthr by talking about our lojistiks problimz in Inglish. It’s 1 thing to be confuzzld in yer naytiv tong, but when yu starts tryin to be confuzzld in yer 2nd or 3rd? Huh. Look out.

The plan had ben a gud plan, as planz went, but in mai egspeeriens, plans onlee gotchu in the dor—whethr it wuz the dor of yer laydee-frend’z apartment or of an undrgroun bunkr, it not mayk so much diffrins.

The mayn problim, accordin to mai old buddee, Perro, wuz that we had no gud reezn to go see Le Prof’soor, which wuz bad, cuz his radio freeqwensee wuz blank. Cleerlee, a technoljee malfunkshun, he sed, an I agreed. Sabaka, the Russhin spy-doggee whu I had liberaytid frum the Cairo prizn, wuz still doin the whol, “Oboyoboyoboy! I’m free! I jus luvs yu gyz!!!” An shur, I’m glad I got the kid out, but the drool? I hadn’t plannd on that. Whut is he anneewae? A St. Bernard?

Off in the cornr, the flamenco singr/Bursel sprouts farmr was brooin tea an singin (verree qwietlee, FOR A CHANGE!!!) som vokl warmups about hisself. Which left, as it offn did, me, Gato, the practikl, sensibl kittee, to sayv the dae. I sed to Perro, “I’ll jus go see about this whol raydio thin. Cud yu opn the windo fer me? Kthxbai!”

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Settin Up Our Akshun Seenz

Musashi Sez:

That saym night at the Hotel Burgundy, Alex an I dined pertee well, cayrfullee notissin the peeples in the littul restrant whu wuz verree busy not notissin us. This kin be verree con-spic-u-ous if yu noez the signz to luk fer.

We kept ‘em gessin fer a long tim (eevn havin dezzert!!!) whil we blathrd about our tooristee planz until eevn I wuz bord…

Mom Says:

Meanwhile, across the rough-hewn road, a lot more exciting things were going on.

From his room across from Chambre X, Le Prof’soor was busy emptying the pockets of his hoody, muttering to himself. (For ease of narration, we are going to pretend that he was muttering in English. Go along with us here. Kthxbai.)

“Bug Seekayr, sheck! Command poste meecro-laptoppe, sheck! WiFi Chambre Bug v. 3.0, sheck! Radio-communique-tor, sheck! Toothbrush et dentifrice du chien, sheck!”

(OK, Le Prof’soor is big on dentl hyjeen. So soo us. Huh.)

While some very brisk violin music played, harmonizing in surprising ways with the underlying accordion theme, Le Prof’soor swiftly set up the Bug Seeker, Command-Post Micro Laptop and WiFi Room Bug (v. 3.0). Unfortunately, when he went to set up the Radio Communicator, he realized that it had not come with the appropriate set of batteries, and (being CIA equipment) its plug was not equipped with a European adaptor.

Zut, alors!” said the Prof’soor to himself. “So I can find out what eez going on in ze room across, but I cannot tell anneeone!”

That same night, down the hall, Perro, Gato, Sabaka and Picoterro Paco were settling into small suite. Octavian had tyrannically demanded that everyone “hitch-hikin” in the Citroen “praktiss their Inglish” or be left to walk. So they were still endeavoring to speak the so-called international language, with mixed results.

Musashi Sez:

OK. Let’s be cleer heer. If yu hadsd to fly in a verree littul plane, frum Paris to Versailles, wift 1 hoomin peeple, 3 doggee peeples, and that 1 an onliest othr kittee peeple singin “I Havta Liv” by that John Denvr fellr, egsept in Spannish!, then yah, yu’d be pertee tired of furrin langwidjiz, too.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Caysin Le Pen-see-on

Musashi Sez:

Well, we cud tell yu the detaylz about our seekret landin strip in Sothrn Frans an how we lokaytid the fansee penseeon wher the Bad KitteeNapprz had tuk Miz Felicitee, mai damzl in distress. But then we’d hav to kill yu, an we can’t afford to looz our onlee reedrz, so we’d rathr not. Instead, we’ll leev yu to imajin the hi-jinx, wild advenchrz, an yoos of formeedablah technoljee. I’ll wayt whil yu doz this.

La, la, la.

Yu all don? Gud sho! Now yu just has to imajin accordion myoozik, an the fansee Frentch sun settin slowlee on a littul villij….

Mom Says:

Among the gentle sounds of a warm, late-summer evening in St. Chien de la Compagne, crickets, the tinkle of cutlery, accordion music and rough laughter, a new sound, rough against the breeze, stood out.

rumble, rumble, bumpada, arf!, rumble, rumble…

The door of Le Boir du Chien opened, letting out golden light that spilled onto the form—(yu has to luk down a littul)—of a dachshund wearing a hoodie, parking a skateboard by the door. He entered the tavern attached to the little inn and barked (in an unmistakable Belgian accent), “Monsieur! Un chambre, s’il vous plait!”

Across the cobbled street, a little yellow Citroen pulled up and disgorged two dogs and two cats, all thanking the man and cat who remained in the car in English accented by Spanish. As the pack moved off to Le Boir de Chien, the cat in the car stretched irritably.

“Yah, I noe. De rien, de nada, whatevr. I need a nap an som noms!”

The black cat with the plumy tail and the bad attitude rode on the man’s shoulder into the fancier Hotel Burgundy. Then the street was left as before to wait for night to complete its fall.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Best to Avoyd the Yookliptis…

Mom Says:

Last week on Founder’s Day (08/08), our Writer Rabbits indulged in a small celebration involving gingko-infused carrot juice. What they did not anticipate was the group of panda cinematographers from the studio next door and the koalas from the lot down the street.

Now pandas are relatively trustworthy types even when they are cinematographers. But koalas, well, koalas are a different matter altogether. They’re Australian, after all.

Musashi Sez:

OK. Long storree short: By Sundae nigt, the bunneez’ car runnd out of gas an their littul bunnee blodstreemz runnd out of yookliptis likoor an ginko an all that carrit joos.

Which is jus as well if yu aks me, cuz them sekyooritee gardz at MGM (an 21 Cenchooree Fox an Dreemwerks an lik that) gottid reellee crankee about the bunneez zoomin around in their Ken an Barbee car.

I dunno why. It not lik ther wer all that mutch othr traffic to get in the wae.

But from our point of vyoo heer at Ajint 8’s Spy Jurnl, it has led to a sligt delay in the furthrin of our plotz.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Puttin Plot Messiz to Rigts, Part 2

Musashi Sez:

La, la, la. We is bak wift mor of that verree long “mon-tage” the bunneez writid fer us to get all our plot messiz bak in ordr. We ar mos graytful fer their artisitik skillz.

Mom (& the Bunneez) Sez:

“We’ll change all that’s gone before…”

* In the cabaret, Judi Dench, “M,” strolls singing among the tables. In passing, she pats Perro on the head, hands Alex a rose and winks. Alex unfolds the rose petals to reveal a note with GPS coordinates.

Cut to:

“Doing so much more…”

• The Greek boat ties up at a pier in Southern France. The white dog licks the Greek sailor’s face, while the black cat jumps down to the dock. The dog follows. There are many boats nearby. From one, steps a man in a pea coat, carrying a black cat-carrier and looking shifty. Gato and Sabaka nod to each other and follow him.

Cut to:

“Than falling in love…”

We see the cat-carrier on the man’s arms. We come closer and see wide yellow feline eyes look out through the black mesh.

Cut to:

“On an all-time high…”

An airfield by night. A taxi pulls up, lets out Alex and Perro, then pulls away.

Cut to:

“We’ll take on the world and win…”

Out of the darkness a jet-powered skateboard carrying an enormous grey cat, a Dachshund in a bowtie, a grey and white cat, and on top, a black cat with a black plumy tail, comes to a screeching halt, cutting off the music.

Cut to:

Alex says, “Agent Eight, M says that Felicity was last seen near Versailles. We have a Cessna. Perro’s flying us. Gato and Sabaka are already there. Let’s go.”

“Panther” says, “I’ll let my people know.” He trots off.

Eight says, “Meet Prof’soor. He comin too. He halpt me figgr out whu is behind it all. I egsplayn on the wae.”

Paco says, “Yo no puedo creer que corten mi solo.” (I can’t believe that they cut my solo.)

Agent Eight says, “Picotero, this no tim fer solos. This tim fer evrboddee workin together.”

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Puttin the Plot Rigt

Musashi Sez:

OK. Yu has to imajin that Dame Judi Dench, whu we call “M,” is singing the Jimbond song, “All Tim High” whil the folloin “mon-tage” is happenin on yer compyootr screen. Kthxbai.

Mom an the Bunneez Sez:

“All I wanted was a sweet distraction for an hour or two…”

• In the basement under the Paris Agricultural Show, a Dachshund in a bowtie (Le Prof’soor) unrolls plans on the floor by walking across them. An overlarge grey cat (“Panther”) steps down from his couch to point to the rocket-car schematics on the page. A black cat with a white splash at the throat (Agent Eight) lashes his plumy black tail and narrows his pertee yellow eyes.

Cut to:

“Had no intention to do the things we’ve done…”

• A black cat and a thin white dog trot past the Greek Parthenon. They wander through town until they see a few old men playing cards at an outdoor café. The cat lashes his tail. The dog sits down grinning and scratches his ear.

Cut to:

“Funny how it seems in love, when you don’t look, you find…”

• Alex and Perro walk through the Left Bank of Paris. They come upon Cabaret à Noé and walk in. At the tables where the audience sits, there are dogs, cats, humans and the occasional parrot. On stage, Judi Dench sings.

Cut to:

“But now we’re two of a kind…”

• The Dachshund is pushing colored wires into plastic explosives. Agent Eight and “Panther” are building a jet-powered skateboard.

Cut to:

“We move as one.”

• At the outdoor café in Athens, Gato sits on the small round table and pulls all the money to himself. The two men in Greek fishermen’s caps bridle, but Sabaka, the thin white dog, bares his teeth.

Cut to:

An engine-powered fishing boat, steered by one of the Greek gamblers, passes the heel of Italy, sailing west. Gato and Sabaka stand in the prow with the wind blowing in their faces.

Cut to:

“We’re an all-time high!”

• The door of the basement cell explodes. Through the smoke speeds a rocket-powered skateboard, on which ride the low-slung brown dog, the enormous grey cat, and the black cat with the white tie and plumy black tail. They shoot through the flames and smoke, speed into the elevator. The elevator rises and opens on the first floor. The doors open and the skateboard shoots out, speeds through the Agricultural Show. Agent Eight scoops up Picotero Paco on their way out, as they are chased by Labradors, St. Bernards, and Bloodhounds into the night streets of Paris…

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mammal Resources Dept.

Mom Says:

Well, our Rabbit Writers drive a hard bargain. Here is the deal we finally negotiated with them.

Our subscribers have been paying $0/month for this blog since its inception, with no increase. So now we’re going to double the subscription fee. That way, we can also double the writers’ pay, since all of the subscription funds go directly to their salary anyway. We realize that this means that our subscribers will need to make some sacrifices, but we believe that showing our writers how much we need and appreciate them is important for the ongoing quality production of this blog.

Musashi Sez:

We also throws in a latte masheen an longr carrit brayks. Cuz we ar a Bunnee-Frendlee Employr. Huh.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cleenin Up Othr Peeplz’ Messiz


From: Cheef Writr Rabbit
To: Our Doofus Perdoosrz

Havin ben awae fer the las 3 monfts scoutin locayshunz, vacayshunnin, an cleenin ottrz pro bono, we mus admit our dismae to find the folloin plot messiz:

1. The star is bein held priznr in a baysmint unnr the Paris Agrcultoorul Sho, wift a French pefressr an a ovrgron CIA ajint.

2. The co-stars on locayshun in Paris ar “liayzin” wift the Paris polees (an yu can’t spel “liayzin” wiftout lazy) but they’r getting paid aneewae.

3. Our co-stars in Ejypt ar left hitch-hikin frum Cairo bak to Paris cuz our perdoosrz fergot to put their transport into the budjit.

4. Our egstra in Paris is tryin to steel co-star status (an salree) by singin disco at the Agrcultoorul Sho, an we can’t figgr whether this gud or bad, cuz it goin to add to the budjit, but the Paris polees kinda liks him, an also our Beljian audience is verree fond of him—he has a big fan bayse in Brussels.

So on account of all this, we writr bunneez demand a rayz. Huh.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Brussels Sprouts an Kittee Nip

Mom Says:

Silently Agent 8 slunk forward. Suddenly, just as he approached the last pile of boxes, a strange smell met his nose and then a long, brown, low-slung person stepped around the corner.

They met nose-to-nose. Agent 8 crouched in surprise, but the stranger barked out, “Zut, alors! Eet eez a kittee! Allo, Kittee. Venez avec moi. Come, let us go. Allons-y! Do you not speak?”

Octavian sniffed the odd dog’s snout curiously, wondering about his funny bowtie, but the dog gave him no time.

“Pardon, m’sieur! Je m’appelle Professeur Pierre Sebastian Agincourt. You may call me Prof’soor, as everyone does. Come!”

Bewildered, Octavian followed the waddly little dog around another corner to look up to see a couch, its cushions cast aside. And on that couch lay a grey cat the size of a German shepherd. The purr Octavian had heard before grew loud.

Prof’soor said, wth great apparent satisfaction, “I introduce to you, ‘Panther.’”

“His naym is Panthr?”

“Mais, non! Yu must say eet weeth the marks of quotation, like thees: … ‘Panther.’”

Octavian sat down abruptly, looking up at the overgrown feline person.

“So… ‘Panther,’ yer mom naymd yu wift yer own qwotayshun marks?”

The cat snorted. “No, foolish kitten. I am a spy wift the Amerikan CIA. ‘Panther’ is mai code naym.”

Oh no! The CIA? What had Octavian gotten himself into?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Halpin Cleen Up the Ottr-Cleenr-Upprz!

Musashi Sez:

Well, as yu all noez, our Bunnee Writrz has ben off fer qwit a whil, halpin cleen ottrz in the Golf of Meksiko. This wuz a messee job, an it tayk grayt strength of noz to do it. Cuz it turn out that yu can’t cleen somboddee els whu is that messee wift oil, witfout getting messee yerself.

But now our Bunneez hav fynlee com bak to us. They ar egzawstid an we ar still tryin to git the oil out of their fur. It is verree bad. We eevn had Vetrinarianz com ovr to the stoodio to halp us out. An that is not a pertee ideer, eevn if yu ar not a doggee. Huh.

We think that yu has seen pikchurz of the oil-coverd aminuls befor. Yu has seen the ottrz an the pelicanz, yu has seen the sea-turtlz an the fishiz, an of cors, yu has sended monnee to the conservayshun peeplez whu is halpin wift this HOOMIN PEEPLEZ’ tremendous awful STOOPID mistayk!!!

HOWEVR, if yu hasn’t given som monee to halp the creechurz yer carz an stuff haz halpd to mayk verree sik, or if yu has, but aftr havin seen the ugglee pikchurz of the oil-covrd aminuls, yu has that ick-oog!-whutkinIdooz? feelin agen, then we kin recommend some sorsiz fer halpin out:

ONE is the International Fund For Animal Welfare:

They does verree gud stuff all ovr the werld. ANOTHER is the Humane Society of the United States:

All them aminulz an birdeez is tryin to liv an fly an swim an stuff wift all that icky blak oil on them. Yu hoomin peeplez wift thumbz gotta do somthin, if onlee becuz yu got them thumz and we dosn’t. Huh.

Kthx Vreemutch. Bai.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Not Egzaktlee a Dunjeon

Mom Says:

Dieter the Rottweiler carried Agent Eight downstairs to the “dungeon,” a basement filled with large, noisy machines. At the far end, a door opened to reveal a white room filled with big boxes. Dieter tossed Agent Eight inside, slammed the door, and trotted off muttering in German about fur between his teeth. Octavian, no happier about the “annoyin doggee slobbr,” sat down and bathed himself thoroughly before turning to examine his surroundings.

The room was a mountain range of boxes, many marked “This Side Up” with arrows interpreting “up” in creative ways. Octavian’s whiskers twitched. It would be fun to continue examining by leaping from box to box…

But no. This was a sort of dungeon, after all, even if it didn’t look it. Any one of these boxes could be filled with TNT or Gel-Ignite. Or Jack Russell terriers. Or water, even. He’d have to go cautiously.

He padded silently between the boxes, his whiskers forward, all his senses alert. His ears telescoped around at the slightest fall of dust on the grey carpet. And then they swiveled toward the far right of the room and he stopped rigid in a half-squat on his silky black haunches.

A deep regular vibration, like a purr, but not like the purr of any domestic feline on Ceiling cat’s good green earth—too deep, too loud, too—

But it was a purr of sorts. What was back there? A tiger? A lynx? A lioness?

Octavian quivered with anticipation.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Feeld Notz from Command Centrul

Musashi Sez:

Meenwhil, bak at the fansee orinj hotel suite in Paris, Alex wuz “liasing” (his werd. huh.) wift the Frentch polees on one phon and wift M on anothr. Pero wuz in the bedroom wift Alex’s vois-operaytid compyootr, maykin a feeld journl, keeping our noets all correct. Alex’s compyootr is reellee niftee, cuz that gy Q builded it. It has this AutoMatic AngliFier (AMAF) that yu kin “enable” (which is fansee techno langwidj fer “turn it on”). Innerestinlee, the saym programr whu thogted up the LingwaTron collr also thogted up the AMAF. Yu kin kinda tell…

Pero Reportz:

It has been much time since I kept a diary of the field, so don’t have practice. Also, since our rabbit contacts went abroad, everything has gone complicated. First, the mad English cat jumped into the fountain. Then our “opposite numbers” in Germany and Italy informed us of exceptionally large importations of herb of the felines from Turkey, Albania and the former Soviet Union.

Then that annoying Parisian cat of the fountain incident disappeared and her people are sniffing at our extremes and the French police are sniffing at our extremes, and Interpol, that he already knows that our extremes are clean, returns to us asking us for aid… And we still haven’t heard of “G.”

And in the midst of all this, “8” is gone “looking around” at the agricultural show, and I have just known something disorderly will happen!

Probably pronto.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cairo in Smog

Musashi Sez:

Mai mom—er, I meen, Our Prodoosr—has pointed out that we hav ben needin som seeryus theem myoozic. If yu tayks Jimbond’s song, an mix that wift som of that Peetr Gaybriel fellr’z Last Temptayshun sountrak, cuz it has all that Middul-Eestrn forren-sounding myoozik, an mebbe add a disco backbeet, that migt giv us som yoosful at-mos-pheer-ik inflooens…

Mom Says:

It’s “Cairo in Smog,” Agent 8, not “Cairo in Song…”

Musashi Sez:

I noo that.

I was jus settin up the atmospheerik inflooens fer the chays sceen down the stonee streets of old Cairo, wift a white doggee, hiz eyz hyooj, an a blak an whit kittee on his bak, all clawz out, hissin in verree impolyt Spanish. The skrambul of clawz. Then silens.

Then a hyooj mewlin of a few dozin kitteez, screemin in all kinds of impolit langwidjiz, as they zoom down the saym stonee street.

Angree kitteez evrwher!!!

An then they ar all gon. A few bits of fur fluttr to the ground. Somwher not far off, the sound of the muezzin callz folks to get their carpets an com pray.

But tayk it from me, ther has alreddee ben prayin happinin on this stonee street this mornin, eevn if it dint egzaktlee sound lik it to yu.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Noz fer Danjer

Musashi Sez:

So ther I wuz ridin on the big ol’ doggee’z enormous bak, throo the crowd, between rows of taybuls holdin all kindsa crops, incloodin som fayrlee aeronautic ‘nip (yu sniff it an yu’r in spays verree fast). The downsid wuz that I cud be ridin to mai doooom. The upsid wuz that I wuz feelin pertee darn relaksd. Ther wer still hoomin peeplez evrwher, but wift the big doggee undr mai pawz, they din’t seem so liklee to step on me. So cleerlee ther is upsidz to everthin. (I’m a bowl haf-full kinda gy.)

The doggee stopt in front of a door that had lotsa German shepprdz standin guard. I hoppd down.

They sed, “Ihr Name?” (Name?)

An he sed, “Dieter. Mit der Katze.” (Deetr. Wift the Kittee.)

Huh. Tragen Sie ein.” (Enter.)

So I wuz lopin down the hall by this Dieter’s sid, mai ploomy tail held high. I sed, “Yer naym is Deetr?”

An he yawnd so big, I thogt he migt swollr me by accident. “Jah,” he sed. “Yu hav problem vith zis?”

“No! No, of cors not.” Ther a tim an a plays fer evrthin, an this wuz not it. Altho I had got lotsa joks in mai hed that I wuz considrin yoozin somtim wen he NOT around.

Deetr stoppd at another door. It wuz opend from insid, an Deetr an me went in. He sed, “Ich habe die katze gebracht.” (I’ve brogt the kittee.)

The room wuz doggee-sizd an reellee qwite classee. The wallz wer mayd of wud an ther wuz a verree big desk, an ther wuz a big ol’ lethr chayr behind it. But I not see whu Deetr wuz talkin to until it—he—talkd bak.

Ausgezeichnet, Dieter. Vielen Dank. Haben Sie ein Getränk.” (Excellent, Dieter. Thank you. Have a drink.)

The door clozd behind us an I turnd to see one of them big shinee doggee bowlz filld wift wattr. Deetr drank verree noyzee from that, an aftr I had mai fill of watchin the messee wae he wuz havin his fill, I turnd and saw—

Well, akshullee, it wuz just a doggee, reellee. But I’d nevr seen a doggee quite lik this befor. He wuz hyooj an brown an wrinklee wift long eerz an a verree big noz. He strolld ovr to me an sniffd me so hard I wuz afraid I wud end up in his noz.

“Huh,” he sed. “So yu ar American, an yu don’t do ‘nip verree often, an yu hab, how yu sae, a fondness fer Tunfisch.”

Well, now that wuz justaboutanuff! I sed, “Yah, I liks the toonr fish. But yu not the onliest one wift a noz, yu noe!”

So I goez up to him an I sniffs him stem to stern an I am disturbd by whut I smells, cuz he smells of lotsa othr doggeez bein nervous, an hav also a punjint smell of hard rubbr.

But I has whut Jimbond wud probabul call guts. So I sez, “So yu ar one of them smug Continentl doggeez whu gotta be wher the akshun iz, an you has, how yu say? A fondness fer rubber chewy bonz.”

I sniffd agen. “Also raw-hyd bonz.”

The big noz caym towrd me. It filld up mai whol werld. “So, kleine katze, yu hab a noz too? Hab yu gotz ze noz fer ansrz? Wher kin we findz zis Fraulein Felicity? Hmm?”

“I don’t noe.”

“He doz not noe! Hah! Vell, Octavian! Habe yu gotz a noz fer danjr? It does not seem so! Hnrf, hnrf, hnrf! Dieter, tayk him to ze dunjeonz!”

Almos a dozen thogts thogtid throo mai head all at once as Dieter pickd me up by mai scruff an carreed me awae… I thogt:

1. Darn.
2. All becuz I din’t guess disco myoozik.
3. Mebbe I shudn’t hav mentioned the chewy bonz.
4. Mebbe now I won’t akshullee get that Nobel Pryz fer mai catnip custrd.
5. Mom is goin to be SO pissd off if I gets maiself killt.
6. They got dunjeonz at the agrcultchurl sho?
7. I nevr ben in a reel dunjeon befor. I wundr whut it’s lik?
8. At leest now I’ll get a chans fer a reel nap…

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Coded Messajiz 2

Mom Sez:

Here is the most recent message we’ve gotten so far from our operative Gato, who has been in Cairo now for over two months. As before, I give the translation and Musashi gives the decrypted version.

May 5: Met up with Madge and family. They did not show good hospitality. Bad Kitties. I have bandaged ear. Thank Ceiling Cat for Cousin Larry, sharp claws and omelets. I shall be on a strengthening regimen for a while.

Brok into that plays wift all the crayzee monks. They beated us to a pulp. They ar @#$%^&* kitteez whu we NOT lik!!! My wunds are seeryus. Luckily, Labeeb is a meen figtr an a verree gud surjeon an he has ben puttin me bak togethr like that Humpty Egg fellr. Don’t egspekt us to try plan B till I has all mai fur growd bak.

Musashi Sez:

Yu see? This why we need the bunnee writrz bak so badlee. Stories nevr go rigt if yu leev them to bild themselves. Yu need writrz to mayk them go the way they’r spoz to go. Huh.

PS: We has a verree thik an imajinitiv code book. This why it tayks us so long to decode stuff.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bein Innernashunl Reqwir Lotsa Brayn

Musashi Sez:

Ther I wuz, in the middul of the Paris Agrculchurul Sho, an whut do mai pertee yello eyez see but Picotero Paco, the flamenco-singin Bursels sprowt farmr from southrn Spain. “Picotero” meen chattrbox. It is a gud naym fer him. He was sittin ther at his taybul decoraytid wift big palm treez, talking to a big scaree dog wift orinj eyebrowz.

He sed, “Probablemente se esté preguntando cuál es mi secreto. Yo voy a decir. Yo le canto al coles de Bruselas. Canciones de amor. El amor estimula el crecimiento.” (Probably you are wondering what is my secret. I’ll tell you. I sing to them. Songs of love. Love stimulates growth.”

The doggee sed (wift an aksent), “Tienes que amar a los brotes mucho, entonces.” (You must love sprouts very much then.)

Ah, si! Si!

And I lookd up at the taybul an I realizd that whut I had thogt wuz a palm tree wuz akshullee a enormous bursel sprowt.

I cud not halp maiself. I busted out sayin, “Holy toona!” (I dozn’t lik mackerl.)

The orinj eyebrowz turnd mai wae. “Yu shpeek ze Anglish, hmm?” His breft smelld lik a combinayshun of raw meet an bursel sprowts. An basil.

I sat down an curld my ploomy blak tail around mai front feets. “Why, yes, I do.”

Vunderbar. I vas told to egspekt an American katze in a smoking jacket.”

I wuz confuzzld. “But I don’t smok.”

“Yu vud say, perhaps, ze tuxedo. Yu ar, perhaps, aqvaynted vith a bizniz-vomen katze by ze naym Felicity, hmm?”

“Why, yes. Mamzelle Felicity of the Doggee Toy Empyr. Yes, I am.”

Vunderbar. Yu vill com vith me, plees? It vill be to your advontage, hmm?”

At that momint, about ten diffrint fyootchurz went whizzin thru mai brayn, incloodin the one wher I ended up this doggee’z dinnr. Also the one wher I gets the Nobel Pryz fer mai recipee fer catnip custrd. An the one wher I doez a bunjee jump off of this big ol’ dam, hundrds of feets down towerd the wattr, pull out mai Walther PPK pistl wift mai front paw an shoot—

Picotero wuz thrilld. “Pero es mi buen amigo Octavio! Usted no puede ir ahora! Debemos tomar una copa! He desarrrrollado una notable marrrtini con vodka muy seco y licorrr de coles de Brusellllas!” (But is my good friend Octavio! You can't go now! We must have a drink! I have developed a remarkable martini with very dry vodka and liqueur of Brussels sprouts!)

He wuz rollin his l’s an his r’s so much, I had to wundr jus how recent the developin process had ben. I tried to decyd whether to go wift the scaree doggee or stay wift Señor Chattrbox heer. I figgrd I’d load mai coin flip. If the ansr wuz flamenco, I’d stay wift Paco. If it wuzn’t, I’d go wift the doggee.

Picotero! Mi amigo!” I sed. “¿Qué tipo de canción de amor te canta a su cultivo? Flamenco?” (Whut kind of lov songs yu sing to yer crops aneewae?)

¿El flamenco? ¡No! ¡Canto club! ¡Consiguió una manera dulce de hablar!” (Flamenco? No! I sing disco! ‘You got a sweet way of talking—’)

Darn. I wuz goin to hav to go wift the doggee.

On the othr paw, at leest I wuzn’t goin to hav to lissen to Paco sing that annoyin Leo Sayers song mai mom liks so mutch…

See? Eevn hart-rendin danjer hav a brigt sid.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Spyin at the Agrcultrl Sho: Hardr Than it Look

Mom Says:

As Agent Eight always says, spying is waiting.

While we wait for our Bunny Writers to return from helping to clean otters in the Gulf of Mexico, and while we wait for our operative in Cairo to heal himself and then rescue our Russian dog friend, Sabaka, and bring him back safely to us, we return to the adventures of Octavian, Spy Cat for Britain’s MI-6 Animal Division. We remind you, who may have forgotten, that Agent 08 has a license to claw your eyes out quite painfully, even if he hasn’t really used it.


Musashi Sez:

Ther I wuz, rigt in the middul of the Salon Intayr-nasseeo-nell Agricultoor in Paris, an ther wer hoomin peeples EVRWHER. I kept getting stept on, an it wuz a rayr peeplez whu so mutch as sed, “Skyoozemwa.” Huh. How’s a fellr spoz to get anee spyin don if peeplez is stepping on him?

This NEVR happin to Jimbond.

So then I thinks to maiself, “Ajint 8, ol’ chap, whut wud Jimbond do?”

An maiself thinks bak to me, “Self, Jimbond wud find a trap door an/or a pertee girl an/or a possibul bad gy or 4. Preferabl in som dark bak room somwher. Then he wud do whut thoz bunneez is alwaes sayin: he’d let his charactr driv the plot lik a Mercedeez-Benz.”

“Ajint 8,” I sed, “I has one smarteepants altr eego.” (He agreed wift me, of cors.)

So I scrambld undr a taybul an took out my pertee map an studeed it. I wuz in the middul, in Pavillion 3, one of the pink onez. I wantid to be in Pavillion 2, the green one, wher they wuz talkin about crops. So I stuck mai hed out from undr the taybul an lookd up sweetlee at a laydee in a green dress.

I sed, “M'excuser. Aideriez-vous s'il vous plaît un petit homme d'affaires américain obtient à Pavillion 2?” (Excuse me. Would you aid please a little American man of business to obtain to Pavillion 2? [Yah, I noe, but this how they talks in Frans.])

She wuz so surprizd that she sed, “Mais bien sûr!” (But of course!)

She pikd me up, an carreed me throo the crowd an set me down. I rubbd mai hed against her legs an she turnd an went back to her taybul, mutterin, “Sacre bleu, un chat parlant! Qu'après?” (Holy Blood, a talking cat. What next?)

But that wuz OK wift me, cuz at jus that moment, I turnd an had a stranj flashbak. It wuz lik a vizhun, but mai vizhun wuz speekin Spannish instead of French. It spok to me an sed: “Bueno, mi amigo, ha sido un buen año para las coles de Bruselas!” (Well, my friend, it has been a good year for Brussels sprouts!”)

An all I cud think wuz: “Holy Ceilin Cat on a crutch!”

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Coded Messajiz

Mom Says:

Here are the messages we’ve gotten so far from Gato, who has been in Cairo now for over two months. I give the translation and Musashi gives the decrypted version.

1. April 7: Arrived safely. Met by my Cousin Larry. We hope to see your Aunt Madge and her sons soonest. Weather is warm, but we are keeping cool.

Arrivd sayflee. Foun mai Egyptian frend, the ex-Mysiz spai, Labeeb. We hope to see those crayzee monks of the Order Our Laydee of Ceiling Cat. Is danjerous, but we beein cayrful.

2. April 26: Visited Museum of Cairo. Saw your cousins in passing. We hope for rain. Pray for good weather for us.

Vizitid Myooseum of Cairo. Saw some crayzee monks, but they not see us. We hope for the chans to follo 2 of them of roughly our siz, so we kin bop them on the hed, put on their yooniformz, an sneek into the monasterri that is connektid to the myoozeum, do som fansee rekonasens, find wher they ar hidin that Russhin doggee Sabaka who they dognapped, an reskyoo him. Wish us luck. Kthx.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Our Unforchoonit Hiaytus

Musashi Sez:

So, yah, I gotsta apololijize fer the unforchoonit hiaytus of this heer blog. The truft is that the Bunnee rabbitz whu does mosta the writin fer us hav ben on a verree long werkin vacayshun to the Golf of Meksiko fer the las cuppla weeks. They wer planning on goin wattr ski-ing wift their frend, Ardilla, a Mexican stunt squirrel they noe from Hollywud, an a buntcha her frendz. They wer goin to go to Bahamas an Jamaika, an all lik that, but they sent us a telegram that tells yu whut happend insted.

8 & Co. STOP Had hankerin fer Cajun fud. STOP Oil spill messin up this part of werld. STOP We ar stopping to halp cleen ottrz. STOP We look fer gud locayshunz aftr. STOP Dont wayst enerjee. STOP Lov, yer Writr BUNNEEZ

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Creaytiv Joosiz Leeking Out

Musashi Sez:

OK! OK! I noe it has ben a whyl sins we put out a seeryul of mai wild adventchurz wift the innernashunnl spy commyoonitee, but we ben verree bizzee. The bunneez whu writ mosta this blog wer threatenin to go on stryk agen, an this tim it wuz mai falt fer shur.


See, I wuz talking to mai prodooser about how cool Buffee the Vampyr Slayr is, an she toldid me about “Buffee: the Myoozikul,” an I thogtid a lightbulb! An we ralleed around a pertend piano an had a braynstorm.

But the Bunneez hopt ovr an sed, “We did not com heer to writ a myoozikul, an we certenlee didn’t com to sit around whyl YU writ a myoozikul.”

An then we herd about the yoonion negosheayshunz between the Gild of Myoozikul Artists an the Actorz’ Eqwitee.

The Cheef Writr Bunnee sed, “We let yu get aweae wift the flamenco sene last tim cuz it wuz funnee an yu din’t hav the whol cast singing an dansin. Fightin, shur. Fightin is OK. But dansin? Huh. That NOT in our contrak.”

So we wer bak at the drawin bord, and this time we wer yoozin crayonz, cuzs they didn’t skayr the Bunneez so mutch. An meenwhyl, we sugjestid that the Bunneez tayk a Long-Dezervd Vaycayshun somwher egzotik. We tossd ideers around, lik Tyland, Japann, Chynr, an lik that. But the Bunneez hads studdeed Spanish, so they desydid to go to the Gulf of Meksiko, hopin they cud scout some gud lokayshunz fer the blog an be abul to writ off the cost of the trip.

In whut mai mom callz “retro-spek,” I’m gessin that yu kin see whut’s comin….

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bak at the Plays that is Cleerlee NOT a Rantch

Mom Says:

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Musashi Sez:

Meenwhyl, yah, ok, but ther isn’t no rantch. Whut Mom akshul meenz is that whyl me an Pero an Alek an our noo frendz is halpin the werld free itself frum totalararian rayjeemz an havin mistayks wift small boddeez of wadder, the Brav Kittee, Gato has ben havin som egsytin tims of his own.

OK. So I has watchd mooveez wift mai mom an I noes how this sorta thin goes.

Yu gotta imajin a ol-fashun aeroplayn, the tubbee kin, wift the little perpellrz everwher. An yu gotta heer it goin “Hummmmmmm” in the bakgroun. This verree importint.

2nd: Yu gotta imajin a big ol map of the Mediteraryneean See reejun. (Heer’z a hint: there lotsa bloo in the middul.) The bak-lef-paw cornr is kinda pink, an it say SPAIN. Then as yu intch ovr to the rigt (qwiet-lik, so them spyz don’t heer yu), yu coms across this yellr strip wift ITALY writid on it. Aftr that it get compulkaytid. Ther a brown bit that say GREECE, an in pertikler, Athen. An mor ovr to the rigt is a dark pink contree calld TURKE. An then goin down frum ther to yer bak-rigt-paw cornr is a green contree, wher it say Cairo.

3rd: So all that is whut yu seez. Then yu has to imajin a thik red lin goin from a big bloo dot on SPAIN to a big bloo dot on ITALY to a big bloo dot on GREECE to a big bloo dot on TURKE an fynlee to a big bloo dot on Cairo.

4th: That tayk mutch longerer to egsplayn than to show yu, but I not got iMoovee powrz, so yu gotsta hav the payshunz.

5th: Las thin yu gotsta imajin is a blak cat, wayrin a egsotic hat, lik that Illinoy Jonz fellr, hoppin down the funnee laddr thin from the aeroplayn (wift them perpellrz) an hoppin serphistrkaytidlee across a tarmac that is so hot it is wigglin unner his pawz.*

*Pleez noet: this verree hard to manidj. Be impressd.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mai Tox Skreen, Innerpol, an Othr Stuff I’d Rathr Fergit

Musashi Sez:

Wen I fynlee wokd up “hoomin” as Alek wud sae (by whitch he seemd to meen abul to feel with all six sensiz), it wuz about 2 daes latr. An I got to sae it wuz a verree looong 2 daes. As I wuz comin up out of the Horribulz, I cud heer evrboddee tipee-toin around, incloodin Alek an Pero an som othr folk… I jus kept mai hed unner blankit.

Mom Says:

What Agent Octavian didn’t know yet was that telegrams expressing solidarity had been coming in all day—from Sam Spade: Jimbond; Nick, Nora & Asta; John Le Carré’s cat; Snoopy and Woodstock; Austin Powers; Mooch & Earl; and everybody back at the Mysiz training facility in England. And his Mom had sent a Very Stiff Note to M in England.

Meanwhile, a local Mysiz operative, a Ginger cat with an MD degree and a broad Scots burr, had come, taken a blood sample (along with disapproving ironic asides), gone away to run a toxicity screen, and come back—luckily for everyone—with a more conciliatory attitude.

Musashi Sez:

Howevr, the spy trainin I had got did at leest warn me that sutch kinda daes (or nigts, akshulee) migt well happn. So I wuzn’t totalee surpryzd; jus pist off.

Alek, on the othr paw, wuz qwite pleezd. He seemd to thingk that the whol “egzersyz” wuz werth it. He argued that “cleerlee” them French wer takykin me srsly.

An I sed, (as yu’d egspegt ), “Alek, whutchu talkin about?”

He grinnd (an I nu I wuz in trubbl). “Hah, hah! Isn’t it obvious?”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

That Afrmath Thin

Mom Says:

According to the Don’t-Embarrass-the-Kittee Act of 1627, I am prohibited from telling what happened between Agent Octavian and the Parisian gendarmes. Let’s just say that Alek and Zora’s secretaire des affaires bailed them out and took them back to their people. And of course, when I say people, I mean it in the broadest way possible.

Octavian was giddy throughout most of it, but by the time they reached the hotel, the fun part of the Nip Fit had pretty much passed, leaving him not only miserable, but also quite thoroughly wet.

Musashi Sez:

Alek laid me down on the orinj bed. I din’t eevn want to crawl out of the blankit. Pero tried to lik mai hed, jus lyk he’d don befor, but I cudn’t figt bak or eevn be sarkastik. I wuz jus too mizerabul.

I sed, “I thingk I’m goin to pyook.”

Pero bakt off.

Alek sighed. “It’ll wear off eventually, old chap.”

The nigt, unforchoonitlee, got considrablee longer.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Two Cats in the Fountain

Mom Says:

Octavian’s ears were temporarily underwater, but had anyone been standing close enough—a Russian spy, say, or a monk dedicated to Our Lady of Ceiling Cat, or even operatives of Dr. Woof, for example—they might have heard the Persian kittee giggle, jingle her collar tags, and say, “O, whut ze hell!” just before she leaped into the fountain with an almighty SPLASH!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Zelda and F. Stop

Mom Says:

Agent Octavian, under the influence of a few dinner courses containing very fresh ‘Nip, was feeling unexpectedly Nippy. He leaped several steps at a time, like a kitten. He twirled and spoke po-etry about the twirling stars and banners of light they made against the night sky.

And then, when they had reached the famous fountain at La Place de la Concorde, he suddenly yelled, “Huh! Don’t be fraydee kittee! Yu kin be Zelda, Zora, an I’ll be F. Stop Fitzjeruld! Whooeee!”

He zipped from her side in a streak of black fur and leaped! The ensuing splash drew the attention of all the humans in the area, who pointed and laughed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Metro Kitteez out on the Town

Musashi Sez:

Let’s be honnist: Zora an me wobbld our wae to the Metro stayshun, trotted down the stayrz, an then leapd! ovr the turnstylz. The whol plays wuz fool of whit stuff and steel an othr shinee thins. We tukd the trayn from wher we wer to the Plos de la Concord an then we went abuv-groun.

An I gotta sae, the Plos wuz pertee impressive! The wadder flowed up an ovr an into the big wadder-dish so big that Ceilin Cat cud com down an dringk frum it. It wuz, yu migt sae, hyoojlee inspirayshunl.

It tolkd to us whu wuz standin ther, thingkin about wadder! It sed, “Splish! Splash-splash-splash! Swoosh! Splash-splash” [and I qwote!]. Cleerlee, we needs to investigerayt sutch a pfernomernon!

(An then I thogt, “Huh. Ther is thingkin an ther is praktis (praxis).” I has lernd this from nappin on Mom’s books. An I noe that Mom wud sae that it not about 1 versus the othr; it about 1 AND the othr, eevn wen the othr is sorta oppazit. But I still not shur how all this fansee thee-o-lojikl stuff apply to the splashy-splashy fountin. But then agen, Mom sez that 1 of her perfessrz sed, “I offin rekkamenz confyoozhun as the most honnist respons to theez isshuz.” (Wills, 2/11/10). Wull, heck, mebbe he’s akshullee rigt!)

Weirdr thins has happind.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

That Ther Eevnin Gets Mor Innerestin!

Mom Says:

With the steam from their Not-Exactly-Hot-Chocolate drinks rising to their sensitive feline noses, Zora and Octavian sipped and chatted.

“O! Octaviannn! I feel so ligt-heddeed. I theenk I weel need som ayrr.”

“Wull, we kin tayk a walk, see yer pertee cittee at nigt. Izn’t Paris sposta be the cittee of ligts? I hasn’t seen them yet, cuz I onlee get out durin the dae.”

“Qwa? Yu meenz yu has not seen ze Palace de la Concorrrde? C’est amposeebla! We mus’ feex zat immédiatement! Ah, but I am a leetl fooll from deenayrr. I kin not walk all thee wae, an mai chauffeur is not due bak for a whil…”

“Kin we tayk the Metro? I has not seen that either.”

“Ah, le Métro! Qu'une idée magnifique!”

The waiter returned with an unobtrusive little tray on which lay a small bill and an even smaller inkpad. Zora patted her paw on the pad and then on the bill. With his other hand, the waiter wiped the excess ink off her paw. “Merci, Mademoiselle, Monsieur. Appréciez-vous votre soir.”

Then Zora and Agent Octavian leaped down from their seats and trotted side-by-side out the unobtrusive and very expensive front door.

Monday, March 8, 2010

An Eevnin to Rememembrer

Musashi Sez:

Mai dinnr wift Zora went grayt! I wuz debonayr an intrestin (jus lik yu’d egspect), an the nomz wer out of this werld!!!

Mom Says:

As the lights dimmed and the Catnip Royale flowed, the two felines exchanged les bons mots even while doing the delicate dance of industrial espionage (or just espionage espionage), feeling out where the other cat stood and how much he/she knew, was willing to tell about the international catnip trade: the power plays, the important deals, the preferred fertilizer, the possibilities of additives, pesticides, grafting et les autres choses…

After they had finished their fancy noms, Zora murmured and the red-vested waiter appeared.

“Ah, Mam’zelle, would you care for the hot chocolate menu? Tonight we have Pear Belle-Hélène style hot chocolate, hot chocolate flavoured with pink berries, and hot chocolate perfumed with fleur d’herbe à chats.”


“Er, I’ll pass, merci. My vet stronglee recommend agenst the choclit.” He was proud of himself for rememembering that fact, especially as he was feeling extraordinarily blissful, almost as if he wanted to rub his face on the table cloth or climb the curtains like a gazelle, or a panther, or whatever wild thing it was that customarily climbed curtains out in the Sahara or the veldt or Hollywood.

But the waiter said, “Oh, pardonnez-moi, Monsieur. I thought you knew. Our feline hot chocolate menu is made strictly with carob. It has none of the dangers your physician was concerned about, I assure you.”

“O! Well, then… Whut do yu sugjest, Zora? We had my choys fer dinnr, so we shud hav yer choys fer dezzert!”

“So kind. I weel hav, zen, ze Pear Belle- Hélène, and mon ami heer weel hav l'herbe à chats.”

“Very well.”

He took their plates and left them. Octavian said, “Zora, tell me, how com yu started yer biznis aneewae? Why doggee toyz? In ‘Merika, dogs an cats don’t alwaes get along so gud.”

“Ah well, racial relationz in les Etats-Unis are somewhat, how shall I say, straynd? Ze hoomanz hav zis problemme in la France as well. Mais, nous les chats et les chiens se sont entendu historiquement tout à fait bien, avec l'exception des Guerres Napoléoniennes, parce que Napoléon, il était une personne de chien, vous savez.”

“Um…Akshul, I dozn’t savez, Zora. Yu has gon beyond mai Frentch. Yu sez we cats and dogs did somthin?”

“Oh! A souzand pardonnes, Octaviannn! Ze catneep iz goeeng to mai hed! Yes, we hav historically gotten along quite well, weeth the exception of the Napoleonic Wars, because Napoleon, he was a dog personne, yu noe.”

“Reellee? I had no ideer!”

“Well, we chats don’t lik to talk about eet, an ze doggeez arrr verrree unnerstandeeng theez daez. We trai to focus on our, what yu sae, commonaliteez.”

The waiter returned with their drinks in china saucers. “Do be careful,” he said. “They will be a bit hot at first. Enjoy.”

They sniffed at the steaming saucers cautiously but with appreciation. Octavian felt free-er and more confident than ever before.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Perulz of Fansee Noms

Mom Says:

When the waiter had gone, Musashi said, “This plays hav gud ombions. Does they do Fung Shway in Paris lik they does in Hong Kong?”

“Er, not that I noe of…”

“Pitee. This plays is purfekt, egsept fer it not have a fish tank.”

Zora nodded. “We cannot hav evrreesing… Steell, eet eez gud eenugf for the yeerlee Parees Agricultural Show. Thees yeer ees the 47th tim eet has gon on. Eet eez verree egsyteeng: thee farmeeng werld comes to Parees for the fair each year to offer an absorbeeng eensight eento the werld of French farmeeng.”

“Eet doz? Er, I meens, it does?”

“Mais oui! Thees yeer zey arr focuseeng on agricultural innovation and research, yu noe, on the eeffects and eempact of agricultural research on the environment, an fud and dailee life. Yu shud com eef yu arr steell heer.”

Hmm, thought Agent Octavian, innovation? Genetic mutations? SuperNip? He knew he was reasoning beyond his data, but his mind felt supremely clear. Deer Ceiling Cat in Hevvin, theez peeples hav got to be stopt! I’ll hav to remembembrer to tell Alek to stop them wen I gets bak to the hotel.

Which just goes to show, as Pero would point out, that sometimes fansee noms get the upper paw over even the best of agents…

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Showin Off Fer a Gurl

Mom Says:

It is said that La Table du Lancaster offers fine dining that is intimate, understated and contemporary. Naturally, no one actually ever says that it’s easy.

Agent Octavian sat staring at Zora the kittee entrepreneuse, until she chuckled.

“O! Mon ami, yu arrr so quiet! It is sutch a plaisir to be weeth someone whu eez not alwaez barrkeeng all the tim!”

The spell was broken. “Barkin?” said Octavian. “Yu gots doggeez werkin fer yu?”

“Mais oui. RRRR an D peeplez, an testrrrz, an tranzlaytorrrs, of cors… Many doggee peeples. An they arr all sooo enthooziastique! Waggeeng their tailz, an barkeeng, all dae looong.”

“Huh. That mus becom annoyin aftr a whil.”

“C’est vrai! But eenugf about me! How hav yu ben, Octaviannn?”

“O, yu noe. Can’t complayn. Biznis is helthee an I’m gettin a chans to see the werld.”

A young waiter approached with two martini glasses on his tray. “Mademoiselle, Monsieur, the manager expresses his welcome with a complimentary Catnip Royale, eh?” He placed the drinks on the table. “Would you like to consider the menu now, or wait a while?”

Zora nodded aristocratically. “Latayr for the entrée, garçon. Merci.”

Octavian watched the red-vested man stroll away. “Nys Inglish. Is he ‘Merikan, do yu thingk?”

“Probablee Canadien, a Quebecois.”

“Ah!” said Octavian, wishing he’d studied geography that was closer to home. He took a sip from the straw in his martini. “O mai! That ‘Nip is fresh! Ar they growin it in their gardin out bak or somthin?”

Zora purred. “Not qwyt! Eet coms frrom Chateau de Fourrure, thee Neepyard of mon ami, Christophe. Yu lik?”

Octavian sipped again, more carefully and then sniffed the sprig of catnip. His eyes watered a little, though he knew that some of this reaction had to do with the vodka in the drink. He sat back in his chair and curled his plumy black tail around his feet.

“Hmm. It hav hints of lavndr, wift som of that woody smell, but not the heavee kind we gets in the Stayts. I wud almos call it leafee… But ther also seem lik froot ovrtonz, yu noe, that froot wift the funnee naym I nevr remembember… An an undrton of chickpeaz.”

Zora’s eyes widened. “I am—I meen, yu arr—Yu surpryz me, Octaviannn. I hav herd that ‘Merikans do not hav the noz for telleeng the trrru qwalliteez of fine ‘Nip, but yu…”

But Octavian was concentrating, his eyes half closed. “Whut the doggee is that froot? Starts wift an A. Avokodo?”

“Yu meens apricot?”

“That’s it! Thank yu. Mai nex gess wud hav ben arugula, yu noe, an I’m pertee shur that not a froot at all!”

“Er, yes…” She flicked her tail and the red-vested waiter materialized beside them. “Garcon, wud yu tell us whut Chef Meeeshel has for us tonigt?”

The young man warmed to his task. Without taking the pad out of his pocket, he recited, “Our menu tonight at La Table du Lancaster, purposely brief, is organized by theme, based on products chosen by Chef Michel for their intensity, freshness, and slightly sour notes. As the base to these works of the master-chef’s art, for Le Menu pour les Chats, we also offer the choice, tonight, between the chef’s special quail and the tronçons de sole de petit bateau cuit au plat, purée d’artichauts camus et autres crus jus de cuisson réduit, caviar Beluga.”

“So hard to desyd,” murmured Zora

But Octavian was on a roll. “Ah quail… I hav herd egsellint thins of la caille française. I shall hav the quail. Ask yer Chef Meeshel to mayk it sparkul wift the wit of the tomato– the burst of lemon–the tang extraordinaire of the ‘Nip buds--”

The waiter was scribbling busily. Zora purred loudly. “I shall hav whut he’s haveeng, s’il vous plait.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Cays of Nervz

Musashi Sez:

When pertee grey an fluffee Zora lookd at me across the taybl, I felt mai mouft go dry. (Yah, I noe whut yu’r thingkin, “Cat got yer tong? Hnrf, hnrf!” Veree amooyzin.)

In fact, tho, I got maiself so nervoused that I cudn’t eevn talk. I cud not thingk whut to sae.

The sylins went on ferevr.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Le Date Chaude/The Hot Date

Mom Says:

Imagine if you will, a romantic evening, cold and crisp but with a sparse showing of stars. Imagine further a sandstone façade on le Rue de Berri, in the 8th arrondissement of Paris.

A silver BMW pulls up to the door, and a portly portier in a plain black uniform hurries to the car to open the back door. Springing from the back seat, an expensively fluffy grey Persian cat alights on the sidewalk as lightly as a ballerina, quickly followed by the dark, feline, masculine grace of her black shadow, a svelte cat born to the tuxedo fur he lives in. The portier bows microscopically to show his respect for such a sophisticated aura that the couple emits as they pass him, so much surpassing that attempted by most of the human people guests of the 5-star restaurant. This is a man who has seen it all, and who knows when to be impressed.*

The cats’ paws barely hit the lobby’s immaculate parquet wood floor before the Clef d’Or Concierge smoothly speeds to their side.**

“Mademoiselle Quatre-Pattes, votre table, c’est ici…”

They follow him to a quaint little room papered in gold and decorated sparingly with Japonesque flower arrangements in black lacquer trays. A small round table, is draped in white (Egyptian) cotton, with two wide, high-pitched chairs.*** Unlike other tables the couple has passed, this table has no silverware, only napkins, plates, and glasses already set with “Les Straws Bendee.” The center of the table sports a pair of low white candles, and a red glass vase with a pair of pure white roses.

The felines leap to their seats and the Concierge pushes them close to the table.

The Persian asks, “Pourrions-nous avoir un garçon qui parle l'anglais?”

“Bien sur! N'importe quoi pour un de nos meilleurs clients!”

The big grey Persian batts her dark eyelashes. And purrs.

* That would be now.
** Concierges never “hurry.” What were you thinking?
*** NOT to be mistaken for highchairs, which are for human people children. Mais non!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gettin Ther Is Onlee Part of the Fun

Mom Says:

What Alek forgot to mention (after the unfortunate incident of the b-word) was that Felicity Fourpaws had also offered to have her chauffeur pick Octavian up from his hotel and return him there after dinner, because, as she put it, “Paree eez so unkindlee to thoz of us een the four-footeed part of thee world, no?”

Alek, recognizing a night off when he saw it, agreed. To give him his due, he saw the opportunity as a chance to get Real Work done on the computer instead of Not-Real Work in the car. Pero volunteered to go with Octavian in his role as bodyguard. However, after a long debate, which was won by Octavian with the help of his retractable claws (a very present help in time of trouble), Pero agreed to remain in the hotel, ready to come to Eight’s aid if necessary.

So when 7:45 pm (or 19:45 European style) came around, it saw Agent Octavian strolling through the lobby of his hotel, tail held high, jeweled collar glinting, black fur gleaming like satin, to step out onto the exotic French sidewalk (le trottoir Français exotique), exchange a few words (les bon mots) with the doorman (le portier), and then hop into the silver limousine with the human driver and feline passenger (la date chaude).

The key, Jimbond had always insisted, was assuming that no one in their right mind and most people who weren’t in their right mind, would even consider thinking that you didn’t have the right to be there, doing whatever you were doing, whether it was strolling through a lobby, cracking a safe, or doing handstands in a public fountain. Being a cat, Octavian had absolutely no problem with this concept, so in theory and from a small distance he was as cool as a cucumber straight from the refrigerator. In fact, of course, he was actually a little nervous. But a cat’s minor nervousness doesn’t even show up on the human radar, so at the very least, Zora’s chauffeur was completely fooled.

And as for Zora? Ah, women! Who knows? (Quant aux femmes, qui sait?)

Musashi Sez:

So OK, ther somthin about Zora that jus diffrint from all them othr women in mai lif: Mom, Cozzin Raychl, Karli, Ont Haydee, Jennr, Pamelr, and eevn M. It one of them thins that is hard do put yer paw on. Wuz she yongr? Pertier? Mor werldlee?

Or wuz it jus that she wuz…I don’t know…How do you say it? (Je ne sais quois… Comment vous les dites?)

She is… (Elle est…)

…a cat. Sigh. (une chat. Soupir…)

Mom Says:

Just steps from the most celebrated avenue in the world, the Champs Elysées, and just around the corner from the Triangle d’Or, the Hotel Lancaster's sandstone façade stands proudly on Rue de Berri in the 8th arrondissement of Paris.

At least, that’s what the hotel website claims. (This is your loyal narrator trying to balance the extreme emotional stuff that our protagonist is displaying. Because, sure, we’re in France now, but he’s working for the British, for heaven’s sake! Pull yourself together, man! Er…cat…)