The Cat Lottery……

24 Mar

Today on the GSP Fireflies Promo we welcome John Des Fosses.

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John was raised in Holyoke, Massachusetts with one brother and three sisters and two loving parents. He graduated from Holyoke High School, where in his senior year he earned an All American High School swimmer title.

John attended one semester at Springfield College, Springfield, MA. A financial crisis forced him to leave college. From 1966—1970 he served with the US Navy aboard a submarine, the USS Salmon, SS573, stationed in San Diego, CA. He attained a rank and rate of E-5 torpedoman.

John returned to college, after a two-year stint with a property management company in San Diego. He attended a local college for two years after which, Sandi and he left San Diego for Manhattan, Kansas and Kansas State University. He graduated in 1976 with a BS degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry.

After college he worked for GE Medical Systems, Marquette Electronics, Decision Data, and Econocom. In 1987 John started he own computer company and he is now semi–retired after 22 years in business.

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/john.desfosses.12

His book that we are highliting today is The Cat Lottery.

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Camille has exhausted the last of her nine lives. Under strict cat law, she must depart this earth for the eternal tenth life. Pioline and Poulet, her eight-week-old kittens, are left behind. Willed by Camille’s departed spirit, Boots, her aging brother, finds the kittens under the deck of John and Sandi’s house. They are wired with fear and spirits so lost they might never be found.

Boots, a life long stray, confesses he is ill suited for the caring of kittens. He must devise a plan to convince the humans to take the kittens into their home. A more daunting task is to convince the kittens they should become house cats. Sandi becomes an unwitting partner in his plan. John becomes an unwitting foil. Learn the laws that govern a cat’s life and how they deal with death, fear, joy, humor and love.

Excerpt:

Camille’s kittens were born in early October when leaves fell from the tall trees in the yard, weaving colorful patterns of red, gold, and orange. As they landed, the once-green grass of summer gave way to the hues of fall. The warm breeze turned cool, signaling to all the coming of December’s wintry nights. Camille wished her two kittens had been born during the spring, but this hadn’t happened.

Mother and litter lived beneath a wooden deck attached to a house at the end of a dead-end street. The owners of the house, John and Sandi, built the large deck so they could enjoy the only comfortable seasons in Virginia Beach: spring and fall.

The deck had a rectangular shape and was eighteen inches off the ground. A forty-two inch railing followed the edges. At each end were two sets of wooden steps each with three planks: one leading to another set of stairs and the back door of the house, the other to a covered stack of firewood some thirty feet away and parallel to a cedar fence. John had cut a hole in the deck so a twenty-foot tall maple tree wouldn’t have to be cut down. The tree provided ample shade for the potted plants scattered about the deck.

The ground beneath the deck was covered with years of accumulated leaves, some put there by John, some blown there by the wind. Although the leaves had a musty smell, they made a soft bed on the hard clay soil and offered protection from the winter winds. The leaves also provided a hiding place from humans, and from animals that walked through the yard. It was a safe place to live and play, and it was the only world the kittens had ever known.

From time to time, Camille would leave her kittens while she hunted, but she had come to realize she couldn’t run or stalk her prey the way she once had. She remembered the days when to catch a bird at a feeder was mere kitten’s play. And when mice were just as easy.

Because winter was nearly upon them and food supplies were scarce, Camille often felt her kittens were being punished for the poor timing of their births. She also knew she’d used up all of her nine cat lives and her time on earth was limited.

The kittens were too young to know their mother was preparing for a journey—a journey traveled only by those cats who had used up their nine lives. Camille knew she was about to travel alone to a place where her ninth life would end and her eternal tenth life would begin. It would be a place where there were fields of catnip and pools of honey milk. It would be a place where peace and harmony were joined together. A place unlike anywhere she’d visited as an outdoor cat on earth. She had to take great care to keep this trip a secret from her kittens. They must not know anything about it, she thought. Not knowing was important for their survival.

With all her courage and determination, Camille put off her journey as long as the rules that govern a cat’s life would allow. But on this afternoon when colored leaves fell from the trees, she knew her time had come.

She was thankful her kittens were nine weeks old and fully weaned from her milk and could eat solid food. There had been few occasions lately, however, when she could make solid food available to them. One of those occasions was the previous night; it would be their last meal together.

Just before dawn, while the kittens had slept soundly and safely beneath the deck, Camille had seen an opossum snatch a half-chewed turkey leg from a tipped-over garbage can. The can more than likely had been turned over by Boris in the night. Boris was a three-year-old Doberman Pinscher who hated every living thing. Camille worried about her kittens when Boris was around. He often passed through the yard. She knew that had he seen her kittens he’d have tried to snatch them up. But why would Boris miss this morsel of food? Camille figured he had found something more alive and challenging to chase and catch.

From under a red-berry holly bush, Camille watched the opossum climb head-first into the trashcan and back out with his prize. He gripped the brown, meaty turkey leg like a fat cigar in his narrow, pointy mouth and headed toward the back of the house. Camille followed close behind.

Waddling as fast as he could, the opossum found a safe spot near a pile of leaves and twigs by a cedar shed. He sat down and prepared to eat.

Camille crept up without his noticing her. Quietly, she filled her lungs to their fullest capacity and let go a howl that broke the night’s silence like a fire truck’s siren.

The startled opossum jumped two feet in the air, fell hard to the ground, and played dead. Camille wasted no time worrying about whether the opossum was actually dead. She bit deeply into the turkey leg and dragged it to her hungry kittens. She’d been sneaking up on and scaring opossums all of her life, and she really enjoyed doing it. They fell dead before her scream every time.

Her kittens ate heartily until their stomachs were full and little was left. The bone remained near the nest of leaves like a trophy won by a great hunter.

The next morning, Camille watched her kittens play as the sun began to rise. The boy kitten, Pioline, stalked his sister, Poulet, who tried to ignore him. Pioline had long, jet-black fur. Camille thought this was odd because there had never been longhaired cats in the family. Black fur looked very good on him, she decided. Poulet had jet-black fur, too, but it was short like Camille’s. The true family resemblance was in their golden eyes and ink-black pupils. They have my eyes, Camille thought, smiling. Their day together was quiet, peaceful and happy.

It was a half-hour before the sun dropped behind the weathered fence when Camille left her kittens. She did not utter a sound. The kittens watched with surprised eyes as she passed the perimeter of the deck and headed toward the shed. She had never before left to hunt at this time of day. The kittens thought something was wrong, but didn’t say anything.

Links: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/JohnDesFosses.html#CatLotExc

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Cat-Lottery-ebook/dp/B008R19PBY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364103753&sr=8-1&keywords=the+cat+lottery+john+des+fosses

 

 

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3 Responses to “The Cat Lottery……”

  1. chalaedra March 24, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    Reblogged this on Chalaedra's Weblog and commented:
    Cats have ten lives. Discover the laws that govern their being and how they deal with death, fear, joy, humor and love. The Cat Lottery by John Des Fosses. Available from Amazon, other fine eBook vendors and Gypsy Shadow Publishing at: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/JohnDesFosses.html#CatLot

  2. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  3. Sheila Deeth March 27, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    This sounds like one my Mum would like too.

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