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Frank W. Bosworth

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Scum (by any other name)
By Frank W. Bosworth
Sunday, June 08, 2008

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Excerpt chapter one, 'AMOK!' Had I known then it would go on this long, I don't know, I just don't know.


Scum is my cat. You must understand, the moniker given to her or him, (honestly, after thirteen years, I am still not sure and, after all this time, I really do not care. For storied sake, I’ll refer to it as a she), I gave as a compliment.

Scum is the first and probably last cat I will ever own. I saved her from sure death back in New England those many years ago when, while moving my belongings into my new apartment through the back door, as the  soon to be deployed active duty sailor moved his belongings out the front door, turned to me and out of the blue asked, “You want my cat? Can’t take it with me.”

I remember quickly thinking, ‘Now how would that look to those who know me?’ I’m a dog type of guy. Always have been, always will be. “No,” I said.

“Inside cat.”






“Weeks worth of cat food, new flea-collar, half a bag of litter, litter box and pooper scooper.”


This weird look came over the swabee’s face and, without missing a beat, he said, “That’s okay. I’ll take care of it.”

‘Now what the hell is that supposed to mean?’ His tone spoke volumes more than his actual words. In my mind I saw the cat flying over the railing of the nearby Fore River Bridge, to drown in the chilly waters below. Suddenly, a string of words I thought I would never utter dribbled out; “On second thought, leave the cat. We’ll bond.” I remember sounding as melodramatic as any ‘Good Guy in a white hat’ getting the drop on any ‘Bad Guy in a black hat’ would. The only thing missing was the swell of background music.

I never asked the cat’s name. ‘I’ll find something fitting, eventually. No rush.’ Anyway, it’s not like cats come when called. You call a dog by name and, whether mutt or pedigree, by the time it gets to you every inch, from wet nose to tail tip, is either quivering or shaking with happiness. You call a cat and the best you’re going to get is a look of, ‘What?’

Come the second morning, I was enjoying breakfast for the first time in my new digs.

Unbeknownst to me the cat had jumped onto the counter, settling in to chowing down, licking the Pam from the frying pan. Soon aware, I shooed the cat away. Removing the pan from the stove, to set in the dishwasher, I noticed how clean the area the cat had licked was. Also apparent, was just how much she loved this Pam stuff.

Suddenly, a two-hundred watt bulb went on in my head. I grabbed the can of Pam and made a beeline to the bathtub, the last area since moving in left to clean. I sprayed the tub down thoroughly, especially the nasty ring circling inside, and waited. Sure enough the cat smells the Pam, investigates the source, vaulted in, and licked like there was no tomorrow. By the time the job was done the cat was a few pounds heavier, walked a little funny, and had the hiccups, but the tub sparkled. Scum was born.

That was not a true story. I don’t remember why I named the cat Scum. Over the years, friends who drop by and female relations I have invited in, seem to find the name oddly cute, the storied explanation funny. I do believe the tale has shown more than one female, who looks for cleverness, creativity, and humor in a guy, just how well honed I am in those areas and has aided in my ‘getting lucky’ on a number of occasions. That is not meant to sound self-indulgent, I just wanted to share with you at what lengths a relatively normal guy, not overly handsome, lacking financial independence and six-pack abs, will go to showcase his strong points.

When I moved to Florida I drove and had Scum flown down at a cost of around two hundred dollars. Living with me, which I know is not an easy task (whether be animal or human) all these years (my ex lasted only five), this was the least I could do. I felt then, as I still do, I had flown an old friend down to retire (Scum that is, not the ex).


       Web Site: Amok! - part 1

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Reviewed by Debra Conklin 9/15/2009
Scum is a great name! My cats have all been boring names, Smokey (for a gray cat) Lulu (for a calico)Frankie (a fat black) and The Twins (a pair of striped grays).
Reviewed by Leann Marshall 10/7/2008
Whether your story about how your cat got its name is true or not just doesn't matter. That's how legends are born, isn't it?
I've never thought of scum as being particularly endearing, until now.
All the best,
Leann Marshall
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 8/14/2008
I find your story delightful, Frank; perhaps it is a little because my ex and my kids have three cats. I don't mind visiting (my ex and my kids and the cats) but I prefer to have a pet-free home. Love and peace,

Reviewed by Tom Hyland 6/8/2008
FRANK - LOVE THE STORY! True or not, 'tis certainly a creative keeper!

All of my nieces have animals, and cats. One named HARRY is so fat you can't tell gender either, but I sure as hell ain't gonna rub fur around his whatchamacallits to find out! Bernie also has a Conure, a bird, bigger than a parakeet, but smaller than a parrot, named SAM. After calling him sam for about 5 years, one morning she found 3 eggs in HIS cage! We still call him/her ... SAM tho!


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