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Sandra Lee Novelly

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The Disappearance of Pete
By Sandra Lee Novelly
Saturday, February 22, 2003

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What would you do if you suddenly became an alternate life form?

Whoaaaa…stop…whew, I’m feeling really…like I want to be scratched behind the ears…? Huh? What’s going on here? Was there something in the mushrooms on that pizza I ate - like maybe one of the mushrooms from Alice’s Wonderland?

I have the urge to…lick my behind. This is crazy. What are my friends gonna think? Those practical jokers! I’ll bet they slipped something into that pizza - or maybe my beer. Yeah, that’s it. Why, I’ve…

Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now. Where’s the litter box? Litter box! Wait a minute…want to be scratched behind the ears, urge to lick my behind, litter box. Oh nooooooo…I’m a…CAT???? Help! Let me out of here!!!

Hey, guys - yeah, down here. Ummm, you’re not gonna believe this but…hey I’m talking to you. It’s me, Pete. Ya gotta do…something! Give me the antidote or take me to the emergency room - or the vet maybe. I don’t care. Just do something!

“Whose kitty? What a sweetie. Come up here little guy.”’re squeezing the… Oh, yeah. That feels better. Soft, cushy…smells really good up here. Just let me snuggle my head up right here in that cleft…mrrrowww…

“Don’t bite! Stupid cat.”

Geez! Ya didn’t hafta throw me down like that. All I did was give ya a little love bite, babes. Besides, it’s me, Pete.

“Here. Put the thing outside. It must’ve followed somebody in. By the way, has anyone seen Pete lately?”

No, wait guys, you don’t understand. You can’t leave me out here in the cold. Let me in!!! Hey guys, it’s me. C’mon guys, enough is enough here. Joke’s gone far enough.

“Man, the poor thing’s out there shivering. It’s freezing outside. Should we let ‘im back in? Maybe give it some tuna or something. It doesn’t have a collar. We can take ‘im to the animal shelter in the morning. Whaddya say? We can fix a box for ‘im to sleep in.”

“Ok. But in the morning the cat goes. Understood, Mike?”

“Yeah. I got it. Ok little guy, c’mon in.”

Gee, thanks guys. Almost froze my… What the heck’s this stuff? Tuna? Plain old tuna - no mayo, no pickles, no egg, no bread, no...nothing except tuna. How’m I ‘sposed to eat this?

“I’m worried you guys. I haven’t seen Pete in a while. He was actin’ kinda funny earlier and then he just disappeared. Let’s look around - see if we can find ‘im and meet back here in the kitchen in - say, fifteen minutes. Okay, okay cat. You can come with me. Just don’t trip me.”

No, Steve, ya don’t get it. It’s me, Pete. I’m right here. How’m I gonna convince these knuckleheads that I’m not really a cat. Well, I am right this minute, but I don’t know how it happened. Okay, back to the kitchen.

“Look - here on the floor. The tuna is all over. Wait a min - it’s words. What’s it say? ‘I’m Pete.’ And the cat is sitting right next to it. Okay, okay, who’s the wise guy? Look, it’s getting late. Pete must’ve gone home. Maybe he wasn’t feelin’ too good. Anyway, let’s call it a night. Glad you all could make it.”

“Okay, cat. Here ya go. A nice box to sleep in with a nice soft blanket. I scooped the tuna back into the bowl in case ya get hungry. Here’s some water. G’night.”

Numbskull. I am not - I repeat - I am not just a cat! I’m Peteeeee… I gotta try again. There. Well, might as well get some rest.

“Mike, you wiseacre. Quit spreading that gunk on the floor.”

“Man, I didn’t do it, Steve.”

“It wasn’t there when we hit the rack last night, so if you didn’t do it, who did?”

“Dunno. Steve, that cat is staring holes through me. It’s creepy. You don’t think…”

“No, idiot. I don’t. Eat up so we can drop the cat off at the animal shelter on our way to work.”

Animal shelter. No way! Not that!

“Poor guy doesn’t wanna go, does he? Sorry cat, just can’t keep you. Sure hope somebody claims him or adopts him, Miss.”

“We do too. But it’s difficult with grown cats. We’ll keep him for a while and then…”

“Yeah, I know. Curtains. Sad. Sure wish I could keep him but it’s just not possible. I’ll ask around at work. Maybe somebody’ll want a cat. And I’ll post some signs too. G’bye, cat.”

Soon signs with a picture of the cat shared space on bulletin boards and telephone poles around town with signs bearing a picture of Pete and asking for any information on his whereabouts. After several weeks nobody had claimed the cat and nobody had seen any sign of Pete.

Pete had tried in every way he could think of to alert other humans to his condition. If he became aggressive it put people off and if he was passive nobody noticed him. One day he was taken from his cage and carried deeper into the building.

What’s this? Where’re you taking me? Man, nasty looking room. Hey, this table is cold and hard. Wait, don’t tie me down. I’ll be good, I promise. What’re doing? Ouch, that hurt. I’m getting sooo sleepy…things are fading…

“He’s gone. Poor guy. This part of the job really gets to me. Get rid of the body and bring me the next one.”

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