My birthday today. 14. If I had lived. Alas, I am destined to be forever 13 - and more honestly than most who lie about their age, hehe... A good day, on the whole. My partner and Gisèle have brought new lampshades for the house (of which I heartily approve) as well as a new duvet - the existing one having been destroyed in a recent game of Betty and Gizmo's called "Mummy and Puppies" - of which more another time.
Good evening. You may guess from my rather prolonged absence that I have been busy (in the non-toilet sense of the bark). If so, you guess correctly. I have been engaged in no less a task than the further education of little Gisèle. Her barked English was appalling and as for her writing - I was left barkless.
Please do not mistake me; I am not, in any way, suggesting that she is simple or otherwise challenged in her intelligence. Far from it - she is a very smart little lady with a keen eye and a ready wit, it was that she had never received encouragement in this area - indeed she was, in her previous home, discouraged from any form of self-expression. But if she is to inherit this blog from me, then she could not remain in ignorance any longer.
I have to bark that Gisèle was an exceptionally apt and willing pupil. Her young and eager mind quickly leapt to absorb the knowledge that I had to share with her. Ultimately, it proved beneficial in more than one way. I had noticed, over the weeks, that sweet Giz often became somewhat frustrated. She would take out her irritation in chasing squirrels, but I could see her pretty brow furrowed on occasion and wondered what I could do to assuage her annoyance. Ultimately it became clear that she was frustrated because she simply didn't have the ability to express herself and make her meanings clear. She knew the words, but not how to arrange them in a sensible order. Happily, with her education has come relief for her mind. She is now able to properly indicate to my partner various things, for example, how to ask if she can go outside to go to the toilet, how to accept or decline sundry offers, how to politely make herself heard when she is in a larger group or wishes to attract attention; and I trust we shall never again have to be confronted with horrors like "When I was borned", "We is playing" or "I is hungry" or other such linguistic aberrations again.
As a matter of fact, I rather enjoyed the experience of getting better acquainted with the little Jack Russell. I think I may have barked this before, but I have truly never encountered a canine (with the possible exception of Ewan, but he is sadly feeble-minded, and one often finds that those folks with unfortunate mental deficiencies are generally the sweetest-natured, trusting and loving of individuals) with a more pure, honest and loving nature. She is SO easy-going, takes everything in her little stride and remains chilled-out until certain that something may prove problematic. She makes her decisions and choices based solely upon the evidence she receives and is determined to be friendly and accepting to all. I am sorry that our lives did not coincide; I could have learned as much from her as she has learned from me in my present state. For example in her relations with Betty. You may recall that the much-larger and somewhat spoiled Giant Schnauzer Betty, an occasional guest in our house, beat poor Gisèle into a bloody, ragged, sobbing pulp on several occasions when they were first acquainted. Not content with bullying her, stealing her food, pushing her off the sofa and hiding her toys, Betty tore off a part of Gisèle's pretty face (it grew back and the fur is almost back to normal), leaving her with a permanent scar.
Betty is now Gisèle's best (canine) friend.
The two girls are happy and comfortable when together and act as a perfect united team when out chasing squirrels. In fact, Gizmo often dashes off unexpectedly in pursuit of a fresh scent leaving the older and slower Betty standing. When Betty feels that her little partner-in-crime has been gone for too long, she searches for her with increasing anxiety and doesn't relax until the little Parson Jack Russell terrier has returned to her side. It is extremely touching to witness.
The true test of Gisèle's exceptionally easy-going personality inevitably arrived - as I knew it ultimately must - with her introduction to the amoral, foetid open sewer that is Peaches the Cat. For those unacquainted with the foul feline git-wizard please feel free to click HERE for his unwelcome début on this blog. Briefly, however, Peaches is a cat with fur and paws as black as purest anthracite. The heart that beats within his malevolent, twisted breast is just as dark. Now then. It matters not the smallest jot to me what an individual's fur or skin colour may be; there is good in everyone. But not Peaches. Peaches is evil. Were it merely an innate bitter nature, due to the fact that some human idiot took on a jet-black male cat and decided to christen him "Peaches", I could perhaps have forgiven him. But he is that most unforgivable of types - an unmitigated, calculating bully.
Peaches is uniformly foul-mouthed, regardless of whether he is speaking to a man, woman or a child. He heeds not the etiquette between species; I have seen him reduce adult cats, as well as small kittens, to tears alongside his canine victims. My little Jack Russell chum, Archie, from the end of my row of houses had his face brutally slashed open when an infant pup by Peaches. Only Edward the Rottweiler has been able to successfully repel the cruelty of Peaches.
Cometh the fateful evening; cometh Peaches to my garden fence. Sweet Gisèle was playing in the garden with her belovèd teddy-bear. The bright evening sun was tormenting my eyes, so I remained in the lounge. My partner was upstairs, cleaning the bathroom. Naturally, I smelled the wicked aroma of Peaches long before he showed himself. Keeping to the pavement outside our garden, he popped out from behind our trailing Honeysuckle and fixed his beady eyes on pretty young Gizmo.
"Good evening, my dear." purred Peaches, all false smiles and deceptive charm.
"Hiya!" yipped Gisèle brightly, leaping up and eagerly wagging her tail, happy at the prospect of meeting a brand new friend. "My name is Gisèle - but my friends call me Gizmo, for short."
"I beg your pardon, my dear? I didn't quite catch that..." mewed the cat. At once, I recognised the usual tactic of the rotten Peach. He deluded the innocent and uninitiated into thinking that he was partially deaf, friendly and well-meaning, thus causing them to move closer to his side and speak clearly into his inviting ear - at which point he would instantly turn, slash open the newcomer's cheek, ear, neck and/or lip(s) and then retreat to a concealed vantage point, to safely enjoy the suffering he had inflicted.
"Gisèle!" halloed the little terrier loudly, "MY NAME IS Gisèle."
"Good heavens!" chuckled Peaches, amenably, "Your name is almost bigger than you are!" Sweet Giz giggled.
"My friends call me Gizmo." she smiled.
"Hello then. Gisèle." simpered Peaches (at which I was disgusted). "And where did you come from?"
"I live here now!" beamed Gisèle (politely overlooking Peaches' insolence).
"I beg pardon?" queried Peaches.
"I LIVE HERE NOW!!" repeated Giz, a little louder, moving closer to Peaches' inclined ear.
"And I see you are a Jack Russell Terrier?" mewed Peaches.
"Yes!" grinned Giz, pleased to have been identified.
"Excuse me?" meowed Peaches, "Forgive me, my dear, I am a little hard of hearing today..."
As little Gisèle inched trustingly ever-closer to the ghastly Peaches I jumped up and prepared to hasten to the lady's defence. At that precise moment, however, I was forestalled. In one of the distant opposite fields, a bird-scarer (a fake gunshot-effect, to deter game-birds and deer from eating farmers' crops) sounded. Gisèle's sharp eye did not fail to spot Peaches' flinching at the sudden noise. She turned an accusatory glare at her new 'friend'.
"You heard that!" she barked indignantly. "I don't think you are deaf at ALL!"
I sat back, confident now that my youthful protegée had the situation in paw. Peaches, for his part, looked discomfited. Gizmo continued: "I think that you are a very mean cat, pretending to be deaf when you are not. Being deaf must be horrid and you ought not to make a mockery of it to suit yourself!"
I was proud of her. Peaches, however, spat in Gisèle's pretty face and began to hiss and swear at her. I tensed, prepared to employ whatever I could to defend the lady's honour. Again, sweet Giz was in no need of assistance. She got to her paws delicately, stretched, and padded quietly onto some upturned empty flowerpots in the garden storage area. "Did you know," she wuffed gently, tapping casually at one of the fence-posts with a fore-paw, "That, if I breathe in tight and push hard, I can get through the fence here...?!"
At this point I knew, for certain, that Gisèle had no need of my assistance. But Peaches was not done yet. Oh no. His evil yellow eyes scanned the garden.
"I see that Jasper's Holly tree is still struggling to live. At least it is making a braver effort for its life than HE ever did. He gave up at the first opportunity, the lazy fat - dead - s*d, did you know that...?"
Little Gizmo's whiskers tensed, but she affected not to hear him. Unaware of any gathering storm, the foul Peaches went blithely on. "Every day, Gisèle Parson-Jack-Russell-Terrier, I come into this garden when you are at work and p*ss all over that little tree in the hope it will go the same way as its worthless namesake. I p*ss on the tree as I long to p*ss on his worthless corpse." The feline paused, waiting for the reaction he had hoped to provoke. Sweet Gisèle merely blinked calmly back at him and padded over to the small Holly-sapling, looking upon its supple shoots with affection.
"Good," she replied to the scheming Peaches, with total unconcern, "Well - please continue. The little tree seems to be thriving, so your wee is obviously nourishing the tree and helping it to grow stronger. I beg you to consider this thought, and that it might comfort you in your long and - clearly - lonely evenings."
Peaches scowled darkly. "As for Jasper," continued Giz, smiling benignly, "His body has been committed to a far, FAR better place, and his spirit has a tranquil repose, where it never ceases to do good. I doubt the same will be said for yours..."
At this, my heart leapt. Only the rarest of creatures could have attempted to counter Peaches with naught but patience and polite explanation. Gisèle is truly a very rare gem to be treasured. But the evil one sadly remained unswayed. He suddenly lashed out at Gizmo, who had to jump back in order to avoid his sharp claws coming through a fence-post, trying to slash open and permanently maim her pretty face.
Gizmo instantly sprang back up onto the flower-pots, snarling most effectively, and jabbing at the fence posts with her strong right fore-paw. Somewhat fortuitously (and unexpectedly), the fence post against which she was pressing shifted slightly. Giz yipped in triumph and moved it even further aside.
Peaches couldn't fail to see this and yowled in panic, horror-struck at the notion that certain tables might be turned and that he could easily be out-run by the young and exceptionally-fit Gisèle (Peaches was always a corpulent b*gg*r, but age and gluttony have expanded his girth yet further).
As Gizmo (who had no intention of actually escaping our garden) squeezed her head and shoulders through the fence, still growling and yapping most alarmingly, the cowardly Peaches fled, squealing. To our further amusement, he collided with a parked-car at the corner of our cul-de-sac, and wailed all the louder. We listened as he cleared his garden fence in a single leap and smiled even more at the satisfying "click" of the cat-flap closing behind him.
Peeping out of the window, I spotted Honey, the cat from across the road, in one of her favourite spots atop her household's recycling wheelie-bin. She affected to be asleep, but I couldn't fail to notice that a small, delighted smile was playing across her lips...
It has now been over nine months since I departed (most unwillingly) this life. Now I understand why I needed to remain here in spirit for all this time. I hinted to sweet Gisèle that, perhaps, it was nearly time for me to go. This is a concept that my partner, at least, can view with some modicum of acceptance. But Giz started to cry as soon as I broached the subject. It would seem that she can face up to Peaches - but not the challenge of learning the remainder of her life-lessons without me. Soon then, I told her, but not yet.
Not yet. And besides, I have forgotten to tell you about Ewan. Oh dear, dear me. For, in my absence, it would seem that the very worst has happened. The very, VERY worst.
Yes. Ewan has been trying to think for himself. No good can come of this.
Until the next time, then.