The Castle

Once upon a time, in a cat cafe not too far away, there lived a harem of felines. Felines of every shape and size. Some were spotted, some were striped, some were black and some were white. Some were male, some were female and some were just neutered (which ain’t very comfortable). The cafe was full of cats and often outnumbered the humans 50:1. It was called The Castle and it was built for cats and people who love them.

Though the cafe was technically run by humans (more on them later), the kingdom was under the reign of King Zirk. He was a handsome kitten of Persian descent with fur so soft and fluffy. Many visitors to the cafe often remarked how the hair on the crown of his head made him look like James Dean because of the way it kind of just swayed and sat there. Yes, he was so gorgeous that no feline, furry or not, could deny his charm. Thus, King Zirk was never without the company of an adoring companion and that was just the way he liked it.

A quick word on the romantic inclinations of a cat: They are not quite polygamists but they aren’t quite monogamists either. So basically they do what they like when they like it and this applies to all areas of their lives. They eat when they like, sleep when they like, and make love when they like. In the same way that humans play the field in the modern dating scene, many cats live the rest of their lives in this state of romantic limbo. Very few truly commit to pairing for life and often stay single.

With that said, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, the king must find a partner to rule The Castle with. Where that rule came from we do not know but it has been carried down for generations. The King must have a queen and she must be a  Queen of Surpassing Worth and Value to help him rule The Castle.

A couple of years ago, King Zirk thought he found the queen he desired. She was sleek and shiny with lips of ruby red. He loved her more than he loved himself (which says a lot because he loved himself a lot). But one day, he was entertaining a whole room of guests. In an attempt to flatter his queen by means of flaunting her beauty, he requested she come collarless.

“Collarless!” she declared to one of his subjects who came to her chambers (which was just a cubby in a bookcase but it was her Royal Cubby),  “A most shameful thing indeed! I would never be seen without my collar and certainly not in public! I could be taken back to the Humane Society for something like that. What an undignified request! Besides, I’m sleeping,” she yawned.

And so, the royal subject left her royal highness in her Royal Cubby while the queen slept deeply and without regret. The king, however, was furious with this news for he had promised his friends a show of scandalous, collar-free debauchery. And it just was not fair!

“This isn’t fair!” he pouted. “How dare she make a fool of me!” scowled King Zirk. “I am the laughing stock of The Castle!”

His fury made him thrash a chair and throw his favourite biscuits around. He ripped books off the shelf and tore rolls of  toilet paper to shreds. The whole Castle was a mess and even still after all he did, his anger did not subside. And so, he sent his royal subjects to pluck the queen out of her Royal Cubby and throw her out of The Castle. Right into the wet alley where old newspapers got moldy and critters went bump in the night. Just like that, with a snap of the king’s claws, the queen was castaway, rejected and unwanted. Left in the cold with no Royal Cubby to call home.

The king’s anger made him blackout and days later, he had to ask one of his royal subjects why The Castle was such a mess. The royal subject, prepping to be thrown out of The Castle like the queen, fearfully told him what had happened. The king had mercy on him for none of this other subjects had the courage to tell him the truth. King Zirk nodded majestically and sat on this thrown (it’s just the ledge on top of a fireplace but everyone knows it’s the king’s spot). Turning his face away, the royal feline curled up and slept. Nothing he did after this was ever the same. Even customers at the cafe remarked how his crown of hair was flatter than normal. Not at all like the Rebel Without a Cause they so closely associated him with. The king was struggling and everybody knew. It  became very clear to every cat in the kingdom that the king was lost without his queen. His servants knew they had to do something.

[TO BE CONTINUED]