Posted: August 24, 2010 by Jinkchak in Short Stories

“Most people think time is like a river that flows swift and sure in one direction, without pause but I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you: They are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm which can be and has been frozen. You may wonder who I am or why I say this. O Idling Reader, come with me into my world and allow me to tell you a tale like none that you have ever heard, in a place, the name of which I do not have the desire to recall.”


Any tale should have a title, and this tale has one too – (The) Billy. Now, the reason for this nomenclature, I leave to you, Reader, to find out.


The relentless purring was the first sign that drew my already-occupied attention to his existence. The purring began as soon as I set foot into the hotel. After checking-in, I went to investigate the source of the sound. Using the detective skills that I must have picked up from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels, I finally came to the not-so-obvious-at-first-glance conclusion that the sound originated from the hotel’s dining hall (if I may call it that). And so, I set on my mission to test my sleuthing skills.

I headed to the cafeteria, which was shielded overhead, by a sloping roof, like the other structures in that area. The purring seemed louder now. Using my sense of deduction, which I must say, comes quite naturally to me, I figured out the obvious fact that the purring originated from above – I mean the roof. Now I don’t know of what material that roof was made (You see, I was never any good at Chemistry), but whatever the state of affairs, an image based on the literal meaning of the idiom, “Cat on a hot tin roof” popped up in my mind within a few moments.

I figured that it would be foolhardy to perform the herculean task of climbing up to the roof, so I planned to carry out simpler tasks, such as satisfying my all too famished body, by having my breakfast.

I had to wait quite a while for my breakfast. While I was waiting, I noticed that something wasn’t quite right. Everything seemed calm; the leaves of the trees in the garden were rustling in the swift breeze. Now what could be wrong with this scenario, I thought to myself. You see, I was to movies what Don Quixote was to his books all those centuries ago, and in every movie I’ve seen, something always happens when things are calm. So, I scratched my head as doubtful people do, perhaps to scrape off a bit of scalp, that might be acting as a barrier to the natural flow of their thoughts. And then it hit me. I jumped up from my chair and shouted, “Eureka, I found it,” in the same manner I thought Archimedes had shouted all those centuries ago. The scratching had worked wonders. Now I knew the answer. It was like the revelation of a great mystery of Science, and I had been chosen to uncover it – The purring had stopped.

So, I thought to myself, “This must be a bad omen.” Now I’m not superstitious and all, but when things like this happen, it’s bound to give anyone the creeps. I got up and started striding up and down the empty cafeteria. And then I saw it. It was only for an instant, but fortune had favoured me for being brave, and had allowed my eyes to catch a glimpse of white fur.

Persistent purring, then silence, a flash of white fur: I had only three clues, but I put all my skills to the test, and I deduced that the entity to which all this belonged was a cat.

I moved towards the place I had seen the fur in, and there he was, looking at me with his perfectly greenish-yellow eyes with black slits. He was curled up underneath one of the tables. As soon as he saw me, he got up. I thought he would then make a run for it, but no sir, he was as brave as me…yeah ME! He walked up to me and resumed his purring, which lasted for the entire duration I stayed with him. It turned out that my shoe, not me…yeah ME! had caught his attention. He smelled my shoe and after convincing himself that no enemy was to be found there, started tugging at my shoelace with all the might he could muster.

I immediately took out my camera to take a snap – never, in all my crazy expeditions, had I encountered a cat this close. All the cats I had met before had been scared of me, for reasons I never really found out. Perhaps they were scared of my deduction skills. 😛

The photo you see now was taken when he was biting my shoelace. After about two and a half minutes, a certain thought must have made its way to the cat’s brain, for all of a sudden; he stopped bothering the poor old shoelace and didn’t bother it ever again.

He looked at me and scurried away, by the time my breakfast had arrived.



I met the chap again, during lunch. On recognizing me, he began mewing; this time without any pauses…seemed like he was hungry. Now it so happened that I accidentally (unbelievable, ain’t it?) dropped a few pieces of cucumber onto the floor, which he lavishly devoured, as though he hadn’t seen food in his life. He was still licking the cucumber, when I left.

I met him again, during dinner. By this time, he had become my devout follower. He avoided the other customers in the room. As I entered the dining room, he gazed at me with his green eyes, in a manner which indicated that he had been waiting for my arrival, giving me the wonderful impression that I was the star of some show. As soon as he caught sight of me, he began purring. He followed me to my chair and sat next to my shoes, but this time, he kept away from the dear old shoelace. When my food arrived, the frequency of his mewing increased and he looked up at me. Now who could resist those big green eyes? I couldn’t….so I gave him a small piece of roti. Now this cat must have had some royal blood in him, for after finishing a quarter of it, he kicked aside the rest, as though it wasn’t to his liking. With his eyes, he tried to convey that he wanted something else. I felt sorry for this guy. So I took a chicken bone from my plate, and before I could place it on the floor, he had leapt up and grabbed it from my fingers. As he devoured it, I could hear the chilling sound that is usually heard when a bone is fractured.



The next morning chose itself to be one of my bad hair days. After trying to rectify it to no avail, I decided to see what Billy was up to. (Oh, in case you’re wondering, Billy is the name I had given to his Royal Highness, the one you’ve perhaps read about in the preceding paragraphs). I went to his usual hangout (the cafeteria) and he was there. This time he didn’t purr as I approached. Instead he ran away. Great! I’m not as particular about my hairstyle as Uncle Jesse (of Full House ) is, but the cat refuses to even recognize me. That’s just supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

I followed him, using all the tactics I had learnt from James Bond. I moved as silently as the wind, with a camera as my only weapon. After walking over the entire perimeter of the hotel, I found him in a field full of grass. I managed to take a photo of him cleaning up with sand, without attracting his attention….What was he cleaning up? It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that it might have been a call of nature. He saw me and ran away, and I wasn’t to see him till later that evening.


There was half an hour left before I checked-out of the hotel. So I thought that I’d say goodbye to THE cat. I went to his usual hangout, half afraid that he wouldn’t be there, and if he was, he might not recognize me. Guess what?! He wasn’t there. Since I was feeling exhausted after the day’s excursion, I drew up a chair and sat down. After a few seconds, I heard some mewing sounds and before I could investigate, I found him staring at me with his green eyes below me. By looking at his green eyes, I could make out that he was glad to see me and so was I.


He then jumped onto the chair beside me and curled into a nice furry little….uhmmm….fur-ball. It seemed as if he wanted to apologize for how he had behaved that morning and perhaps, the night before. And rightly so, after that roti he had wasted! Now, it occurred to me that I had the opportunity to sing a few lines from my favourite song, “It’s too late to apologize, it’s too late….,” but, being the good guy I usually am not, I accepted his apology and patted him on the head, rather gently. He stopped purring after awhile.

He must have felt very comfortable here, for in no time he was asleep. Seemed like he was more exhausted than me…yeah ME! I really wonder what excursion he must have gone on, that had left him (the cat) so dog-tired (Is that an oxymoron or what?)

I sat with him for the remaining ten minutes and observed him.

He seemed so peaceful in his sleep, with nothing to worry about. Once in a while his whiskers twitched a bit along with his right ear, but his eyes remained closed throughout the duration I was with him. A bee buzzed past him, making me jump up. You see I’m rather scared of getting stung. But not the cat. No sir! He didn’t lift up either paw. The slight movement of his whiskers was all that I noticed when I calmed down.

I rubbed his fur before I left. He was still sleeping when I left and I couldn’t bear to wake him up.

I wondered if he knew that we would perhaps never meet again. I wondered if he would remember these days when he grew old. Well, I guess I’ll never know, but I do know that I will always remember this unspoken friendship forever. As I left, a few lines from the song, “Jamaica Farewell” passed through my mind, albeit with slightly different lyrics at the end….

But I’m sad to say, I’m on my way

Won’t be back for many a day

My heart is down, my head is turning around

I had to leave a little cat in some town


-Jamaica Farewell (Harry Belafonte)


Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers


//The End//

Written by
Someone Else…yeah ELSE!

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