The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Friday, 11 February 2011

Goodbye, Old Man

This is Duffer.

I have known Duffer for 20 years.  When I met him he was almost four years old.  He and I didn't hit it off at first.  He was one of 2 cats my girlfriend (now my wife) owned.  The other cat loved me.  Duffer didn't.  In fact, for the first year my future wife and I lived together, Duffer peed on just about everything I owned.  When it was obvious that I was going to be around for a while, the pissing match ended in a long standing truce.

When the other cat, Jesse, died a few years back, Duffer began to warm up to me.  After only 17 years he decided to be my friend.  My wife was still the human of choice, but I became a close second.  I would often end up with his frail form curled up on my lap, purring like a kitten.

Over the past few months we'd seen a decline in our old pal.  He moved just a little bit slower and grew a little thinner each week.  He was still bright and alert most of the time, although there were times he would pause while lying down, as if he couldn't remember if he was lying down or getting up.  Old as he was, he always made the trip down the steep basement stairs to use his litter box.  His appetite was good, until about a week ago.

Good old Duff had been eating less and his movements had slowed considerably, but his eyes were still bright and he was in no pain.  When you lifted him up, he'd still snuggle in and demand his pets, purring all the time.

Last night, after dinner, we discovered that Duffer had quietly removed himself to my daughter's room where he lay down for the last time.

Good-bye, Old Man.

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