Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "On a Long Leash"

This poem came out of the January 8, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] kyleri. It also fills the "needed travel" square in my 8-7-19 card for the Fairy Tales Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

"On a Long Leash"

[Saturday, May 2, 2015]

Keras was enjoying
the fine spring day as he
walked through town with
Marmalade's leash in one hand
and Smokey's leash in the other.

"What in the world are you doing?"
a woman said, staring at them.

"Going for a walk," Keras said.

"Why would you put a leash
on your cats?" she demanded.

"Smokey is settling in pretty well,
but he's still shy, so we're going to
Kitten Canoodle to pick out a cat house,"
Keras explained. "That way, he can
watch us without feeling too exposed."

"Don't you know you're supposed
to walk dogs on leashes?" she sneered.

"Yes, but the store we need to visit is
in an old building up several flights of stairs,"
Keras said. "My dog uses a wheelcart,
and that wouldn't be fair to Scooter."

"You're making a big mistake,"
she said, edging away from them.

Keras shrugged. "It's not a mistake,
it's a learning experience. Smokey
is on a long leash, and Marmalade
is setting a good example," he said.
"In any case, it's none of your business."

He led his cats up the long stairs
to Kitten Canoodle, then waiting
while Smokey sniffed the doorway.

"New customer?" called a voice.

Keras recognized Laren Allaway,
the owner of the store. "Yes, this
is Smokey. He's shy, so I'm
shopping for cat furniture."

"Something that balances
closed and open spaces?"
Laren asked, watching the cats.

"Yes, and preferably colorful,
so the kids can enjoy looking at it,"
Keras said. "Smokey is training as
a therapy cat, so I have a good budget."

"In that case, allow me to recommend
a modular cat house," Laren said.
"We have a nice four-color model
with a ladder in natural wood."

It consisted of four blocks, each with
three holes for cats to climb in and out of,
lined with a piece of shaggy sheepskin.

Marmalade promptly bounded
to the top and looked around.

"This seems promising," Keras said
as Smokey sniffed the ladder.
"How expandable is it?"

"As much as you want,
or can afford," Laren said.
"You can buy individual modules."

Keras looked at the loose blocks
painted in eye-popping colors. "Hmm ..."

"If you want to go horizontal, consider
a boardwalk or hammock," Laren said.
"If you prefer vertical, a sisal pole would
give them another route up and down."

Keras thought about it, imagining
the cat house going up one corner of
the living room. He could add modules,
connect them with various bridges, and
eventually put the sisal pole in the far corner.

That would give his children chances to help
plan the project and do things like fetching tools
for whomever wound up installing the hardware.

Certainly Keras couldn't do that sort of thing
with his clumsy, two-fingered hands but there
were plenty of other folks at home who would.

Smokey completed his inspection, curled up
in the cat house, and began to purr.

"We'll take it," Keras said with a laugh.

* * *


Laren Allaway -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and curly red hair to his shoulders. A devout cat lover, he owns the store Kitten Canoodle in Rain City, Washington. He doesn't like dogs at all, though. Laren is playful, but when it's time to sleep, he has no trouble dropping off.
Qualities: Good (+2) Cat Lover, Good (+2) Naturalistic Intelligence, Good (+2) Playful, Good (+2) Shopkeeper, Good (+2) Sleep Anytime
Poor (-2) Not a Dog Person

* * *

Rude and nosy people are everywhere. Learn how to handle rude people and deal with nosy questions. Sometimes it helps to think like a lawyer.

a long leash
A phrase indicating that one is given a lot of independence or is not under very strict control by someone else. Her parents give her quite a long leash, so it doesn't surprise me that she gets up to as much trouble as she does. They may be regretting the long leash they gave their candidate ahead of the campaign.

See the exterior of Kitten Canoodle. The interior includes a checkout counter, toy racks, and a workshop for building cat furniture.

The Classic Catissa is a 4-storey cat house. It can be assembled in many ways. A cat boardwalk like this one makes a good bridge. A long version of a cat hammock also works as a bridge. A sisal pole such as this one offers another way to climb up and down. You can also turn it sideways to make a pole bridge.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing

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