This year marked the end of an era, as I bid farewell to the Athens nightlife (because of the pandemic) and wandered the wilderness (to practice social distancing). This is the definitive record of the creatures I met in my travels. These are their stories. Please note: The following names have been changed to protect the privacy of the cats mentioned—except for Big Chungus. He knows what he did, and one day he will answer for his crimes.
1. Barbara “Babs” Hoyt: A tuxedo cat. A cat whom we knew well, for she frequented the woods behind our apartment, and our household constantly mistook her for our nigh-identical tuxedo housecat. As such, I nearly had a stroke every time I confronted this majestic entity.
2. Ramona of Riverbend: A small, long-haired black cat. We met her whilst taking out the trash. Ramona got our attention and led us into the forest out behind the dumpster, but the trees were too thick, and dusk was fast approaching, so we could not follow her. At the midnight hour, we heard Ramona pacing the street in front of our residence, calling out into the night. When I approached her, she again tried to lead me into the woods. While I was unable to follow her beyond the treeline, she did introduce me to her companion, Dolores Cloudstrike.
3. Dolores Cloudstrike: A grey tabby cat and dear friend to Ramona of Riverbend. Dolores is a skittish but mighty huntress, prowling the grounds of the apartment complex and the forest beyond, scourge of birds and Meowmix alike. We often crossed paths when I went out to leave cat food by the dumpster. We once witnessed Dolores Cloudstrike run up a tree to catch a bird. When she failed in her quest, she simply sat there and stared at us.
4. Steve: An elusive calico cat, full of as many mysteries as the summer night. A friend of Ramona of Riverbend and Dolores Cloudstrike, Steve enjoys moonlighting by the pool and long prowls along the parking lot perimeter.
5. The Ramona-Cloudstrike-Steve Family: The kittens of a feral cat colony that lives in the woods behind our apartment. We encountered them frolicking in a field one evening, in the afterglow of a summer storm. Never before has mankind seen a sight so sublime, nor will it again.
6. Big Chungus: A rotund and happy cat with long fur of grey and white. We met shortly after I moved and have become steadfast mortal enemies. He enjoys lounging in my backyard and digging up my plants. One day he absconded with my dill. Yes, dear reader, the entire plant. I haven’t seen it since. Occasionally, Chungus and I lock eyes in the parking lot, but neither of us dares act upon our baser instincts.
7. Baggle Boy: A long-haired, fluffy cat spotted behind Ideal Bagel. We briefly acknowledged the other’s existence, and we went our separate ways.
8. Ms. Howard Pizzaman: An excellent tortoiseshell cat with a stubby tail, whom we made contact with by the Baxter Street Domino’s. A friendly and amiable cat. I love her.
9. Viceroy Helga Whenceworth, Esquire: A stately orange tabby cat. We briefly crossed paths whilst I was walking my cat, when we accidentally strayed into her territory. The Viceroy let us pass without incident, and for that we are forever indebted to her. Thank you, Viceroy Helga Whenceworth, Esquire. Thank you.
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