SFCATTY/Jillian: I “met” Jeff Salter on the Pro-Org loop of the Romance Writer’s of America. We hit it off and have been teasing and harassing each other since then. He’s a very, very funny dude and God help us if we ever got him and our own Runere in a room together. We would have to all find a box of Depends to to share. It would be a laugh fest extraordinaire! Jeff takes my good natured ribbing on this blog when I post my Bad Boys and so I offered him a chance to post some girls and being the gentleman he is, he chose to tell us a crazy, wild story about Point of View instead. He was a librarian for many years but I have to tell you, I can’t see him walking around shushing people. By the way, Jeff, oh master librarian, is shushing even a word?
Without further ado, here’s Jeff:
JEFF SALTER: Writers hear a lot about POV — often in critiques from contest judges. < whine > So each of us can probably use a short refresher in the ways POV can affect a story. We’ll use this true story about King Sipper the Cat, shortly after he joined our household exactly eight years ago.]
Alley Cat Flashback
My wife brought home that raggedy alley cat again this weekend. It keeps drinking from my water glass, tried last night to eat my vitamins, climbs on top of the keyboard and monitor, clinks dishes in the middle of the night, opens and slams the cabinet doors, and now BITES our hands, wrists, and ankles!
Well, last evening King Sipper reached new depths of gato gross-out: immediately after departing the litter box (and with that aroma freshly pungent throughout the house), Sipper raced over to the couch and landed in my lap.
The penetrating stench of cat feces was exponentially greater than the stink in the room in general, so I figured Sip had tracked some in on his paws. I couldn’t see the bottoms of his feet, but he was twirling or twisting or otherwise gyrating, so I got a thorough view of his rear end. Draped from his butt-hole – and from his upper hindquarters – was what resembled bubble gum or silly string … in LOOPS no less!
At first I figured the smell and the ‘loops’ could not possibly be related (you now, maybe he ran through some really sturdy cobwebs or something). WRONG! The loops WERE the smell! That cat had ‘SHIT STRINGS’ of poop … which had somehow clung to his butt-fur! He started shaking his hind legs, trying to fling off the loops of poop! And he kept turning around, the better to rub some of it onto the couch … or onto ME!
About this time, I start screeching to Denise, “Come get this cat! He’s got loops of poop all over his ASS!” Well, she saunters over, acting like I’m exaggerating. Finally arriving at the couch, after I’ve tried holding a cat with poop loops at arm’s length for several minutes, Denise realizes my assessment is accurate.
She grabs the cat in one hand and goes to retrieve a ROLL of toilet paper. Does she tend to the cat in the bathroom? No … she returns to the couch. She takes a few ineffectual swipes at Sipper’s butt with several tissue squares, but all that really does is tangle poop loops in her FINGERS!
Finally Denise flees to the bathroom, with the cat in one hand and her other hand stretched out as far away as possible. So now she’s calling on ME for help! Do I saunter? Do I delay? Well, I want to … but I don’t. I grab the front end of the pooper cat and Denise starts running water in the lavatory.
So I’m holding Sipper and Denise keeps testing the temperature of the water. I’m saying, “Denise, he’s not going to care whether it’s cold or warm … he’s gonna HATE the water — PERIOD! Just get it over with!” She ignores me, of course, and gets the temperature just right. Then she tells me to hold the cat tighter. Tighter?
Remember that old Internet story about giving pills to cats? Well bathing feline butts is just about as problematic. Ole Sip squirms and twists and tries to claw out my eyeballs – only slight exaggeration – while Denise soaks and swabs his butt. Well, take it from me: cats do NOT like being second-guessed about their rear-end hygiene! The old Sip-meister was majorly twitterpated!
Finally, Denise gets the remnants of the poop loops off Sipper’s butt, then sets about to RINSE him. Well, rinsing a cat is not a bit easier than washing one. Sipper evidently had figured the process was complete and was definitely ready to depart.
Well, to make a long story a bit shorter: Sip got his butt washed, rinsed, and blow-DRIED … all while I frantically clutched the biting and scratching end of the gato machine.
If I went to the E.R. with all these scratches and bites on my hands and wrists, they’d probably have that woman arrested for spouse abuse. [And they’d never believe we tried to wash, rinse, and dry a cat’s butt in the lavatory — because of poop loops!] So, she’d need a really good lawyer. Know any attorneys specializing in cat injuries? Jillian? Bueller?
Gotta go change my band-aids.
Okay. Obviously that was from my POV.
But how would this same tale be told from my wife’s perspective? What would be different? pacing? content? [After all she missed the beginning]. Wonder what she was thinking when she decided to address the problem in the living room with a ROLL of toilet paper? And remember, she experienced the BACK end of the cat during the washing / rinsing / drying sequence.
Exercise # 2: Now how would the same story sound from Sipper’s POV? How much would the cat understand? What would he be thinking? Who would he scratch / bite the hardest: the one holding him … or the one washing his keester?
Point of view. Judges love to pounce on it. How thoroughly do you write it?
SFCATTY/Jillian: Here’s a selection of photos to illustrate Jeff’s tale or would that be tail??
SFCATTY/Jillian: And just because I can, I’m also showing you three he sent me as a joke. There is one more but I’ll keep it to myself unless people ask me to post it. I told him our only rule was no full frontal nudity and he respected that! LOL!