Badurday- December 4, 2010- Guest Blogger: Jeff Salter

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!

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46 Responses

  1. Welcome, Jeff- glad to have you pop in today. Love this story despite the “ick” factor! Having just had to clean up cat puke this morning, I’m feeling all sympathetic.

    Love the Point of View exercises. Great post. Jillian

  2. Ohhhhh Jeff. I was totally expecting Scarlett Johannson this morning. What a funny story and a great idea on the POV exercises. I have bathed a cat before it is definitely an experience. “Loops of Poop” will be forever engrained in my memory. We house sit for a cat that will inevitably poop a foot from the litter box. She pees in the box and poops on the floor. Crazy cat. Cats do make for great stories.

    • Darlene- Cats are demons in disguise! I love my fur face kittle, but she’s demonic.

    • Darlene,
      If I could’ve found the right Scarlett pix, I would have written a completely different column. LOL.
      I tried to psych out [Jillian] but that’s next to impossible. Ha.
      Your cat seems to have ‘issues’ about her litter box being clear of litter.
      Just watch out for Poop Loops!

  3. (Hooker shoes! Jeff sent us a picture of hooker shoes! *blissfully hugs self while spinning around* Women LOVE hooker shoes!! ) And my guys are thumbs-upping the other pics. Said there’s nothing like a pair of boobs being born that can grow women on them!

    Jillian, you’re right! He IS cool! LOL

    Love the cat tale, too, Jeff. As the one experiencing both dangerous ends, your POV was perfect. The things we suffer to keep our spouse happy, huh?

    Your writing makes it so easy to identify with your tale. Even trumping personal irritation (his drinking your from your water glass) for the greater good. With five children we’ve had a major animal collection. Wasn’t until they grew up and left that I realized it was hubby the entire time! His latest acquisition? A rescue horse on death’s door. You could stick your fingers to the second knuckle between her ribs, her backbone was a broomstick strung between her neck and bony rump, with everything covered in hairless hide. But he has her gorgeous now, and she’s a REDHEAD!

    If the Sizzlers agree, I think we should get Jeff a really special box of Bandaids. Any man heroic enough to tackle a cat for his wife deserves manly bandages.

    Suggestions? (And if someone says ‘Hello Kitty’, I’m going to be very disappointed! LOL)

    • PS: That is one disgruntled looking cat! LOL

    • Runere,
      Thanks for the exuberant (sp?) reply.
      I ddin’t realize those were hooker shoes. Uh, does that mean the woman who sauntered into the bar and sat at my table was … … a … retailer?
      No need for the band-aids now, but thanks. Sipper is 8 yrs older and this experience is a dim memory … except for my scars.
      It’s to your credit that you’ve provided a safe and loving home for critters, but a HORSE? Gurl, horses grow up and become 3000 lb. eating machines! Oh well, you must have a big back yard.
      Thanks for stopping by and “settin’ a spell”.

      • Jeff- Runere is ALWAYS exuberant- she’s always fun! AND I HAVE seen a picture of her in a red dress w/some sexy shoes on those feet!

  4. Dang Runere- you took my suggestion of the Hello Kitty!! HEHEHE- AND the hooker shoes were so not supposed to be posted- he should have known better to send them- LOL!

  5. What a story and those pics. LOL. That is not a happy cat. Thanks Jeff!

  6. Runere,
    A PTO mom with chaperone issues?
    LOL.
    This one just sashayed in, sat down, crossed her legs and said, “What’s on your mind?”
    At that point I couldn’t remember where I’d left my mind, so I had no idea.
    Ha.

    • Yeah. You poor guys have a major hydraulic malfunction. Not enough fluids to operate multiple machinery.

      It’s why the Creator made modifications to the original prototype! But the improved model still appreciates y’all, so you don’t have to worry about being phased out!! laughing

      • Runere,
        I think many examples of the ‘improved model’ (in our species) are gnarlicious. Including Scarlett Johanson.
        So the Creator did a fine job!

  7. [Jillian], you’re back early. Thank goodness, I was running out of material and my writers are on strike this week!

  8. So I’m sitting at my son’s basketball game laughing my butt off!! (no strings attached). . . my DH is looking at me like I’m crazy. I whisper, “chuck.” And he sighs. He knows that Jeff (chuck) cracks me up!!

    I’m the worst when it comes to POV! It’s taken my editor one year to get me on the right track. Plus I have a hard time staying in one tense.

  9. That is definitely Jeff’s kind of story, and we love hearing about King Sipper. A very vivd tale or tail that could have been told from other points of view.

  10. I’m back from my meeting and am glad to see Jeff seems to have survived. With Runere’s help! Jillian

    • Yeah, Runere was keeping me company. Not certain I’d consider it ‘holding my hand.”
      Maybe more like poking me with a stick.
      Ha.

      • She’s good at poking w/a stick, Jeff- she may even chase you with her red wheeliebob that she used after her knee surgery! She’s wicked wild with it.

    • (Pssst! Jillian! Hubby’s been reading over my shoulder, and swears if we run into Jeff at a conference, he’ll poke me straight in the nose for teasing him so badly! Run interference for me, please? Let Jeff know I’m just a big kidder! Hubby’s standing here with his arms crossed, shaking his head saying “You’d deserve it!)

      I’m wailing “Not fair! I can’t run! Yet!”

  11. I’m about to hit the sack. Been a long day.
    Thanks to all who stopped in to chat.
    Thanks to [Jillian] for the invitation and (occasional) hand-holding
    Thanks to Runere and others for filling in as hosteses.
    Hey! Nobody brought any brownies!

  12. OMG! That is too funny! I love how you will say ASS but not SHIT!
    Dang, Jeff, poop loops? What are you feeding poor King Sipper?! At least you helped Denise. My DH would be dry heaving and telling me good luck! LOL!

    Seriously, great story and interesting POV questions.

    Jenn!

    • Thanks for coming by Jenn- Jeff said he was going to bed just a few mins ago so he missed this comment- unless he was fibbing! Jillian

    • Jenn, thanks for stopping by. Sorry I missed you last night. I’m in eastern time and I went to bed at 11 (about an hour earlier than I normally do because I was zonked … been fighting a cold).
      Funny thing about those poop loops — we never have figured out how or why or anything else. And it’s never happened again in 8 yrs. But I can tell you those shit strings were NASTY beyond belief! I wish I had a pix of the shock on my face when I first saw them — just a few inches from my face — as Sipper was writhing and shaking his hind legs while on my lap.

      • I was late to the party. Just got in this evening and saw your post. And bot what a post!
        Glad to hear that this traumatic experience for you (and Sipper, too) has not recurred. LOL!

        Jenn!

      • Jenn, if Sipper had an on-going problem with shit strings, I would have put an ad in the paper the following month — 8 yrs ago.
        Ha. Can you imagine the wording of that ad?

        Free to good home. Lively kitten with interesting eating habits and very entertaining bathroom routine. Sure to be a hit on Letterman or Funniest Home Videos. Call BR-549.

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