Some cats hear their own inner voices with great clearness. And they live by what they hear. Such cats become crazy, or they become legends...
Stubbs was born in the moon of the falling leaves. lt was a terrible winter. Her mother almost died bringing her into this world. They wrapped her in a bear skin and held her all through that night. As she grew into a cat, she learned the joy of the kill. When the hunter claws out its warm heart...setting its spirit free.
The Myers family had many cats, but Stubbs was one of their favorites. Every warrior hopes a good death will find him. But Stubbs couldn't wait. She went looking for hers...
The scene opens. Stubbs, prowling in the night. She cautiously moves toward a small cave. With every step, the snoring from the cave gets louder and louder. She reaches out her paw. As the body of the beast rises and falls with every breath, just to touch it and prove her bravery. As she lays her paw on his thick coat, pressing deep, the beast roars awake, it was a weasel! The weasel strikes first knocking Stubbs back. Then, with her signature lightning fast strike, she smacks him. The weasel, stuned and staggering, stumbles away.
"Stubbs! Stubbs!" "Was it a weasel?" "Meow." "Can you breathe?" "Meow." "Move your paw away, take it away!" "Ugh aww, now girl, you are a stupid, half-brained jackbutt, did ya' know that?" "Meow." "David put you up to this? God knows how you've lived so long. It will be alright, girl."
One year, I think it was 2001, l am an old man, l cannot remember the year, but it was the moon of the red grass. Stubbs left the Myers home and lived in the ever expanding wilderness of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. l think it was the weasel's voice she heard deep inside her, growling low, from dark, secret places. I have these letters...many letters. Read them. They are from all of them, the whole family, the whole story. It is all written here.
January 13 Dear Stubbs, lt has been months now and still no word. The only sign we have that you are still alive is a tattered parcel that arrived today from Negaunee. Covered in strange paw prints and containing what appears to be a dead mouse. Meant for me, l presume. But perhaps not. Do you still care to know what is happening here? Logging prices continue to fall and winter seems never ending. Why don't you write? Are you never coming back, and afraid to tell me? Or is it because you're a cat and you don't have opposable thumbs? David continues to do well. He wants us to send Lucy away to obedience school, but she adamantly refuses to leave the ranch. l think she, too, is waiting for you. Stubbs, l have nowhere to send this letter and l have no reason to believe you wish to receive it. l write it only for myself. I'll hide it away with all the other things left unsaid and undone between us.
March 4 Dear Myers Family,
l have become a hunter. Tell Bret there are creatures here that cannot even be found in books. And l have killed them all.
...and after that. Stubbs sent no more letters. As the months passed by, they would hear someone had seen her on a ship, going up some river no kitty cat had gone up before. Stories came to them. Strange stories. And then for months there was nothing. She was lost to them. That was all they knew. But every month in the moon of the falling leaves, they would dream that the weasel's voice inside her had grown silent, and that Stubbs might again come to live in the world. But then the winter came, and then spring, and still she stayed away.
"Dave! Bret! Stubbs seems to have cornered something behind the piano, it might be a weasel. Stubbs's weasel?"
"You take him, Stubbs?"
"You're darn right l will."
l don 't know why Stubbs didn't kill that old weasel right then. They say when a cat and a weasel have spilled each other's blood, they become one. With the weasel caught, we spent the rest of the morning fashioning a terrarium out of an old fish tank. The weasel looked very dapper, a dark brown coat and a white under belly with a marking that resembled a bow-tie right at the bottom of its throat. Once the terrarium was completed to our high standereds, we placed the weasel gently inside. One hour later the weasel was dead. As it turns out the bow-tie wasn't a marking at all. It was a deep puncture wound from that mornings initial encounter with Stubbs. How much l wanted to take a pelt, but it was not my kill. That night we buried the body. We dumped the terrarium in a deep pool in upper Munising.
l remember when they told me how old she was. l thought Stubbs would never live to be as old as she did. l was wrong about that. l was wrong about many things. But she had her honor and a long life, and she saw her kittens grow and raise their own families. Stubbs will be forever missed by everyone who knew her and her heavy little feet.
Snider Pet Crematory