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View Full Version : The Fantastic Tale of Houdini the Cat and His Search for a Forever Home



lowprofile300
January 2nd, 2013, 01:21 AM
I would tell you my name but the title of this story already gave it away! I would tell you what the story is about, but it beat me to that too! So I guess I will just get on with telling the story then.

My original owner’s name was Falk, Falk Yue. Now I know how it sounds but that was her name, Falk Yue. If you don’t believe me, well…Falk Yue was Chinese. Did I tell you she was also a student at the local community college who moved to the United States on a student visa? I came to Falk Yue when I was just a kitten, maybe one pound weight and six weeks old.

You see, I am a gray short haired Siamese. My left jade green eye tends to compliment my right ocean blue eye. My ears are long and pointy, I am cute and I know it, but that's beside the point. I don’t remember my mother exactly, but I know Falk Yue.

The story goes that, she would put me in a cardboard box on the kitchen floor to sleep overnight. In the morning when she would wake up she would find me in her bed, snuggled up by her toes. This occurrence repeated itself the first couple of days she had me. I believe that I was too tiny to climb out of the box, let alone crawl the 20 feet or so of the long dark hallway to go open her bedroom door. First of all, cats don’t open doors and climb up beds that are at least a foot off the floor.

Another story was that when she first went to pick me off the floor, I slipped out of her grip and fell to the hardwood floor of her kitchen. Somehow I survived and from that day on, she named me Houdini.

You notice that I speak of her in the past tense. That’s because she is dead. Yes, Falk Yue is dead. She let her visa expire and when the United States Immigration asked her to leave the country, she locked herself in her apartment in a three day standoff.

When the authorities finally decided to breakdown the front door and take her by force, she ran into the bedroom and in a brazen act of self sacrifice, jumped out of the window…falling 12 floors down, head first. She died instantly, thankfully.

I say thankfully, because it is my hope that she didn’t feel any pain, except perhaps the trip down must have been horrifying. I can picture her now, hurtling towards the earth, the pupil of her green eyes dilated and the blood veins around her retina clouding surrounding white tissue. Those eyes full of fear and anger, wide open, screaming obscenities in Chinese, arms flapping erratically, legs jerking hopelessly – oh the horror!

What is a humble cat to do? I am just trying to tell this story the best I can with as few grisly details as possible, but I see that I am failing miserably! Anyway, back to the story. So after Falk Yue died, the authorities removed me from her apartment and into a shelter. An animal shelter to be precise, let’s face it, I am a cat; an animal. Not to say that humans are not animals too, but we all know which species is at the top of the food chain, and it isn’t cats.

Now let me tell you, an animal shelter is nothing like a homeless shelter. I was caged 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It sounds like prison right? You are darn right! It was nothing less than prison. I was fed once a day for five weeks until I was rescued by Mary Anne, my next owner. At least so I thought. Now what happens next is simply unimaginable, but I will do my best to tell it without bursting into tears.

She beat me. Yes, Mary Anne beat me black and blue, every day with her flip flops, smacking me all over till I ran under her living room couch. Did I tell you Mary Anne was 70 years old, weighed over 300 pounds and stood only 4 feet tall? Well, the only reason she left me alone when I ran under the couch was that, she couldn’t bend her fat self to reach me.

The couch, although not as heavy as Mary Anne, was bolted to the floor. Don’t ask me why -I am just a cat. All I know is that if Mary Anne could move that couch, I wouldn’t be here telling you this story. Hold on while I blow my nose. Excuse me; I am sorry, I get emotional whenever I remember the beatings. I don’t like to be hit, I don’t like it!

Did I tell you what happened to Mary Anne? Well, she slipped and hit the back of her head in her bathtub, rendering her unconscious as she bled slowly to death. Thank goodness for that. She was such a mean old woman and I can’t say that I will miss her.

For the next two weeks, I was going crazy from the hunger that ensued, having no one to feed me as it was. The foul odor of her body decomposition brought the neighbors knocking, and eventually the authorities to her apartment. Once again, I was sent back to the shelter. Oh that God forsaken place. I hated it! But my luck was about to change in the most unexpected way.

I was about to meet my soul owner. Yes I said it, most folks seek their soul mate, but for me a soul owner will do just fine, someone who will give me a forever home. Enter Tiny, Tiny Hass Ole. (The H and E are silent)

Now Tiny Hass Ole was a middle aged man who lived alone in a one bedroom condominium. It was lavishly furnished with fine Italian art adorning the walls. In the middle of the living room floor was an oriental rug from the Far East, surrounded by a beautiful white leather sofa and two matching couches. By all account, Tiny Hass Ole lived comfortably. He treated me kindly and gave me a home, he made sure my needs were met and fed me three times a day. I had finally found a good person to take care of me and give me a forever home.

But something was missing, something was not right. In fact something was very wrong. This is not how this story is supposed to end. We cannot have a happy ending, so we won’t.

Hey did I tell you what happened to Tiny? Well, he didn’t show up for work last Tuesday and Wednesday, so after many calls to his home and cell phone, his boss called the authorities. Now, they had to break down the front door to get in the home, where they found Tiny, cold and stiff in his bed, still in his black and blue polka dot pajamas. They were his favorite. The authorities also found an empty coffee cup on the night table beside the bed and a note. On the floor in a dark corner under the bed was an empty prescription bottle with his name on it.

Now you are wondering what was in that note, well, let’s go back and see. The note read, “It is finished.” And it is. My work here is done.

The fact that Falk Yue's death, triggered fears of abandonment and a loathing for humans in me had nothing to do with this, or that, the night Mary Anne fell, there was enough baby oil on the shower floor to ski on, that Tiny Hass Ole's bottle of sleeping pills went missing just days before he passed away. No sir!

Besides, there is no such thing as a serial killer feline who happens to go by the name Houdini, right? So it’s back to the shelter, where I will await my next victim…I mean owner. After all, I am just warming up.

SarahStrange
January 24th, 2013, 03:37 AM
Okay, so this was very interesting. I enjoyed reading it. I sort of suspected that the cat was doing it but was still surprised when Houdini came right out and said it.

I think you need to have a bit more foreshadowing. Connect their deaths with Houdini in a more personal way. As for the second owner something along the lines of, Houdini just trying to make a comfortable place to curl up away from the mean old woman. Turns out the only viable place is in the tub, but that darned mat on the bottom is just too ruff and Houdini just had to move it. Turns out the next morning she slips and falls.

Or the first, Houdini has been urinating on the already rickety fire exit outside (ammonia in urine is corrosive) and when Fulk tries to run out there it breaks. Whoops.

Or with the last owner: Tiny accidentally spills his pills but hears the phone and must leave. Houdini is just trying to be helpful and picks them up with his mouth and puts them in Tiny's coffee cup, because that's where he thinks those silly humans put their odd yellow pills. After all, Houdini is just such a helpful creature.

Also, the question remains, why does Houdini kill? Perhaps add how Fulk tires of Houdini and tried to get rid of him. This makes Houdini mad and become a killer kitty.

Very creative concept!

lowprofile300
January 25th, 2013, 12:05 PM
Okay, so this was very interesting. I enjoyed reading it. I sort of suspected that the cat was doing it but was still surprised when Houdini came right out and said it.
Very creative concept!



Actually I was using the 95/5 percent concept. I spent about 95% of the story trying to portray Houdini as the victim, only to reveal him as the perpetrator in the last 5%. If I had given any direct clues as to what he really is, it would surely have ruined the surprise ending; which was what I was going for all along. Still, I am glad you enjoyed it.:smile2: Thanks for your honest insightfulness.

Mike63031
January 29th, 2013, 05:06 PM
Cute!

You migh consider using more action verbs, e.g. "...she died..." in place of "she is dead". Or "Middle aged Tiny Hass Ole lived alone..." in place of "Tiny Hass Ole was a middle aged man who lived alone..." .
Some cat lovers/"owners" and maybe even a lot of cats might take exception to Houdini's acceptance of being owned, even if it is by a soul owner. Cats own people, not the other way round.:lol: I speak from experience; I've supported many cats and not one of them ever gave any evidence of being owned.

Maybe some more description of Houdini would help, too, Was he a short hair? Siamese? What did his eyes look like? Was houdini male or female?

The ending doesn't seem to fit the story. There are no clues pointing to foul play by Houdini. Except for the the fat old broad, what are the motives for the murders? Surprise endings work, but, for me, not this time.

Gently given,
Mike

ttts
February 8th, 2013, 02:56 AM
Hahahaha. I laughed. It was a little bit predictable, and there wasn't really a lot of detail, so it seemed really rushed, but the idea was really really good and you have a lot of voice. I feel like it needs a little more "meat" if it is going to be a short story, but the idea is clever.

Kay
February 17th, 2013, 02:26 PM
This is a great idea and I love the ending. I'm not too keen on the narrative style as there is too much telling and not enough showing for me - that's just my opinion though. Best of luck with it.

lowprofile300
February 24th, 2013, 02:37 AM
Cute!

You migh consider using more action verbs, e.g. "...she died..." in place of "she is dead". Or "Middle aged Tiny Hass Ole lived alone..." in place of "Tiny Hass Ole was a middle aged man who lived alone..." .
Some cat lovers/"owners" and maybe even a lot of cats might take exception to Houdini's acceptance of being owned, even if it is by a soul owner. Cats own people, not the other way round.:lol: I speak from experience; I've supported many cats and not one of them ever gave any evidence of being owned.

Maybe some more description of Houdini would help, too, Was he a short hair? Siamese? What did his eyes look like? Was houdini male or female?

The ending doesn't seem to fit the story. There are no clues pointing to foul play by Houdini. Except for the the fat old broad, what are the motives for the murders? Surprise endings work, but, for me, not this time.

Gently given,
Mike





Thanks Mike, i took your advise and made some changes. It still needs some tweaking.

lowprofile300
February 24th, 2013, 02:40 AM
Hahahaha. I laughed. It was a little bit predictable, and there wasn't really a lot of detail, so it seemed really rushed, but the idea was really really good and you have a lot of voice. I feel like it needs a little more "meat" if it is going to be a short story, but the idea is clever.

I agree with you ttts, i just didn't want the story to be too long and drawn out, i was concerned my readers will get bored. But you have a point there. thanks

lowprofile300
February 24th, 2013, 02:44 AM
This is a great idea and I love the ending. I'm not too keen on the narrative style as there is too much telling and not enough showing for me - that's just my opinion though. Best of luck with it.

I appreciate your honest review Kay, i have included a little showing in my current edit, probably not enough but take a look and tell me what you think. Thanks

soleole
March 11th, 2013, 06:16 PM
I really liked this story! the idea is very creative :) I can't comment much on the style as I'm a newby and doubt I would have done it better (if as good) as you. Just wanted to share a bit of encouragement. keep it up!

lowprofile300
April 6th, 2013, 12:40 AM
I really liked this story! the idea is very creative :) I can't comment much on the style as I'm a newby and doubt I would have done it better (if as good) as you. Just wanted to share a bit of encouragement. keep it up!

@Soleole,
Thanks for the encouragement.

whatever
April 9th, 2013, 06:48 PM
I don't think you will risk much if you put in a few more clues like cat hair covering the bathtub. It's a cool plot, very giggly, but the ending is just too out there. Maybe you should either make it longer to make it more of a surprise or at an extra character to give us a different perspective of what's going
All in all, adorable <3

lowprofile300
April 14th, 2013, 02:52 AM
I don't think you will risk much if you put in a few more clues like cat hair covering the bathtub. It's a cool plot, very giggly, but the ending is just too out there. Maybe you should either make it longer to make it more of a surprise or at an extra character to give us a different perspective of what's going
All in all, adorable <3

@Whatever, I thought about making it longer, but I felt that it might turn readers off.

whatever
April 14th, 2013, 03:00 PM
@Whatever, I thought about making it longer, but I felt that it might turn readers off.
A good joke is one that can continue ;)

sellyourbooks
October 7th, 2013, 03:15 PM
Perhaps it's just me, however this font makes it hard on the eyes to read.
the story was pretty cool though! -after being copied/pasted into libre office and changed to ubuntu font.

toz76
September 2nd, 2015, 06:21 AM
This was an excellent story. I do wonder about Houdini's motivation for the third murder. I can understand the second, but there seems to be no reason at all for Houdini to murder Tiny. Some elaboration would probably be helpful.

qwertyman
September 2nd, 2015, 12:40 PM
I'm always loitering in the Humour section but I didn't catch this the first time round.

I liked the flow, I liked the theme and I particularly liked the voice.

In a Flash piece it's difficult to maintain Houdini's innocence for very long because there are few active alternatives. The situation is effectively salvaged by avoiding the obvious first choice, which is Houdini's motive being revenge. The indiscriminate killer cat is the twist. I know all cat are like that...so why was I surprised? But I was.

Good work. I bet you didn't 'knock this up in an hour'.

MzSnowleopard
September 2nd, 2015, 04:43 PM
Wonderful story. I love it. The end bothers me though because Houdini is back in that awful place. As always though, my imagination filled in the void. I saw Houdini in the lap of a little girl in a wheelchair. I don't know why she's in the chair, maybe it's temporary, maybe not- but Houdini is curled up in her lap sound asleep and purring. Just my imagination at work. 8)

Amnesiac
October 7th, 2015, 10:21 PM
Great story! Lots of fun! I know, from my work as a medic, and later, as a deputy sheriff, that when owners die, usually their beloved kitty cats start snacking on earlobes, the nose, fingertips, and anywhere else they can sink their teeth into. Perhaps you could work that lovely bit of knowledge into your story...

Also, I noticed that you used the word, grizzly, to describe something that was grisly. Anyway, a minor thing. :) Again, fun read!

lowprofile300
September 13th, 2017, 05:54 AM
@Amnesiac (https://www.writingforums.com/members/59102-Amnesiac) ,MzSnowleopard (https://www.writingforums.com/members/57143-MzSnowleopard),qwertyman (https://www.writingforums.com/members/17346-qwertyman) , toz76 (https://www.writingforums.com/members/59000-toz76) , sellyourbooks (https://www.writingforums.com/members/53987-sellyourbooks) , whatever (https://www.writingforums.com/members/52174-whatever) , thanks for taking the time to look my work over and the commentary. I will heed your advise and make improvements where needed. Still, glad you enjoyed it.

MPhillip
October 12th, 2017, 07:45 PM
The story is fun, and the wordplay with names is comical.

It was difficult for me to read, however, because it contains a lot of unnecessary/duplicated words and phrases that don't seem to move the story forward.

This paragraph, hopefully, illustrates the points:


The story goes that, She would put me in a cardboard box on the kitchen floor to sleep overnight. In the morning when she would wake up she would find me in her bed, snuggled up by her toes. This occurrence repeated itself the first couple of days she had me. I believe that I was too tiny to climb out of the box, let alone crawl the 20 feet or so of the long dark down the hallway to go or open her bedroom door. First of all, cats donít open doors and climb up beds that are at least a foot off the floor.

to something like this:

She put me in a box on the kitchen floor to sleep overnight. In the morning she would find me in her bed, snuggled up by her toes. This repeated itself the first couple of days she had me.

See if that doesn't add some punch to the story.

(one unfamiliar with cats are always surprised at what a kitten can get out of and how far it wanders, cats do open doors - see youtube for evidence, and a 12 inch jump/climb by a kitten is so easy a cave kitten can do it) [/QUOTE]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVPPLHfQEJo

Overall and enjoyable story that might need some tightening up.

VonBradstein
October 13th, 2017, 11:18 AM
Cute!

You migh consider using more action verbs, e.g. "...she died..." in place of "she is dead". Or "Middle aged Tiny Hass Ole lived alone..." in place of "Tiny Hass Ole was a middle aged man who lived alone..." .




'Action verbs'???

I think you are referring to active vs. passive voice, at least in the first example. Your example for the Tiny Hass Ole sentence has identical verb usage to the original - 'lived alone' occurs in both - so there is no real change to be made other than to syntax. However the syntax in the original form is grammatically fine and does not need changed...

VonBradstein
October 13th, 2017, 11:20 AM
OP: This is a good piece. Funny and endearing. Yeah there's some basic editing needing done but overall, nice job.

lowprofile300
December 20th, 2017, 08:18 AM
OP: This is a good piece. Funny and endearing. Yeah there's some basic editing needing done but overall, nice job.

Glad you enjoyed it. I will go back and edit some more. Thanks

BenedictNotCumberbatch
February 28th, 2018, 12:20 PM
Amazing story! Really made me laugh a lot :D

lowprofile300
April 23rd, 2018, 06:56 AM
Amazing story! Really made me laugh a lot :D

That was the result i was hoping for. I am glad it was achieved. :champagne: