Tag Archives: FreakBeast

Personal interlude

Expect radio silence for the next couple of days: tomorrow is the start of Texas Frightmare Weekend, with Friday festivities running from 5 to 11 p.m. If you’re going to be out that way, look for the Triffid Ranch in the back of the Made In Texas Hall: I have a few surprises for longtime attendees. For those who are thinking about it, let me give you James Wallace’s summation over at the Dallas Observer. (I have to admit that I was in shock over such a positive review. It seemed like just yesterday when one particular writer over there would throw tantrums over how he’d refuse to write about any local convention unless he was given exclusive access to the guests, and then write a nasty review because he got everything he wanted. My, how things change.)

Anyway, in the meantime, it’s back to potting up Sarracenia and putting nametags on Bhut Jolokia peppers, and then sleep. And that’s where the saga of Tramplemaine comes in.

I’ve talked previously about my cat Leiber, aka “the FreakBeast,” and now it’s time to bring up Tramplemaine. Tramplemaine is a part-Siamese tuxedo cat that the Czarina rescued in the late Nineties, and he’s by far one of the most interesting cats I’ve ever met. Every cat owner will tell you that his/her cat is unique, but that really does fit Tramplemaine. This cat understands far more English than he cares to let on: at a party years back, a friend picked him up and exclaimed how heavy he was for such a small cat, and her husband quipped “Well, black is very slimming.” That cat was Tom’s best friend for the rest of the evening. We’re talking Gummitch levels of intelligence here.

Because of this, I feel free to speak to Tramplemaine as if he were any other human member of the family, and I respect his opinion much more than that of most biological relations. That is, outside of the bedroom. Just as I’m trying to call it quits for the night, he races to the bed, jumps on my side, and promptly flops down and claims the whole space. The Czarina thinks this is incredibly funny, and keeps telling me that there’s nothing wrong with moving the cat. I know better. Tramplemaine can be vindictive if forced off the bed, and I spent nearly five years at our previous residence with him tripping me on the stairs in the dark. Oh, he knows exactly what he’s doing.

This time, though, I finally decided to let him know who is in charge. After he’d conducted his nightly flop-and-roll, I just looked at him and told him “You know, animals sleep on the floor.”

His only response: “Mang.”

I was insistent. “Animals sleep on the floor.

His only response: “Mang.” I knew the tone: “No shit, Sherlock.”

That’s when we had it out, and I have only one thing to say. I’m glad that our bedroom floor has carpeting, because it’s COLD down here.

Introducing the FreakBeast

It had to come to this. The song was absolutely correct:

I know this because I was informed by Network Solutions this morning that this blog has nowhere near enough photos of cats on it. You wouldn’t believe some of the things they said they’d have to do to me if I didn’t rectify this. Tasers. Sawdust. Hipster poetry. By the time they mentioned “Nickelback concert”, I caved. I mean, what would you do?

Because of this, it’s time to introduce the youngest employee at the Texas Triffid Ranch. Meet Leiber.

Leiber, the FreakBeast

As can be told by his intense expression, Leiber doesn’t care that last Friday was his tenth birthday. He also doesn’t care that he was named after a much-beloved enthusiast of felines of all sorts. In fact, were I to have known how dopy this cat was when I first adopted him, I would have named him “Niven” instead. He’s a sweet cat in his own way, but he’s also so dumb that he trips on the carpet pattern at times, and I wish I were joking. About the carpet pattern, that is, because it’s hard to explain to guests that he has a walking problem. If this cat could speak, the only English he could manage is “Humperdidoo!”

I don’t want to imply that he’s completely worthless. He has some intrinsic value, in some alternate reality where the common currency is manufactured from cat vomit. He’s very good, VERY GOOD, at tripping people in the dark. He’s a master at screaming helplessly at the occasional invading mosquito, even if he couldn’t catch one with surface-to-air missiles and a complete fire team. If universities offered degrees in “chewing on vinyl shower curtains for no readily apparent reason,” he’d have a Ph.D. We started referring to him as “the FreakBeast,” because his grasp of English is right up there with his grasp of French, Latin, Urdu, and modulated armpit farts, and he responds to that as much as he does his given name. This either suggests that he’s intensely intelligent and just refusing to blow his cover until the interstellar invasion fleet arrives to blow up the sun, or he’s exactly as advertised. Humperdidoo!

Now don’t get me wrong. I may give him an inordinate amount of grief, but I’m also incredibly fond of the little monster. He has a thing about trying to sleep on my hip, so I just comment that he has something in common with the Czarina: riding my butt while I’m trying to take a nap. He can’t quite meow, so his vocabulary of meeps and chirps is exceedingly entertaining. He’s also the first cat I’ve ever had that fetches thrown items, leading him to drag his favorite toys for us to chuck across the house. In other words, trying to find unique things about him, other than noting that his base skill consists of shedding defensive hairs like a terrified tarantula, makes us no different from any other cat owner on the planet.

No matter how much one loves a cat, every cat owner has the same dream. Namely, looking the little furball dead in the eyes and telling him “It’s time for you to get a job and earn your keep around here.” Even better is being able to tell the cat to get a job worthy of his skills and aptitudes. This is why Leiber has now been appointed the official Triffid Ranch Social Media Officer. It’s a role for which he’s perfectly suited.

Leiber, the FreakBeast

Yeah, you can see the expression in his eye. That’s not glowing hellfire and severe radiation. That’s ambition.