Author's Notes: This piece is the result of a plot bunny I had after reading Terry Bain's We Are the Cat. It is told from the point of view of Klunk, as if he can write his thoughts out though help from an experimental machine.
It is written in the Pluralis majestatis form (The "royal we") because it assumes that cats, by their nature, view themselves as royalty, and Klunk views himself as speaking for his entire family.
Disclaimers: I don't hold any claim to either the TMNT franchise or any of Terry Bain's work. As always I had a tremendously good time writing this.
We Are the Klunk
A TMNT mission told through the eyes of the royal feline.
We did not know what would come from Tripwire's experiment, but we were understandably curious. But having one's inner thoughts laid bare for others to read is not something we were completely comfortable with. There is much to us that we would prefer remain a mystery.
Still, in our eyes we do not get enough attention to our thoughts. The best way for this to be made plain is to share our thoughts with our catfamily. So we consented to wear the collar with the flashing lights that Tripwire put around our neck.
Our only caveat was that we would not share our thoughts on our own cat world. We decided to share our thoughts on the world of our catfamily. If it is they who will read it and they who will benefit from it, then it should be about them.
So these are our words, recorded by a machine with lights that flash. Offered to you so that you might understand our catfamily.
We live with a number of creatures that do not consider themselves human. This seems to cause them a great deal of worry and confusion. We think that they worry needlessly, for they should all know that they are part of our catfamily. We have decided that each of them is just enough like us, that is to say each of them has enough cat within them, to be important enough to join our catfamily. This is no small honor.
Perhaps if they knew this they would not worry so much about what is human and what is not human about them. This usually turns into worry about what human society would think about them. We do not worry about what humans think or do or say because human society has the tendency to avoid the truth. Their language comes up with many names to describe each one. Turtle, ninja, brother, son, freak, hero, mutant, student, vigilante… the list is never ending. Each word puts a different slant to who they are. We are not this way.
We call them Hands. This is because it is what they have and what separates them from us. Hands to pet, hands to open the can of cat food. Hands to open the door so we can go in or out, hands to build things, hands to fight things. Every one of them, even those who they call human, all have hands. So this is what they are and what they will be in our catfamily.
We know that we do not speak the language of the Hands. We can hear it and understand it, but we do not speak it. Therefore we cannot tell them what our real name is. We know they call us Klunk. That is because when we were first brought here we did not tread very carefully, and we knocked many things down. In some ways we applaud the Hands for giving us a name that described us, but we do not usually listen to it. Unless, of course, we smell food.
We hear that the Hands call one another names, but these names have very little explanation for whom they really are. As such, we have not bothered to actually learn these names. At times we understand that a name, like Michelangelo, means that one of our Hands must stop petting and leave to do something less important. To us this name means that the proper adoration of the cat has been interrupted for another cause. These are not names we choose to acknowledge. We have decided that our catfamily requires new names, ones that more accurately describe them. If they choose to call us Klunk, we choose to call them names that better befit them.
Long Whiskers is the eldest of the family. We choose to call him Long Whiskers because it is both descriptive and fitting. He does, indeed, have long whiskers; but moreover, to us long whiskers denote wisdom and age. A cat that can live long enough so that his ears tuft over with grey and his whiskers grow long and curled is a very wise cat indeed. The same is true for Long Whiskers. It is he who feeds us when all others have forgotten; he who sets the boundaries, he who remembers we need to go out and more importantly come back in.
There is something about the smell of Long Whiskers that disturbs us. Something that reads in our mind that he is not what he should be. His smell is of small things that we would like to chase and pounce, but there is also the smell of things he burns: of age and wisdom.
When it comes down to it, we have learned that the nose may lie.
Of all the Hands, we are closest to Kitten Brother. It was he who saved us from the cold of the overworld, and for this we sleep beside him and protect him at night. More so than any of the other hands he is our brother and we seek solace with him if one of the Hands is displeased with us.
Kittenbrother is much like a kitten. He is always full of energy, so much that at times we wonder if he can fly. We watch him skittering around the home, leaping and ducking and dodging. Sometimes for play, sometimes because he is being chased. Sometimes we even are the one chasing him or being chased. If there is any Hand that might catch us, it is Kittenbrother. Also like a kitten, he does not always remember the things that Long Whiskers does. He will open the door for us but forget to shut it so the home is cold, or he will forget to open it for us when we wish to return. We would get angry but he is our most constant source of a lap and a hand to pet. He is our brother.
We see, too, that in his eyes he can be like a kitten. More than all the other Hands, he retains a sense of innocence and wonder. He even has the blue eyes of a mewling. But he is also cat, and as such he can bare his claws and spit if he needs to.
We consent to his love for these reasons. That and Kittenbrother understands the need for a nest in the bedding. This is why we sleep with him.
Tripwire is constantly surrounded by wires, and things that flash and beep. We are fascinated by everything around him, and we make it our goal to sneak in his room whenever possible. He is a meticulous Hand, as careful in what he does as we are in grooming our coat. This means that when our paws get entangled in the wires he leaves we are usually chased from the area. We see this as a challenge. The flashing lights, the gentle hums, the boards that make music when we step upon them; all of these entice us to come explore Tripwire's lair. We must bat at the lights because we never know when they will change colors, or flash faster. We must tug on the wires to see if the hum gets louder or dies away.
All of this causes great anxiety in Tripwire's voice, and he will chase us to the very darkest depths of his lair to make sure we do not chew on any of his cords. In those depths are the most marvelous secrets! Things that roll and crinkle and crunch when we step on them. But when we roll them out of their hiding places and into the light of the room, Tripwire scoops us up, reclaims his toy, and puts us back in Kittenbrother's den.
You would think Tripwire would be more thankful for our help.
We call him Cornerstone for many reasons. He will sit and meditate frequently, and when he does he is still as a stone. We cannot disturb him while he thinks for he will remove us from his presence as calmly as stone, so we will sit in the corner and watch him. When we do, we pretend we are a statue, and see which one of us will stretch first. His demeanor to us is also like stone. While our antics amuse Long Whiskers, Kitten Brother, and sometimes Tripwire, Cornerstone seems immune to our charms. He may scratch us on occasion but he will never consent to cuddle.
Moreover, he is a foundation in the catfamily, like a corner stone in a building. He reminds Kitten Brother to feed us and let us out. He rounds up the rest of the catfamily. Without Cornerstone they are chaotic, like dogs off a leash. There is much that Cornerstone must carry.
We have difficulty in naming the last of the catfamily because, unlike the others, Mirror is the only one to avoid us.
For a long time we avoided the bathroom. No matter how much we enjoyed the sink, and the cool place behind the toilet, when we entered the bathroom there was another cat. It did not smell like another cat, but it moved like a cat. It looked very angry to find it was not alone; and we were very angry at it. We have seen that same expression on Mirror's face.
Slowly we learned that there was no other cat, but that something in the bathroom was showing us ourselves. Much the same is with Mirror. He seems to absorb the worries of the cat family and reflect them back with loud words. He is the kind that is on the wall, almost like a support in the same way as Cornerstone, but more fragile. He has not yet learned to be like stone.
We have seen a mirror break. We pushed it off a desk to see if the othercat would go away. It made a terrible noise, and then dozens of tiny othercats appeared. Angry looking othercats, all of them had sharp edges that cut our paws. We have seen Mirror get very angry and things break in much the same way.
Now we sleep in the sink, but it is hard to remember that we are alone in the bathroom. Such as it is with Mirror.
Cloud and White Mask
There are two more who are close to our catfamily, but not in it. We have deemed them important enough to have a name.
Cloud is the only female we have met. We call her Cloud because she is soft. Her hands are soft, and we like to be petted by them. Her lap is soft, and we feel it is our right to sleep upon it. Her hair is soft, and we love to adventure within it. When we do, we feel like we are flying. Sometimes we even chew on it a little; it is so magnificent we cannot help it. Then we may actually be flying for Cloud does not like such things. She should be honored we pay her such attention.
White Mask is loud, and his hands are rough. But he becomes calm when we sit in his lap. The only thing we cannot touch is the white mask he puts on to hide the face underneath it. We understand this. We sometimes fall or skid, our paws are not as firm as they used to be, but we always wear the same expression. Because we meant to do that. You must never know otherwise. This is White Mask.
But we know what White Mask hides. We can feel him relax when he pets our fur. We know that he is not as tough as he seems. This is why we purr when White Mask offers us a lap. Because we share a little secret. We both know what is behind the mask.