"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…"
I remember my servant saying that to a book, once. She used to talk to books a lot when we were both younger, but now she only does it when she's getting the kittens ready to go to sleep. I've never quite worked out why the book has to be included, but she seems to like telling it the story as well.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…"
That's very true, it was and my servant and I were right in the middle of it all, she possibly more than I, though I had my moments.
Purrhaps I should explain at this stage that I have I have a strange relationship with my current servant. To begin with she thinks that she is my owner. She may well be the cleverest witch of her generation, but she knows little about cats.
I call her Fluffy, because the fur on her head is…fluffy. I'm afraid I can't pronounce her real name; the closest I can get is Her-meow-meow. When I first met her she was being courted by two toms, although she has now settled on just one of them. His name is Honestlyronald, but she sometimes shortens it to Ohron.
I will admit Honestlyronald and I do not get on that well, though it is better than in the early days when he used to try to attack me on a regular basis. That's why I still like leaving dead animals in his shoes. Memory like an elephant? Huh! Try upsetting a cat.
Fluffy still sees the other tom, his name is Hairy, and they all seem to get along well. Hairy always hugs her when they meet, even in front of Honestlyronald. If anyone tried that with my molly I'd rip his throat out.
My name, incidentally, is Gorgeous; although humans appear to think it funny to call me Crookshanks. Yes, hilarious. Please feel free to pick on my deformity; I have no feelings. Is it my fault that my mother was killed before I was fully weaned? Not enough calcium, you see. The witch who raised me tried her best, but didn't know much about kittens and their needs.
Of my youth I intend to say little. I am aware that you humans are avaricious thrill seekers and always turn to the salacious pages of the newspapurrs first, rather than bothering with the economic and political news that may actually affect your lives.
So I won't tell you of my early life; snuggled up with Mother and a belly full of milk, of my sense of regret tinged with betrayal when she took on an eighteen wheeled articulated lorry single pawed and lost, or my decision to leave home when my servant decided cream wasn't good for me and I should become a vegetarian.
I'll just get straight to the "interesting" bit, shall I?
Having left home I soon discovered that the life of a wild rover was not for me. Sleeping under the stars was not the liberating expurrience I expected it to be. It was just cold and wet. To be purrfectly honest I also prefer food that doesn't fight back and comes ready cut up in a dish - as long as it was once an animal rather than something that grew in mud.
So unlike Tommy, who took his servant Dick Whittington along with him, I made my way to London Town to seek my fortune alone .
London isn't a Town, and the streets are most certainly not paved with gold. It is a large city full of cars and lorries that seemed intent on consigning me to the same fate as my poor mother. I needed shelter, so made my way to the Magical Menagerie in Diagon Alley. I had no idea what it was at the time, simply that it was a place where magical beasts could find new servants.
There I waited for several years. I find this part hard to explain, even to myself, but I was waiting for something. I didn't know what it was, but in my very core I knew that I had to wait in this Menagerie until my true servant arrived to take me to the place where I could fulfil my destiny. I felt almost prophetic as I watched queues of applicants enter and offer to become my servant.
I rejected them all.
Some were so insistent I let them work for me that I had to resort to violence. Humans find it very hard to take a hint, but a few claws in their scalp soon enlightened them that their careers lay in another direction.
Then Fluffy walked into the Menagerie with her two toms - and HIM. I knew at once this was it. She would become my new servant whether she wanted to or not. I would even lower myself to be nice to her, if I had to. As shaming as it is to admit, I needed her. I needed her to get to HIM.
What was it that convinced me my moment had come?
Some may call it a "sixth sense", others "divine inspiration". I prefer "genius".
I had met several animagi during my stay in the shop; they are more common than you may think. It is not unusual for a witch or wizard, battered by the storms of life and cast upon the rocks of despair, to make one last final transformation and forever leave the human world. Well, not completely. They, too, make their way to the Menagerie and await a servant to care for them during their remaining time on Earth.
But this one, he was a "wrong 'un" if ever I'd met one. I knew it the moment I caught his scent. He hadn't transformed to leave the travails of life behind. He was hiding, and he was hiding because he was very scared about something. And guilty.
As soon as I looked into those ratty little eyes I knew it. Scared and guilty. I knew his servant, Honestlyronald, was probably not going to be interested in working for me and I doubted the other tom would be any better. I don't like scrawny servants; if they can't feed themselves what chance do I stand?
Fluffy, she was a different plate of fish. There was something almost regal about her; the way she held herself, the way she spoke. I like a bit of class, and she had it, but I needed to get through to her and that meant getting her on her own.
So I pretended to attack Honestlyronald, and took a swipe at his animagus rat it the process. It shot off like a…well, a rat up a drainpipe and both the toms went after him. Purrfect.
I turned back to Fluffy and gave her my very best, kept only for special occasions, "Please love me" expression. I followed it up with a tiny pathetic little meow and started to rub my head against her leg. Guaranteed winner.
She knelt down. 'Hello' she said, in a little girly voice. 'What's your name? You're a cutie, aren't you? Do you want to be my friend?'