Hemingway the Cat “I’m king of the world”, he said, but all we heard was “Meow”. He was a funny big fat cat. Dad had named him Hemingway. Just fine by him, he was a fat hunter, a hissing fighter and king of all he did. I was only ten and had no knack for names.
So the powers of the house named him what they did. Every morning as I rushed out the door, Hemi would give me a sharp look and run to the open window over the sink. There nearly missing mom’s wild flower pot, he jumps to the back fence and starts his day. Buck my neighbors mutt out back always waits to scare him, he barks as Hemi runs over the wooden fence tops. Hissing at the dog, “I’m king of the world” and moving on with his tail in the air.
Dad told me once it meant Hemi was signing “bite me” to all he did that to. Along the wooden fence tops of those mid-income homes he rushed like a car on the highway, only slowing down at intersections to choose a new road. Six pine trees, five mean dogs, four caged birds, three backyard play-sets, two plastic pools, and one rusted rooster wind-dial on the top of old Mr. Millers house. There up high on the roof of that third story house he was king. That was home of the pigeons; from there he could survey his kingdom and watch over the road in front of my school.
I saw him there everyday, he pretended not to notice me. But I knew he was there to watch over me. *From his rooftop torn he surveyed his fence top roads and teased pegged leg pigeons in between naps. He slept with one eye opened and listened sharply to the fall leaves as they dried over head in the neighborhood trees. I think he lost all day up there just being- a cat.
Awaken by the school bell, he would reluctantly stretch up to stand. Front legs, neck, back, hips, rear legs, and tail, then he jolted back and into character. He would over step the broken feathers and anything else there was and jump down to the leaf gutters and head back down the ever familiar road. One stone frog, two picnic tables, three unrolled garden hoses, four plastic pin wheel flowers, five open windows, six hanging plants later and he was home. He rushed in through the open kitchen window. Every after noon I would come home to the barking of that next door mutt as Hemi would step in, jump and he would sit on his spot on the kitchen table top. I would pet him and give him his saucer of warm milk.
His day was done, and I would sit at the table daydreaming about a cat’s life. “I’m king of the world”, he would say.