Today I heard from far-flung shores of the death of my first cat, Grandmaster Flash, aka Flashy Boy, Nemesis of Rockmelons, Master of the Cushions, and Squeaking Death. His exact date of birth is not known (I did not keep a diary then, and was drunk), but 6 weeks before I found him the skies over Sydney turned blood red, hailstones the size of rabbits fell on churches and orphanages across the city, and AM radio channels broadcast nothing but evil cackling for a whole hour – this is the most likely date of his spawning.
From the moment Grandmaster Flash sprang from the box in which he was delivered to me, he redefined the phrase “You Little Shit.” In infancy he would ambush his Uncle Wurzel when Wurzie was at his toilet; in his adolescent years he was obsessed with other peoples’ corn on the cob and rock melons; in adulthood he would steal chips from the mouths of role-players just as they went to bite; in his dotage he developed a fondness for humping cushions. Grandmaster Flash was also a paragon of bravery and honour: he could torture animals to death that were up to 1/200th of his bodyweight! Truly, he was a creature of remarkable character traits.
It will surprise none who knew him to learn that he made it to the ripe age of (about) 17; most of us lost our ability to be astonished when he managed to make it out of childhood. Veterinary scientists have told me that he was born with 12 lives, rather than the usual 9, but that he used up 11 avoiding retribution from his Uncle Wurzel, who he constantly tormented. He certainly stretched out that last life well, and with all the cunning and arrogance that those who knew and loved him appreciated about him.
Nonetheless, that last life played itself out painfully, and his last year was not so pleasant. His voice became querulous and squeaky, and his body began to suffer from long years of laziness and over-consumption of rock melons. He also had arthritis, for which terrible treatments were required, though the loss of full use of his hips did not stop him regularly honouring the cushions scattered about his harem; and I have it on good authority that he finally succumbed to a series of massive strokes brought about by excessive activity with one of his plaid-quilted lovers. I think we can all agree it was a fitting end for a cat the like of which we will never see again: no cat was ever so annoying, so persistently selfish, so craven or so lecherous with non-living things as was Grandmaster Flash. I have no doubt that even as I write this, he has settled into a nest of likely-looking cushions somewhere in cat heaven, to gnaw on the rind of someone else’s melon and plot new ways of annoying his Uncle Wurzel, who preceded him by several years.
If Wurzel wasn’t waiting at heaven’s cat-flap to toss him into hell, that is.
So rest in peace, Grandmaster Flash. Your long life of larceny and trouble-making is over, and you will be fondly remembered by all those you insisted on annoying relentlessly – and by all those you loved so unconditionally when you weren’t giving us the royal shits! Thank you for finding me all those years ago, Flashy boy!