Sunday, October 21, 2012

Playing with a Full Deck of Cats

Well, would wonders never cease!  Cat has turned up again, this time he's back in France, of all places, smack dab in the same country where his story began.

Isn't it funny how things happen sometimes?  Not an hour or so before rediscovering Cat, I was telling new blogger buddy and writer extraordinare Heather of Arles the riveting story of Cat over lunch.

Do you remember Cat?  Of course you do!  Cat was the furry feline drifter who arrived one day at our house in Menton, cost us hundreds of euro for surgery to remove a dangerous tumour, ate like a pig, became quite fat, and then ran off when we put him on a diet.
Playing cards for every occasion
It all started last Saturday when Uncle Jim and I were visiting Montpellier, a charming city in the south-west of France.

After lunch, we wandered into an astounding toy shop.  While poking around, I was drawn to a glass display case filled with a beguiling assortment of playing cards and Auntie's keen eyesight fell upon a deck of 3-D cat cards.  Of course, Uncle Jim was more than happy to buy Auntie a little gift.
We perched in a little café nearby, ordered tea and cake, and as soon as the waitress scurried off, Auntie tore open the package.

There they were, 52 fabulous cards, each with a different cat printed on them.  The cards were even better than I was hoping.  Along with the 52 cat cards, there were two joker cards but these two jokers were dogs. Ha!

Uncle Jim eyed the cards suspiciously and pointed out that more accurately, they were lenticular cards, not  3-D cards as was claimed on the package.

Lenticular, funicular, perpendicular,  it didn't matter to Auntie.  She was just happy to have those funny cat cards to play with.
Auntie shuffled the deck, dealt out 11 cards to Uncle Jim, 11 cards to herself and thus began our first game of "Cat Gin."

Well, towards the end of a that first cat-filled game, Auntie considered her options.  She needed one more card to win, the 5 of diamonds.  Uncle Jim grinned at Auntie. The air was tense.  I think he only needed one card to win too.  Auntie put out her paw and lifted a card off the top of the pile hoping this would be the right card.  What a surprise!  Not only was it the 5 of diamonds, the card I needed to win the game, but there was Cat, a little chubbier than he was the last time I saw him, staring back at Auntie in all his lenticular glory.  With that I shouted, "Cat Gin" and lay down my cards.

Thanks to Cat, Auntie had won the game.
"Cat Gin!" Auntie wins thanks to Cat!
While Uncle Jim shuffled the deck for our next game, Auntie had time to reflect on the last time she saw good old Cat.  It was in Tokyo a few years ago.  Cat was playing the lead cat in Robert Heinlein's play, The Door into Summer at a theatre in Ginza.  Auntie has a little theory as to how Cat wound up on these playing cards...

Ha ha.  The Jokers are dogs!
Since the cards were made in Taiwan, perhaps the Taiwanese business man who made the 3-D cards was in Tokyo on a business trip.  One evening, he took a break from business and decided to see a play.  Since he was designing cat cards and was, generally speaking, fond of cats, he bought a ticket to see The Door into Summer.

Mid way thorough the play, Cat entered, stage left.  The Taiwanese business man who was starting to doze off after a big dinner of sushi, stood up, pointed at Cat and shouted, "get me that cat!," "he'd make a great 5 of diamonds!"  The play stopped, a deal was struck, and the rest is history.

Who knows where cat may pop up next?  Being immortalized on a deck of playing cards will be a tough act to follow.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Jesus in the Spokes

Imagine our surprise when Uncle Jim phoned our dear, long time friends Jack and Ann to plan a popcorn-fuelled movie night just to be told that Jack  wouldn't be joining us.  He'd been in a serious cycling accident.  Oh no!

After Uncle Jim hung up,  Auntie got the scoop.

Jack had hopped on his bicycle to ride downtown to buy a prop for a photo shoot he was planning for the coming week.

You see, Jack is a professional photographer and a good one at that.

Three of these and you won't feel a thing!
After Jack bought the prop, it started to rain so he put the prop in a bag and hung the bag on the handle bars of his bicycle. 

In an strange combination of fate, irony, and just bad luck, the bag with the prop swung into the spokes of his front tire.  His bike came to a screeching halt and Jack flipped over the handlebars, ass over tea kettle, splat onto the pavement.  Ouch! 

It wasn't a pretty sight.

At the hospital the news was grim.

Jack had a broken rib, a collapsed lung and a broken collar bone.

Poor Jack.

Auntie and Uncle Jim jumped in our car and zoomed to the hospital to visit Jack, bring him some of Auntie's ginger cookies and cheer him up.
Wrong place at the wrong time

When we arrived, Jack was lying in his hospital bed, surrounded by beeping machines.  He looked quite pale and had tubes sticking out of him here and there, making him look like a cross between a pin cushion and a Cyborg.  Not a pretty sight!

Despite the gravity of the situation, Jack was concious and in good spirits, no doubt helped along by regular doses of pain medication and attentive, pretty nurses.

The bedside conversation bounced along and Auntie's curiosity got the better of her. Auntie needed to know what was at the root of all this mayhem.

"What was in the bag that swung into your spokes, Jack?"  I asked.

"Oh, a crucifix."

Auntie's jaw dropped.

"A crucifix?"  I asked.

"A crucifix." replied Jack.  "I was going to use it for a photo shoot I was planning." 

Auntie couldn't believe her ears.

Your time is up!

Did Jesus have it out for Jack with some sort of a karmic message?  Hopefully not.

Well, we can all breathe a sigh of relief now that Jack is on the mend, with nothing more than a few scars, a broken bicycle, a scratched up crucifix and a riveting cocktail story.

Well, as with any dramatic event that intersects with your life, Auntie learned a few things from Jack's experience:  First, we are very lucky to have caring people to help us mend, whether they are doctors, nurses, bystanders or good friends.  And two, if you need a crucifix, have it delivered.

Safety first boys and girls!