Imagine my rotten l**k. Here I had almost succeeded in the reappearance of the three amigos—Wilma, Annabelle, and Gumee—the original three of the thread the Old Hen assigned to me, ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates,’ which I resisted because i didn’t want the job, but when my resistance proved futile, I warmed to the task and went after them with such ferocity that the same Old Hen that put me on it took me off—and many months later it became inspiration for my fourth book, ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’
Annabel suddenly reappears and what happens? Gumee disappears to do penance! Gumee, who never was apostate in many ways but who so closely resembled one that I couldn’t tell the difference. He’s gone!—only days before the story breaks that may or may not fit so nicely into ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates—Round 2’ should such a book come about.
Annabelle OMaly, who is herself my inspiration of Top Cat O’Malihan—an alias I trotted out to mess with that pretentious buffoon Alistaire Strawman—Annabelle herself appears as Gumee disappears. I tell you, it is not right.
Incidentally, the cat in Top Cat’s profile photo is dead. It was my cat but when I took my daughter’s dog in because she was moving away as a need-greater—well, the dog has a thing about chasing cats. So I took the cat to my Dad’s house, who was just coming down with dementia and in time I stayed with him for a few months. He figured that it was one of the barn cats that he grew up with and kept leaving it saucers of milk around the house, just as he had done in his boyhood with the other barn cats. “Great, Pop!” I would mutter. “Here I want to pour myself a bowl of cereal and I can’t because you have put all the milk out in a dozen bowls for the cat—who never touches it!”
The cat was old by the time I took it to my Dad’s. It was a great comfort for him and would sit on his lap. He was looking for it one day and I knew he would not find it. It had crawled under the basement workbench, a place that it had never been before, to die. There really is something to the expression, ‘Crawl under a rock and die.”
.... All this talk about Top Cat O’Malihan got his attention:
Did I hear my name? Well well well! Annabelle Omaly! I am told I am named after her! Hmmm, Tom.....I’m not sure that I like her. She’s not like that blowhard Alistaire Strawman, is she? What a piece of work he was! Not like us, at all, hey Tom (or at least, me)?
Photo: Sarah Finucane