The Ship’s Cat - King Murray


There’s trouble on the street – Might There be a lynching...?

Dear Nellie Cat

You can fix this Nellie, I’m countin’ on you. You know me, I’m a reasonable cat, I just wanna be king, king of my street. I’ve worked hard all my life to be king, but it’s that damn cat Scratchy.

I don’t never cause no trouble, you know that, an’ I don’t expect no trouble back. I get to go thru all the doors on my street coz every owner knows who I am, I’m Murray, king of my street, I’m King Murray. Someone’s gotta be king an’ I’m easily the best cat to do it. That Scatchy, he’s no king, he just wants to be king when he’s got no right to be king. What makes him think he can be king when he don’t even look like a king, he ain’t got the walk an’ he can’t talk the talk. He ain’t no king an’ I don’t wan’ him to be king. There’s some cat talk on the street of a lynchin’, a hangin’, an’ that lynchin’ might be me Nellie.

I need your help Nellie, will you help me stay king? Will you help me be king and always be king? Can you help me hide from that Scratchy…?

King Murray

The Midlands, June 2021

Dear King Murray

All cats are equal Murray, but some cats are more equal than others. You know who said that? No, me neither, but some owner said it way back in 1984. Look, someone’s gotta be king of the run, an’ it ain’t just us cats you know. It’s the same with those meerkats, even tho they called cats they ain’t really cats. We’ve written a letter to them about that.

Owners are fascinated by those meerkats. They’re all the time on that telly lookin’ stupid, standin’ up tall as tho they’ve seen somethin’. They can’t see nothin’ Murray, that can’t see further than a bishop’s nose an’ when they think they might’ve seen somethin’ they all squirt down those holes they’ve dug, then that owner who’s tellin’ their telly story goes all gooey. Us real cats gotta problem with them meerkats, Kind Old Ladies love em when Kind Old Ladies should be lovin’ adorable cats like us. We wrote to those meerkats about that too.

The reason I’m tellin’ you about meerkats is that one meerkat always wants to be king like you Murray, a king like you an’ that Scratchy, meerkats are always fussin’ over who wants to be head-honcho. It’s the same with owners, they’ve got kings but when they get one they can never get rid of em. Kings, they never wanna go, kings always wanna stay king, it’s somethin’ in their head tho a good lynchin’ usually sorts it. So, me an’ my angels gave your kingly problem some thought Murray, an’ we gotta solution.

If you wanna go around kinging then you gotta expect tetchy problems like Scratchy, I think owners call it treason. There’s an easy solution tho, it’s all about talkin’. It’s called rational debate, when everyone gets together to sort things, you know, to sort a new king – but sometimes that don’t work either, even this ends in one big fight an’ a noisy lynchin’. I tell you, there was no debate the night I got kidnapped, that dark rainy night when there was thunder an’ lightening an’ owners outside cryin’. Oh no, there was no talk then, nothin’ about how I was still a wee kitty way too little to leave my mom. I was just taken, kidnapped, there was no meaningful in-depth debate about kidnapping little baby kitties from their moms, it’s a cruel world Murray.

We talked, me an’ my angels an’ our friendly veterinary Mildred. We say you got three easy choices King Murray. You can either take your lynchin’ like a proper cat, then walk away with your one-time king’s head held high an’ you’ll be a proud cat just like all us other lowly cats. Or, like Mildred says, you can talk it out with that Scratchy, you can rationalise everything to decide who of you is gonna be king, you know, two sensible intelligent cats both with your own point of view. Or, my favourited solution, you can do what meerkats do.

Dig holes, lots of holes, just like meerkats do. If you see that Scratchy comin’ you’ll have lots of holes to squirrel into. When he’s gone, you can pop up anywhere in your street an’ go on kingin’. It works for meerkats, if one of those meerkats even sniffs a sniffle they’re all down holes like a bolt of greased lightening, even before anyone can say Timbuktu. It’s like watchin’ owners when they’re late-night drinkin’, when someone knocks on that public door all unexpected.

There you have it my poor honeybun, it’s not easy bein’ a king, especially bein’ a street king facin’ an almighty cat lynchin’.

Nellie Cat, The Ship’s Cat


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