Stella: Version 1.1

It’s easy to understand why the cat has eclipsed the dog as modern America’s favorite pet. People like pets to possess the same qualities they do. Cats are irresponsible and recognize no authority, yet are completely dependent on others for their material needs. Cats cannot be made to do anything useful. Cats are mean for the fun of it.
— P.J. O’Rourke
 

*     *     *

“Marga, get me coffee. Homp, you stupid dog! What is that? You call that monitoring? Call Dein and tell him to fix the bug. And you—yes, you four-eyed freak—didn’t I give you the f*cking budget to upgrade the lenses? What are you muttering about? I don’t freaking care if you’re insulted that I called you four eyes. I don’t have the time to count how many eyes you have behind those nerdy glasses of yours—wait, you’re getting me off track. You and Dein—where the hell is my coffee?—fix the lenses and the position of the bug! If I lose sight of the dummy again, I swear I’ll poke each of your eyes out. Where the hell is my coffee?!”

*     *     *

“Turn off the lights, I’m still sleepy,” Stella muttered.

She received no response except for a loud meow. Stella buried her face further into her soft pillow as she bit back a curse. What, since her Uncle Tots couldn’t wake her, he suddenly decided to sic a cat on her? Dumb trick.

“Get up, lazy. Your uncle has gone somewhere for a while and had left you under my care.”

The voice was low. Unfamiliar. Had a steely, authoritative edge. Stella’s hand crept under her pillow for her ruler. She sat up in her bed, her 12-inch transparent ruler pointing at the direction of where the voice had come from, her eyes barely open, her mouth still parched and smelled like cheeseburger dinner she had from Jollibee yesterday. “Who are you?” she asked groggily.

Again, no response. Stella blinked rapidly and refocused her sight. All she saw was a thin, gray cat licking its paw, silver-grey eyes staring at her in boredom. “What, never seen a talking cat before?”

Stella snorted and waved a hand in the air as if to say ‘Oh, please.’ “No, I’ve never seen a cat looking as repulsive as you,” she said instead.

The cat seemed unfazed. “Thank you, I think. Suits my reputation. Now lower your ruler and get dressed. We’re going to the kitchen.”

Stella’s brows furrowed. Had her uncle forgot to inform the cat? “I am not allowed in the kitchen,” Stella replied flatly as she flicked her right wrist: her ruler turned into a transparent bracelet.

“Starting today, you are. Come.” The cat stood proudly and started to strut out of her room.

Arrogant cat, Stella thought as she locked her door.

Stella shrugged out of her nightie and changed into faded jeans and a tight purple shirt. She brushed her dark hair off her face and let it cascade behind her back. Her hair almost reached her waist. She thought about getting a hair cut soon before school starts.

She was slipping on a new pair of black flip-flop when her phone rang.

“Hullo.”

“You ‘wake now?”

Uncle Tots. She rolled her eyes. “What’s with the cat? Why am I allowed in the kitchen now?”

She heard her uncle cough. “Uh, emergency. Just follow whatever the cat tells you.”

“Where are you anyway?”

“Didn’t Grisham tell you?”

“I assume Grisham’s the cat.”

“Yes, isn’t he just adorable? Have you—

“Uncle, this is Stella speaking—”

“—seen the jewel on his neck? And—“

“Remember that I don’t like—”

“—the piercing on his ear? Damnadorablelilthangand—”

“—cats! Uncle! UNCLE!” Stella screamed.

“Yes, dear? You were saying?”

Stella pinched the bridge of her nose and counted to ten. “Where are you? Why am I with a cat, of all the craziest—”

“Shh!”

Stella silenced. What now?

Static. Static. Static.

“Uncle? You still there?”

“Stella? You still there?”

Typically Uncle Tots.

“No, Uncle, I’m dead,” Stella replied irritably.

“Stella!” Stella’s brow rose. Ooh. It was already a rare occurrence for her to hear her uncle’s stern voice. But nervous? Hmm… “Be serious for once!”

Eh? Stella felt her eyebrows twitch. Is her uncle for real?

“Stella, listen carefully. I am at a cooking conference right now and I won’t be with you until the second full moon—”

“What? Why that long?”

“Shhh—listen to me first. Grisham will take care of you. Do whatever he says.”

“But what if he asks me to kiss my elbow?”

“STELLA!” Her uncle bellowed. Ooh. A pole must have been painfully stuck on her uncle’s—

“This is the last time that I will be able contact you once the conference starts—which is a minute from now. As I was saying, trust Grisham. He will protect you.”

Oh. How cliche. Yes, just what I need. A cat as a guardian.

Wait a minute…

“You are insane, Uncle. You’re definitely on crack! A cat! You’re entrusting me to a cat!”

“There is no ordinary cat,” her uncle reminded her wistfully.

“Okay! So he’s an airy, talking cat!”

Stella heard her uncle groan in frustration. “Stella, just give me your word that you will do as he says.”

Stella bit her lip. She knew better than to trust repulsive, furry creatures like Grisham.

“Stella, your word…”

Pregnant pause.

“Ok,” she muttered as she crossed her fingers behind her back.

She heard her uncle heave a sigh of relief.

“Good.”

“So yeah. Since you’ve forced me to heed the cat’s—

“Grisham, Stella.”

“Ok, Grisham—” What an ugly name, she thought. “—to heed Grisham’s orders, I will now have to proceed to the kitchen as I had been previously instructed to do,” she finished monotonously.

“Alright. And Stella?”

“What?”

“Could you find out if Grisham indeed has tattoos on his butt cheeks?”

“What!” Stella’s eyes widened. “Do you expect me to lift up the cat—Grisham, I mean—and check his butt?”

“Be discreet, of course!”

“Uncle, I had been anything but discreet in my whole life. Besides, why do you want to know?”

“Bye, Stella. Stay alive.”

And there was a click.

Stella stared at her phone. What the?

A/N: Yes, suggestions for a title and chapter title will be much appreciated. What? You have no idea what this is all about? Well, guess what, so am I.

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8 Comments »

  1. Toni Said:

    Haha… dude, this is the stuff that Neil Gaiman dreams of. 😉 Pretty awesome… kinda like a mixture of Sabrina The Teenage Witch (Salem! Aww…), Harry Potter and… errr… Alice in Wonderland? Anyhoo… nice! And no, don’t look at me for a title, you know how bad I am at those…

  2. mico Said:

    t’s easy to understand why the cat has eclipsed the dog as modern America’s favorite pet. People like pets to possess the same qualities they do. Cats are irresponsible and recognize no authority, yet are completely dependent on others for their material needs. Cats cannot be made to do anything useful. Cats are mean for the fun of it.
    — P.J. O’Rourke

    i totally disagree! i love cats as i love dogs!! they are not irresponsible, in fact cats can live even without our care!! wana try? leave a apmperrred dog and cat out on the street for a week, let’s see who’ll get a lot thinner!!

    hehehe.. common misconception about cats is that they are lazy coz they sleep a lot. but then agian, cats haven’t really gotten fuuly rid of their hunter instincts. tha is why they rest every minute they have, to conserve energy for the next hunt. and when you see them “playing” around it’s practice for them. so they don’t loose their flexibility. all this they do to keep fit. to keep on hunting.

    you may have observed, domesticated cat’s sometimes kill rodents then just play with them. it’s not because their mean just for the fun of it. it’s their killing instinct kicking in. and after the kill they should normally eat their prey. but the problem is they don’t know that this is food!

    cats do observe authority, we just don’t fully understand how their social system works. unlike a dog, wolf packs can be headed by an alpha male or female, meaning thier groups are of mixed sexes. unlike in cat’s where it is usually headed by an alpha female (although there is an alpha male, but his only job is to impregnate the lady cats and has no say as to what the harem should be doing.. tough job eh?). aside from that there’s zit about what we know on their authority line.

    hehehehe.. corny ko no? i love cats kasi. their so mystifiying. there’s something intheir gaze, you jast don’t know what goes in their minds. their lack of expression bewilders us as to what they really think of us. are we trully their masters or are they just using us to give them what they need? hehehehe..

  3. Michiko Said:

    Hehehe. I should’ve put a disclaimer that I do not hate cats. In fact, I prefer cats than dogs lately. =)

    The quote’s purpose was to echo Stella’s sentiments about cats in general. Hmm. I’ll be peppering this story with cat quotes hehe.

    Wag ka mag-alala. May wonderful role naman ang pusang ito.

    “…so mystifiying. there’s something in their gaze, you jast don’t know what goes in their minds. their lack of expression bewilders us as to what they really think of us. are we trully their masters or are they just using us to give them what they need?”

    Precisely. That’s what I’m hoping Grisham would be. Stella’s character is somehow…made. But since Grisham is a cat, he surely is going to be frustating character to write.

    P.S.
    Grabe! Isa kang matinding pusalaber! Hehe.

  4. Michiko Said:

    @Toni: Ahehe. *pats pats* I knew there was a reason why you’re a loyal friend muhahaha. Muchas gracias sa compliment though I’m still a loooong shot away from the stuffs that n.gaiman writes about.

    Title? Funny thing is, when I googled [segue: sooner or later, the term google and its tenses will worm its way in our good ole dictionaries] the current title “Stella: Version 1.1”, it turned to be an application or a program for the computers (an Atari 2600 VCS Emulator for Linux, Mac and Windows–whatever that means, I honestly have no idea). Ideas and images started swirling inside my head and I decided to keep the title. 😉

    Edit! I reread the entry and saw many… editables. Haha.

  5. kilawinguwak Said:

    Stella V1.1 lets you run Atari 2600 VCS on any known platform (Mac OS, Linux, and even good ole MS Windows). It’s like those emulators that lets you play playstation games on the PC. Or gameboy games. bleh.

  6. mico Said:

    uuhhh.. hehehe.. halata ba?? =P i loove cats!! specially black persians!!

  7. […] up is Stella: Version 1.1, a story (still under development) which is all about learning, adaptation, and acceptance. Stella […]

  8. […] Here’s the original post for Stella: Version 1.1. […]


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