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An interview with Flop the Cat

Today on Meet the Author I am interviewing Flop, our cat, about his new picture book, “I Am Henry.”

MTA: “Mr. Flop, this story is clearly autobiographical. Why, then, do you call yourself ‘Henry?'”

FLOP: “Pseudonyms give the writer a certain distance from his characters — both himself and others — helping him to more fully explore their personalities and actions.”

MTA: “And providing literary license to stray from true events?”

FLOP: “I wish you wouldn’t toss out the word ‘stray’ in such a careless fashion. It is a hurtful word, implying that homeless cats are at fault for their situation. But yes, giving characters fictional names gives the writer more freedom.”

MTA: “Pardon my insensitivity. For the record, I note that in the book you name your brothers Fizz and Louie “Felix” and “Bart,” and quoting, here, you write, “Felix and Bart are adopted. I am not.”

FLOP: “That is factually correct. You have only to look at my fine gray coat and compare it to Bart’s orange tabby — rhymes with ‘shabby’ — and Felix’s coarse black and white fur to see we are not related.”

MTA: “But you seriously maintain that you alone were not adopted?”

FLOP: “I have a long and distinguished history in the family, I’m certain. Sadly, the records seem to have been lost.”

MTA: “ON THE FIRST PAGE of your book is a photograph of yourself as a kitten lying on a boot, with the statement, ‘I killed this boot.’ Is ‘boot’ a metaphor for ‘bird?'”

FLOP: “I stand on the Fifth Amendment. Next question.”

MTA: “Under a photograph of you walking across the hood of a pickup truck, you have written, ‘This is my truck. I think I need a new one.’ You seriously want readers to believe you own a truck?”

FLOP: Possession is nine-tenths of the law, as the saying goes, and one can clearly see that I am in possession of that truck. May I also point out it’s not much of a truck to be arguing over.”

MTA: “Moving along, what about your statement claiming to have helped your human edit his writing, when the picture shows you simply chewed up a page of manuscript?”

FLOP: “The writing was trite, verbose and maudlin. The man needs a good editor.”

MTA: “And this photo showing you asleep on an ironing board, claiming you were exhausted after ‘helping with the ironing.’ How can a cat ‘help with the ironing?'”

FLOP: “If you are going to nitpick every line in the book this is going to be an overlong and unpleasant interview. It already is.”

MTA: “Very well, let’s discuss your chapter on flying squirrels, which I found quite exciting. I thought the passage, ‘Flying squirrels! I hate those things!,’ coupled with the picture of you looking up in alarm was thrilling.”

FLOP: “Yes, it was one of those moments when the camera captures what Cartier-Bresson termed a ‘slice of life’ photograph. In my house, we actually do have a colony of flying squirrels living inside a dormer roof. I frequently hear their squeaking and scratching, to which you humans with your limited senses are oblivious. On occasion a flying squirrel takes a wrong turn and gets inside the house, and either myself or my brothers must humanely dispose of it.”

MTA: “WE HUMANS may lack a cat’s sensory range, but we certainly can detect an aloof and superior attitude.”

FLOP: “Your point is?

MTA: “Perhaps if I illustrate: This photo showing you posing beside a ceramic figure of a cat is labeled, ‘My humans made a statue of me. Not a perfect likeness, but still an honor.’ The stoneware cat doesn’t remotely resemble you.”

FLOP: “As I said, not a perfect likeness. I’m sure the artist did his best.”

MTA: “The final photo in the book is a portrait of you, with the caption, ‘How did you like my book? Not that I care.'”

FLOP: “So, how did you like it?”

MTA: “Surprisingly, I liked it very much.”

FLOP: “Of course you did.”

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