Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

September 22, 2014

Boots: By Puss Possessed

Filed under: Jeffrey Marlin — louisproyect @ 3:31 pm

Puss; By Boots Possessed


(This is the fourth in a series of guest posts from Jeffrey Marlin whose e-books, including this one, are available from Amazon.com. )

Every wonder how a cat got so smart? The answer is simple. His brain has been taken over by the ghost of a grieving miller with the help of sympathetic Seraph. Only after rescuing his vice-ridden son Freddle from the clutches of justice will the miller be permitted to join his wife in heaven. His own corpse having been roasted by lightning, the cat’s concussed corpus offers the next best vehicle. The resulting chimera’s task is not easy. Nor will it be completed until a profound social revolution liberates peasants and domestic species alike. At this point an inhabited Puss (the feline’s own mind has been confined to a lobe of the left cerebellum where it’s convinced it must be dreaming) has already passed Freddle off as a noble knight for whom the lovely Princess Dysphoria is falling hard. Now he must begin job number two: taking over a great castle currently occupied by a sadistic, tax-evading ogre whose conduct appalls the entire neighborhood. Here we see Puss addressing a field full of peasants wearily scything barley while a blizzard swirls around them — as required by their unforgiving owner.

 * * * *

 Tall in his boots, Puss harangued the assembled. Though very few saw him, his voice boomed like thunder. “I come with a message of hope for the peasants who slave all year ‘round for cankerous ogres.”

Pitchforks suspended, they drew to attention.

“I’ve heard as I’ve traveled the county and Kingdom that yours is a master of turbulent practice whose greatest delight is a hanging or beating. I will not mince words: I abhor such behavior. And so does my Master, the Marquis d’Freddleburg, sent here by fate to undo your oppression.

“He drinks very deep from the cup of compassion and will, by his magic, dismantle the management, slaughter the owner, and bring to his peasants a fair dispensation.” Up rang a cheer from the laboring classes ground down to despair by their ogerine master. Pussy provided specific instructions:

“Remain in the fields for an hour or two until down from the highway devolves the King’s carriage. You’ll easily know it. ‘Tis filigreed gold and though faux, quite artistic. The wagon is drawn by twelve overweight geldings. Before and behind it ride mounted battalions. Additional carriages, smaller in size, bear assorted advisors, physicians and lawyers. On spotting this Royal attraction come running, then kneel by the roadside in orderly fashion. Whence, rise to your feet with your sickles on high and give cheer to my Master, the Marquis d’Freddleburg.”

“This we shall do,” sang the hundreds as one, for they heard in his thunder the song of salvation.

“And when you have done so, repair to your hovels and sit by the fire and cuddle your young ones. And nevermore fear that a grumbling ogre will break in the door to berate you for idleness.”

Then and again came a gushing of cheers for both Master and cat and their overdue mission. “I go to announce that the Marquis d’Freddleburg comes with the King to take over the barley. Your ogre will flee or be slain in the hour.” They lifted their garments to show him their bruises and shouted suggestions for breaching the castle.

Puss found a cellar door open to entry. And there he was met by a matronly tortoise-shell, lavishly whiskered and sleek as an otter. She spoke to Sir Puss on a number of levels. While deep in the lobe of the left cerebellum, the mind-of-the-cat was both thrilled and divided.

On one hand, though love as a noble conception had never been part of his life-long adventure, he found himself pierced by the Cherubim’s arrow and swooned in the joy of romantic fulfillment. Though late in the game for so pure an emotion, aware that it’s only a function of dreaming, I’m nevertheless unreservedly grateful. And yet, he continued, his nostrils now glowing, I feel that frustration will surely destroy me, should I be denied very quick consummation!

The passions and thoughts of Old Pussy sequestered were kept, by design, from the mind of the Miller. And yet, as before, he could never extinguish the oncoming odor nor stifle the tingle.

“I am Sir Puss and a magical cat,” he announced to the creature regarding him warmly, a scent of approval suffusing the atmosphere. “I am disposed to the speech of the humans and serve a great noble, the Marquis d’Freddleburg.”

“Call me Libida,” the female suggested, a half-eaten rodent fast losing her interest.

“My mission today is to meet with your master, the ogre who lives all alone in the castle along with his servants and hundreds of peasants and cats like yourself and less dignified species. How well do you like him, if I may inquire?”

Libida returned him an eye full of fire. “I loathe and detest and distain revile him. I wish him the worst and pray nightly against him, inviting the Devil to come and arrest him. He’s eaten my kittens and drowned my poor husband and gods only know of my sisters and brothers. What business have you, Mr. Magical Cat, with this plague of all nature and student of cruelty?”

“Briefly, I’m here to commend him to memory.”

“Kill him?”


“Let us put end to that shape-shifting travesty. How shall I help thee achieve it most violently?”

“Tell me the whole of your knowledge about him. His tastes and compulsions and powers and weaknesses; factors historic and current particulars. Vet me his nature in word and behavior, his urges and longings and terrors and cravings.”

“I shall without preface, Sir Puss, for I love thee. And wish thee success in this hazardous venture.” And so for an hour Libida wove details. The Miller made note of each relevant datum; confected a plan to achieve his objective.

Yet never a moment passed by without struggle. For deep in the lobe of the left cerebellum the Self of the cat remained clutched by desire. And never a nerve or a tendon or muscle was free from the strum of erotic sensation.

That whiskered perfection and gem of creation, at last having shared every scrap of intelligence useful to putting an end to the monster, at last fixed her eyes on the prince of all mousers. They shone with a bright and exuberant yellow that rattled the cat to its bubbling marrow.

“The mission you plan is a hazardous business. There’s no way to know you will live to the finish. I’ve been without husband for several long seasons, and you seem well stocked with the old-fashioned moxie. I hope you will stay just another few moments to dive in the fire I’m patiently stoking. ”

The odors infilling and grilling his nostrils encumbered the Miller’s intransient spirit. He croaked in a suddenly wobbly diction, “Heaven forbid I give in to this horror, succumb to the beast while my rescue of Freddle is pledged to the wife who is queen of my bosom…”

Then nothing remained of his noble resistance.

Their howls rang out from the depths of the basement. Mice clung together in squeaking aphasia. Horses reared up in the hay of the stable. The peasants at home in their hovels felt queasy. And when it was over, the dreamer sequestered redoubled his vow never, ever to waken. The Miller, however, was deeply conflicted. For shame, like a shroud, cast its shadow around him. He could not deny the experience left him not nearly so sickened as might be expected. Despite he lacked body, a warming sensation pervaded the ghost with a deep satisfaction. Perhaps, he reflected, such wretched behavior is part of the price I must pay going forward. If I’m to succeed in my rescue of Freddle, I may need Libida’s continued assistance.

He waited ‘till all of the limbs became steady then dashed up the stairs to the castle’s great dining hall seeking that grand and felonious creature who gazed out a window as wide as all nature that reached from the floor to the chandeliered ceiling enframing a vista of limitless barley entombed by the fruit of the ongoing blizzard.

The Miller took breath upon glimpsing the creature. Then molded his mouth to say: “Begging your pardon!”

The monster wheeled ‘round to confront his intruder. The bell of his alto, refined as red wine, stood in contrast grotesque to its horrid proportions: “And you, sir?” the dread apparition demanded.

At seven feet high, he was human in structure but covered with thickets of wicked small bristles. ‘Round he was wrapped in robe of vermillion trimmed richly by pelts of unfortunate marmots whose fur was like snow lying soft on the barley. His head was a buffalo’s sprouting such antlers as favored by demons and goats of the mountains. The beak of a badger-hawk curved to its chin and a snaggled arrangement of human dentition grinned out from the muscular jaws of a lion. His paws were configured for murder and mayhem. Long talons extruded his digits like sabers. His feet bore a set of provocative toenails. His eyes were as red as the bloodiest sunset.

He snarled at the cat and informed him in whisper: “Present me some scrap of a justification for breaching this chamber without invitation. I’m only too happy to puncture and gut thee in hopes of a flicker of mild entertainment.”

He raised up a cane carved of needle-sharp ivory.


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