ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the January 8, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] kyleri. It also fills the "needed travel" square in my 8-7-19 card for the Fairy Tales Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.


"On a Long Leash"

[Saturday, May 2, 2015]

Keras was enjoying
the fine spring day as he
walked through town with
Marmalade's leash in one hand
and Smokey's leash in the other.

"What in the world are you doing?"
a woman said, staring at them.

"Going for a walk," Keras said.

"Why would you put a leash
on your cats?" she demanded.

"Smokey is settling in pretty well,
but he's still shy, so we're going to
Kitten Canoodle to pick out a cat house,"
Keras explained. "That way, he can
watch us without feeling too exposed."

"Don't you know you're supposed
to walk dogs on leashes?" she sneered.

"Yes, but the store we need to visit is
in an old building up several flights of stairs,"
Keras said. "My dog uses a wheelcart,
and that wouldn't be fair to Scooter."

"You're making a big mistake,"
she said, edging away from them.

Keras shrugged. "It's not a mistake,
it's a learning experience. Smokey
is on a long leash, and Marmalade
is setting a good example," he said.
"In any case, it's none of your business."

He led his cats up the long stairs
to Kitten Canoodle, then waiting
while Smokey sniffed the doorway.

"New customer?" called a voice.

Keras recognized Laren Allaway,
the owner of the store. "Yes, this
is Smokey. He's shy, so I'm
shopping for cat furniture."

"Something that balances
closed and open spaces?"
Laren asked, watching the cats.

"Yes, and preferably colorful,
so the kids can enjoy looking at it,"
Keras said. "Smokey is training as
a therapy cat, so I have a good budget."

"In that case, allow me to recommend
a modular cat house," Laren said.
"We have a nice four-color model
with a ladder in natural wood."

It consisted of four blocks, each with
three holes for cats to climb in and out of,
lined with a piece of shaggy sheepskin.

Marmalade promptly bounded
to the top and looked around.

"This seems promising," Keras said
as Smokey sniffed the ladder.
"How expandable is it?"

"As much as you want,
or can afford," Laren said.
"You can buy individual modules."

Keras looked at the loose blocks
painted in eye-popping colors. "Hmm ..."

"If you want to go horizontal, consider
a boardwalk or hammock," Laren said.
"If you prefer vertical, a sisal pole would
give them another route up and down."

Keras thought about it, imagining
the cat house going up one corner of
the living room. He could add modules,
connect them with various bridges, and
eventually put the sisal pole in the far corner.

That would give his children chances to help
plan the project and do things like fetching tools
for whomever wound up installing the hardware.

Certainly Keras couldn't do that sort of thing
with his clumsy, two-fingered hands but there
were plenty of other folks at home who would.

Smokey completed his inspection, curled up
in the cat house, and began to purr.

"We'll take it," Keras said with a laugh.

* * *

Notes:

Laren Allaway -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and curly red hair to his shoulders. A devout cat lover, he owns the store Kitten Canoodle in Rain City, Washington. He doesn't like dogs at all, though. Laren is playful, but when it's time to sleep, he has no trouble dropping off.
Qualities: Good (+2) Cat Lover, Good (+2) Naturalistic Intelligence, Good (+2) Playful, Good (+2) Shopkeeper, Good (+2) Sleep Anytime
Poor (-2) Not a Dog Person

* * *

Rude and nosy people are everywhere. Learn how to handle rude people and deal with nosy questions. Sometimes it helps to think like a lawyer.

a long leash
A phrase indicating that one is given a lot of independence or is not under very strict control by someone else. Her parents give her quite a long leash, so it doesn't surprise me that she gets up to as much trouble as she does. They may be regretting the long leash they gave their candidate ahead of the campaign.

See the exterior of Kitten Canoodle. The interior includes a checkout counter, toy racks, and a workshop for building cat furniture.

The Classic Catissa is a 4-storey cat house. It can be assembled in many ways. A cat boardwalk like this one makes a good bridge. A long version of a cat hammock also works as a bridge. A sisal pole such as this one offers another way to climb up and down. You can also turn it sideways to make a pole bridge.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-17 10:36 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
BTDT.. we had a leash trained cat. Some people got very bent out of shape by it. Just because it didn't fit into their little mental pidgin-hole.

Some folks heads are just full of little boxes for everything, and they get VERY upset if you break their filing system.

Sad, really... I blame colouring books, and people making kids colour inside the lines.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-17 11:12 pm (UTC)
acelightning: Ace Lightning logo with flashing lightning bolt (Default)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
When my son was growing up, we had pet rabbits. Occasionally I'd put a harness (marketed for ferrets) and a leash on one of the bunnies and take him/her outside for a hop - rabbits don't walk, so you don't take them for a walk. That always confused the neighbors, and it usually confused the rabbit as well. (They enjoyed it when the violets were blooming in the spring; rabbits love to eat the stems of violets.)

Re: Yes ...

Date: 2019-01-17 11:20 pm (UTC)
acelightning: The "three rabbits, three ears" illusion (3bunnies)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
They now make effective harnesses and leashes for toddlers, so the supervising adult doesn't have to just hold the kid's hand. But it's a bit off-putting the first time you see a child on a leash, but it makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

Re: Yes ...

Date: 2019-01-18 12:07 am (UTC)
acelightning: Ace Lightning logo with flashing lightning bolt (Default)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
It gives the parent a way to enforce limits without grabbing the child in an uncomfortable way. It gives the child the knowledge that there are limits, that s/he is not without supervision. My son would have figured out how to get into trouble with a leash - tripping himself or someone else, getting tangled, or otherwise generating chaos (which was his main attribute as a small child). But some children take well to the idea. But I wouldn't have wanted to be on a leash when I was a child myself; I was always curious about things, and I had to go look...

Re: Yes ...

Date: 2019-01-22 01:24 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
With school children who I need to stay next to me, I often tend to ask them to hold onto one end of something while I'm holding/attached to the other - a bag I'm carrying, my scarf, whatever - because they often mind that less than being asked to hold hands, and it achieves the same effect of keeping us in physical proximity. Holding hands works with some kids, especially when they want to feel reassured and guided. With a kid who is agitated, though, there are a lot of failure modes ... it's too easy to get your arm yanked in a potentially harmful way, *or* to instinctively tighten a grip when one should let the *kid* decide to let go, *or* to successfully let go when they want to go but do so badly, as when they were *expecting* to be dragged around (bad job adults) and are therefore off-balance physically or emotionally if you *don't* grab them. So even when I am holding hands with a kid, I try to mostly keep my palm flat/relaxed and let them decide how tightly they want to hold on. All that is a totally different scenario than 'you are climbing an unstable pile of Stuff and about to fall' though.

I can see it either working or drastically not-working in the toddler age-cohort.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-17 11:18 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Well, it was kinda of a necessity for us.. She was a rescue cat, she had terrible acrophobia [she grown up in a shelter, hadn't been outside in her life]. She cried if you tried to take her leash off and clung onto you for dear life...

She did get over it, eventually... but was never entirely happy outside by herself.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-17 11:28 pm (UTC)
acelightning: animated, "what the..." in different fonts (what_the)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
A friend of mine had a dog like that - raised indoors (in a cruelly small space) and horribly agoraphobic; she'd have excretory malfunctions if she was taken outside (which of course is the place for such "accidents").

When I helped my son drive to California for grad school there were places in the American midwest where, except for the highway itself, in any direction I looked, all I could see was dirt and rocks. There was nothing big enough to hide under. It was okay at night, though, when I could look up and see the infinite sky.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-17 11:30 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
*sigh*

I would pay good money to spend a night or three there...

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-17 11:36 pm (UTC)
acelightning: purple starry sky (space)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
You get somewhat the same effect out at sea, out of sight of land. Or on a long intercontinental flight over the ocean, especially on a moonlit night with an undercast (that's one of my favorite meditative visualizations)!

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-17 11:39 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
The only intercontinental flight I was on was during the day..and given the tiny size of the windows, you couldn't have seen much anyway.

I'm looking forward to the new Boeing designs, that use synthetic sapphire based hull plates...

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-18 12:15 am (UTC)
acelightning: caped, smiling bunny flying on a magic carpet (flying bunny)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
But the unappreciative folks who are afraid of heights would hate flying in a transparent airplane. (Although Diana Prince would love it!)

I got to see a lot of ocean and sky when I flew to Australia. I'd love to fly in one of the Airbus planes that has private "roomettes", with a comfy bed, free champagne, and fairly large windows - and there's a forward-looking camera that feeds a channel on the video system, so you can see pretty much what the cockpit crew sees. Only the airlines based in the Persian Gulf states have those, as does Singapore Airlines - they just began the world's longest commercial flight, from Newark Airport (half an hour's drive from my house) to Singapore, over the North Pole. Whee - aurora watching at 45,000 feet! ;-)

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-18 12:44 am (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Come to think of it, isn't there an airline that does circumpolar flights for just that reason? One of the Nordic lot I think...

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-19 07:19 am (UTC)
acelightning: the Northern Lights (aurora)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
There are a couple that advertise on the "Space Weather" website; one's out of Norway, the other is "Lapland", which I'm pretty sure is part of Finland. I'd have to get to one or the other of those places to go on the aurora flights.

I envy the crew of the ISS. They get to see the auroras from above sometimes!

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-19 01:49 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
Not surprised about the violets. They're lovely edible flowers, and I enjoy violets and redbuds in the spring now and then. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-19 07:12 am (UTC)
acelightning: The "three rabbits, three ears" illusion (3 bunnies)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
They liked the stems a whole lot more than they liked the flowers. I wish I could get edible flowers easily. There's a place that does mail-order, but that takes too long. But a dish of rich white chocolate mousse is so beautifully set off by one perfect purple candied violet in the center! :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-22 01:17 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Heh. Using coloring books with lines *is* a useful fine-manual-dexterity activity ... but when I get to color with kids, I always demo to the smalls how my deliberate art choices interact with and go over and beyond the line instead of mechanically staying in them, and how that can turn a smudge into part of the pattern. One can be neat without being *rigid.*

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-18 01:37 am (UTC)
mirrorofsmoke: The words "We are Groot" and a picture of Baby Groot on an icon with a swirly galaxy background. (Default)
From: [personal profile] mirrorofsmoke
You know. It occurred to us. Do you have a place where you organize all the characters for Polychrome Heroics?

Re: Well ...

Date: 2019-01-18 06:38 am (UTC)
mirrorofsmoke: The words "We are Groot" and a picture of Baby Groot on an icon with a swirly galaxy background. (Default)
From: [personal profile] mirrorofsmoke
Ohhh man. I'd love to see *THAT* file. :P

Maybe you should make a toyhou.se for them. It's in beta, so you'd need an invite, but some of your readers might have codes.

Re: Well ...

Date: 2019-01-18 07:25 pm (UTC)
mirrorofsmoke: The words "We are Groot" and a picture of Baby Groot on an icon with a swirly galaxy background. (Default)
From: [personal profile] mirrorofsmoke
Well we just started using it ourselves, but it's a site that started out for adoptables I think, but you can make your characters so that you are the only person that can have them. But basically, it's a site that allows you to make characters, and organize them into worlds and folders within worlds. You can share them with people from there, and there's a place for a profile for each character. It'd help you organize worlds and various threads within the world. We don't have any codes right now, but we got ours from a DW user.

Re: Well ...

Date: 2019-01-18 09:44 pm (UTC)
mirrorofsmoke: The words "We are Groot" and a picture of Baby Groot on an icon with a swirly galaxy background. (Default)
From: [personal profile] mirrorofsmoke
The site URL is http://www.toyhou.se if you want to check it out for usability.

-Arya

Re: Well ...

Date: 2019-01-19 12:56 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
If I were doing it I'd have a whole bunch of plain-text files, one for each character. Put the in folders by series. They'd be easy to search, and most of the time you'd only need to look at the names.

Never did get the hang of databases.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-18 02:44 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
My brother had a pet tegu lizard for a while. Roughly cat-sized if you didn't count the tail...

Fortunately, our street didn't get much in the way of traffic.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-18 01:25 pm (UTC)
meridian_rose: pen on letter background  with text  saying 'writer' (Default)
From: [personal profile] meridian_rose
This is great! Keras is being a responsible cat owner and the therapy cat angle is a lovely one to add.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-18 08:48 pm (UTC)
librarygeek: cute cartoon fox with nose in book (Default)
From: [personal profile] librarygeek
Is it THAT odd of me, that if I see a cat on a leash, I figure that the cat could've complained and fought enough if it didn't agree?

Seriously, cats either consent, or the person looks like they lost a battle with a blender TO THE FACE and arms...

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-18 09:24 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
That cat tree is AWESOME.

This was very much a prompt from my own experience -- mostly people think a cat on a leash is awesome, but we've run into folks who were VERY offended by the variance from what they'd expected. I've had people point to Loiosh, with his ears up, whiskers forward, tail up with a curl, & say 'But he's SO unhappy, look at him!'.

o.0

(no subject)

Date: 2019-01-19 03:30 am (UTC)
jeshyr: Blessed are the broken. Harry Potter. (Default)
From: [personal profile] jeshyr
I'm not up to any more typing just now, so instead I have this copy-pasted message to let you know I greatly appreciated this post <3

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