Notes from a parish cat and his author Julie Mackenzie

My photo
I am Father Tom Fish, esteemed member of the religious team at Temptation of Christ Parish in the novels by author Julie Mackenzie. As to my background, I was invited into the rectory as a stray, laid on the charm, and was invited to stay, even honorarily ordained and no less spiritual than my sidekick Father Will. He dotes on me to high heaven and forgives all of my street cat proclivities, whatever the hell that means.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Welcome, One and All

Happy Halloween to everyone!

This welcome plaque, wet from the rain, sits by our entrance. It's surrounded by colors of the season in leaves, flowers and a tiny pumpkin!

Tom thinks the only way the cat looks like him is in the chubby cheeks. He said to be sure to mention the little mouse at the very bottom.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Writing Romance in the Company of a Cat

I was trying to remember how I got to the police station. I know I was pulled over, which scared the living bejesus out of me, but the cop was very nice. The only thing was, I didn't have any of the paperwork my dad would always scold me about losing. That's all I remember. Did I drive or did I go with the officer?

(cat tears through room, trilling and talking to itself)

He now stood before me in a small waiting area. The station was quiet and he was ready to head back out on patrol.

"Your car's outside," he said.

"Oh, it is, okay." I can't say I was overly miserable with this turn of events. Here was a handsome man in uniform, young, smiling and very accommodating. I wasn't that upset any more. I was almost disappointed to have my little adventure end.


He seemed to want to say something else, but hesitated.

"What is it?" I asked. "Did I forget something?"

"No." He paused. Then, he gave me a look that suggested an invitation, a hormone-driven, ready-to-explode invitation. His eyes looked into mine and I couldn't breathe.

I wanted to say something, but found myself glancing away. I was afraid of his eyes. I knew they would be looking into mine again when I returned my gaze to his.

They were.

"Let's go outside to your car," he suggested. "It's time for you to go."

I followed him out the front doors and down the steps to my car which I had parked off to the side. He reached for the doorhandle. As I was about to get in, he touched my sleeve.

(cat jumps down and goes to bowl of dry food)

"Can I ask you a question?" I was just inches from his face, the car door like armor between us. I said, "Sure."

And it came.

"Would you mind if I called you?"

(crunch, crunch)

He ran his fingers through his hair, black in the station floodlights, his eyes now cast in shadow but still seeing through me.

"I'd love that," I said softly, pretending not to notice a gold wedding band and lips that I was only bound to enjoy in my dreams.

(crunch, crunch, crunch)

"Good. I would really like that."

My look told him, so would I.

(cat leaves the room--it is peaceful)

I sat inside my vehicle as he shut the door. I rolled down the window. He leaned in and surprised me with a kiss on the cheek.

(cat enters cat box down the hall, scraping is heard, litter flung to the side)

I had just fallen in love. Hard.

As he walked away, I watched him. Oh, my.

He waved as I drove out of the lot.


I have no choice but to leave my attempt at romantic fantasy as the most noxious of fumes wafts toward me. I cannot believe this is happening. I am forced to drop what I'm doing and clean the box.

Cat has made it quite clear what he thinks of romantic notions and pulsing hearts!

--J.R. Mackenzie

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Underground Jungle

"It's a jungle out there," I think is how the expression goes. Well, whoever said that never thought about the jungle that is happening under our very noses.

I had a chance to get out a little bit this week. It was a beautiful day and I was busy enjoying the sunshine when I started hearing all sorts of noises and couldn't figure out where they were coming from. There was scratching and sounds of dropped rocks, chattering conversations, and animal burps, probably from eating acorns.

I had to investigate, of course, but not a single critter stuck his head out while I was watching, which disappointed me no end. I even hid, waiting. I guess they decided not to chance it and headed out somewhere else. It suddenly did get awfully quiet.

It's really quiet here. Now is the best time for me to post since I can't get near the computer during the week. If they only knew, hehehe!

It's been a couple of weeks since I ended a post with a joke, but before I tell you all a new one, I wanted to let you know that I've always been a big fan of the comedians on the old shows. I like Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, Milton Berle and others I can't recall right now. What was so nice about them is they all shared their jokes with each other in the same spirit that I share this joke with you:

A man felt so bad after running over a cat with his car. He couldn't just leave the animal and go about his business, so he went up to the door of the house right where it happened and knocked. A woman answered and he apologized, "I'm so sorry, I just ran over your cat, but I'll be happy to replace it." She looked him over and said, "Well, hurry up, then, there's a mouse in the kitchen!"


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Temptation Friends

Here you have the Spanky and our Gang of the Temptation Parish neighborhood. They all managed to get together for this photo, a real ragtag bunch if you ever saw one!

Let me introduce them from left to right: Beau(regard) who is black and white, Snifter, the cat showing just eyes and ears, Gloria, Max and Iggy. They are my friends and, unlike Vinny whom you've met already, these guys are more low-key. They're kept indoors and the most you might see them is when they get together for a Blessing of the Pets which was last year. Everybody brings their furry loved ones over and Jack and Will say prayers. The first time, Will had that thingamajiggie that flung water everywhere and the cats didn't care for that too much. Half of them went crazy and wound up in the shrubbery. The priests then wrapped it up and the dogs, of course, thought it was the best entertainment ever.

I don't want to forget to mention that Gloria, who lost her right eye, also has a mysterious past like me. I can't remember where I came from and neither can she.

Missing from the picture is Tinker, also part Maine Coon. He's an accomplished musician. He can play the cello as you can see..(hehehe)

Don't forget the late Shel Silverstein's birthday on Monday, the 18th. He wrote Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree. I didn't know this, but he also wrote A Boy Named Sue for Johnny Cash.

I'm glad I have a nice, mancat name like Tom!

Friday, October 8, 2010


I just love this lady. She's one of our parishioners who submitted a photo for the church bulletin in our new section called Temptation People. Everybody likes it when there are chuckles in the aisles and sometimes having a funny-looking cat like me just isn't enough!

On the subject of how people look, I've always been a great admirer of feminine beauty. I've often wondered, though, about all of the things that women use as they seek perfection. At least, Mary Lou does. I can't even jump up on the bathroom counter without knocking over a bunch of stuff and getting into trouble. I feel like a bowling ball hitting some pins. What I've scrambled over includes masks for the face, moisturizers, eye cream, makeup of every description and a cream to take it all off again. There's hair spray and other stuff that smells like roses, happiness for all our noses.. There's hand lotion, foot lotion, lotion for the body, and cream for the elbows, knees and feet.. and swing your partner, do-si-do! hehehe..

Oh, well, me? I always smell good. Jack thinks I smell pampered. Moi?

It reminds me of the story about the model who was being interviewed. She was very pretty and looked to be a great candidate. When the interview was over, she was thanked and the man said, "Where can I get ahold of you?" "I don't know," she answered, "I'm awfully ticklish!"


Friday, October 1, 2010

Hail to the Chief

I love how brave Indians always look in their pictures, especially chiefs. For people who were rumored to be afraid of the camera, they adapted to the new contraption rather well. You could say they were even photogenic. Geronimo here looks very handsome and brave. He doesn't look as if he were ever afraid of anything--white man, buffalo or a Krispy Kreme franchise.

On the other hand, look at me here, not looking very pleased. If I remember right, I was hoisted rather unceremoniously under the ribcage, my fur every which way and pawing the air for dear life. I was miserable, but that's no excuse.

I promise to be a better sport in the future. Like Geronimo or Sitting Bull. I need to project the sort of face that is composed and fearless, instead of ticked off and ready to spit nails..

Wait a minute..hold everything. What am I talking about? 

I just noticed something. The more I look at Geronimo, the more I realize he's ready to spit nails, too. He looks mad and just might use that rifle..

Aaah..Maybe I'm a lot like a chief, after all...