I suppose I better see what happens then," Jerry Thomas muttered
as he shuffled his way over the chipped kitchen floor tile, skillfully
using a well worn wooden cane for support. "One of these days
I wont be able to make it by myself at all; it seems to take me
longer and longer each day."
arriving at the sink, he balanced his cane against the stove-top
and rested his wrinkled, tired hands upon the cracked countertop.
Gradually Jerry caught his breath as he gazed out through the window
to a cat contentedly playing in the disheveled back garden. "Looks
like Mrs. Gibson, the kook next door, has adopted yet another stray.
She must feed at least a dozen of them by now," he thought
to himself. He looked at disgust at the abundance of weeds. Once
he had been able to tend to it regularly and nurture it and it was
always impeccably manicured, but it had been years since he had
had the agility, or stamina, to do so. These days he simply paid
a local teenager twice a month to trim back the lawn and pull the
weeds, but he never did a very good job and always wanted far too
much money for the effort he put in. His eyes glazed over as he
harked back to being a young man, remembering how he used to love
the feel of cut grass against his bare feet as he gaily raced through
it in the early evening. As a teenager he used to cut his neighbor's
lawn for free, just because it was the decent thing to do. And that
was back in the day before there was any gas or electric mowers.
How times, and people, had surely changed. Back in his day people
used to care and have respect for the old folks These days he could
barely manage even to make it outside to the back garden due to
there being two oversized steps in the way, and the last time he
had tried he had fallen.
stared at himself in the cracked mirror above the kitchen sink.
The eighty-three-year-old eyes stared directly back at him with
a remarkable sharpness belying their age. However, the rest of his
features betrayed the truth. In fact, it was amazing he was still
alive, he considered with a bittersweet chortle. He gazed once more
at his reflection. The bald wrinkled head, with the remnants of
the four-inch scar over his right eye, where he had gotten into
that bar fight forty-seven years previous. He smiled as he remembered
why he had gotten into the fight. Jessica Wilkins, a fiery, green
eyed red head eight years his junior, she had been attracting the
wrong kind of attention at Mulligan's Bar, and naturally he felt
it was his place to sort it out. She was the prettiest girl he had
ever mether hair was such a peculiar radiant shade of red,
and on the left side there was a single natural streak of blonde
hair. He had loved her the day he first set eyes on her, but never
dared to tell her so. She was far too pretty to be bothered with
the likes of himand she ended up marrying Robert Walker, the
geekiest bloke in school, and he never felt the desire to ask anyone
to marry him. So many regrets, Jerry sighed. He studied the
hearing aid in his wrinkled hairy ears framing his bald head. His
hearing had once been so acute; he then focused his gaze upon the
multitude of varieties of birds flocking in his garden. He used
to love hearing their delicate, cheerful song. Jerry could not quite
recall precisely when his hearing had finally gone. He supposed
it had happened gradually over many years. Jerry just remembered
waking up one morning to a silent world. The hearing aid offered
him some assistance, yet it was never quite the same, as everything
another heavy sigh, he pulled out a paper packet from his dressing
gown pocket and read the colorful label out loud.
Jenkins Magical PowdersGuaranteed to remedy the most important
things that ail you."
he keenly examined the packet, Jerry thought back to the previous
afternoon. It had been just after two when the curious salesman,
dressed in a grey pin-striped suit and bowler hat that would have
been the height of fashion when he had been a young boy, had rung
the doorbell which made the red light flash.
on, I'll be there in just a minute or two," Jerry yelled much
louder than he realized, as he unhurriedly negotiated his way along
the corridor. Upon opening the front door he saw a pleasing, gregarious
man standing there beaming at him. The man was of an unusually average
build and height and promptly introduced himself as the internationally
famous Doctor Jenkins. Jerry, as hard as he tried, could not determine
how old the gentleman was. Maybe thirty, perhaps even sixty? He
did know, however, that he did not want to purchase anything from
him. In fact, he had never in his entire life purchased anything
from a door-to-door salesman, for he had never seen fit to trust
them. Despite Jerry trying to tell him he wasn't interested, Doctor
Jenkins persisted in informing him all about his incredible magical
powder that he had recently developed. He exclaimed with elaborate
hand gestures and how it dramatically improved all those fortunate
enough to imbibe it. As Jerry still attempted to shake his head
to dismiss him, the doctor stated that he could try it entirely
and absolutely free on approval. Adding, as he shook his hand again,
that he would be back in exactly one week and only if he was entirely
happy with the product would he have to pay him the very modest
sum of ten pounds. All that all he had to do was to write a check
and date it one week ahead. What did he have to lose? What's more,
there was something reassuring in that hand shake, Jerry considered
thoughtfully. It was an old-fashioned sort of hand-shake, not like
the types that the young men exchanged today. It was firm, genuine
and honorable. And besides, the man spoke clearly and looked directly
at him, allowing him to easily read his lips. It was almost as if
he could properly hear what the salesman was saying... Before Jerry
realized what precisely had transpired, he had agreed, written out
the check, and placed the peculiar packet in his pajama pocket.
With that, dapper Doctor Jenkins had thanked him, informed him to
follow precisely the simple instructions on the packet, had abruptly
turned about and had begun to stroll back down his driveway, whistling
cheerfully as he went.
here Jerry Thomas stood, at the kitchen sink, with the peculiar
packet in his hands.
looked at the instructions and read them out loud.
add to a cup of water, no more and no less. Then wait exactly one
minute and drink whilst holding your nose."
took a bright yellow chintz teacup from the sink. Turning on the
cold-water tap, he rinsed it out several times and placed it on
the draining board. Taking a deep breath, he ripped open the packet
of magic powder and poured it carefully into the cup.
like bloody baking soda," he grumbled. "Still, I do have
a bit of a sour stomach."
turned the tap on to a slow trickle and placed the tea cup under
its flow and watched it closely. As soon as the water came into
contact with the powder, it began to hiss, sputter and fizz. Jerry
watched on through squinted eyes, shaking his head in distrust.
reckon I have just been conned for ten quid. Oh well, if nothing
else it might be able to give my old dentures a good clean."
he decided it was precisely a cup, he turned the tap off and began
to count out loud
biscuit, two biscuits, three biscuits, four biscuits
biscuits, fifty-nine biscuits, sixty biscuits."
the teacup to his mouth with a trembling left hand, he held his
nose with his right and tipped the cup. The liquid tickled as it
entered his mouth, and it continued to tickle as it made its way
past his tonsils, down his throat and down into his stomach.
was not quite sure what happened next; for a few moments, everything
went blank. When he came to again, he felt strange, very strange
indeed... He did not feel bad, in fact, far from it. He felt bloody
amazing, energetic and full of life. Looking about him, he was unsure
of where he was. Then, as he spun about, he was startled to discover
that he was sitting in his sink next to the now empty and very large
yellow chintz teacup.
has happened? Jerry thought. I have shrunk? Jerry pulled
himself up on the side of the sink, amazed at his own agility. Boy,
do I feel good though, he realized. Getting himself into position,
he looked at himself in the mirror and recoiled back in horror...
A strange yet enchanted furry face stared directly back at him.
However there was something very familiar in the eyes; they were
his own. I am a cat! My Godthose magic powders have turned
me into a bloody cat! His mind began to reel. What sort of
an existence is this going to be? Then he happened to gaze once
more out of the kitchen window and into the back garden. He immediately
saw her: the most beautiful red-coated feline he had ever seen slinking
sultrily across his freshly mown lawn. She seductively turned and
met his astonished, jaw-dropped gaze. It was when he could have
sworn she had actually winked at him that he noticed that she had
a distinct blonde streak in her glorious coat.
adroitly darted out of the sink, with astonishing speed and pushed
his way out into the beautiful spring day to meet his new companion.
As he made his way onto the grass, he could smell all the scents
of an English spring day and hear the birds.
at once Jerry Thomas knew, without any doubt, precisely what true
the two cats friskily gallivanted in the blades of grass, they failed
to notice a particularly well dressed gentleman making his way up
the side of the house whistling cheerfully as he went. Doctor Jenkins
peered over the garden fence and gazed through a space in the overgrown
hedgerow. Upon seeing the two contented cats frolicking happily
together, he nodded and turned around.
he made his way back down the street, he pulled two checks out of
to make a deposit!" he said out loud to no-one in particular.
"And then I have two more packets of my very special powders