Jake Wilkerson, a disillusioned young pastor who is an expert at hiding his fears, takes on a new assignment in a small, rural church in Coudersport, Pennsylvania. It’s a far piece from anywhere and full of curiously odd and eccentric people, including Sally Grainger, a single woman and veterinarian who dismisses all Christians as “those people,” and Tassy, a young runaway with a secret.
His first day on the job, however, Jake is adopted by Petey, a cat of unknown origins and breed, but of great perception. Petey believes that he is on a mission from God to redeem Jake and bring him and his quirky friends back to the truth.The dried seed husks at the top of the tall field grass clattered together, rustled by the spring breeze that carried a hint of warmth. Green tendrils poked about at paw level. The cat stopped, sat down slowly, carefully, and sniffed.
A fecundity in the air.
He sniffed, his nose twitching.
I heard that word on that radio station that talks all the time and is always asking for money.
The cat would have smiled if he could have smiled. If he had the correct muscle structure.
Fecundity. That’s a weird word, isn’t it? Fecundity.Funny sounding. I know, I know . . . I can be a bit pedantic at times. That’s where I heard that word, too. On that radio station that never plays music. They just talk. About needing money, mostly.
The feline snapped back to his task at hand and breathed in again, deeply. Not large by cat standards, perhaps the size of a football, with a thick silvery coat, with black markings, like a striped lynx, with gold-green eyes, wide-set and deeply penetrating, a white chin and nose, and a thick feathering of white fur covering his ears. A thickly furred tail. The dark perpendicular lines that scored his forehead made it appear that he was in perpetual deep thought.
I really am, most of the time.
He watched as a white truck pulled into the gravel lot. He tried not to put pressure on his right paw. He tried to ignore the agonizing tightness that raced up his forelimb when the paw scraped hard against the ground. He smoothed his whiskers with his other paw. He watched, showing no outward indication of pain. That is what cats do.
A truck.An old truck.And not very clean.
Then he crouched lower, protecting his right front paw, hidden, perfectly camouflaged in the grass, still as a rock, only his eyes, now slits in the bright sun, moving. The cat slowly tilted his head and looked skyward, his vision staying on the clouds for a long moment. He tilted an ear towards the heavens, as if listening intently.
That looks like the man I heard God talking about. I think that’s what I heard. It is hard to identify people. Most of them smell the same. A lot of them look the same. This human looks like he needs company. People need company. That’s in the Bible, isn’t it? A man without a cat. That’s not right. He must be lonely.
His eyes moved back and forth, just a little.
Well, I can say this much for sure: He needs a cat. A good cat.A smart cat. Like me. I am a good cat. I am a smart cat.
The cat flicked an ear,almost distracted by a soft, leafing nearby. Soft and tender and whispery.
You know what? Maybe he needs a mouse. Everybody could use a fat mouse now and again. People get so excited when I bring them a mouse. They shout. They dance. People must like mice. They shoosh me away and in an instant, the mouse is gone. I guess that people are always hungry. However, they are not very good at sharing their mice.
And as the cat thought about that, his stomach growled. It had been a few days since he had eaten. He stiffened, imperceptibly, hearing again the soft, furtive rustling in the grass a few body’s lengths to his left. He knew what small rodent made the rustle.
He would wait.
And maybe later, he would have something to give the man that would make him happy.
It’s why I’m here. I need to give that lonely man a mouse. I need to help him. I am good at that. I can be a good, intelligent, helpful cat. God only uses good cats and I am a very good cat.
The cat blinked and smiled to himself, with a certain light in his eyes that gave evidence of his good humor.
The mouse dance. I really like it when humans dance the mouse dance.
About the Author:
Jim Kraus is a longtime writer and editor who has authored or co-authored more than 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction. His best-selling humor book, Bloopers, Blunders, Jokes, Quips, and Quotes, was published by Tyndale House Publishers, sold more than 40,000 copies and inspired several spin-off books. Jim, and his wife, novelist Terri Kraus, and one son, live in the Chicago area.
Also residing with them is a sweet and gentle miniature schnauzer named Rufus. Coincidently, Rufus is also the name of the dog in Jim’s recent book, The Dog That Talked to God. “What a coincidence,” Jim said. “What are the odds of that happening?” They also share space with an ill-tempered Siberian cat named Petey. Coincidently, Petey is the name of the cat in Jim’s most current book, The Cat That God Sent, by Abingdon Press.
Jim recently was awarded a Master of Writing Arts degree from DePaul University. “Now, I am able to write more better,” Jim said. (Yes, that is supposed to be humorous.)
Passionate about writing, Jim loves to create true-to-life characters. “I tend to be the one at the party that is on the edge of things–observing how folks act and react. Plus, I’m not that crazy about people in general–so it works out fine.” (Again, it’s supposed to be funny.)
Visit his website at www.jimkraus.com.
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