I was hooked because I thought I had it bad, and yet, Benny had it much worse in what life had dealt the both of us. Nevertheless, he was wise, serene, and happy to be purring. And that's why I wanted in.
"You are not happy," the cat directed with authority, "because you have not liberated your inner kitten." Instantly, he began to scan around so as to not be spotted talking to a lower life form. The taunting from rival tomcats, he said unapologetically, he could do without.
"Take me for example...When I gave up my dreams of fame and fortune -I believe I was six at the time- well, I was devastated...I thought it was all over, that it would be all downhill from then on...No fancy feasts...and left with urinating as the only way left to get the females attention..."
"Well, what happened?" I asked. "What made you decide..."
"I had auditioned for the movie 'Karate Kat'..."
"Hey! I heard of that..."
"But I lost the part, once again, to an orange and white cat."
"What did you do?" I was enthralled. Benny always knew how to tell a story.
"That's when I retreated to these woods."
"And you've been happy ever since?" I said eagerly.
"No, not exactly...Happiness is a fickle thing, you need fulfillment, and...this and that. But, I definitely am more relaxed."
"Hum...more relaxed. I could go for that!"
"It takes time oh my young gung-ho apprentice," he obeyed an urge to scratch his neck, thus making the wooden hearts on his beaded collar rotate. "You have to start slow and take it o.."
"Yes, but hiding in the woods?" I interrupted even though I knew Benny usually didn't tolerate such a thing.
"Isn't that like cowering out?" Benny paused and then stared me down. I grew rapidly with unease.
"You could say that I suppose," he said as I exhaled in silence.
Surprisingly, he seemed averse to me cutting him off, although he did turn his head to face the forest, subtly suggesting he would not hesitate to regain the woods if such an impolite gesture was to reoccur.
"But, I like to say that it's more like a return to basics."
"A dream ending is as hard to swallow as that dry economical cat food they serve in the cat shelters," he paused to lick his lips while I just looked at him waiting. "All the bad luck I've had in my life: been hit by lightning; been abandoned; the money I was never paid modeling for a deck of cards..."
"Damn," I said.
"Oh yes, I've been to the gates of hell, but, I brought back my sanity, a t-shirt, and my new found wisdom..."
"All at the rock bottom price of...hahaha!"
"The wisdom..." he interjected.
"Sorry," I said. "just trying to be funny."
"That you seek."
"True, wise Benny!" I raised my fist in approval. I felt I was ready, and that now was as good a time as any. "Alright, what do I do here? I want it man! Relaxed! So I can lift this curse that seemingly has been put on me!!!"