[an error occurred while processing this directive] ZEPHYR Magazine
                              T H E
                           Z E P H Y R
                  __     M A G A Z I N E
                 Issue #41                 6-6-87
            A weekly electronic magazine for users of 
                        THE ZEPHYR II BBS 
                    (Mesa, AZ - 602-894-6526)
                owned and operated by T. H. Smith
                    Editor - Gene B. Williams 
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                            (c) 1987

   I tell ya - my job is getting to be so easy! This time around 
we have yet another guest contributor. Our own Chris Mitchell, 
Sysop of The Silent Side, has put together a short story.
   And easier yet, I didn't change a word, letter or even a 
punctuation mark. What you see is EXACTLY what I downloaded 
from Chris earlier.
   So, in the burst of laziness Chris has allowed me, I think 
I'll put up my feet and read the story.

                          Odds 'n' Ends
                        by Chris Mitchell

     "Well, Miss Winchell, let's get our little patient on the 
table. Up we go!"  The so-called 'patient' let out a meek meow. 
     The assistant set down a bulging file-folder as a youngish 
man in a white frock entered the examination room through another 
     "Good afternoon, Pat!"
     "Thanks for seeing me on such short notice, Dr. Byers. I 
know you're going on vacation and I really wanted to make sure 
that everything was alright."
     "No problem, Pat. What's the story this time?"
     Pat Winchell glanced at the vet sheepishly. "Parking lot at 
work. She's been there for nearly a week. We've been feeding her 
off and on, but the traffic downtown is so busy, and with no 
where safe to sleep..." Her voiced trailed off as the doctor 
broke into a wide grin.
     "Pat, I'm afraid your 'she' is a 'he'.  Don't worry about 
it; sometimes it's really hard to tell. Actually, he's an 'it'. 
Someone had the good sense to have him neutered. By the way, how 
many does this make?"
     "I'm down to just four now, including... um, I haven't even 
given her--I mean him!--a name yet."
     Dr. Byers gently lifted the client's tail and inserted a 
     "Easy, boy, this'll just take a second. Say, Pat, yours 
always seem to be strays, right?" 
     "All but one--my original Burmese. They've all been 
different kinds, too, over the years. Shorthairs, longhairs, 
tabbies; even that one born with no tail!  I've never seen one 
like this little guy before, though. Can you imagine?  One blue 
eye and one bright yellow?" 
     "Yes, that is fairly rare. And you'll usually only see it in 
pure white cats like, um, 'Mister X' here." 
     "Yes, I imagine you'll need a name for his records. Let's 
see. How about... Oddeyes?" 
     "Sounds just fine." The doctor jotted Oddeyes' new name at 
the top of the sheet, and filled in the results of his 
examination. "Looks like he's in excellent shape. I'd say about 
8 months to a year old, 9 pounds, teeth okay, not seriously 
malnourished, and not battle-scarred at all. Probably got 
separated from his owner somehow and started looking for you!"
     Pat let out a sigh. "Sometimes I think they do it on 
purpose. Oh--and I suppose we should think about a round of 
     "Yes, of course. We can do that right now if you like." 
The vet asked his assistant to prepare the injections. 	     
"Say, there's one more think I'd like to check. Does Oddeyes 
seem to respond to you normally?  To noises around him?"
     Pat was puzzled. "I haven't noticed anything unusual, but 
I've only known him a little while. Why do you ask?"
     "Oh, just something I read while studying genetics at 
school. It seems that deafness is often present in white cats 
with odd-colored eyes. Let's just see."
     Dr. Byers pulled a small tuning fork out of a drawer by the 
examining table and tapped it on the side of his stool. A 
distinct, pure tone rang out as he moved it toward Oddeyes' left 
     The cat glanced to his left and sniffed the tuning fork 
indifferently. At that moment, the doctor snapped his fingers 
rather loudly about an inch from the right side of Oddeyes' head. 
     "Sorry, little fella. Didn't mean to startle you, but at 
least we know you're o.k. in the audio department." 
     "Could that be a problem?" Pat asked.
     "Well, deaf animals generally don't have any problems unless 
they're completely on their own. It makes hunting for food more 
difficult, and of course other animals can sneak up on them much 
more easily. In the home, it means that they can often get away 
with murder--simply by conveniently ignoring their owners!"
     While Pat and Dr. Byers were talking, Oddeyes had gotten his 
shots, almost without noticing. 
     "Well, that should do it. Keep an eye on him for a couple of 
days, but it looks like you have a nice, healthy, white kitty." 
     "Thanks, Doctor," Pat said as she grabbed her purse and 
scooped up Oddeyes. "I'll see you in a couple of months. The rest 
of the "crew" is due for boosters."
     "Right, Pat. See you then."


     Oddeyes didn't like the car ride home very much, but it beat 
the hell out of what he'd been through in that little room. The 
man in the white coat was nice enough, but all that poking and 
prodding!  Quite beneath any decent cat's dignity. 
     Once home, things settled into a comfortable routine. 
Oddeyes quickly learned where he fit into the scheme of things, 
at least as far as his three cat compatriots were concerned. 
There was the Burmese. Definitely in charge of the house. The 
Boss. He tolerated Oddeyes, but barely. The other two soon became 
his playmates. After breakfast these "Three Catsketeers" would 
race through the apartment, vanquishing enemies and making sure 
that their domicile was adequately defended. 
     After that was done, it was definitely nap-time. Everyone 
had his own spot, and Oddeyes staked out a piece of territory 
under a small coffee table. From this vantage point, he could 
survey the front door, the kitchen, the living room, and most of 
the hallway. Perfect. 
     He usually always slept the same way: curled up on his      
right side with his head tucked about half-way under one forepaw. 
This way, if there was an odd noise or movement, he could simply 
open one eye--in this case the blue one--and check out the 
action. His cat-friends could rarely launch a sneak attack on 
this cool customer! 
     One day, toward the end of the afternoon, Oddeyes lazily 
rolled over and reversed his sleeping position. (Variety IS the 
spice of life, after all.)  Now he was peeking out of his bright 
yellow eye whenever he needed to scout for danger. It was then 
that something most peculiar occurred. 
     He happened to be glancing toward the front door when it 
suddenly opened. His beloved Mistress Pat entered the apartment. 
It appeared that she was saying her 'hellos'. She then set two 
bags of groceries on the kitchen counter. The peculiar thing is 
that she did all of this without making a single sound. Total 
     The sound of his own voice startled Oddeyes to full-alert. 
He looked up, and as he did so he couldn't see Pat anymore. The 
groceries were gone, too, and the front door was once again 
closed. Very strange... oh, well. Must have been dreaming. Of 
course. But it was so real!  He looked around, and the others 
were fast asleep. Hm. May as well join them for a few more winks. 
     Just as he was dozing off--it couldn't have been more than 
two or three minutes later--he heard a key turn in the front door 
lock. The door swung open, Pat entered, said her 'hellos' (out 
loud), and proceeded to plunk down two bags of groceries in the 
exact same spot on the kitchen counter as before!  
     Again Oddeyes looked up, but this time nothing disappeared. 
The other cats were up, rubbing Pat's legs and noisily clamoring 
for attention. He dismissed the whole incident as a dream and 
mentally vowed to take it a little easier on the catnip. Then, 
stretching, Oddeyes sauntered out to the kitchen to get something 
to eat. 
     One morning, Oddeyes started to doze off after the post-
breakfast romp. He slipped into that half-dream state, curled up 
on his left side as usual. Out of the corner of his half-open eye 
(the yellow one) he saw one of his cat-roommates take three 
stealthy, silent steps and then leap directly toward Oddeyes' 
exposed stomach. Oddeyes instantly snapped into action. Whirling 
to the ready on all fours, every muscle immediately tensed as he 
prepared to rebuff the sneak attack. But nothing happened!
     He cautiously looked around the room. The big Burmese eyed 
him unconcernedly. His other two mates were fast asleep--
completely zonked out in their regular spots. 
     As Oddeyes rolled over, he wondered to himself if cats were 
susceptible to insanity. Oh, well. If he were going nuts, at 
least he had a nice home and plenty of food to comfort him in his 
     Just as he finished pondering his mental stability, 
something slammed into his tummy!  A freight train?  A ton of 
bricks?  No!  It was the kitty-nemesis from a few minutes ago!  
The little bastard had blind-sided him!  Once again springing 
into action, Oddeyes and his attacker had a good tussle followed 
by a brisk chase. Then they washed each other thoroughly and 
assumed their respective nap positions. 
     In the days that followed, similar strange things happened. 
Oddeyes would sleepily see Pat answer silent telephone calls, and 
then answer them again a few minutes later with noise and 
laughter and conversation. Identical deliveries would be made to 
the apartment within a few minutes of one another, but in each 
case only the second delivery would yield a package that lasted 
past the dream. 


     Unusual day. After the regular morning routine, The Mistress 
brought a large box with a handle on top into the living room. 
Naturally, everyone had to sniff it and explore it. Almost 
everyone. The Boss split for the bedroom. Apparently he knew 
something that the others didn't.
     Pat gathered her things together, and then gathered the cats 
together--in the large box. All except Oddeyes. 
     "C'mon you guys... I know you don't like this, but it's for 
your own good. And it's only once a year..." 
     Uh-oh. Oddeyes remembered something from a couple of months 
ago. The man in the white coat?  The poking and prodding and 
needles?  Now he knew why the Boss tried to disappear under the 
bed. But why wasn't Oddeyes included now?  Hm. Perhaps it'd be 
best not to think too many questions. 
     Pat hefted her boxful of kitty-cargo and left Oddeyes alone 
in the apartment. After a half hour of staring out the front 
window at birds, it was definitely time for a snooze. Assuming 
his normal sleep-position under his favorite table, dreams of 
mice and other small, not-too-hard-to-catch prey soon took over. 
     Oddeyes was barely aware of the apartment door opening. He 
yawned, farted, and rolled over--snooze almost intact. 
     Pat was not a happy human. She tossed a couple of packages 
on the couch, flipped on the TV and sat down. When she arrived at 
Dr. Byers' office, she found out that he had been called out to 
take care of an urgent problem with someone's horse. She decided 
to leave the cats at the doctor's office (why subject them to 
more car trips than necessary?) and do a little shopping while 
     "Damn!  Stupid emergencies!" Pat wasn't really mad at Dr. 
Byers, but the delay had shot a pretty big hole in her afternoon 
plans. "And I'm starting to get a whopping headache!" 
     The sound of Pat's petulant voice filtered through Oddeyes' 
sleepy fog. He was thinking maybe he should wander over and hop 
on her lap. Sometimes that would make her feel better. He slowly 
raised one eyelid--and got the shock of his life.
     Red!  Hot!  Flames!  Everything on fire!  He'd seen Pat burn 
her finger on the stove a few weeks ago. That was a tiny flame. 
What he was seeing now was beyond his comprehension, but he had 
an idea that something was terribly wrong. Furniture in 
splinters, strewn around the room!  And his mistress lying 
crumpled in a corner. Not moving. 
     Was this some sort of horrible dream?  Oddeyes quickly 
blinked and sat up, and the awful vision melted away. Whew!  But 
wait. Something was nagging at the back of his mind. He 
remembered that sometimes he'd, well, "see" things and then 
they'd happen. A sense of urgency swept over him and he became 
very agitated. 
     He tried to recall just what he'd been doing when these 
strange things had happened. Sleeping, mostly, he supposed. He 
lay back down and closed his eyes tightly, trying to clear his 
mind. Oddeyes slowly opened one eye, fearing what he might see. 
Everything appeared blessedly normal. "That was weird," he 
thought--but the sense of urgency was still there. He got up, 
turned in circles a few times and flopped down again, this time 
on his other side, shut his eyes once more, and prepared to try 
the test again.
     This time the results were quite different. When he lifted 
his eyelid he beheld the smoking, chaotic inferno from before. 
Oddeyes instantly sensed that there was some great danger 
present. Must get out of here! 
     The cat made a bee-line for the door. Usually, if he made 
a mewing sound and reached both arms toward the doorknob, his 
mistress would let him out for a little while to try to catch 
bugs and eat grass (even though it made him puke on the rug.) 
     "No, baby," came Pat's reply. "I'll be leaving soon to pick 
up the other kitties, so you just stay put."
     Oh, no!  Not now!  He tried again, this time upping the 
volume level.
     "Forget it, Oddeyes!  And pipe DOWN!"  
     Must get out!  He looked around, and saw that the front 
window was slid open. He remembered that there was a small hole 
in the screen where he could sometimes snag an incoming bug if he 
sat very still. He leapt onto the sill, stuck one arm through the 
hole and pulled down with all his strength. The high-potency cat 
food must have paid off, because the screen tore away with a 
ripping sound, leaving a gash large enough for him to use as an 
exit--which he did without any delay. 
     "What the...?!  YOU COME BACK HERE!"  Pat flew out the door 
and was chasing Oddeyes across the lawn when it happened. 
     The force of the explosion flattened Pat face down and sent 
Oddeyes reeling. After a moment Pat pulled herself up. She was 
bleeding a little from a cut on the back of her leg, but nothing 
seemed to be broken. She scooped up Oddeyes and looked back at 
the apartment, which was now fully engulfed in flames. Someone 
must have called the emergency number; sirens were already 
approaching. Clutching her cat tightly, Pat dazedly walked across 
the street, sat down on the curb and started to cry. 


     "Ma'am?  Miss?  Are you alright?"  The fireman gently lifted 
Pat's chin and looked carefully into her eyes, one at a time. 
     "Yes... Yes I think so... What... what happened?"  
     "Must have been a gas leak that caused the explosion. There 
have been problems with pipes deteriorating in these old 
neighborhoods. Say! That's a nasty cut you have there. We'll fix 
you right up in no time." The fireman signalled for one of the 
paramedics to come over. "Is there anyone you should call?  I'm 
afraid you won't be staying in this place for quite a while." 
     "Yes... I have a girlfriend who lives a few blocks from 
     The fireman stood aside as the paramedic gave Pat a quick 
examination and dressed the cut on her leg. 
     "You know, you're a very lucky young lady. If you had been 
inside when--well--let's just say you're very lucky."
     Pat was holding Oddeyes in a vise-like grip, but he didn't 
mind a bit. Purring, he looked up at her. First with one eye, and 
then with the other. Everything looked fine. 
     Just fine . . . 

Until Next Time

   It sure looks like I have some competition on my hands. If Chris 
keeps that kind of quality coming I could find myself out of a job. 
(Hmmm. Maybe I should go into radio.)
   Coming up in the next issue I'll make an ATTEMPT to compete with 
another short story of my own. At least that's what I have planned.

   That gives me an idea. Maybe we should have a popularity vote - 
which issue have you liked most, least and why? You can even categorize 
if you wish. Best fiction; best article; worst fiction; worst 
   There are, with this issue, 41 "entries." All are available 
for download - although we request that you download no more than 
2 at a time to keep the system open for other users.
   I think the best way to do it would be for you to cast your vote 
in E-mail, addressed to me. That way I can compile the results and 
let everyone know. However, if you prefer, you are welcome to leave 
your comments on the magazine board for all to read.

   So, go through the back issues and cast your vote today! (Or 

Zephyr Magazine is © Gene Williams. All rights reserved.