Pubsters will already be familiar with the late Malcolm B Duncan, and his excursions into The Land of Nadir and The Great Australian Novel. At last the time has come to introduce to The Pub Mr Duncan’s cat – the ubiquitous Claude. (The reasons will become apparent over the next few days/weeks/months.)
Both Claude and Mr Duncan are now but echoes in the ether; nevertheless, both are still well worth perusing. Claude is, of course, more than capable of introducing himself – this is what he pawed in October 2007:
Well, I suppose I ought to introduce myself: Claude’s the name and I’m diabetic. Fat and Rude has saved my life by nursing me back to health a few times so I suppose I owe him. But enough about him for the moment: I’m a cat, so I’d rather talk about me.
I was born somewhere about 16 years ago. Didn’t know my parents very well because one was Persian and the other was Siamese. I guess that would make me the perfect terrorist – well, if I weren’t a cat. Don’t know about the rest of the family, I think I came out on a boat. Is that one of those damned Cockatoos on the balcony? Lousy eating and vicious.
Frightful thing, diabetes: you get terribly distracted very easily.
Balcony? Ah, yes, the balcony. It’s in Wentworth looking west. It’s maintained (in a fashion) by Fat and Rude and She Who Must Be Disobeyed (“SWMBD”). Well, truth to tell, I’m a cat and they both have to be disobeyed. Differentially, sequentially and disruptively. Preferably at 3 in the morning.
Now, how did I fall in with them? Well, truth to tell (and you have to accept that, bright as I am, I only have limited language skills and I am from migrant stock or, as Fat and Rude calls us, “Reffos”) it was like this. SWMBD’s father got crook shortly before I was born. An undecorated war hero from WWII, he had a bad turn, and SWMBD’s sister had the idea that I would be a good companion while he was recovering from a massive heart attack. And I was – that’s why I’ve always wondered why they subjected me to The Operation. He put in a cat door and I used to bring him the catch of the day: rats (lots of rats around Kingsgrove), assorted wildlife, you know the stuff. I used to play a wonderful game with him by climbing trees or getting on the roof of the laundry and waiting until he got a ladder to get me down when I would jump down all by my kittenish self and show him how clever I was. He was pretty active for a bloke who’d had a heart attack.
Then, one day, he left us – he got stuck in a dishwasher, and I was stuck with the Lady. Now, I tried. I understood how sad she was and I did try to help. I brought I don’t know how many rats, small mammals and the like by day and night, but none of it seemed to cheer her up. Then, one day, I just got dumped with Fat and Rude and SWMBD. But they had great furniture. Fat and Rude likes tapestry upholstery. The only thing better for sharpening your claws than tree bark is tapestry upholstery. I discovered a thing called kapok – better than rats and doesn’t move as fast.
And I moved to the big end of town. No more Kingsgrove for me. Suddenly, I moved from a marginal Labor [sic] electorate to a place where labour is only known below stairs. Then I got the diabetes. Well, it’s a bit of a pain having to be injected with insulin twice a day but after 6 years I suppose I’m used to it. It’s fun going to the vet too. I’ve managed to wound 1,273 vet students who’ve tried to take blood curves, and I’m the only transgender teenager registered at the needle exchange in Darlinghurst Road. But you might be wondering why I’m telling you all this. Well, Fat and Rude is running for Wentworth and he’s asked me to keep a diary. He says I have the same IQ as the average voter and it will save him some time.
I must admit though, I’m a bit scared of Malcolm Turnbull (I am a cat after all), but I’ll try to do my best. If they ever let me off the bloody balcony, I’ll let you know what’s happening on the campaign trail.
(well, Claude did had a thing about sulphur-crested cockatoos . . .)