Speedbump Marmalade: A Cat Story

About a month ago, I dreamed of kittens.

There were three of them, a black, a calico, and a grey one with odd little black circular markings, and they lived with us in an odd apartment that seemed to have stairs everywhere, and the kittens were forever having to leap up onto stairs to get from one place to another.

They were cute and fluffy, just reaching the scamper-baby stage, and exploring and tussling with everything around them with what Terry Pratchett rightly calls “the usual mad amazement of kittens everywhere.”

In fact, I’m not even sure if my wife Chaosia and I were in the dream at all. I remember the kittens, mostly. I seem to recall that the Kid was in the dream once or twice, because someone had to pet the kittens occasionally.

…and I woke up.

“Sleep well?” asked Chaosia.

“I dreamed of kittens,” I said.

“We don’t need any kittens,” said Chaosia. “You shouldn’t be dreaming of kittens. You should be dreaming of houses. And jobs.” (at the time, we were both unemployed, and looking at new houses)


Only a wife would gripe at you for what you were dreaming.

It would seem, though, that I have dreamed of kittens for a reason.

Two weeks ago, Chaosia ducked into San Antonio to have a girls’ night out with her friend A Priori Goddess, right? And goin’ thru Schertz and Selma, on IH-35, north of San Antonio, the traffic just gets miserable… down to ten, fifteen miles an hour (in a 70 mph zone).

“Sigh,” says Chaosia to herself. “That’s what I get for being on the interstate at seven o’clock of a Friday night.”

As the traffic speed begins to pick up, she spots a kitten, frantically dodging tires, ripping across the middle lane, across the fast lane, towards the concrete berm separating northbound from southbound!

Well, Chaosia freaks. Well, actually, no, she didn’t. She immediately signaled hard left, cut into the breakdown lane on the left, next to the concrete berm, hit the flashers, put it in PARK, and went after the kitten.

The kitten ran across the breakdown lane, leaped up onto the concrete berm, and down into the northbound side.

Chaosia scrambled over the berm and approached the kitten slowly, cooing and talking to it.

The little orange-and-white kitten sat, hunched against the berm, panting, eyes wild with terror. It did not run. It didn’t even seem to notice Chaosia.

Chaosia carefully scooped the kitten up and petted it. The kitten panted and quivered and lay there, totally unresponsive.

“Hm,” said Chaosia to herself. “Heck of a beginning to a girls’ night out.” She returned to the car with the kitten. The kitten sat in the passenger seat all the way into San Antonio, panting. I should probably point out that the temperature outdoors last night was in the nineties, and it gets hotter on the interstate, for a variety of reasons. Who knows when the cat last had a drink.

When she got to Priori’s house, the two of them examined the kitten. Scraped nose, bit of a gash on the chin. Had someone pitched this poor thing out of a car? Or simply abandoned it on the highway? There are no residential neighborhoods near that section of highway – only a Hooters and a racetrack, and a shopping center. What the hell?

They made the kitten comfortable, and went out for dinner and drinks. When they returned, the kitten had drunk much of the water left for it, and had eaten some of the food, but still seemed kind of shellshocked.

This is where I entered the picture. I was bringing my Hughes Devastator in over the Boeing airfield and construction yard, beginning my strafing run on the Blake Aviation Security zeppelin, and had just opened up with the 70mm autocannons when the damn phone rang.

Dammit. I really hate pausing Crimson Skies, because I always lose track of what I’m doing. It’s a trick not to die when you unpause. I let fly with a couple of flak rockets, right between his port forward engines and that pesky dorsal machine gun turret, hit P and answered the phone.


“Sweetheart baby darling doll…?”

Aw, hell

But I am a believer in omens. If a cat is meant to find you, it will. The late and notorious Professor Doktor Faustus got his home with me by the simple act of encountering me on the street and then following me all the way to the store, and then following me all the way home… meowing piteously the whole time.

Plainly, the kitten would have to come home, for one night at least, while we determined his state and whether or not he could be taken to the animal shelter.
I dragged the cat cage in off the deck, lined it with towels, covered it with more towels to make a cave, and put a litter box, water, and food in it.

The Kid, naturally, had to take possession of the kitten, holding him and petting him and gooing on him and calling him George. We all petted the kitten (who still seemed a little shellshocked) and put him in the cage.

He looked around, nosed around, and settled down. Drank some water. Began eating with a vengeance.

The next morning, when The Kid came out to get a shower before her driving lesson, the kitten mewped at her. It was the first thing he’d said since any of us had seen him.

He’s under the desk now as I write; he’s long since gotten over his shockiness and is now exploring and batting a bottle cap around, same as any kitten you’d expect to find. The other cats are NOT wild about this… and his future in the household remains uncertain. Still, it beats dying of heatstroke. Or under a car tire, for that matter.

“What to call him?” said the Kid, the following day, as the kitten explored his new surroundings.

“He’s a marmalade kitten,” said Chaosia, referring to his orange-and-white coloring. “Marmalade?”

“Speedbump,” I said.

The women both looked at me.

“Hey, it commemorates the event,” I said. “and will serve as a reminder forever in living memory of the fate he narrowly escaped. I’m there with Speedbump.”

The debate continues. I’ll keep you informed.

You need at least two names, one for every day use, one to add when the subject (be it child, kitten, dog, dromedary, whatever) is being scolded.

So my vote is “Speedbump” (it will probably become Speedy for short) for every day, and “Speedbump Marmelade Ka!” (Like Harcourt Fenton Mudd) for scolding.

Chaosia sounds like a good sort, Dr. Ka - she might even deserve you!

Congratulations on your new kitten, Master Wang Ka! You’re right, of course, when you’re meant to have a cat, the cat finds you. Or a dog. I once drove down a highway 100 yards away from a pet adoption going on outside a pet store, and the World’s Sweetest Golden Retriever zoomed in on me with those big sad eyes and telepathically sent to me, “You will stop and take me home with you forever.” So of course I did.

But anyway, kudos to Chaosia for stopping. I wonder how many people saw it, said, “That poor kitten,” and kept on driving.

Saving animals makes the baby Jesus smile. :slight_smile: Good luck with the kitten!

I absolutely hate it when people post about cute little kittens and then do not include any PICTURES! What is wrong with you people? Don’t you know there are people suffering from kitten picture deprivation? Have you no decency, sir?

It’s evil! Evil I say! Taunting us with kittens but not delivering!


The title made me think you had run over a ginger-colored cat, making marmalade of the poor thing.

I’m glad it wasn’t that.

You’re sick, Ivylass. Sick, sick, sick!


And I don’t even like marmalade.


Sick, sick, sick!

My goodness, is there no hope for me? :wink:

Well, I guess I’ll put the final nail in the coffin…

I like dogs better than cats.

My wife holding Speedbump

…and it never occurred to me how the title could be taken until someone mentioned it.

I hate disgusting or depressing cat stories. I actively avoid reading them, particularly after a hard day’s work. Read one yesterday about this idiot who did unspeakable things to a cat, who died later at the vet, and then was surprised and dismayed when the judge threw the book at him. He just didn’t understand what the big deal was; it was, after all, only a cat.

The guy had several people who were willing to speak up for his sterling character, and how uncharacteristic this was of him. Yeah, well, durned if I can see such a neato guy doing horrible agonizing things to a helpless animal. The link was on Fark yesterday, if anyone’s horribly interested; Fark described him as “future serial killer,” and I find myself kind of nodding in agreement with that, no matter what a sweet guy his friends might think he is.

I did, however, see a dead kitten in the road on the way back from work not long ago, and found myself thinking of Speedbump, and how he might have ended up. He’s completely forgotten his trauma, it seems, and is everything you expect a kitten to be, now. Pounces on anything that moves, particularly under the covers; my feet are covered with scratches and tiny puncture marks, now… :eek:

Well, duh! They’re meatier and you get better gravy.

He is adorable, M W-K! Makes me want a kitten. Unfortunately, I’m not sure my fairly recently acquired, rather elderly Great Dane lady would appreciate one. Since I’ve already had one of my dogs kill one of my cats (in the past, not a dog I have now), I’m not planning to risk it. :frowning:

Perhaps Speedbump was sitting under a car for shade. If the engine was cool have may have climbed up into the chasis. Car started up and started moving and… :eek:

He might have gashed his chin when the gridlocked slowed the car down enough for him to bail out.

It’s possible he did some travelling.

I’d never thought of that.

We assumed some inconsiderate (expletive deleted) had simply dumped the cat somewhere along the highway. You could well be right; I sure wouldn’t do that if I were a cat (it was HOT that day), but considering what a climber he is now, it wouldn’t surprise me if you were right on the money about that…

But if the car had been parked for a long time in the sahde it would have been a cool, dark, hidy-hole.

There’s a young cat in my neighbourhood who has a thing for this bright yellow car. I don’t think it’s his owner’s. When it’s in the shade he sits on it’s roof. When the car provides the shade he can sometimes be seen under it.

I had to leave a note on the car to warn the owner because I saw the furball looking up into the chassis with that “hm… that looks neat, I should go up there…” face they get when they’re thinking.

I’ve since seen the owner check under the hood before he starts his car and drives off. Squirrels are also bad for that in this neighbourhood.

Hey, no fair. The kitten picture link doesn’t work. <whine> I WANNA SEE THE KITTEN! </whine>

Has it occured to anyone else that “Speedbump Marmalade” would make a great SDMB username? :smiley:

Hm. Try this link…

…or THIS link…