Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl

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A skeptical person might think I was making all this up, or that I was crazy if I believed it myself. Of course, anyone can say she comes from another plane, or planet, or that her mother is the queen of Cockadoodle which is not a real place, as far as I know.

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Well, it's true that I can't absolutely prove I come from another plane. However, if you go to the library and get ahold of encyclopedias and National Geographics and certain books, you can find an article with pictures of a typicallooking Inuit, a typical-looking Northern European, a typical-looking Mongolian, a typical-looking Bantu, Korean, Australian, Moroccan, and so on. All different in minor ways, and all similar in most ways. What you will not find is a picture of a girl with cat whiskers and sort of catlike eyes. That is, until they take a picture of me.

Where I'm From and Where I Was Since practically nobody even suspects there are other planes of existence, there would be no reason to name the one you live on. Besides, if the one I came from had a name, nobody on this one would have ever heard of it. I lived in a city, an ordinary city, with my uncle, Uncle Father Palabra.

He's a retired monk and a professor of mountain-climbing. I don't remember my parents very well--they went away a long time ago. I liked living with my uncle, and I was reasonably happy, but for some reason I developed a strong desire to travel to other places and see things. I met three kids, Yggdrasil, Neddie, and Seamus, who had managed to get offtheir plane and onto mine.

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We got to be friends, and when they went home, I went with them. My name is Big Audrey. I stayed with them for a long time, and I even got a job in an all-night doughnut shop. Doughnuts are not unknown where I come from, but they are not used as food. I had fun working in the doughnut shop, and got to observe the many varieties of life-forms that came there, especially late at night.

Crazy Wig is a friend of theirs. He is a shaman, which means he can see visions and knows things of a mysterious nature. The first time I met Crazy Wig, he grabbed my head with both hands, closed his eyes, and made odd sorts of singing noises while continuing to hold my head. Then he said, "Daughter, your destiny is not here. You must go on a quest. I had been thinking I should see more of this plane of existence than just Los Angeles anyway, so I quit my job at the Rolling Doughnut, threw my few belongings into a bag, and took off with Marlon in his big convertible.

Marlon was extremely handsome, and crazier than a bat. He talked incessantly about health food and played bongo drums while driving. He drove fast, and we went nonstop. Marlon had plenty of fruit, wheat germ, and bean curd in the trunk and also a dozen large chocolate cakes, which did not seem like health food to me , so we never stopped at restaurants--just to gas up the car.

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When he got tired, he'd pull over, eat about half a chocolate cake, wash it down with carrot juice, crawl into the back seat, and sleep for a couple of hours. I'd curl up on the front seat with my coat over me. I made it almost all the way to New York City with him, but about the time we reached Poughkeepsie, I'd had all I could stand and told him I'd be staying there awhile. Marlon gave me a bottle of papaya juice, wished me the best of luck, and bongoed offin a cloud of dust.

He was a nice guy, but he got on my nerves. Chapter 1 The UFO Bookshop I woke up in my little room behind the shop, washed, got the big electric coffee percolator started, and got ready to open the shop. This had been my routine since I first hit town.

Gleybner had hired me on the spot when I walked in the door, carrying my bag and my bottle of papaya juice. Gleybner, who was short and round, said. Gleybner, who was also short and round, said. Los Angeles," I said. Gleybner looked at each other. The UFO Bookshop specializes in books about flying saucers, visitors from other planets, space travel, aliens who live among us, radio messages from space, and secret government conspiracies to conceal the truth from the people.

They also have books about the abominable snowman, Bigfoot, crop circles, the Bermuda Triangle, mystery spots where gravity works backwards, secret cities underneath the surface of the earth, and chickens who can foretell the future. They didn't have any books that told about other planes of existence, but except for that it seemed they had plenty of stuff that would appeal to intelligent people. The store also had a small selection of binoculars, special notebooks with boxes printed on the pages for noting characteristics of flying saucers you'd see, pens that had a little flashlight built in, and cards with pictures of different kinds of spaceships on one side and different kinds of space beings on the other, for quick identification.

There was also the Gleybner Helmet, which was something like a colander with wire spirals sticking out of it and a chinstrap--this was to enhance the reception of telepathic brainwaves from the space people. Gleybner made them in the basement. Naturally, the Gleybners had assumed I was an extraterrestrial alien because of my appearance. I tried to explain, but their minds were made up.

They wanted me to work for them, paid me the same as I had gotten working at the Rolling Doughnut in Los Angeles, and threw in the room in the back for me to live in. I liked the store, and I liked them. Also, once I got started working there, I found out that Mrs. Gleybner brought delicious homemade sweeelves in the morning, and wonderful soup for lunch. Suppertime, they would send me to the delicatessen or the Chinese restaurant, and we would eat at the table in the back of the store. During the day, I would dust and vacuum, unpack books, and wait on customers, and when nothing was happening I could read.

Gleybner spent a good part of each day visiting with other shopkeepers on the street, and Mr. Gleybner would read, work at his desk, and take naps in his rocking chair. There was a store cat named Little Gray Man, and he and I got to be very good friends. The best thing about working in the UFO Bookshop was the customers. Of course, I did not know all the people in Poughkeepsie, but the ones who came into our shop were mostly very satisfying to observe and talk with. Pinkwater All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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Pinkwater is a very clever and humorous writer. Audrey herself is a charming narrator, both matter of fact and sarcastic when it comes to describing the world, the people around her, and her mixed emotions about the existence of another cat-whiskered girl like herself. Situations, characters, and settings dance on the border or ridiculousness and absurdity, but merely the fact that Pinkwater is dealing with alternate universes makes it fantastic, unusual, and believable. The mystery part of the plot is equally engaging and though the book is rather thick, the chapters are short and move quickly.

The ending is somewhat of a cliffhanger, though since this book is the sequel to two others, I have a feeling there will be more adventures to be had in the mysterious Poughkeepsie.

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December 18, at Just the fact that this has a cat-girl working in a bookshop has me hooked! Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: