Bingley likes to sit in my lap when I work at the computer. Since my study is really his room, he takes that as his right. I once wrote nearly a whole book with Bingley stretched out along my left arm, which means I typed it with my right hand only. The manuscript took about two times as long to write as it should have; I had a persistent cramp in my arm, but a very happy cat buddy.
Not long ago I was working on a new book, and Bingley was once again in my lap, but since I was editing rather than composing, his presence there caused me little slowdown. Usually he sleeps, but that day he was staring at the screen, following along as I went through the pages. At one point he uttered “Nice. . . .” The story includes a heroic dog, and Bingley, being a dog-cat, had just read about her and found that character quite fitting.
So I asked him a question. “Besides Mr. Bingley and Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, who are your favorite literary characters?” We have a varied and interesting little collection of books in the study, and one can find many books, especially those in the public domain, online anymore.
He thought for a minute. “Captain Ahab and Milton’s Satan,” he said.
I admit I was surprised. Then he gave me that look out of the corner of his eyes, and I knew I’d been had.
“C’mon,” I said. “Your favorites.”
“You have favorites?” he asked.
“Lots,” I said, and I told him a few of them.
“Hmm,” he said, and he looked left and then right, then back to the screen. “I like Cassie the dog in your new story,” he said. “Hmmm. Favorites. Manfred and Bertha Rochester. And Old Deuteronomy, of course.”
Again he looked at me out of the corner of his eyes, and we both guffawed.
Then he started to get a little more serious.
“Opus the penguin,” he said.
“For me, too,” I replied.
“And Calvin and Hobbes,” he said.
“They go adventuring, like us,” he said, and he purred and snuggled up and closed his eyes.
“Which one are you?” I asked. “Calvin or Hobbes?”
“Calvin,” he said, opening eye one. And he smiled.
“I always have liked tuna sandwiches,” I said.
“Me, too,” he said.
He slipped off to sleep, and I kept editing. A short while later he was twitching and mewing gently in his sleep.
I wonder what adventures we were having.