Of course little Ben is now dead;  it probably was my fault as I know so little about men when it comes right down to it.  Could have been the mackerel but he had other problems.  What a fine spirit for life the little man had, wiggling his too fat, compact, straw-orange body.  “I am Ben, Love Me!”, was his usual introduction, whether he was nosing into the bedroom in the morning, or meeting a new friend for the first time.  Zoe said he had such a spirit and called me immediately when she found out he had died.  A selfish person might say his job was finished.

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The fact that he was orange had a lot to do with his place in my life.  Are not most who come to me orange?  And left-handed?  I am sure Benjamin was left-handed, as sure as I was when his vet said he was indeed missing six teeth.  He chewed rather unsuccessfully, and she should have told me why.  I couldn’t figure it out myself, men being somewhat of a mystery.   She did not tell me the first time we went to see her, the time she docked his bloody spaghetti tail, the result of some homeless-related brawl.  Ben grew up on the street, which around here is a farm-to-market road.  Somebody dumped his family.

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The straw-orange boy who would become Benjamin (or Bobcat Ben, as Geoff would say) came around to the back door replacing a wild long-haired orange kitty who had been hanging around of late.  At first I thought Ben was the former.  Blinking my eyes, I realized that orange had replaced orange.  Where the long-haired orange kitty was silky, Ben’s coat looked like straw.  And it felt like straw to the touch.  As he began to experience a more normal diet, his coat improved, but not much.  He was a straw man.  Around his muzzle, he had a darker five o’clock shadow like Fred Flintstone.

The color of the two orange kitties was the same, but oh the personalities differed!  Long-haired orange kitty never said a thing to me.  Soon-to-be-Benjamin stood his little ground at the base of the back steps and declared “I want you to be my Mama!”.  It was obvious that he was looking for a family and there was only me here, and of course, Boston.  We could only imagine how happy she would be about this new addition.

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