Who exactly is Hephaestus**? Why is he giving us that look?
Hephaestus is my live-in editor and he is angry that he was not introduced first, as is befitting a feline of his standing. He is a firm believer that cats should always come first. This is often made clear when he tries to get into any room before I do and ends up with an accidental foot to his behind. The look you see in exhibit A to the right is his trademark “How dare you” look. He’s had many years to practice it.
While Hephaestus has had roughly a decade to practice his disapproving looks, he has only been with us for a couple years. Cold and starving, he was wandering the streets of northern Indiana, close to the Michigan line, looking for work. A kind soul took pity on him, picked him up, and took him home. They then discovered that he absolutely hates other animals and he was forced to live in the garage for a while. But he says that his time there was actually pretty nice, compared to where he’d been previously.
His rescuer, knowing I was looking for a live-in editor, sent me a message and asked if I would give him an interview. His application met all the requirements, so I decided drive the two hours down to meet him and see what he had to say for himself. He was a little older than most of the other applicants by quite a few years, being between eight and ten years old at the time. But that didn’t matter. He had the experience and I decided he was perfect.
What we did not know before we brought him to his new domain is that he is a chronic sneezer. The first few months were trying, to say the least. He would have sneezing fits multiple times a day. Not just regular I-have-dust-in-my-nose sneezes. Oh no. These were I’m-going-to-repaint-your-walls-with-my-boogers sneezes. And he did try to repaint my white walls with his bloody snot. Sometimes he would get a booger flung three feet up the wall, which is quite impressive for a cat whose head doesn’t even come up to my knees.
So we got him some vet appointments. His rescuer had taken him to her vet and they had given him some medicine for an upper respiratory infection, which was the logical thing to do since all signs pointed to that. But the sneezes and the congestion just weren’t going away. So to the vet we went and he acted like a complete fool. I am convinced that the staff at the clinic now draws straws to see who has to deal with us when we make appointments. He was prescribed two different medications, neither of which seemed to work for the sneezes, but did knock out a raging urinary infection. The vet then tried a shot for allergies, but alas, that also did not do the trick.
While nothing worked completely, his fits have become fewer over time, though he still has one or two almost daily as well as stand-alone sneezes. He says they make him special and unique. I beg to differ, but he doesn’t listen. He now uses his sneezes to get his way when someone won’t do what he wants. If he is displeased in some way he will get as close to the perceived offender as possible and grace them with a boogery spray at point-blank range, usually to the face.
And that, my friends, is an introduction to Hephaestus.
* * At the beginning of November 2020, we had to say goodbye to our sweet editor. He is missed.