-by Mark Pennington
I am an insomniac. Because of this I am almost always up to all hours of the night. Also due to this lack of ability to sleep, I am an voracious reader. I have in excess of 500 novels crowding my bedroom. They cover my nightstand, the top shelves of our closet and numerous bookshelves, not to mention the boxes and boxes of already read books.
I have had to contend with my previously superman-ish vision, falling prey to age. Now it seems the books have steadily gotten further away from my face. They have almost exceeded the ability of the arms to extend at this point. Now, in addition to the need for longer book holders, there is a need for my arms to be much more flexible. Why, you ask? Ok, you didn't ask, but I will share anyway. Because I need to keep the book in motion, at arms length, to avoid Derringer.
I have had to learn to read under legs, around a big, purring cat head and even move the book out of the way of testicles that he is obviously very proud of. Now those of you with a larger male must know just how strong they can be, so when they want to rub against the corner of the novel, you had better have a good grip on your reading material. He has even taken to standing on my chest and facing the book I am TRYING to be engrossed in, and then sitting right on my face. You would think I would know to move soon enough to avoid that. *sigh* Age and children haveremoved reason.
Tom Clancy writes about spies and terrorists. I would wager he has never seen my Storm Troopers in action when one wants to enjoy a literary sleeping pill. Failure to comply with the attention requested by Colonel Derringer will result in torture by claws, many of them, kneading an unclad chest, with a running nose dripping right on your lower lip, the whole time while trying to read the book with outstretched arms. If one continues to avoid the fevered demands, rather large heavy paws will stomp the novel flat, and then... Lay down on it and actually dare you to move him from it. If, by chance the book is retrieved, the tormentor is not one to give in easily.
Two footers, while reading in bed, normally allow the lower body to recline in comfort. This is, of course, not a wise choice of position. It leaves knees and feet open to sneak attacks. You might think that I would have learned that if I have gone through all the other "hints" from Derringer and he suddenly "gives up", that I should brace for the next assault. Instead, I get into the book relieved that I can finally read the second sentence only one time. It is at that exact moment, when my guard is at its ebb, that he leaps from the other side of my wife where he was hiding and lands firmly on my knee.
Now most cats just kind of nibble and play bite. Derringer thinks this is for the world heavyweight championship of knee biting. This cat BITES. Of course, as we all know from Newton, for each action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Right? Who knew that the opposite reaction of a knee bite was human levitation and screams. Now, he knows to let go as I reach somewhere around three feet off the bed, but he also knows exactly when to grab my foot as it lands. His timing is impeccable...and penetrating.
And yet I wonder why I cant sleep. Hell, I'm scared to doze off and roll over