Well, apparently my last post didn’t go over very well. Either that, or everyone’s so stinking ready for spring break that it flew under the radar. Whichever it was, I’m trying not to take it personally and hoping that some writing might appease my readers.
When Penney first came to 8100 Brampton Road, she didn’t know what a catovit was. Now she wondered how she’d ever gotten on without them.
Every afternoon, just around teatime, she’d get down from the attic, down the hall, down the staircase, and down the other hall to the ashwood door on the end. And she’d knock – once for purpose, once for luck, and once more for good measure. Then the door would swing open, almost by itself, and the strangely refined voice of the formerly adventurous gentleman would beckon, “Come in, Penney, you’re three minutes late.”
She’d laugh, the same laugh she utilised when she wrote something humourous (for everything is more humourous when one writes it oneself) and take a deep breath of the fresh, bracing air Sir Dawson kept about his room. The chessboard was always there, with all the pieces laid out. He’d always ask her if she wanted to be black or white. She’d always answer that black was best.
And then they’d talk as they played. They’d talk about everything, from the most important political argument that had been on the radio the night before, to whether the Falcons or the Harlequins would win at the next rugby match, to the coming issue in the school system. But the one thing they’d never talk about was themselves. Penney already knew enough about Dawson, just from the room he lived in.
He had a lot of windows in his room, and every one was always open, bringing just enough of a breeze to ruffle the sail of the little model schooner on the bookcase. Souveniers of his life were all about him, each in a precise place of honour – an leather aviator’s hat, goggles and all, sagged atop a slender golden candlestick; a Brown Bess musket, probably not touched since the Revolution, reposed lazily on the mantle, along with three smaller pieces that were really only good for knocking houseflies out of their wits; various rocks and mineral deposits littered the tables and shelves, but not really in an artful way; and, plastered with travelling stickers as it was, a big locking cabinet oversaw everything.
Penney loved to imagine what could be in the cabinet. She did not think it was a gun safe, for if the fellow believed in keepings his weapons secure, the ancient Brown Bess (which was only valuable because of its age) would have been stowed within. It wasn’t full of books, because she’d heard Dawson say that books were of best use when one could reach them easily, and locking them in a cabinet did not constitute easy access. After much thought, she realised, to her great disappointment, that it was probably a wardrobe, as there was not a closet in his room. But rather than believe the obvious (and spoil her musing fun), she liked to let it remain a mystery, and to keep wondering what was inside it.
And so it was: every afternoon, Penney Woodlawn would be in David Dawson’s room from three o’clock to four o’clock, day in, day out. They found a name for their tradition, one rainy afternoon when Dawson was teetering on losing yet again.
“You know, Dawson,” said Penney, nonchalantly swiping her rook to the left, “I think we ought to find a name for this.”
“For trumping me at chess?” He sighed at the move that put him in check-mate. “There already is one. It’s called, ‘thrashing’.”
Penney laughed. “Not that. For this.” She waved a flourishing hand around the room. “Our tradition.”
“Hmm.” Dawson stroked the grey whiskers that climbed his sharply defined jawbone. “How about, ‘catovit’.”
“That’s a funny word.”
“Indeed. ‘Tisn’t a word at all.”
She cocked her head. “What is it, then?”
“It’s a vocalised acronym. Stands for, ‘chess and talk of very important things’.”
She chuckled. “But sometimes, the things we talk about aren’t so important, Dawson.”
“Why d’you say that?”
“I don’t think the comparison of coffee and tea amounts to much. Especially when we’re in agreement on the subject.”
He shook his head, smiling. “Well, perhaps, but the ‘i’ in ‘catovit’ could also stand for ‘inane’.”
“Alright, then,” she laughed. “‘Catovit’ it is.”
I had this snippet on my mind for some time. If I still like it tomorrow, then I’ll make it a full-fledged story someday. But for now my mind wanders in pawprints….just in case you didn’t notice….
Is anyone interested in an Amateur Art update? I’ve just gotten over my drawing slump, and I just drew a pretty good Lady and Tramp that I’ve wanted to post.
And, could you give about .3487 of a second of your time to answer this poll?