here is Ben's story:
The Lizard Lounge
The Lizard Lounge sat curled up in his spot by the mast. He was forming a plan. This plan was going to solve all the problems he had had since coming aboard the Cat Boat. This plan was going to get him well and truly laid.
Before he came aboard, he’d never really thought about sex. Life had been very different on land. He didn’t know any she-cats, and he didn’t know any other tomcats that could tell him about she-cats. Since joining the others on the boat, however, he had heard things. Some of it sounded good. Some of it sounded strange and a bit scary. All of it was fascinating, though, and it made him wonder about just what he had been missing out on.
In his former life he had lived in a large, dark, rambling house, full of dehumidifiers. He took enormous pride in the number of dehumidifiers there were in his house. One in every room. Ten rooms, if you counted the hall and the landing. Ten dehumidifiers. He wasn’t really sure what a dehumidifier was for. He imagined it might be something to do with making delicious sauce for fish.
Delicious sauce for fish was his overwhelming interest in the days before he found out about sex. His partner, a lady called Jill, fed him on different types of fish with different types of sauce every day of the week.
Mackerel fillets in a tomato and herb dressing.
Mackerel fillets in mustard sauce.
Peppered wood-smoked mackerel fillets in sunflower oil.
Tuna chunks in sunflower oil.
Sardines in a smoky barbecue sauce.
Herring fillets in a rich tomato sauce.
Pilchard fillets in a rich tomato sauce.
He wasn’t called the Lizard Lounge when he lived with Jill. Jill’s name for him was Mr Knightley. Some evenings Mr Knightley and Jill would curl up on the sofa watching period dramas. Mr Knightley would stretch out on Jill’s breast, listening to the hum of the dehumidifier and thinking about herring fillets in a rich tomato sauce. Jill would always cry silently when they watched period dramas. Sometimes he and Jill would curl up on the sofa together and watch The Aristocats. He would dream of tuna chunks in sunflower oil and she would cry silently.
One morning Mr Knightley returned home from a night spent chasing mice. He came in through the cat flap and went into the kitchen to look for Jill and his breakfast. When he couldn’t find her in the kitchen or the sitting room, he went upstairs and found her still asleep in the bedroom. She was asleep with her eyes open, which he thought was odd. Mr Knightley went off and did something else. When he was bored, and hungry for fish and delicious sauce, he went back to Jill’s bedroom. She hadn’t woken up. He bit her nose and she still didn’t wake up. Mr Knightley ate one of the pills that Jill had spilled on the bedroom carpet. Later that morning he had a violent attack of diarrhoea on the bedroom carpet. The water tank of the bedroom dehumidifier was overflowing and Jill still hadn’t moved.
He left that house a few days later, and roamed the streets, alert to the smell of fish. He had halved in weight by the time his nose led him to the docks. One of the boats there smelled particularly strongly of fish, and his mind was made up.
After a day on the Cat Boat, one of the other cats caught a fish. It was herring. He came over to see, and was puzzled that there was no sauce with it. He waited for the sauce to arrive, but it never came. The other cats ate and ate until the fish was gone, and still no sauce arrived. Mr Knightley went off and did something else. The next day there was another catch. It was tuna. As soon as it was on deck he ran up to the glistening body and sank his teeth into it. He leapt back in dismay. It wasn’t the kind of tuna he liked, with the sunflower oil. It was the other kind, the one he couldn’t stand, that came in brine. He was beginning to realise that these cats were very different from him.
After that, Mr Knightley started to feel himself changing. He walked differently. It seemed to him that his testicles needed more space than they had done before.
After a week on the Cat Boat he changed his name to the Lizard Lounge. The other tomcats had cool names like “You talkin’ to me?” and A Diamond As Big As The Ritz, and he was becoming jealous of the way the she-cats looked at them. He thought about calling himself Abraham de Lacey Giuseppe Casey Thomas O’Malley after his favourite character from The Aristocats but he was worried the other cats wouldn’t get the reference. In the end he decided the Lizard Lounge had the right ring to it. Now he felt he would fit in. He had even become accustomed to eating fish without any sauce at all.
After a month on the Cat Boat, the Lizard Lounge got his first taste of sex. He did it with Liz. Everyone knew Liz was ‘the slutty one’. One evening when the record player was playing, he spotted Liz on her own in the stern of the boat, licking herself and wiping the saliva across her forehead and ears. Before his brain had registered the effect her grooming was having on him, his body had taken the initiative. He hoisted himself up onto his hind legs and swaggered over to her. In his head he was Thomas O’Malley and slutty Liz was beautiful, pure Duchess. He was the king of the highway. He was the prince of the boulevard. He was the duke of the avant-garde. The world was his backyard.
At first he didn’t think he really liked it. It felt ok, but he was put off by the noises she made. The noises made him think that perhaps she was angry with him for sticking his barbed cat-penis inside her. She let him do it twice though, and the second time he felt much happier about it. After she had gone, he scratched two notches into the deck with his claws.
Something had been awakened in him. He looked at all the she-cats differently after that night. Liz had been good, but he hankered after something better. Something more high-class. A memory of the warmth of Jill’s breast sat uneasily in the back of his mind. He began to devise his plan.
Tomorrow it would be his first turn to carry the Christmas pudding. This would be his chance to impress. He had practised his two-legged walking day and night until he no longer swaggered. He practically danced when he walked. He had written a poem to recite while he carried the Christmas pudding to and fro. It was an ode to cat sex, and he knew it would melt the hearts of the she-cats.
The poem began: ‘I like a cheech-a-cheech-chee-roni’.
Tomorrow was going to be unbelievable.