by George Potter
November 20, 2005
Ozymandias was a feral cat who ruled a colony of ferals that live on our property. He was here when I moved back from Chicago and I named him Ozymandias when I met him. I was strung out from the bus ride and overwhelmed by 'being back home-ness', so I went outside to smoke a cig and collect myself.
I sat down on the old storm shelter and lit up. Then I realized I wasn't alone. I turned around and this huge cat was staring right at me, at the opposite end of the shelter top. He appeared to be constructed of bones, scar tissue, sinew and snatches of grey fur. He had these enormous green eyes.
When I say huge, I mean huge. 15 pounds easy, and not an ounce of fat. A fucking mutant cat. Battle scars, he was made of. A warrior. He showed no fear. Hell, it wasn't even curiosity in those emerald eyes. It was a challenge.
"Who the hell are you, pal?"
I stared right back. "Who the hell are you, cat?"
Then he stretched and yawned and started cleaning himself.
I am Ozymandias, king of kings. sounded in my head.
That was his name from then on.
Ozy was a warrior. He ruled this colony benovolently and well. I watched. Watching wild cats is my hobby. Ozy ate last. He never went hungry because the other cats left him his ration.
He was a warrior and, more importantly, he was my friend. I like to build fires and sit outside and stare at the stars. Ozy would always wander up and settle in, perfectly companionable but not too close. 'Nice night, ain't it?' or 'Bitchin' hot these days.'
One night five toms invaded and I watched him kick their asses. He killed one of them. I sat there and watched with a .22, more than ready to put a bullet in the head of an invader if they got the best of him. But they didn't. He slaughtered their asses. Then he looked at me reproachfully. "Those were fucking housecats, G. How could you doubt me?"
Ozy died last Wednesday. I was outside, at the fire, and he came up and -- this stunned me -- lay almost at my feet. He was panting and hobbling before he collapsed.
It took about ten minutes. Then he was gone. He let me pet him before he went. And he purred. The first and only time I heard him purr.
This is the requiem for Ozymandias, my friend. You were a warrior. You were a good king. You fucked 'em when the season spoke and fought them if they came at you.
I loved you.