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Wet Cat!

by Vicky Chapman, NSW, Australia


Magnetic Island is a tropical island off the coast of Townsville, Far North Queensland, Australia. Its not a resort Island as its too big, but it does a good tourist trade none-the-less.

Its a hilly island, and the general way tourists got around was to rent mini-mokes from the main town. These things didn't run all that well, and often stalled on The Big Hill. Not coincidently, there was a little tea-shoppe and "Phone Here for Road Service" place about half way up The Big Hill, which was exactly where our moke chocked and died.

Being Far North Queensland, nothing is done in a hurry, and a "Yeah mate, someone will be there for ya in a couple of minutes, don't you worry" extended into 3 hours. The shoppe-cum-emergency-stop was run by a couple who had set up a shade cloth tent in their front yard, and was willing to feed the "victims", er, customers fresh mangoes and coconuts at hideously expensive prices. For more money, we could even select our own fruit off the mango and coconut trees. They also allowed the customers to pay through their noses for fresh coffee and cream. I'm sure the place had some arrangement to share the profits between themselves and the moke renters.

As soon as the cream arrived on our table, out popped a sopping wet cat, meowing pitifully. We donated some of the cream to the saucers and offered it to the soggy creature to cheer it up. The female half of the highway robbery gang, er, the shop staff, rushed out, grabbed the sopping wet cat, and told it off for begging cream from paying customers.

Apparently "Missie" had learnt that she would get more sympathy from the customers if she was wet and would dunk herself in the pond if she saw that cream was delivered to the table, in the hope that customers would feed her some of their cream.

Obviously she was well known as an American couple came through about an hour after we did, with yet another dud moke, ordered coffee, and then called for Missie. Out the cat came, sopping wet from a fresh dunking. The American couple kindly explained that they came here every few years and "The Bathing Cat" was one of their holiday highlights.

Bloody strange creature, but by her rather plump figure, the ruse worked on most of The Big Hill's victims. I guess the dislike of water was overcome by her addiction to cream. Next time I'm up that way, I'll make it a point to break down just there, even if Fate doesn't do it for me.


Editor's note:

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