The Adventures of Fred The Cat Flea

(silly, but sweet me thinks)

'Wayaa - go for it, bro', screamed Fred.

'Boy, this ride sure can shift' he thought, as Jasper Cat pelted through the long grass, heading for the end of the garden as if the fires of hell were after him.

Fred was a full grown, adult, male flea, though still in his teenage equivalent years - compared to us human beings, that is. Being very inquisitive in nature, and under the influence of such a restless spirit, Fred was attempting to see as much of the world as possible in the short time allotted to him. Jasper Cat was his latest acquisition who had taken him to many pastures new, being greatly appreciated; though, Fred, felt he could do better. There were other issues too, such as the strange grooming which occurred at various times of the day, carried out by a human with obvious commitment. Fred was sure his safety was being compromised - was he being hunted? Humans were sneaky, cruel monsters and best avoided.

There was a choice of transport in this particular household, but Jasper was undoubtedly the most spirited of the two - the other being Edie, a British Shorthair. Fred had in fact ridden on Edie for a short while - she being introduced to him when the feline Fred was ensconced on had dared step foot into her territory. Fred had taken the opportunity to jump ship as he figured it was time to move on from the rather timid and therefore restricted pussy cat he was using at the time. A fine physique and a sumptuous meal but no burning desire to step outside of her comfort zone Edie had proven less than hoped for. The main reason Fred had made a rapid change of habitat though, was Edie's headache, inducing snoring. 'Blow that for a game of soldiers', Fred had thought at the time.

Quickly working his way to his favourite spot - that being high up on the forehead - Fred could feel the wind on his face and see the world rushing by before and below, making the movement of his carriage all the more exhilarating because of it - he was in his element. 'Bring it on', he shouted.

There was something very peculiar about Fred. Manic, adrenalin junkies were rarities to say the least in the cat flea world. Fred was a one off. If Fred had been born a human being he would probably have turned into a free falling parachutist or some such thing, where to risk his life was to live life the only way he knew how - dangerously; or to have become an explorer who would have liked nothing better than to have hacked his way though treacherous jungle in pursuit of long lost kingdoms and treasure. Reigning in his mania was impossible for him - Fred was 'solid gone', by all accounts and loving every minute of it.

There was one aspect to using cats as a means of getting around that greatly irked Fred - it was the realisation the direction they would take was beyond his influence. It wasn't for want of trying, though. Chewing ears hadn't worked. Fred had thought a bite of the right ear might have resulted in a right side deviation off the intended track, but no; something totally unexpected had happened, where Fred had received a battering from a well licked paw instead. Pulling hairs was a waste of time too as he lacked the necessary size and strength to exert enough pressure. Nope, he was adrift in a life raft on a unpredictable sea without a paddle - completely at the mercy of the currents.

Fred was impatient. A short lifespan wound up his mechanisms - the ones to do with how he reacted to all around him - to max. In no time at all he would be expected to settle down. There was no time to waste. The window of opportunity was only open for the briefest of time, so he had to make instant decisions on the fly; thankfully, though, he had the body and the reaction times to take full advantage of any given situation he found himself in - let's face it Fred would have made a fortune as an acrobat with comparable, physical prowess.

Out of the corner of his eye another, fresh ride could be seen in the distance - this time a white, sleek job, with a body appearing strangely naked, every muscle seen flexing under a thin skin. Fred had never set eyes on such a creature before. It was undoubtedly a cat, an exotic one. Searching through his memory of current models crossing his path until then yielded sweet Fanny Adams - the cat was something totally unique. Fred was intrigued. Could it be the very cat to take him far, far away? To lands no other cat would? As the distance lessened between Jasper and this unrivaled, rocket-ship of discovery, one major drawback became apparent - scant covering - no place to hide. The very thing which could have proved so rewarding, so enriching, it being the low wind resistance of a fur-less body enabling effortless long-distance travel, was the very thing Fred required to seat himself comfortably and in some safety - fur!

Fred was excited, imagining riding off into the sunset on a steed of immense power, to some land a long ways from where he was at present; but, was a hairless mount the type of transport he should consider? 'Blow it', he thought: 'I'm going for it'. Fred lived for the moment and would live for this moment and for any other moment in the future. When Ariel (a Siamese cat) moved into range Fred launched himself into space as only a flea of his caliber could - it was startling to behold. If Fred had been a person walking the earth today the leap would have easily catapulted him over the nearest 4 story block of flats - or tall house - or building, which would have been something indeed, but to Fred it was nothing to write home about - all in a day's work to him.

It was a serious mistake. Something akin to how you would feel if running down the street stark naked was how Fred felt as soon as he landed on a practically barren area of white skin - an intense sensation of exposure with a capital E being the immediate result.

'Whoa, this ain't right', he thought, and looked around for a bolt hole - somewhere to escape detection. Fat chance of that though as Ariel's skin detected each foot fall and twitched accordingly. Fred's whole world was literally shaking under his feet and things got nasty very quickly. Razor sharp claws raked the land looking for the alien presence - his. Although there was some hair it was white in colour, whereas Fred's skin colour was totally the opposite so he stood out like a sore thumb. It just wasn't sensible to hang around. Fred decided to abandon ship very quickly and did. Max thrust launched Fred into orbit. Everything would have worked out fine if his previous world tour bus hadn't shifted direction at the last moment. Instead of landing back on Jasper, which is where his target system was homed in on, it was the ground beneath Jasper's feet is where he ended up. Not good.

What a predicament. The life of a flea is greatly diminished should they fail to find accommodation and a warm meal. Both meat wagons had taken off without a care in the world, being totally oblivious to Fred's plight. Arial, in particular, was only too happy to leave Fred to has impending fate. It was getting dark. The lush undergrowth Fred now found himself in was way off the beaten track. What was he to do?

Luckily Fred had filled his belly not too long ago. This was new territory to him, though. His life until now had been one of plenty, where food was always close to hand. This was a whole new ball game. The devil-may-care attitude Fred was well known for stood him in good stead at this point - he just didn't give a *beep* to be honest with you. It was FUN! No defeatist approach to problems for this sucker. Live life to the full without any regret was his motto and mantra. Fred was the flea world version of Evel Knievel, or, should you not know who he is, then someone like Indianna Jones might be a more suitable comparison. Fred was always on the up no matter what. Speaking of 'up', Fred decided to do just that to get a better view of the lay of the land. If he couldn't just stick a claw out to hitch a ride then he would just see where the parking bays were and take a hike instead. Fred was resilient, but most importantly, adaptable, as any adventurer worth his salt needed to be.

It was not looking good. The night was drawing in. By the time Fred had risen far enough off ground level his vision was reduced to only his immediate surroundings. It was either pick a direction and take off or dig in and wait to see what tomorrow's daylight would bring. Fred, being Fred, simply took off without hardly a second thought, winging it as usual. Throwing caution to the wind he boinged his way along in no particular direction, just hoping for the best, relying on his instinct to see him through - as always - why change the habit of a lifetime. Little did he know he was heading away from cat suburbia - and away from the food and lodgings he had been brought up on and become accustomed to.

The oppressive heat of the sun baked desert - the freezing cold of the frozen wasteland - oh wait, wrong story. Fred did experience all sorts of weather all the same, though, not as harsh as I previously made out - sometimes it rained, other times the sun shone, with the night always cold, so Fred mastered plenty of weather and temperature fluctuations - this true pioneer earned his stripes the hard way. Even so, unless fresh transport arrived Fred's pioneering exploits would die with him. There were many stories to tell, but they needed an eager ear and most importantly for Fred to be alive to tell the tales! Fred continued to spring along quite oblivious to his fate - with his belly rumbling and growing in loudness all the while.

Who is going to save our trusty hero - this venerable and brave pathfinder, who has wormed his way into our hearts? A good question. One without a clear answer at present - and the clock was ticking. 24 hours was a long, long while for a flea to go without a meal and it was nearing 3x this with no chance of a morsel anywhere to be seen. Even Fred was a little despondent at this stage as weakness had taken hold - a new experience for him. At this point Fred's boing had been reduced to a damp squib of an effort - he had literally lost his bounce. How much longer before even the squib would be too much for him? There was little time left. Exhaustion eventually took hold and poor Fred fell by the wayside, all alone in his suffering, with no obvious saviour on the horizon.

Lost and lonely Fred was resigned to his fate. No flea had tried harder. Life was a gamble. One Fred had played his hand expertly - with aplomb. It hadn't been a Royal Flush. So what? The game had been exhilarating all the way. Granted it had come up short, but, no-one wins against the house - not ultimately. Fred was forced to sit and wait for what was surely to come. 'If only', was a sobering thought. One which Fred never wanted to consider at any time. A life without regrets - a full life had been his one and only goal. It seems he had failed after all. It was a bitter pill to swallow. He slowly shut his eyes and began to drift off.

Brutus moved along like a puma - a king amongst cats. He was the master of all the land he patrolled - it was his province and low and behold any cat who thought otherwise. It was a wide area, covering a number of square miles. Force of habit brought Brutus in to this story as he was on one of his regular trips to mark the boundary. It just so happened Brutus decided to squat down to relieve himself at the very spot Fred was about to flake out once and for all. A great big, furry posterior settled over an apparent dead flea's body. It was divine providence - what else could it have possibly been?

There was still enough life in Fred for him to make his way to the giant smorgasbord atop of him - the all you could eat buffet. That first bite breathed life into his emaciated body like never before. Not only was this the sustenance he desperately needed, but it was of a vitality he had seldom tasted - the stuff rocked. Fred was back on his springy legs in no time. It was game on once again. Fred, being Fred, forgot about the previous hardship in an instant. Who was this new creature - was he a jalopy or some chariot of the Gods? Fred was in no way religious but had he been then the latter might well have been his accepted opinion. Without further ado Fred investigated the warm blooded, heavenly body to see what manner of beast it was and if there were any other like minded journeymen on-board.

It wasn't long before Fred stumbled on others of his kind. Brutus wasn't exactly crawling with Fleas, but he did have quite a settlement in his rough, tough fur. All the transport Fred had hailed prior were worryingly devoid of his brethren, they being kept clean of his kind by any means necessary. On top of this these inhabitants had many tales of their own to tell as it appeared Brutus led an exciting life ranging over many lands - as far as the eye could see it appeared to them. There was never a dull moment in more ways than one. Fred had fallen on his feet, with the world his oyster once again. With re-energised blood flowing in his adventurous veins - 100% Brutus proof blood, that is - Fred made tracks to his favourite spot - there being no better place to suss out this powerhouse of a conveyance but from the forehead of the beast.

If Fred was a one-off male Flea then Beryl was the female equivalent. It was inevitable they would meet where the best view was to be found - the one looking out over a fast moving, vast horizon. Both were always dreaming of conquests and new sights to see. When they set eyes on the other you could say they zinged - it was love at first sight. From that time on not only did they revel in the fact they had the best seats on any four legged caravan in existence but they had the best company too.

Did Fred give up his roaming ways to settle down there and then? Brutus traveled enough to satisfy one aspect of his restless personality, and Beryl would be a never-ending source of excitement, one he would never grow tired off; so, yes, the other side of Fred was satisfied too. In other words he would have settled down if things hadn't taken a turn for the worse.

Brutus, Fred and Beryl were made for each other. It was a three way match in heaven. Everything was going great guns until Brutus was caught by the RSPCA. Before Brutus was 'cleansed' Fred and Beryl both jumped to safety with very little time to spare - though the adventure they had from there is another tale waiting to be told. This one is well and truly wrapped up.

A fleas life is a precarious one. A cat has nine chances to get things right, but Fred didn't know that, neither did he know he had lived more in his one life than 9 fleas or more. How he managed to get out of the RSPCA clinic is nail biting stuff. At least this time, though, he had company. Two irresponsible hoppers do not make one responsible hopper, so however they did it it must have been by very reckless means.

Whenever luck runs out, let's face it, some bum always s**** on you from above to make things worse. Just so happened Fred could always turn the occasion to his advantage - a true explorer if ever there was one.