Communication Breakdown

Dial M for Missing

Chester likes to brag about his ability to make phone calls to order stuff; kibble, toys, cat magazines, etc. He apparently isn’t the only feline who knows how to work a phone.

After missing for 8 months, Barnaby, a black two-year-old from Braintree in Essex, England, was discovered by his owner after hearing his meow over the phone.

Rachael Lawrence called her local veterinarian to check on the status of her other cat, Torvi, who had undergone surgery. That’s when she heard a familiar cat sound and thought it was Torvi. When she asked the vet if in fact that was the case, Lawrence was told it belonged to a stray that was recently brought in.

Lawrence ended the call but couldn’t get the sound out of her head she heard on the phone.

Barnaby is reunited with Rachel Lawrence. Courtesy: PA

 “It was just bugging me because I recognized the meow,” she told South West News Service.

Lawrence called the vet’s office back. She asked if the stray had a white blotch on his back foot, like Barnaby. When she was told yes, she went back to pick up Torvi and came with a photo of Barnaby, to prove the stray was hers.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening,” she told People. I just cried when I saw him, full-on. I just couldn’t believe it.

“They brought him into the room, and I just straight away picked him up and knew it was him. I was sobbing, just absolutely howling,”

Lawrence, a 40-year-old mother of three, called her children, Be, 12, Joshua, 11, and Amalie, 7, to let them know their missing cat was coming home.

Joshua, Be and Amalie Lawrence with Barnaby upon his return home. Courtesy: SWNS.

Barnaby’s nickname is Fatman, but he wasn’t so fat when Lawrence saw him.

Barnaby had “loads of scabs” and “missing fur” patches, and was a lot thinner, she said.

But when Barnaby returned home, Lawrence said he was “more than happy to be picked up and cuddled.”

I told Chester about this feel-good story, and as only Chester can, injected himself into the narrative.

Barnaby, a little worse for wear after eight months on the lam. Courtesy SWNS.

“It’s a nice story and all that,” Chester said, leading up to his point.

“But did he pick up the phone to speak to his owner saying, ‘Get me out of here’,” Chester asked.

“No,” I answered.

“Did he call the Queen asking for help, Chester inquired. “You figure she has some pull over there.”

“No,” I said, sensing this wasn’t going to end anytime soon.

“Did he wander up to someone with a phone and ask if he could make a call because he was lost,” my tabby quizzed me in a ‘I know the answer already’ tone.

“No,” I responded in the quickest way possible.

“Then what’s so special about meowing if you’re a cat,” Chester asked. “It’s part of the cat package. Dogs bark, cows moo and cats meow. Pretty basic stuff if you want to know.

“Now, if he went on Facebook or craigslist to put out a missing cat bulletin, then I’d be impressed. You have to have skills, and the only one Barnaby has is how to get lost,” my unimpressed snobbish cat howled.

“Cats need to know how to hunt, swim, sleep, use a phone and a computer,” my scout master of a cat said.

“But you don’t know how to hunt or swim,” I reminded Chester. “Your food is given to you because you have proven you can’t hunt and you hate being in water.”

“Good point by you,” Chester grudgingly admitted. “Revise that; a cat needs to find a home where everything is taken care of for it. But phone and computer skills are a must if you want to get extra benefits like ordering on Amazon.”

“Let me ask you chief,” Chester continued. “If I meowed in the background while you were on the phone, would you recognize my voice?”

“Of course,” I said. “That’s because you have the most annoying meow on the planet. A whining sound that echoes like claws on a chalkboard. You wouldn’t even need to use a phone. You could just shout and I’d see people and animals flee the area where you are because of the noise you make and I would know it’s you.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Chester said proudly.

“Can I have a bowl of kibble now,” our tenacious tabby asked.

“Too early,” I said. “But I’ll call you on the phone when it’s time.”

Stock Market Catitalisation

If Chester wasn’t thrilled with Barnaby’s skills to be a successful cat, that definitely wasn’t his view of another feline. That may be because the two were part of a larger cat conspiracy to play the stock market to their advantage.

There have been several substantial stock market swings with clear explanations. The 1929 crash that led to the Great Depression was blamed on excessive leveraging. The Bubble crash of 1999-2000 was the result of overvalued internet stocks. On the other hand, the current bull market which began in 2009 and is the longest in history, is the result of record-low interest rates and tax cuts. Of course, Russia might end this streak.

That brings us to Chester’s computer pen pal and stock market manipulator, Buffy the cat.

I stumbled upon one of the greatest stock market con jobs in American history by accident.

I saw a cute headline in The Dodo titled, “Cat Won’t Stop Sending Her Mom’s Coworkers Mysterious Messages.” The story was about Buffy, who her owner said liked to type “gibberish” on her computer.

“Sometimes, she [Buffy] will jump up on my desk and either walk across or sit on my laptop keyboard,” Buffy’s owner Kate told The Dodo. “I often have Microsoft Teams open for work, so she will end up typing a long string of gibberish and then accidentally step on the ‘enter’ key, which sends the nonsensical message off to my coworkers.”

Silly human.

Buffy’s owner Kate and her Microsoft Teams members had no idea the cat was sending out plans to make a killing on Wall Street. Courtesy: Buffy’s owner Kate.

Actually, Kate may have been hiding the real reason Buffy likes to jump on the computer keyboard. The Dodo didn’t give her last name or where she lives. An agreement between story teller and website to protect Kate’s identity in case the feds come after her.

That gibberish is in reality, a carefully orchestrated plan to dominate Wall Street.

Remember that little bit of stock market history; well get ready for the real reason why a dying company’s stock shot up over 1,700% in January of 2021.

When Kate’s away, the kitty will play. Play the market that is.

Buffy took advantage of her time alone at the computer to do extensive investing research. That’s when she saw that fat cats were shorting GameStop stock. This sly cat wasn’t going to join in on that action, she had a better idea.

GameStop is a company with an antiquated business model which sells gaming merchandise from good old brick-and-mortar stores and a website. What it failed to do was understand the move to digital downloading of games. By 2019, the company reported a record-breaking net loss of $673 million.

As GameStop’s stock kept dropping, the rich humans who run hedge funds started to “short” the company.

A good explanation of shorting comes from The Motley Fool.

“Shorting a stock means opening a position by borrowing shares that you don’t own and then selling them to another investor. Shorting, or selling short, is a bearish stock position — in other words, you might short a stock if you feel strongly that its share price was going to decline. “

A dangerous cat – Buffy the short seller slayer. Courtesy: Buffy’s owner, Kate.

Instead of shorting GameStop, Buffy was going to “short squeeze” the stock.

What is a short squeeze?

According to Investopedia; “A short squeeze is an unusual condition that triggers rapidly rising prices in a stock or other tradable security. For a short squeeze to occur, the security must have an unusual degree of short sellers holding positions in it. The short squeeze begins when the price jumps higher unexpectedly. The condition plays out as a significant measure of the short sellers coincidentally decide to cut losses and exit their positions.”

To pull off her plan, Buffy was going to need a lot of help, including Chester.

She started by using Kate’s Microsoft Teams app. Many of Kate’s team were also cat owners. What appeared to be harmless gibberish to the humans, was really carefully crafted coded messages for the felines. Those cats had friends not on Microsoft Teams, so they simply forwarded the cipher messages via DMs, email and social media. That’s how Chester got involved. But the main point of contact to coordinate the scheme was posted on reddit’s wallstreetbets site.

Buffy gets a well-deserved cat nap after making millions off her stock manipulation strategy. Courtesy: Buffy’s mom Kate.

Now the real cats were sticking it to the human fat cats. GameStop’s stock skyrocketed from $17.25 to as high as $500.

It wasn’t just the cats who made a killing. Because it was posted on wallstreetbets, small-time human investors jumped in, creating a feeding frenzy of stock buying. This combined cat/human cooperation was like how dolphins and sharks co-exist when devouring a shoal of sardines.

Buffy then directed her fellow felines to cash in before it was too late. Too late was the right term for the short sellers who lost nearly $20 billion by the end of January.

If you haven’t noticed. There are a lot more cats strutting around with their tails straight up and bellies full of caviar, Alaska King Crab and bluefin tuna, to name just a few of their favorites. As for Chester, it’s top-shelf kibble and bluefin tuna juice.

How did I know Chester was involved? One day when I opened a seldom used closet door in the basement, I was almost killed when several cases of Ziwi Peak cat food tumbled out. At $50 for a 2.2lb bag, only a cat who did well on Wall Street can afford to dine on that stuff.

After my dance with death, I had a chat with my Gordon Gekko of a cat.

“So why would you get involved in Wall Street,” I asked Chester.

Chester listening to my wife, Genifer, read updates on GameStop stock.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love getting handouts, but I’m also a proud cat and sometimes you just have to stand up on your own four legs and do some work,” Chester responded in an almost defiant voice.

“I have dreams about living the good life too,” Chester continued. “Some people buy expensive cars, I like Ziwi Peak, but they don’t give it away, so I took advantage of a good situation so I could attain as much as I want. Thank you, Buffy.”

I was impressed. It wasn’t a simple catch a bird act by a cat. This was a gigantic effort that paid off.

“How much did you make,” I bashfully asked Chester.

“That is so uncouth of you to ask such a question,” Chester said in a scolding manner. “Do I ask how much you earn?”

“Good point,” I admitted. “But why didn’t you let me in on the action?”

“I did you a favor,” Chester replied. “I’m a cat, I don’t have a Social Security number so I don’t have to declare all the money I made. No IRS, SEC, FBI, State of Connecticut. If you need a loan, let me know.”

“A loan,” I shouted. “You live here for free, that includes food and medical care. For a neutered cat, you have a pair of brass ones.”

“Brass, thanks for the reminder. I have a brass sculpture of myself being delivered tomorrow. Make sure you’re home so it doesn’t get swiped off the front stoop.”

“A statue,” I asked in disbelief.

“Yeah, I commissioned a piece with Kiki Smith,” Chester said. “And since you’re so nosy about my money, it cost me six figures.”

Artist Kiki Smith holding a wad of Benjamins from Chester for her sculpture, “Chester Colossus”.

“I don’t want a sculpture of you in my house,” I growled.

“No worries, it’s too large to fit in this hut of yours,” was Chester’s comeback. “I have a nice space picked out for the backyard by the bird feeder. That way I get to view my two favorite things, me and birdie TV. Oh, you’ll need help from your neighbors to move it to the back since it’s pretty heavy. At least it comes in a few sections”

“I don’t think we’re zoned for that,” doing my best to prevent this “art” from landing on my property.

“I took care of that,” Chester said matter-of-factly. “I know a few members of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission, and they will attend the dedication along with the artist”

“Slow down, cat,” I exclaimed. “You invited people to come to my house for a Chester love fest?”

“Yes. And the local media too,” Chester slipped in.

“Anyone else showing up,” I asked my megalomaniac of a cat.

Head section of the “Chester Colossus” statue by Kiki Smith that Chester commissioned.

“Just a couple of priests I’m flying in from Egypt who worship the cat deity Bastet to consecrate this wonderful example of art,” Chester said proudly. “You’re invited as well.”

“Sounds like you’re promoting idolatry,” was my observation.

“Yes,” was the cat’s simple reply.

“And you want me to join the cult of Chester,” I said, not believing I was having this discussion.

“Might as well, you don’t want to be left out of this movement,” Chester said, sounding like he was selling swamp land in Florida. “And I’ll use social media to increase my following. You can never have enough likes, you know. It worked with GameStop and so it will for Chester, son of Ra. Rejoice in my light!”

I figured I’d throw a little religion back at my god cat.

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall,” I quoted from Proverbs 16:18, not that I thought it would have any impact on my pompous pussy.

“I see what you’re doing,” Chester countered, going deep into his playlist. “How about this; ‘I want the finer things in my life, so I hustle,’ from 50 Cent.”

Now I knew what was influencing my bling bling cat, so I countered with something more in his musical genre.

“‘Mo money mo problems’, The Notorious B.I.G.” I said, quite proud of myself.

But Chester showed he was a closet 50 Cent groupie.

Neighbors and the media gather for the raising of “Chester Colossus” in the backyard.

“‘Get rich or die tryin,” Chester retorted.

“You’re too scared to die for anything,” I said.

“You’re right, but I have plenty more ammunition,” Chester warned.

20 minutes later after trading rap lyrics, I declared a truce, or my head was going to implode.

“Cat got your tongue,” Chester asked with a maniacal laugh. “I was just getting warmed up. I didn’t even get to Lil’ Kim.”

“Now that you’re rich, are you moving into a bigger crib,” I asked by gangster cat.

“Naw,” Chester said calmly. I’m good here, especially since this will be the home of my Chester Colossus statue.

“And don’t get any ideas about removing my glorious piece of art. If by some miraculous coincidence the Feds stop by to ask questions about my GameStop cleanup, I’ll just meow like nothing happened. And if they get rough with me, I’ll act really cute while leading them to the basement and show them your computer history. And don’t bother erasing it, I have a backup copy of everything.”

“Son of a cat,” I yelled.

“Really would suck to do five years in prison and pay a $500,000 fine for tax evasion,” my Jack McCoy of a cat purred.

“Touche, son or Ra,” I defeatedly said. “Since you’re now a fat cat yourself, how about paying me for the services you get living here?”

Yes, I had just asked my cat for rent money.

“Sure,” my triumphant feline said with glee. “We’ll work out the details later. In the meantime, you know where the Ziwi Peak is. I’m hungry, so go fetch me a bowl of my manna; mortal.”

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