In a humble Siberian village, mere days after being accosted by a street thug …
I’d run out of Lipton English Breakfast Tea. It was getting late. There are no street lights here in Poselye. There was no moon on this particular night, either. It’s fair to say that it was darker than my sense of humour. Admittedly, the shop is only one hundred metres away, but dangers lurk aplenty in the lands beyond the walls of my safe haven. Faced with this conundrum, I donned my ninja costume and embarked on an ‘epic’ adventure …
The walk to the shop was tough, and I mean tough. But I was prepared. I was almost there when I was accosted … by Murzik, our cat. I was shocked and grateful that he had braved the same circumstances as I to be with me on this grand adventure … so grateful that I had to stop and pat him lots, much to the amusement of the couple who exited the shop before me. Murzik seemed even more confident and friendly than usual and this lifted my spirits considerably. I gladly stroked his white fur with its patches of rust.
The shop was a disappointment. Apparently they don’t sell Breakfast Tea after 9pm. It was 9:30pm. Fair enough, I guess. Can hardly call it breakfast at that time. So I left a little disappointed… but Murzik was sitting there like a professional spirit-guard waiting for me outside the shop. I gave him another grateful pat and we headed home together. Murzik’s obedience and affection was so overwhelming that I lost all desire for English tea.
We arrived home together after a walk of several meters. I used my key to open the gate and OMFG, another Murzik emerges quick fast from behind the gate to stand nose to nose with my guardian Murzik. It was like a scene from a movie with doppelgangers and you have to choose sides! It was only then that it dawned on me that my new Murzik was an imposter.
No Murzik could be that good. I was a little afraid that old Murzik might hurt new Murzik, but going by the way he began taking a sniffing passive interest in “her”, I soon surmised that they might even be brothers and sisters from the same litter. When they were together, it wasn’t hard, even in the poor light, to determine who the defensive grumpy male was, but they did look incredibly alike.
The real Murzik is wise: he doesn’t leave the property. His sister is a real sweetheart though, and brave.
Tough Fluff to all!
- Reproduced with the permission of the author, Gavin Dowler, this is an excerpt from Gavin’s blog, “A Year in Ulan (Oh, dear!) Ude” (https://gavinsiberia.blogspot.com/).
Since Gavin’s first trip to the internetless Russia of the mid-90’s, he has maintained an interest in the people, their culture and language; and has lived, worked and studied in St Petersburg, Moscow and Ulan-Ude.