Guest Post: Jami Davenport

Please welcome the amazing Jami Davenport….

Topic: Its a Cats Life

I want to be a cat. When I die, I want to come back as a cat–our cat.

We were not cat people. Honest. I mean I like cats (in fact, we’re animal lovers), but a

nice barn cat that doesn’t spread cat hair all over your house. Now, my husband is one of those

macho guys (a former Army Ranger and SF Weapons Sergeant) who didn’t like cats at all. At

least, he “claimed” he didn’t.

A few years ago in the fall, an orange tabby moved into our barn. Hey, I was fine with

that. They’re ruthless mousers and I’m all for a friendly little barn cat. He was very friendly and

he got along with the dogs–got along being a relative term since he scared the crap out of our big

dogs. I think he must have given them some tough love with one of his paws (claws extended, of

course).

So we fed him… And we took him in to get shots and to be fixed.

Problem is that he had greater aspirations than being a lowly barn cat. He wanted to be a

house cat.

That winter, my husband injured his back at work and was flat on the couch for a few

weeks. Day two on the couch–I came home from work. There was the cat on Dennis’ chest, both

of them sound asleep.

So much for the barn cat.

If you have cats, you know the rest.

He moved in, took over and relegated us to servant duties, the dogs to body guard duties,

and immediately proceeded to claim every bed, couch, chair and lap as his own private property.

He sleeps all day when he isn’t grooming or eating. He’s retired from hunting–too much work

and too cold–wet–hot–whatever–outside. This cat has it made.

In my recent release, Forward Passes, our orange tabby is a co-star of the book. He

makes an appearance as Tyler’s finicky former barn cat and he takes the arrogant jock down a

peg. After all, you can only have one prima donna per household and the cat wins. I love Cat,

and he’ll be included to future books, I’m sure, along with an entire slew of animals because I

can’t write about without at least one secondary animal character.

First Chapter:  What Goes Up

A man about to make pro-football history should be a lot more excited about it.

Like a well-programmed robot, Tyler Harris zeroed in on his receiver, instinctively

calculated the distance, and lofted the ball into the air. The second the football left his hands he

knew it’d be a touchdown catch.

His cousin and the Seattle Lumberjacks top wide receiver, Derek Ramsey, blazed into the

end zone, spun around at the exact right moment, and caught the ball.

Ty waited for the smugness, the confidence, the satisfaction to surge through him. He waited

for the greatest natural high on earth to engulf him, a high better than the best sex, and that was

pretty damn, fucking good.

Usually.

But nothing happened.

Two more minutes to glory. The defense took the field and held the Bruins. The clock ticked

off the last seconds until the scoreboard displayed

: 00:00.

The stands erupted. Confetti blinded Tyler in a snowstorm of red, white, and blue. The stuff

swirled through the air and stuck to his sweat-soaked uniform. Teammates slapped his back.

Coaches hugged him. The roar of the fans deafened him. Sportscasters crammed microphones in

his face and barked questions at him. Rabid reporters yanked on his Number Eleven jersey and

fought for his attention.

He stood frozen in place, staring at the scoreboard. He felt more like a shell-shocked soldier

than a conquering field general who’d led his troops to victory in the final battle and won the

war.

Except he wasn’t a general. He was no fucking hero. He’d never risked his life to save

others. He’d never tramped through the desert or the jungle not knowing if his next step would

be his last. He’d never sacrificed so others could have a better life or even have a life. He was

just a guy gifted with an athletic body and a no-quit attitude. He didn’t deserve this: the

adulation, the money, the fame, none of it.

But since when did he give a shit if it was deserved or not?

What the fuck was wrong with him?

Every football player lived for this moment from the first second he gripped a football in his

hands. It should’ve been the happiest time of his life, a defining moment in a career of defining

moments; two Super Bowls under his belt and a sure MVP of the game. He was a future Hall-ofFamer

with a lot of gas left in his tank, still in his prime, not yet thirty years old. The press touted

him as the hottest QB in the league.

Nowhere to go from here but—

down.

Nothing had been the same since Ryan died. Try as he might, he couldn’t find his passion

for the game, for life, for anything. Hell, not even for sex.

Like a disembodied spirit, he observed the scene, detached and way too fucking melancholy

in the midst of the celebratory mayhem engulfing him. Jostled around by the sea of humanity, he

barely felt them. He stood in the middle of the crowd, numb, apathetic, and alone. The emptiness

smothered him, gnawed at his gut, consumed him.

Regardless of his apathy, he wouldn’t rain on his teammates’ parade.

Forcing a grin he didn’t feel and adopting his cocky façade, he faced the television cameras

and gave them what they’d come to expect from him, an arrogant, yet entertaining, recap of his

performance. Then he stood on the podium, and made one of his typical fist-pumping speeches

laced with humor. After which he did every post-game interview with his usual brash panache.

No one noticed his mechanical movements or the dead smile.

Was this all there was?

What had happened to his legendary enthusiasm for the game, his penchant for living life on

the edge? What happened to

him? He’d lost himself somewhere between college jock and

superstar athlete, yet it hadn’t mattered before. He’d lived in blissful ignorance until that fateful

night when Ryan died of cancer.

If you stripped away all the hype and his public image, he didn’t have a fucking clue who

lived underneath.

All this deep shit rattling around in his brain was way too much introspection for a dumb

jock. He shook off this momentary lapse into deep thought, took a deep breath, and squared his

shoulders. In a week, he’d start the relentless pursuit of winning all over again because losing,

for Tyler, had never been an option.

Glancing at his watch, he followed his teammates out of the locker room via a back door,

down the long hallway leading to buses waiting to take them to the airport. A couple hours and a

few glasses of champagne later the team plane touched down in Seattle. Security hustled them

past the large crowds to waiting limos.

Waving and grinning, he acknowledged the hordes of fans crammed into every spare inch of

terminal space. He paused and breathed in the crisp Seattle air. His teammates shouted to each

other, planning parties which would last well into the morning.

Cass, his long-time fiancée and even longer-time girlfriend, would expect to attend every

one of them. She’d already texted him with her location at a teammate’s home on Lake

Washington. The Vegas line against them ever getting married had once topped out at fifty-toone

and dipped to fifteen-to-one after he’d set a date for two weeks from today.

Claustrophobia set in, smothering him. He felt trapped, trapped in a career he no longer had

a hunger for. His self-created, bad-boy image pigeonholed him in a role he wasn’t sure he

wanted to play. His upcoming wedding in two weeks weighted him down with doubt.

He needed to escape, clear his head, gain some clarity.

Tyler slid behind the wheel of his sports car and accelerated out of the underground parking

garage. His wheels spun on the rain-slickened streets as he turned a corner too quickly. Instead of

heading toward I-5 and Mercer Island for a night of celebration, he turned in the opposite

direction, dodging in and out of cars on the four-lane street. The light ahead turned yellow, Tyler

punched the gas.

And slammed right into the back of a police car.

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2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Jami Davenport

  1. Lori Meehan says:

    Sounds good. I love your story about your cat. They have a way moving in and taking over and acting like they own everything.

  2. Lori, Yes, I love cats. This very same cat is featured in Forward Passes.

    Thanks for hosting me today!!!

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