That Something Extra

He was born in Brooklyn. Part of a large family, nobody took much notice of him. We first met when he was lounging around a loading dock. Everybody said he was destined for a life of vagrancy and petty crime, but we could see he had that something extra.

As he got older he developed certain eccentricities, like eating with his hands and flicking light switches on and off. Sometimes he kind of looked like Elvis, and there’s no denying he loved food. Bigger than average, for a brief period he took to parading around in a gold lamé cape.

Then he moved to Nashville. Maybe he thought he could make it in country music. That didn’t happen, but he discovered nature. He’d go out exploring. Got beat up bad one time, when he ventured over by the fairgrounds. After that he stuck closer to home. He spent a lot of his days looking out windows, but other times he was running all over the place. He alternated between keeping us amused and driving us crazy.

There was a brief period when he lived in Alabama. The less said about that the better. Things improved, strangely enough, with a move to Cleveland. But apartment living wasn’t really his style - too isolated.

When the day came that our crew all went their separate ways it made sense for him to head back to Brooklyn, where he’d started from. He made some new friends and began settling into comfortable late middle age. There was brief talk of checking out the scene in France but he was getting a little old for any more big changes and, smart as he was, he didn’t speak French.

He moved in with the owner of a shop in Williamsburg, right near the bridge. He liked hanging out there, charming the customers and living large, the way he always had. And that’s where he died last month, at the age of 14.

R.I.P. James “Jimmy VI” the Cat. We loved him.

Hazel & James 1999