Instigator, Busted

I’m not really a cat person at heart. They’re ok, I don’t hate them or anything. And I’ve grown rather fond of these two. They’re brothers from the same litter. Ragz (left) and ‘Cisco (right, white front paws and half-stache, standing over his brother feigning innocence, poorly) don’t actually belong to me. I’m fostering them in their home for a few years. But I’ve come to think of them as my own, and I’ll miss them when they leave. I won’t miss the fur that coats everything, but I’ll miss them.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that my landlady is a very good friend of mine. When she had to move out of state for work, she offered to let me stay here on the extreme cheap. I was still a student at UNCW at the time, and she knew how much I was struggling financially. She likes this place and didn’t want to give it up, but also didn’t want to deal with strangers as renters and all that entails. So I went from struggling to afford a tiny, shitty apartment to this big, beautiful condo at like less than half the price. I love you dearly, Joy, have I mentioned that? Your cytoplasm is made of awesomesauce.

The boys are Joy’s. She got them while she lived here, and this is where they grew up. She took them with her when she left. (But you’d be amazed at the places I found cat hair months after they’d gone! For “short-hair” cats, I’m not sure where it all comes from.) I guess it was about a year after I moved in that Joy asked if I’d keep the boys for her. She’d had to move and found a great place, but … no cats allowed. Suckage.

So up to Virginia I went, and brought the boys back home. They’ve lived with me for a couple of years now, and yeah, I admit I’m attached. Joy might be Mom, but I’m definitely Dad. Joy’s job will take her someplace else in a few months, and they’ll go back to living with Mom. I’ll miss the little hosers, and so will a lot of my models. There’s often a cuteness break in my photoshoots here because Ragz will decide it’s time for a photobombing opportunity.

Damnit, Ragz! Sarie and I are working here!
Damnit, Ragz! Sarie and I are working here!

It’s funny how their personalities are so very different, though. ‘Cisco (or Franny, as Mom calls him – short for Francisco, but ‘Cisco is such a cooler nickname) is Mom’s boy. He’s the one who cuddles up to Mom, but he’s kind of standoffish to me. Ragz, on the other hand, is Dad’s boy. Don’t get me wrong, they both love my attention. But while ‘Cisco is sort of aloof and demanding, Ragz is cuddly and giving. While I’ve been in the dumps, ‘Cisco demanded his pets anyway, in a very “YOU WILL PET ME NOW, WHINY-ASS HUMAN” sort of way. Ragz, on the other hand, would cuddle up in a way that was more akin to, “Aw, Dad, do you need to pet me? Will that help you feel better?” Ragz is my cuddlebuddy.

But the boys remind me of the relationship I had with my little brother when I was a kid. That little fucker was an instigator. He’d pick at me, pester me, hit me, poke me, and just be a general jerk, incessantly, for hours. And I’d put up with it for like, *ever*. And when I’d finally lose my shit and go to beat the crap out of him so he’d leave me alone, he’d run to my dad and hide behind him and be all like, “DAD LOUIE IS GONNA BEAT ME UP AND I’M NOT DOIN NUTHIN I WAS MINDIN MY OWN BUSINESS”. And of course I’d get in trouble for picking on my little brother.

Asshole. *

‘Cisco is like my little brother, and Ragz is sooooo me. But I’ve seen this game played before, so I’m not at all fooled. Plus, ‘Cisco isn’t as good at it as my little brother was. I see him drive Ragz up the wall, or pounce on him from the back of the couch, or swat at his tail while they’re laying in the cat tree. I see all that shit right before Ragz finally retaliates, and ‘Cisco totally bolts and hides behind my legs and gives me this faux innocent look. Yeah, buddy, I know that look. You can’t bullshit me with it. It’s the exact same look that Kevin gave Pop.

It’s the look I caught in that first image. Is *anybody* buying that?

Didn’t think so.

And just to be clear, below is the shot I took two seconds before. (Ragz had been laying there for an hour, minding his own damned business, taking a nap.)


Exhibit A, your honor.
Exhibit A, your honor.



* FYI, I love my brother, and we get along fine as adults.



To repeat the disclaimer, this is a project about re-discovery. It’s about remembering who I am, what I’m about, what I love and what I do not. Fair warning, this project will be posted here rather than at my SFW site because there will be nudity from time to time. Some of it will be of me, some not, some artistic and pretty to look at, some just raw.

I don’t intend to think of something every day and then shoot it, though I may do that sometimes, too. But sometimes I will just shoot, and then find something about myself in the frames and post about that thing, whatever it is.

All my #365SelfDiscovery posts will be filed here.

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Louis Shackleton is a boudoir, portrait, art, event, and wildlife photographer formerly based in Wilmington, NC and now traveling the continent in his 2001 VW Passat named Gypsy.

Head on over to the About page to read more about him and his work.

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