Viggo would be considered an ancillary character in my story. He (a tuxedo cat) is a “background extra” who enhances the world of the story but doesn’t impede the paths of the main characters. He may create small diversions now and then, but that’s to be expected.
I enjoy fleshing out the worlds of my stories, so when the idea of including Viggo came along, he found a comfortable, fitting place for himself in the story. I wanted to honor the memory of my own Viggo, a stray tuxedo that I rescued and who was my sweetie boy for over 16 years.
I have no idea where he lived or who he belonged to. It was late October at our lake cabin, and he’d been showing up on and off for the latter part of the summer. I was there to close up for the winter and wouldn’t return until spring. I didn’t know if he would be there, so when he showed up, I fed him some cat food I’d brought along (just in case) and told him, “If you’re here tomorrow morning, I’ll take you home with me.” He was there in the frost-covered yard, meowing like crazy, and stayed close to me as I loaded the car; he slept the entire, nearly two-hour drive home. My daughter named him Viggo, after Viggo Mortensen in Lord of the Rings.
Story Viggo shows up outside Jenna’s apartment on a cold, rainy October night. She makes a few trips in and out with groceries, and on the last trip down she brings an old towel with her. If he’s still there, she decides she’ll take him in. Sound familiar? Here’s a passage from the story:
“Of course, you show up when I’ve just left the grocery store,” she said with a laugh as she toweled him off. His beautiful, amber eyes conveyed a feeling of trust as they met hers, and she felt a pang of sadness at the prominent protruding of his ribs as she dried him. Clearly, he’d been on his own for quite a while, and his long, black coat was matted with dirt and leaves. Jenna found some tuna in the pantry but only gave him half of the can. “We don’t want it coming back up.” While he gobbled it down, she made a makeshift litter pan from a plastic bin and torn up newspaper.
The real Viggo and story Viggo have the traits one would expect from a cat who has gone hungry, and you’ll get the chance to read about them when the book is finished. What you’ll also learn is how grateful rescues are and how much love they give to those who have saved their lives. Story Viggo becomes a companion and comfort to Jenna, just as my Viggo was to me. I’ve had other cats since Viggo passed, but he has a special place in my heart that only he can fill. He deserved a place in my story, and I was beyond happy and grateful when he showed up and settled in.
Until next time…