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The Naming of Briefcase

by Paul G. Stout, Kent, WA, USA


This rite of naming occurred while I was going to school in Phoenix shortly after I retired from the Coast Guard in 1983.

I got Briefcase, about six months after I got Mouse, for free from a breeder I knew who liked the way I'd taken in Mouse as a palm sized fingerling and eyedropper fed her.

Just so you know, Briefcase was a totally coal black Siamese. She, and all the rest of her litter, came from genuine pedigreed show winning blue-bloods. I'm not sure of the exact term to use, but she was definitely some kind of genetic throwback. I mention this because some people have had a hard time in the past believing that there could be such a thing as a full-blooded black Siamese.

To further understand this you have to know that my briefcase was one of those humongous Samsonite hard-sided briefcases, a good five inches in depth. Really a small suitcase with briefcase style document, pen, and calculator inserts inside and big enough to hold several large size binders, my notebooks, AND my lunch.

Ahem, just as an aside, my own personal theory about briefcases is that they were called that because whatever lawyer ever invented the thing didn't want to admit that for all practical purposes there's no difference between them and a full sized ladies handbag. Macho stuff and all that sort of thing. :-)

Anyway, enough of the setup.

About two weeks after I got Briefcase I woke up late for my first class at school. Being in a ripping hurry I was pretty much a blur as I waved my razor at face, threw my lunch into my briefcase, and dressed on the run. It goes without saying that I never once bothered looking inside the briefcase before I closed it. Finally, reasonably presentable, I grabbed the briefcase and took off on the run out the door, started the car, and drove off the three miles to school.

Mind you now, all the while I'm banging that briefcase around, and as I'm driving to school, there wasn't a peep out of that briefcase. Not a sound.

Once at school I parked the car and took off on the run to class, briefcase swinging and banging my leg as I chugged along.

Still not a peep out of that briefcase.

I slid into my front row seat and dropped the briefcase on the floor beside me just as the bell rang and our instructor started to get into his presentation.

You guessed it, still not a peep out of that briefcase.

So anyway, while watching the instructor I reached down, popped the tabs to open up the briefcase, and left it that way so as to be ready to get my notebook out to take notes.

A couple of seconds later the girl sitting behind me taps me on the shoulder and in between giggles whispers that I really should look at my briefcase. Figuring I maybe dropped some underwear or something like that into it by mistake I turned and looked down at the briefcase.

To my complete and utter astonishment inside the briefcase there's my black kitten stretched out inside of it calmly cleaning her whiskers and staring at me.

At that point the other students who could see what was happening all but fell out of their chairs they were laughing so hard as they watched my jaw hit the floor and my eyebrows do their damndest to bounce off the ceiling.

Needless, to say the students thought it was hilarious that old stick in the mud serious sober sided me had provided them with their morning entertainment (I was about 20 years older than the next oldest student and was always all business in class; about as much fun as mud in other words).

The instructor was considerably less than amused!

So, kitten firmly in hand, it was out to the car to take her home. Now you'd think a kitten as vocal as Briefcase had already proved herself to be, who had been banged around in that briefcase while I was running, and been in the car all the way to school without uttering a peep wouldn't put up much of a fuss on the way home.


Within 30 seconds of getting the car moving that cat had already done three whirlwind laps around the interior of the car and landed on top of my head, all the while howling like a banshee. She stayed plastered to the top of my head all the way home, claws firmly dug in around my ears, no matter how much I tried to pry her loose. By the time we got home I had so many claw holes in the side of my head I was howling just as much as she was.

If anybody was paying attention during that drive home they must figured I was some kind of nut who like to wear fur hats in 120 degree sunshine while howling at the sun.

Hence the name Briefcase.


Editor's note:

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