Shoot Club

Shoot Club: Night of the Cat, Part Two

Tom Chick | 15 Nov 2007 21:00
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"Here's his phone number," Trevor says, ticking it under the chin and fingering the tag on its collar.

"Does it say his name?" the new guy asks.

"Hey, you got a cat," Jude says, coming into the room to see if we're still playing Age of Empires III or if we can all start playing Call of Duty 4 yet.

"It's not my cat. Maybe we should call the number," I suggest.

"What? No. That's weird. They'll think we've kidnapped their cat," Trevor says. "Besides, it's not like he's lost. He's just visiting. Right? You're just visiting." Trevor is talking to the cat now.

"Can I hold him?" Jude says.

"Aren't any of you people allergic to cats?" I ask. "I thought more people were allergic to them. Maybe we should make him go outside."

"Let him stay," Jude says, holding it like a baby. It doesn't seem to mind. "I call him for my side in Call of Duty 4. We should give him a name we can use while he's here."

"Okay," the new guy agrees. "What should we name him?"

"Hey, you got a cat," Peter says, coming in to the room to see if we're really going to play Call of Duty 4 or if we can instead play something that won't give him motion sickness. "When did you get a cat?"

"I didn't get a cat. It's not mine." The cat blinks and lets Jude hold it. "They want to name it."

We look around at each other. Who's going to speak up first and risk ridicule?

"Link?" Jude asks. He's been playing Phantom Hourglass. It's his first Zelda game.

"Gay."

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, everyone starts throwing out names.

"Kratos?"

"Gayer."

"Mario?"

"Too kiddie."

"Altair."

"Too new."

"LeChuck?"

"Too old."

"Gordon?"

"Hmm."

"Agent 47?"

"Not cat enough."

"Ratchet?"

"Too Sony."

"Marcus?" Trevor suggests.

"Marcus?"

"Yeah, like Marcus Fenix."

"Who's Marcus Fenix?"

"Gears of War."

"You're going to name a cat after Gears of War?"

"What's wrong with Gears of War?"

"What about Halo? Is a character from Halo okay? What's the sergeant's name in Halo?"

"Cortana, I think," Jude says.

"I thought the sergeant's name was Chief."

"That's you're name. You're Chief. Master Chief."

"Why do you want to name him after the sergeant?"

"Well, they're both black."

"I thought we liked Gordon."

I've had years of interactive naming experience from playing RPGs with Trevor. No one will ever agree, so you just have to pick something and run with it, without thinking too much. "Okay," I say, "Good, Cortana. We'll go with Cortana. Jude, you can take it. Take Cortana. I'm going to set up the game."

"I bet you want to name him Atlas, or Ryan, or Fontaine," Trevor says. "Everything's BioShock with you. BioShock, BioShock, BioShock. Maybe we should just name him BioShock."

I actually consider this, but then it dawns on me that this isn't my cat. From the scene in the room, you'd never know that it doesn't live here. Everyone is scratching its head and petting it. They're like girls around a baby. They're a clutch of cat-loving idiots. The cat accepts the attention. It lets them pet it, blinking its yellow eyes and not looking at anything in particular.

"We don't need to name the cat," I announce. "It has its own name. It can visit, but it's not staying."

"Look." Trevor puts his hand on my shoulder and adopts a serious tone.

To be continued...

***

Tom Chick has been writing about videogames for fifteen years. His work appears in Games for Windows Magazine, Yahoo, Gamespy, Sci-Fi, and Variety. He lives in Los Angeles. Shoot Club appears in this space every Thursday.

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