By George R. ROCA
(A TALE OF THE SEA)
Many years ago, in Br?ila, a Romanian town lying on the shores of the Danube, there lived a kind little granny, whose name was Cornelia. Although she was a mignon lady, she had a large soul, and was always willing to help. Everyday she was prepared to lend a helping hand to somebody. But, she suffered from loneliness, because her only son, Leonard, was a sailor, and was always away from home. He was on the sea for months, sometimes even years, without coming home to his lonesome mother.
One evening, when Cornelia was heading for home, she heard a soft meow from a lane full of garbage and waste. She couldn’t bear listening to the poor little soul that was meowing forlornly in the filthy lane. She wanted to see who it was, and if the thing needed help. When she reached the rubbish dump, she saw a moving dirty Hessian bag. She was terrified at first, but she realised that there must be a living creature inside. She grabbed the bag out of the dump, and when she untied it, a skinny little black figure, looking like a cat, stared back. Cornelia was horrified, but she knew that she had to help the needy soul. She backed out of the lane and took the cat home. It smelled foul and was extremely gaunt and emaciated. It was barely alive. Cornelia, who had a wide knowledge about cats, realised that it was a tomcat. At home she washed him thoroughly. She tried to give him a bit of sausage, but he couldn’t get up of the floor. Instead, she got a straw and some milk, and nursed the kitten like he was her own baby. After the feeding session, the minute kitten curled up and went to sleep. Cornelia wrapped him in a wooly jumper, so he was warm and cosy.
The next morning, Cornelia was woken up by something tugging at the end of her blanket. She was so scared that she quickly sprang out of bed. Her heart lightened when she realised that it was only the little furry creature playing with the corner of the blanket. The kitten was playing and purring happily, as if he was never thrown into a rubbish dump. Cornelia fed him some more milk. This time, he wasn’t half-dead anymore. He lapped up the milk quickly.
Everyday, the kitten became stronger and stronger, until he was a beautiful tomcat. He had a fine-looking black coat, and was always jumping and playing around the place. The old lady named him Timothy, a name which reminded her of the dear little cat she had in her childhood years.
Timothy was a superb tomcat. He wasn’t wild and Cornelia trained him to be well behaved. The neighbours all loved him, because all the mice in the vicinity had disappeared since his coming. Because Cornelia was a generous woman, she fed him much – actually too much. In a couple of months he had ballooned tremendously, so no one called him Timothy anymore. The „Fat Black Cat” was now his usual nickname. Timothy didn’t care if the others teased him about his weight. All he cared about was having his fair share of food, and sitting lazily on the mat all day long. Cornelia also wasn’t as active as before. She used to stay at home for most of the day, because she didn’t have the strength to go out every day.
One day, Cornelia finally passed away and her son Leonard came back to Br?ila. After giving all the belongings to charity, he sold the house, but couldn’t get rid of the cat. No one wanted a lazy creature like Timothy. So, in respect for his mother, he had to take the „fatty” on the sea with him. Once on the ship, the sleepy boy could kiss delicacies goodbye, because Leonard only fed him fresh fish. Of course, Timothy hated fish, but it was his only lifeline, and he had to cope with it. He soon got used to it, and after a while he started to enjoy eating it. He was also forced out of his eat-sleep routine. The sailor didn’t let him daydream. Soon, Timothy was more active and his weight had dropped to a healthy level.
His new owner traded on the sea in several types of goods. Firstly, the couple made short voyages on the Black Sea, from their hometown Br?ila to another Romanian port, Constan?a, or sometimes even to Odessa. Then, they started sailing through the Bosporus Strait. They went into the Mediterranean Sea, because Leonard knew that Greek olive oil was very sought after in England. He had heard that this was a very good trade, and that the people involved in it made lots of money. The cat and the sailor started making frequent voyages from Greece to Southampton, London or Liverpool. After each voyage, they returned full of money. When Leonard was busy, he employed some other seamen in his crew, but usually the ship was only managed by Timothy and his captain.
Leonard, who was a sulky and solitary man, was not always happy and kind to Timothy. The tomcat was also afraid of the immensity of the sea, so he spent most of his time on the sailor’s bed inside the cabin. But, they finally both came to their senses, and started being friendly to each other. They knew that they needed each other, because otherwise they would both be lonely and miserable. At first, this so-called friendship was more like an agreement between the two, but after a while together, they became quite good friends.
One afternoon, when they were returning from Liverpool, crossing the St George’s Channel from the Irish Sea, a horrific storm struck them. Timothy, who wasn’t used to this type of weather, hid under the Leonard’s bed and dug his claws deeply into the wooden floor to keep his balance. Leonard, who was in duty at the steering wheel, was struggling to keep the boat as steady as possible. In a split second, the mast broke in half and fell down and trapped Leonard’s leg under it. Leonard, who was nearly dead, was immobilised under the weight of the mast. The storm continued to rage, and the boat was plunged into blackness. Timothy was scared to come out of his cosy hideout and see what his owner was doing outside. He stayed there for the whole night, and in the morning gained some courage and came out. He very quietly climbed the stairs to the deck. When he stepped on deck, he saw all the debris in front of him – knotted ropes, broken masts and torn sails.
Leonard was nowhere to be seen. Timothy only managed to produce a soft meow. He knew that something bad had happened. When he reached the stern of the boat, he saw the broken mast and under it the still Leonard. He went over and tried to wake him up, but nothing happened. Timothy then sat on his owner’s chest and began meowing desperately. He began to meow louder and louder, until he heard a groan. He saw his master’s eyelids move slowly. The poor man opened his eyes, and then closed them again. He tried to escape from under the mast, but his body failed him. He tried several times, and the last time, the heavy mast released its pressure. The shocked tomcat sprang up into the air, nearly falling overboard! Leonard realised that his leg was broken and crawled to the cabin stairs. He slid down them and with a tremendous effort managed to get into the room. His first desire was to reach the water barrel. Being very thirsty, he drank some water and then fainted again. Timothy went back on the sailor’s chest and started to purr in his ear. After a while, Leonard woke up again, but he couldn’t do anything besides screaming with pain. The ship, which now resembled a ghost, was floating wildly in unknown waters.
Another day passed by and Timothy knew that his friend was suffering harshly because of his broken leg. The leg was now very swollen and Leonard was between life and death. The only thing that kept him going was the water barrel, which was slowly running out. And, Timothy wasn’t exactly happy either. He was starving, because Leonard didn’t have the ability to catch fresh fish anymore. He examined every single nook and cranny of the ship, but found no food. Because of his hunger, Timothy was forced out of the cabin and onto the deck. He was spying on some food to catch. He hoped some seagulls would come by. Too bad for Timothy! They were too far away from the shore to see any seagulls. Catching and eating the birds was out of the question.
The cat was getting hungrier and hungrier every day. One day, when he couldn’t bear it any longer, he went over to the fishing net and examined it carefully. There was nothing in the net except some algae. The smell of fish from the net was making Timothy crazy with hunger. Because of the storm, the net was halfway overboard. He had a plan going in his mind, and quickly climbed down the net, until he was on the outside of the ship. He frantically searched the net for even the tiniest remnant of fish, but found nothing. Now he wasn’t angry anymore – he was desperate. He then saw a fish coming out of the water and diving back in. He was so scared by this sudden appearance that he fell in the water. Luckily, the seas were calm, and he had no trouble whatsoever reaching the hanging net and getting back aboard. But, the fish gave him an idea that would soon save both his and his captain’s life.
Although terrified, Timothy went back down the net to the water. He poked the end of his tail into the water and twitched it a little. Immediately, tens of little silver fish appeared. With a sudden movement, Timothy dug his claws into a fish and pulled it out of the water. He immobilised it and slowly-slowly climbed the net and came back up to the deck. He then started to gobble very quickly, and in a few seconds the fish was gone.
He had never eaten something more delicious. He thought back to the time when he had hated fish, and now he was thinking how scrumptious, magnificent and beautiful they are. But, one little fish didn’t satisfy his huge appetite. That was no problem anymore. He went back down again, and this time caught a bigger and healthier looking fish. He bought it back to the deck, and devoured this too. Now, a sudden laziness came upon him, and he felt like doing nothing and going off to sleep. He went down into the cabin to have a nap. There, Leonard was raging with pain. Timothy didn’t think of sleeping anymore, but of helping his disadvantaged friend. He thought of the times when Leonard shared his daily catch with him. Now it was his turn. He ran up the stairs to the deck and over the side of the ship. This time, Timothy found it much easier to catch fish. He put his tail into the water courageously and when he took it out again, he had a beautiful big fish, much larger that the other two. He climbed back up the net and then down to the cabin and put the fish near Leonard’s mouth. Leonard opened his eyes and saw the fish in front of him. He took a great big bite. Realising what he had done, he took a knife out of his pocket and cut the fish into small pieces. Even though it was uncooked, Leonard enjoyed it tremendously. Seeing that his friend has already gulped down the fish, Timothy ran out of the cabin and was back with another fish in a second. Leonard also ate this, and then went to sleep.
A few hours later, he woke up. His leg was still hurting badly, but he was feeling a bit better. Next to him were three dead fish, guarded by Timothy. The sailor ate them quickly, and made a supernatural effort to climb to his bed. Because of this, he fell unconscious again.
A few endless days and nights passed, and Leonard was still eating the fish offered by the fisherman on four legs. His leg had developed an earthy sort of colour. There were also some purple parts, and the sailor realised that it was gangrene. He felt that in a few days he would be dead. So, he reached for a bottle of rum, drank half of it, and then fell asleep. He dreamt of walking on the clouds without falling, and then reaching the end of the cloud, when he fell off into empty space. Then, with great effort, he would manage to climb back onto the cloud and keep on walking. Once, he fell towards Earth, and saw rivers, waterfalls, mountains, houses and even people. He felt as if they were all trying to say something.
Scared, he woke up. He saw two people standing in front of him. One of them was holding Timothy the cat in his arms. He thought he was dreaming again, but he felt the pain in his leg and realised that this was real. One of the people asked him in English what happened with him and his ship. Although he could barely be understood, he told the couple about the storm and the accident. One of the two people stepped forward, examined his leg, and nodded in a bad way.
Again, Leonard lost his conscience, going back to the world of dreams. He thought he heard some voices, then a noise made by a saw, a rustling of leaves, chopped-down trees, a sharp and agonising pain, and then blackness. He stayed like that for quite a while, until he woke up a couple of days later. He realised that he was lying on a hospital bed. He looked more carefully and saw a young woman dressed in a sky-blue uniform. The woman greeted him and asked him his name.
Leonard now came back to his senses. He remembered what had happened to his leg. He was still feeling that sharp pain. He tried to move his leg but realised that there was nothing to move. His leg had disappeared from the knee downwards. Now he understood why he was in hospital, and began to cry. The lady came up to him and put her hand on his forehead. She told him to have optimism, and that he would soon be getting better. She also told him that he wasn’t the only person in the world to have his leg amputated. He closed his eyes and many images of the disaster flashed back into his mind. The storm, the broken mast, the cabin, the water barrel, the uncooked fish, Timothy… Timothy! Where was Timothy? He screamed out loud:
– Where am I? Where is Timothy, The Fat Black Cat? Where is my dear Timothy that saved my life?
– I don’t understand you sir. What kind of cat? the nurse replied, wiping his perspired forehead. All I know is that you are in the orthopedic section of the Royal Hospital of Plymouth.
– Did you say Plymouth? How did I get here? Where is my dear tomcat?
– A coach bought you here, belonging to the Port Authority. I don’t know anything about the tomcat.
– I want Timothy! I want Timothy! Where is my beloved Timothy?
The young nurse looked up at the ceiling, thinking that the sailor had lost his mind. She walked towards the door to tell the doctor about this.
– Don’t go dear lady, said Leonard, I’ll explain all about this. Please stay.
– OK. Fine. My name is Samantha. I will only stay if you call me by my first name and tell me the whole story.
So, Leonard told Samantha the story about the storm, the accident, about the fish caught by the tomcat, and how he saved his life. She understood everything, and promised the patient that she will go and enquire about Timothy. A few days later, Samantha returned, and told him that he was rescued by an Australian trading vessel, which bought him here to Plymouth. Unfortunately, no one knew anything about his boat or the Fat Black Cat.
A month passed, and Leonard was feeling better each day. He was starting to get out of his bed, going around the hospital garden in his wheelchair. He was still discontent about not being able to walk. The doctor, however, gave him hope, saying that he could order a brace that would make him able to walk again. Leonard very excitedly ordered one. The doctor also told him that the best leg brace specialists were in London. He immediately left for London, staying there in a sanatorium. In a short time, he got fitted with the brace. His first steps with it were accompanied by hardship, lots of tripping and falling, but also buckets of hope.
Two months later, he was walking quite fine. Meanwhile, he had contacted Lloyd Maritime Insurance, who compensated him with a hefty amount of money. He was lucky; because he was trading with the English he was obliged to have insurance, so the famous company gave him compensation in no time. Overnight, he became a man with wealth, but without too much hope and happiness. He was lonely, and had no friends. He was sad because of the wrecked boat, as it was his father’s. But his greatest worry was that he couldn’t find Timothy anywhere. No one knew anything about him. He was homesick, but he couldn’t return home to Br?ila, because Romania’s new king Carol I was preparing the Romanian Independence War against the Ottoman Empire. The Russian-Romanian-Turkish war had started.
In the meantime, Leonard had hired a detective, and made him find his rescuers. He wanted to thank them and ask them if they knew anything about his much-loved Timothy. Not even two weeks had passed, and the detective gave him both good and bad news. The good news was that the rescue boat had been found. It was called „Billabong”. The bad news was that the boat had returned to Australia, so he couldn’t talk to them about Timothy. But, the sailor still had hope that Timothy didn’t go down with the stricken vessel. The detective also told Leonard about the captain of the Billabong. His name was Tom Buddle and he was from Sydney. Leonard instantaneously went to the Port Authority and sent mail to Buddle in Australia.
Time passed slowly, and Leonard was getting sick of the rainy, windy and generally dull weather of London. But, one day, he received a personal letter from Tom Buddle. In the letter, Tom told him that he had retired, and lived in a lighthouse, in South Head, close to Sydney. But, there was better news to come. The captain said that the black cat was with him at the lighthouse. He had been rescued from the boat and taken to Australia. Tom had given him the name of Nelson, because he didn’t know that the tomcat was actually called Timothy. Leonard was crazy with happiness. Because he missed the sea and longed for some adventure, Leonard boarded the first boat that was bound for Sydney.
After a few months on the sea, where he made stops at Cape Town, Zanzibar, Bombay and Jakarta, Leonard had finally arrived on Australian soil. He thought that Sydney Port looked very small compared to the sprawling metropolis London. It resembled his hometown Br?ila. The only difference was that Romanian was spoken in Br?ila, and the Sydney ordinary people spoke a hard-to-understand English, very close to the Cockney slang that the London East-Enders spoke. He stopped at a hotel in the stylish Rocks quarter, where most of the rich people went out. He didn’t even rest at the hotel, but hired a coach immediately to go to South Head. He couldn’t wait to see Timothy. Finally, after travelling a couple of hours on dusty tracks, he reached the lighthouse. The sun was already beginning to set. He told the coachman to wait for him, and approached the massive wooden door of the lighthouse. He knocked three times.
– Who is bothering me at this hour? said a hoarse voice coming from inside.
– It is me sir, the one who’s life you saved in the Irish Sea.
– I’m too tired now to have any visitors.
– But I beg you, please Captain Buddle, please open the door. I’ve bought you a lovely present. Please, I want to see Timothy, or, as you call him, Nelson.
– I don’t want any present! said the captain in an angry voice, and I don’t want to give you back the tomcat. It is the only friend I have and I do not want to part with him. Please leave!
– Please understand me sir! I have come all the way from London to have my cat back. He was the one that saved me from death. He was the one that caught food for me when I couldn’t get up. I will give you money… as much as you want, just please give me back my tomcat.
– I’m not giving you any cat! Nelson is mine and I don’t want any reward for him. Your reward was that I saved you from death. You should be satisfied with that. Now go back where you belong!
Leonard didn’t want to upset Mr Buddle, because it was he who rescued him from the ship and took him to the hospital at Plymouth. But, he felt like crying. He had come all this way for nothing. At least Buddle should’ve let him see Timothy. He sat wearily on the bench in front of the lighthouse. He was so angry that he didn’t even want to go back to the hotel. Now it was totally dark outside. The coachman signalled him that it was time to go. Leonard stood up and desperately shouted: “Timothy, Timothy…”. He didn’t hear any response. He thought that maybe the bad captain had tricked him. Maybe he was making fun of him. Maybe his dear Timothy was dead. Maybe this was the price he had to pay for being saved from death. He had bought with him a small barrel of rum as a present to the captain. He got this, and put it in front of the lighthouse door. He still wanted Buddle to know how grateful he was because he had rescued him. He then went inside the coach, and back to the hotel in The Rocks. He didn’t sleep all night. He had had no tact when approaching the captain. He should’ve insisted. He had to see Timothy.
The next day, Leonard woke up in a bad mood and wandered aimlessly around town. In the evening, he got very drunk with some Malaysian sailors. He then returned to the hotel and slept very badly. He had nightmares about Tom Buddle and Timothy. He dreamt of Buddle climbing with Timothy in his arms to the top of the lighthouse and then throwing the cat down from there. He dreamt that he was there also, and tried to catch the falling tomcat. But, as it was night, and the cat’s fur was black, he couldn’t. Then he looked up and saw Buddle doing this again and again.
He woke up in an extremely horrid mood the next morning. He had to do something. He had to make a decision. He had to go back to Tom Buddle’s lighthouse. He had to plead with him again. He had to convince Tom to give him his four-legged friend back, even if he had to pay dearly for this. So, he boarded a ferry that took him to Watson’s Bay. From here, he hired a coach, stuffed it with goodies, and set off for the lighthouse. He arrived at Tom’s house at noon, when the Australian sun made you feel like you were in an oven. He knocked hopefully at the door, but there was no answer this time. He tried to open the door, and, unexpectedly, it opened. Leonard entered the house, which smelt strongly of rum. He shouted out the captain’s name, but there was still no response. He searched through all the other rooms, but still no sign of the captain or Timothy. He went back outside and looked at the lighthouse. He saw that the door was open. He entered and bellowed the captain’s name at the top of his voice. He knew something bad had happened.
There was no answer, but he heard the echo of a meow. Leonard quickly shouted: “Timothy, Timothy” and started to climb the stairs, with a great deal of effort because of his leg brace. He climbed the stairs, one at a time, until he got to the third landing, where he saw the captain unconscious. He smelt very strongly of rum, and looked like he had an accident. Leonard momentarily forgot about Timothy and tried to make Tom get up. He called for the coachman to come up and help him. The coachman heard and ran up the stairwell. The captain opened his eyes a little and started to make choking sounds.
– My heart, my heart…, whispered Buddle.
– What happened, sir? said Leonard.
– My heart, heat, stairs, rum…
– Can I help you with something?
– You again? Leave now! Have you come back for the cat?
– I was just trying to help.
– I’m not giving you anything! Nelson is mine!
The captain lost his consciousness. The coachman, who was quite strong, picked up Buddle like a sack of potatoes and descended down the flight of stairs. But, Leonard climbed up the stairs until he got to the top of the lighthouse. When he opened the door, Timothy jumped into his arms. A tremendous happiness swept over him and he started to cry. Timothy started to purr. Remembering Buddle, he climbed back down the stairs as quickly as he could and went over to the coach. The coachman had already stuffed the captain in the back seat and was ready to go.
They set off at a gallop towards Sydney. The sick captain was making choking and gurgling sounds from time to time. They reached Watson’s Bay, the closest suburb where there was a doctor. They went with Buddle into the clinic, where the doctor said in a content tone, “It is lucky that you bought him here so quickly. He had a heart attack and he has to stay under medical assistance”. Leonard paid the doctor a nice amount of money to take care of the Mr Buddle until he was well again.
After a few days, the doctor at Watson’s Bay transported the patient up to Sydney Hospital. Here, because of the good quality medical assistance, the captain was back on his feet in a short time. Leonard visited him every day, because the hotel he stayed at was very close to the hospital. Leonard even knew one of the nurses there – Florence Nightingale. She was a young English nurse who had come to Australia twelve years ago. She had worked in the sanatorium in London where he stayed and had come here to Sydney to establish the first nursing service in Australia. She liked Australia very much, so much that she even decided to stay permanently here. They became friends easily, mainly because Leonard had just come from England and he had many things to tell her about what was new in London and at the sanatorium. He even told her about the adventure with Timothy, and how he saved his life. Florence was so impressed by all this, that the next day she came to Leonard’s hotel to see the ‘famous’ Timothy. She told him that his friend Captain Buddle couldn’t return to the lighthouse, and that he needed permanent medical assistance.
A few days later, Buddle was feeling better and was allowed to go back home. Leonard went and visited him every day, hiring a coach to take him from The Rocks to South Head. He also took Timothy with him on every visit, much to the delight of the captain, who let the cat sit on his knee the whole time. Slowly-slowly, the two sailors became good friends, and Buddle offered to let Leonard sleep at his house for the night. Leonard wanted to refuse at first, but because he knew that the captain needed medical assistance and he didn’t want to upset him, so he took the cat and went to the lighthouse. They didn’t sleep for the whole night, because they were too busy chatting about their life and adventures. The cat and the sea brought them together. Leonard was very impressed when Buddle called him ‘son’ a few times, reminding him of the kindness of his father. The captain even told him to quit staying at the hotel any more, so that they could live together in the lighthouse. The Romanian, feeling lonely, accepted.
Meanwhile, the Sydney Port Authority had temporarily sent a young sailor to look after the lighthouse, even though the captain and Leonard were still living there. The young man had moved in a small room beside the lighthouse, along with his wife and three children. Captain Buddle was getting angrier by the day, because the children were making heaps of noise, and were always chasing Timothy, trying to pull his tail and throwing stones at him. Buddle, who was enraged by this, went to the Port Authority and told them that he didn’t want to live in the lighthouse anymore, and that he was too old to take care of it. He wanted to move to a place where there was peace and quiet. He wanted to buy a house somewhere near the ocean.
Leonard was also getting ready to go home. Which home? In Br?ila, he had no one. The year was 1877, and the war with the Ottomans had started. He couldn’t go through the Bosporus Strait, because it was controlled by the Turks. He didn’t know what to do. He would’ve gone to London, and then crossed the English Channel to France, from where he would’ve went on land to Romania. But, that journey also seemed dangerous and long. His only friends, Tom, Timothy and Florence, were all here in Sydney.
So, Leonard decided to stay, and together with Tom Buddle, they searched for a nice new home. They saw many beautiful properties. They didn’t worry about the price, as each of them had enough money – Leonard had money from Lloyd insurance, and Tom had received money for superannuating. After all, they found a home on Tamarama Beach, which they bought immediately. The house was very convenient. It was close to the Sydney road and there was lush vegetation, a beautiful panorama and a beach with fine golden sand. They also enjoyed the picturesque Pacific Ocean nearby. The building itself was quite new, and Leonard and Buddle renovated it so that it looked like a boat. Instead of waves, the ‘boat’ was floating on a beautiful sea of grass. In the middle, they even had a mast, where the Romanian and British flags flew side by side.
Every morning, the two men came out of the house very seriously and inspected the crew of the ‘boat’. Buddle, who was fat and white-bearded, was the captain, and Leonard, who was muscular, was just dressed as a simple sailor. Then they both used to give orders loudly, as if they were in a sea battle. The show was quite ridiculous, but amusing and interesting. Their neighbours admired the two very much. The only one who never took them seriously was Timothy-Nelson. For Leonard, he was still the Fat Black Cat. On the contrary, Tom used to always call him Nelson, but sometimes, when other people were watching, the cat was addressed as ’Sir Nelson’, or ’My Admiral’.
Sometimes Tom used to drink too much, and used to report to Nelson as if he had found the officers of the Royal British Navy. To make fun of him, Leonard used to speak as if he was Napoleon, sometimes even putting a hat on that resembled Napoleon’s. With this and his wooden leg, he looked more like a pirate than the man who lost the Battle of Waterloo. This made Tom very angry, because Napoleon was French and he was British. He said that he would take down the enemy flag from the mast. The Australian sun had fadded the yellow in the Romanian flag to look like white, so that it resembled the French flag. So now the French flag was flying next to the British flag. Buddle went up to the mast and cut off the Romanian-now-French flag. This made Leonard very angry, and he put Timothy under his arm and pretended to leave. Of course, they made friends again, and had a feast and a party.
Time passed very quickly, and soon Timothy’s whiskers began to grow grey at the ends, and one day Captain Thomas Buddle passed away. Leonard was full of grief. He had lost his only friend – sorry, I should say, his only human friend. He still had Timothy with him. He buried Buddle in a nearby cemetery, and many times, a black tomcat was sighted near the grave.
The years passed. No one in Sydney, not even in Tamarama, knew anything about The Fat Black Cat and Leonard. But, there still remains a white house in the shape of a boat there. For those who are lucky enough to visit it, they can see on the wall, near the door, a small marble plaque with a sculpture of a steering wheel, a tomcat, and the initials ‘NFBC’. May be… ’Nelson – Fat Black Cat’.
George R. ROCA