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Mrs. Phossy and the Cats of Pfaff
10-17-2018, 12:55 PM (This post was last modified: 02-09-2021 01:54 PM by Maxwell Grantly.)
Post: #1
Video Mrs. Phossy and the Cats of Pfaff
[Image: attachment.php?aid=4953]

Mrs. Phossy worked at the local match-making factory in Pfaff, dipping tiny shivers of wood into the vats of phosphorus to make matches for the rich folk in town. It was a dirty and dangerous job and many of the other ladies who worked at the Bryant & May match factory rarely lived into their later years. Still, four shillings a day was four times as much as she might earn by sweeping the crossings in the town and, thankfully she thought, she hadn’t to stand outside in all weathers on some street corner in the hope of getting a meagre wage from the passers-by. Very importantly, she explained to those who asked her why she took such a dreadful job, she owned a beautiful tabby cat and couldn’t bear the thought of allowing him to starve on the streets.

Mrs. Phossy may have had heaps of troubles but these were nothing to what was to happen the day after Tabby followed her to work. If only she had looked over her shoulder. If only she had glanced down to her feet.

“If only, if only,” she would later one day chide herself but, by the time she found out that Tabby had followed her into the Bryant & May match factory, it was too late.

“I can’t risk getting the sack,” she muttered under her breath, “if I return home, to lead Tabby back.”

And so, Mrs. Phossy hid her treasured pet beneath the bundle of ladies’ coats and capes that were amassed at the side of the factory.

At first Tabby was quite content to snooze in the warm of the snug pile of clothing and simply allow the seconds to drift past. However, the seconds turned to minutes and the minutes turned to hours and, by the time the hours were becoming a day, Tabby decided that enough was enough and it was time for him to wake up and explore his new settings.

Mrs. Phossy and the other match girls were all busy at their labours and they had their backs turned towards the mischievous cat. This meant that Tabby was free to explore without restriction and it wasn’t long before he accidently dipped his paws into the nearest vat, to determine what was festering inside.

Had Tabby been able to read, had Tabby been able to determine the contents of the vat, he wouldn’t have been so keen to stick his paws in the most unfortunate container in the factory: the newly formulated non-phosphorus formula of match-striking compound. However, cats are cats and Tabby knew no better: instantly the tips of each and every claw of Tabby’s paw were covered in the tiniest amount of the highly reactive compound.

Thankfully for the fate of Tabby (and the narrative of this story too) the factory’s bell happened to declare the end of the working day at the precise moment that the tips of his claw made contact with the match-making compound. The shock of the bell’s ringing caused Tabby to immediately withdraw his claws and jump down, back onto the bundle of clothing. At that precise moment, each and every match girl turned around in unison and headed towards the bundle of clothing to coat themselves as protection from the cold, before heading home for the evening. Mrs. Phossy pushed her way to the front of the crowd and scooped Tabby up in her arms, before anyone could complain or mutter their annoyance at having a strange cat inside the factory.

You may or may not be aware of the physical characteristics of a cat. Perhaps you already know this remarkable fact: cat claws are retractable! A cat is able to extend and withdraw their claws at will. If they are content and relaxed, their claw will draw into their paws. If they are scared or aggressive their claws will protrude out, ready to scratch and claw any attacker. As Mrs. Phossy picked up Tabby, the cat immediately relaxed into her arms and so Mrs. Phossy never realised that the tip of each claw was covered with a tiny amount of match-making compound. This was such an unfortunate shame, for if she had of realised, she would have never have been so keen to take the cat up into her arms. Hidden to her, on the tip of each claw, the reactive compound began to simmer and ferment. You may guess, it could only be a matter of time before the most unfortunate outcome was to occur.

The second unfortunate disaster to befall Mrs. Phossy occurred when Flash Harry, the local spiv, met the match girls as they left the factory. Instantly he took a shine to one of Mrs. Phossy’s work colleagues and he sidled up to Mrs. Phossy and whispered discretely into her ear.

“What have you been up to all day,” he murmured under his breath to Mrs. Phossy.

He was keen to establish a conversation with the girls so that he might try his luck at asking his favourite one out on a date.

“Match-making,” replied Mrs. Phossy. “Just match-making.”

Flash Harry’s head began to spin and his heart began to flutter.

“If Mrs. Phossy was pairing up men and women all day,” he thought to himself, “then she would be the perfect person to establish a report, in order to date the young lady of his dreams. Flash Harry glanced over Mrs. Phossy’s shoulder and he twinkled a sly wink at one of her work colleagues. An embarrassed smile was given in return.

Now, for what Flash Harry had in dashing good looks, he lacked in intellect. His poor knowledge of the industrial processes of the adjacent factory had misled him to think that Mrs. Phossy was a match-maker of people: someone who helped men and women get together to form husband and wife partnerships. He never realised that the local factory was an industrial complex for the manufacture of matchsticks!

As was said, what he lacked in intelligence, he made up for in dashing good looks. The fact that he was incredibly handsome should lead you to deduce that he was also incredibly stupid.

Tabby, from safe within Mrs. Phossy’s arms, looked up at the handsome young man. At once Tabby detected Flash Harry’s stupidity and the shackles of the cat began to twitch. Instinctively the hair on the back of Tabby began to rise and the very slightest tip of each claw began to quiver from deep within his paws. As the cat surveyed the interaction between Mrs. Phossy and the young man, the reactive compound upon each claw began to gently spark and fester. A tingling sensation played on Mrs. Phossy's arm and she dropped Tabby to the ground.

“It must be pins and needles!” she exclaimed aloud. “That cat must be heavier than I thought!”

Flash Harry looked down at the cat and he saw his opportunity to impress the gang of ladies. He stepped towards Tabby and bent down, to try and pick the cat up.

Instinctively, Tabby edged backwards a few steps and then turned and scarpered away.

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“Don’t worry, ladies,” beamed Flash Harry. “I’ll rescue the cat!”

In his imagination, Flash Harry imagined the ladies wooing at his chivalrous deeds. He pictured himself holding the stray animal to his manly chest and offering it outwards to the match-maker: Mrs. Phossy. At the same time, he thought to himself, the other factory workers would coo and beam at his heroic deeds.

“Yes,” he thought to himself, this will be the ideal opportunity to impress the gang and sidle up closer to the lady of his dreams. All he had to do was to retrieve the cat and return it to Mrs. Phossy.

Meanwhile, Tabby darted off and squeezed through a doorway marked “Mr. Lenz’s Woodwork Store.”

“Don’t fret, ladies,” he called back to the gang. “Just give me a few minutes and I’ll rescue the cat for you.”

“Come on, Lizzy,” mumbled one of the gang, “Let’s go into the gin palace while we are waiting. I fancy a jar of something to whet the palate!”

“You girls go ahead,” called Mrs. Phossy to the departing gang, “I’ll wait here for Flash Harry and then I’ll join you later. I’m sure he won’t be long.”

The gang of match girls departed into the adjoining gin palace and Mrs. Phossy stayed waiting on the street, near to the woodwork store. She was tired, after a hard day’s work, and didn’t want to go chasing around an empty woodwork store all evening! She’d let the young man retrieve her pet and then the two of them could rejoin her friends, within the gin palace.

Inside Mr. Lenz’s woodwork store, Tabby had begun to explore his new surroundings. Stacked up against each wall, Mr. Lenz had left planks of wood. The store smelt deliciously of the aroma of seasoned wood. Tabby edged closer.

As Tabby grew closer to the upright planks, his snout became filled with the delights of the wood and his claws began to twitch from deep within their sheaves. How he would love to draw his talons down across the fresh virgin surface of the wood! Tabby yearned and hankered, just one scratch would satisfy his lust for clawing at the bare wooden surface. The temptation grew and grew and the clawing desire filled his entire being. He simply had to just scratch that wood!

Tabby raised his foot against the leaning timbers and, to the satisfaction of his catty being, he ran his claws down deeply through the virgin timber. Again and again, he pulled his claws down the tempting lumber: here against the near wall and there against the far side. He drove his claws deep into the beckoning timber: first in one pile and then in another. He satisfied his natural feline urgings: in large piles and in small. Within seconds there wasn’t one single plank of wood left, without the imprint of Tabby's claws etched within its surface.

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You may recall from earlier, Tabby’s claws were unlike a normal cat’s claws: Tabby’s claws had been festering with a reactive compound of match-making chemicals. Each and every single scratch that had been driven into the collection of wood began to smoulder and smoke, like dried tinder beneath a magnifying glass in bright sunshine. By the time that Flash Harry had stepped into the wood works, the interior of the store was filled with clouds of smoke from the burning timbers.

You may also recall from earlier that Flash Harry had less intelligence than a rubber spoon in a cabinet of sharp cutlery. He was hardly “the sharpest knife in the drawer.”

“Good grief!” he exclaimed, as he spied the growing clouds of fresh wood smoke. “The cat has ventured into a fish-curing works …”

Flash Harry craned his head upwards, through the bellowing clouds of smoke, towards the bare ceiling.

“ … and worse of all,” he muttered in his stupidity, “it’s eaten all the fish!”

(To be continued.)

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 Thanks given by: Ivy Norsk , BessTudor Resident , AstridSolace Resident , nekogao Resident , DarkenedCharli Resident , Fennet Resident
12-28-2020, 12:17 AM
Post: #2
RE: Mrs. Phossy and the Cats of Pfaff
I'd like to hear more!
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 Thanks given by: Maxwell Grantly
02-09-2021, 01:53 PM (This post was last modified: 05-08-2023 08:12 AM by Maxwell Grantly.)
Post: #3
RE: Mrs. Phossy and the Cats of Pfaff
(Note: my apologies for the lack of pictures for the second part of this story: I no longer own Tabby the cat and the sim of Pfaffenthal is no longer present within Second Life. Therefore, any reader is invited to create their own interpretation of an accompanying images to this story and post it, as a reply, below.)

Harry turned towards the door and, with heart a-pounding and arms a-waving. He ran to the exit and bellowed out to Mrs. Phossy, who was standing there, “Your cat’s over-eaten!”

Perhaps the moment was confused by the mayhem of the instant or perhaps the call was garbled by the stupidity of those present but Mrs. Phossy tried to make sense of the mangled noise that she heard and she repeated, in her uncertainty, “What? My cat's over-heating?”

“Indeed,” repeated Flash Harry, “but don’t you worry - I’ll save the day!”

With that, he rushed into the adjacent gin palace and sprinted up to the bar. Along the counter were a row of glass tumblers, each filled to the brim with shots of neat gin.

“The cat’s over-heating!” he repeated to the bar’s bystanders, with a brief shout.

You may or may not realise this but gin is a liquid, just like water, Gin is colourless, just like water. Gin is transparent, just like water. In fact, at first glance a tumbler of gin might easily be confused with a tumbler of water, especially if you had as little intellect as Flash Harry. You may not need reminding, he had enough intelligence to pass through the eye of a needle and still have room for the accompanying camel.

Despite the confused looks of all those around him, Harry swept his arms around the glasses and gathered all of the gin tumblers up in one motion. Then, he dashed out into the street and he returned to the smouldering wood store.

“Leave it to me!” Harry bellowed to Mrs. Phossy, “I’ll save the day!”

With that, he threw the entire contents of the tumblers through the open doors and into the smoking interior, just as the other occupants of the gin palace stepped out into the street to see what all the commotion was about

Although gin is a liquid (like water), gin is colourless (like water), gin is transparent (like water) gin is actually highly inflammable (most unlike water.) As soon as the gin touched the tongues of the smouldering wood, the wood ignited with a gigantic whoosh and the whole wood store interior bellowed into a mass of flames.

This also happened to be the very instant that Mr. Lenz, the wood store owner, arrived at the scene. Instantly, he removed a spotted handkerchief from his pocket and, with a trembling hand, he began to mop his brow.

“This is all very serious,” he nervously muttered, beneath his breath. “The woodwork store was merely a cover for my true business. I fear the consequences may be most dire.”

Mrs. Phossy, Flash Harry and the others turned to face the new arrival, as Mr Lenz continued with his anxious confession.

“It’s rather late to admit this,” continued Mr. Lenz, with beads of perspiration erupting from his brow, like an overflowing bathtub, “but the store was being used to conceal an illegal firework-storing venture, in the attic. We have but a few seconds and then this town shall be no more. I’m afraid that there is nothing that we can do.”

The crowd stood there, open-mouthed and gazed blindly in panic. In an instant, Flash Harry turned and re-entered the burning building. Once inside, he took a deep breath and hollowed out with all of his might.

“The place is full of fireworks and we have just seconds. If they all burn at once, this town will be obliterated!”

Tabby looked up, from the floor of the wood store. He didn’t want the building to burn. He didn’t want the town to burn. But worse of all, he didn’t want his mistress (the kind and caring Mrs Phossy) to burn. He knew exactly what he should do.

All at once, Tabby dashed off through the flaming timbers and towards the staircase. He bounded up the stairs, with his claws protruding in excitement, leaving a trail of sparks in his wake. He arrived in the attic, just as the flames were beginning to lick their way through the timbers of the floor. Tabby saw a series of ten adjacent crates, with the words ‘Danger – Fireworks!” banded across the outside of each and he leapt to the top of the first box, where a finger of blue paper protruded from the lid. With one stroke he drew his claws across the blue paper and then he leapt to the second crate, where he repeated the process. One by one, in just ten seconds, he had leapt to each crate in turn and ignited the contents of each, with a single swipe of his claws. Finally, he turned and began to race down the attic stairs.

Meanwhile Flash Harry had collapsed upon the floor. Unbeknown to Tabby, when Flash Harry had entered the building, just a few seconds earlier, he had taken one deep breath and inhaled a lung full of smoke, as he had bellowed out his warning. The unconscious body of Flash Harry lay exactly where he had fallen, at the very entrance to the wood store. Without a moment to lose, Tabby took one enormous bound and landed upon the shoulders of the delirious man. Tabby extracted his claw and squeezed as hard as he could. There was a single scream and Flash Harry jumped up in pain and darted straight out of the burning building, with Tabby the cat still embedded into his shoulders. At that moment, the first crate of fireworks exploded. There was one-second pause and then the second crate of fireworks exploded. One-by-one, in one-second intervals, the ten crates of fireworks exploded in sequence.

Had the fireworks all exploded together, at once, the effect would have been sufficient to demolish the building, the whole street and (very likely) the town too. However, by exploding one at a time, each explosion was only one tenth as powerful as the effect of the combination discharging together. The result was that the combination was merely a crescendo of ten smaller explosions in succession instead of one mammoth devastating fireball.

Flash Harry fell into the arms of one of the match-making girls, just as the town’s fire brigade arrived at the scene, with their bells a-ringing. Harry was delirious with pain and he was still concussed, due to the effects of the gin and smoke fumes.

“Will you marry me?” he fumbled out in his delirious confusion.

Carried away with the excitement of the moment, with the cheers of the crowd and with the firemen’s bell still sounding in the air (perhaps mistaken in the minds of those present for the sound of a wedding bell) the reply was an instant, “Yes!” The crowd gave another hearty cheer, punctuated by the sound of a click as a handcuff snapped around the wrists of Mr. Lenz. Mrs. Phossy looked down at her cat and smiled and Flash Harry slipped a silver guinea into her hand.

“You’ve found me my perfect darling and I shall forever be grateful,” he managed to exclaim, through the grimace of pain and the fog of concussion.

“Today has indeed been a most eventful day,” she murmured in reply “and I think that match-making must be the most rewarding job ever!”

She was, of course, referring to the coupling of Flash Harry and the matchmaking girl and, from that moment on, Mrs. Phossy never did return to the monotony of working at the Bryant & May match-making factory. Instead she went on to perform many other unbelievable acts of matchmaking between the town’s handsome men and other workers from the Bryant and May factory. Each and every time she found the perfect match, she was rewarded by a silver guinea. A silver guinea is not a lot but you can certainly buy a great deal of fish with a single guinea and that is exactly what she did. Tabby loved fish!

You’ll never believe her many episodes of matchmaking!

You won’t believe the incredible story of how Tabby ate a slice of festering cheese and developed an acute case of squeaky wind that resulted in the saving of Mr. Goosling’s cart full of geese eggs. (This also resulted in the most romantic pairing of Mr. Gossling and one of the match girls.)

You would only swoon if you heard the remarkable story of how Tabby got his head caught in the town hall railings, which led to the local bricklayer, Mr. Brickett, acquiring a contract to replace all the railings in the town with brick walls. (This also resulted in another romantic pairing of Mr. Brickett and another matchmaker girl.)

I doubt whether you would ever comprehend how an incident involving Tabby falling down a disused water well resulted in him acquiring a set of glow-in-the dark teeth or how this incident led to the rescue of the local undertaker’s business. (This too, as you might guess, led to another pairing: Mr Woodybox, the undertaker, and another match girl.)

One-by-one each of the ladies who worked at Bryant & May’s found their perfect true love and the population of the town of Pfaff began to soar. The streets of the town began to fill with the sounds of childhood laughter, happy families and contented couples. All, that is, except for one single person: Mrs. Phossy. She never did pair herself with a man, for she had already found her true perfect love: the loyal affection of her dearest kitten: Tabby.

Mrs. Phossy went on to thrive in the fellowship of her friends and the over-whelming affection of her pet kitten and, as for Tabby (with fish purchased from all those silver guineas) he never had it so good!

Aside: "But, what about the remnants of the match-making compound, left upon Tabby's claws?" you might ask?

It would be correct to state that no one ever found out that it was actually Tabby who had started the fire at Mr. Lenz's wood (and illegal firework) store or how, later the following year, it was Tabby who had contributed to the popularity (and eventual demise) of the annual Fire-Fighters' and Pfaff Insurers' Joint Fancy-Dress Ball. But that's another story and you don't really want me to go into that, do you?

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 Thanks given by: Fennet Resident
10-26-2022, 09:26 PM
Post: #4
RE: Mrs. Phossy and the Cats of Pfaff
Very funny story, and it started off so scary I thought it was going to turn out to be a Halloween horror story.
(Of course, yours was kind of an old post and I'm writing my reply at Halloween time, but I digress.)
At any rate, I enjoyed it a lot and wish you'd been able to embellish the second half with pictures of your beautiful cat as well as the first.

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