The moment when I knew that Marlin could see ghosts was actually kind of chilling. I got Marlin when he was just a newborn kitten. At that time I had a next-door neighbor named Frank who was quite elderly. Frank was one of those grouchy neighbors who notices everything (the recycling bin that hasn't been pulled up from the curb even though the recycling truck just came) and often yelled at my kids for being too loud when they were bicycling up and down the street.
Well, Frank, it turned out, really, really hated cats. He might have been one of those people who believed that cats were in league with the devil, but for whatever reason Frank thought that tiny, fluffy, squeaky Marlin was the worst thing that had ever happened to our neighborhood
The trouble was that Marlin thought that the grassy spot on Frank's side of the garden fence was the absolutely best place to nap. Several times a week I would hear Frank come stomping down his porch steps to chase Marlin out of his yard.
"Damn cat!" he'd yell. "Scat you damn cat!"
When Frank passed away his house stood empty for months while his children argued over what to do with it. Aha, I thought. Now Marlin can sleep wherever he wants.
Marlin seemed to have the same thought, at first. One day, not long after Frank had died, I watched Marlin slink through the fence between the two yards. I peered over to see him circling round and round in the grassy spot he loved and then settle down for a snooze. Three seconds hadn't gone by before Marlin straightened up, the hair on his back bristling, his eyes big black buttons. Then he looked up, not at me but in the direction of Frank's house. He seemed to recoil as if to avoid a hand or rolled up newspaper, and bolted back through the fence and up onto our porch.
After that final reprimand from the grave, Marlin has never been seen in "Frank's yard," as it's still known even though a perfectly nice family has now moved into the house.
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