February 16th, 2008

In Memory of Helga

Yesterday I lost a dear friend named Helga. Helga and her brother Torquemada were Iliad's official bookstore cats from 1994 to 2006; their real owner was my co-worker Bob, who lived right behind the old store location. When we moved two years ago, Torque and Helga didn't want to suffer the indignity of arriving every morning in cat carriers, so they retired to live at home with Bob.

Sadly Helga passed away yesterday from congestive heart failure. Bob's been very sick with the flu for a week, and was unable to get her into a vet; when Ricky and I finally took her in for him yesterday, it was too late. She died in the lab as they were preparing to drain her lungs.

She was the mellow half of the Torque & Helga team. She always moved with such stately authority that Bob once quipped, "Torque thinks he's a panther, and Helga thinks she's a float in the Rose Parade." But she could also be amazingly agile, and we often found her wedged into tiny spaces or on top of things:

She was always gentle (unlike Torquemada, who could live up to his name, especially with small children), and as she got older she sometimes unexpectedly jumped into my lap when I was working at the computer. Even after Torque and Helga "retired", I used to look forward to Bob's yearly vacations when I'd get to take care of them for two weeks.

I'll miss Helga, although undoubtedly not as much as Torquemada will. She was a lovely little catgirl.