Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Cheetah Named Halima

JANICE:  Meet Halima, my new writing partner. I needed a model for a character in my historical novel-in-progress and found Halima at our Whole Foods store. She was sitting on a top shelf, watching everyone that passed by. I stopped. "It's Halima!" I said to Tom.  "And it's your birthday," he said. She leaped down, with the help of an employee, and into our grocery cart. As we wheeled her across the parking lot, Halima attracted a lot of attention and photos.  Now she sits beside me at my desk.

She may not be alive but she is a real presence, with her keen golden eyes. Bringing her alive is my job. Her ears perk when I talk to her, and I can hear her loud purr as I stroke her soft furry head and neck. Sometimes she chirps to call me to my desk. If I don't come she growls. Look at the black "tear marks" that run from the corners of her eyes down the sides of her nose to her mouth. These marks keep sunlight out of her eyes so she can see long distances when she hunts. Halima can run up to 75 miles an hour for a short time to catch her prey. Otherwise, she is content to sit by my side and watch.