George Hansen was a tax man. Now a certified public accountant, Hansen finds himself, in his later years, writing short stories from the perspective of his feral cats.
The jump from the linear logic of tax law to the more creative endeavor of fiction writing was explained, on Wednesday, with a simple, "There's been a lot that's happened since then."
The jump seems more logical, and less fanciful, when one takes into account that the stories are technically not fiction.
"The story itself is true," Hansen said. Only the perspective used qualifies the work as fiction.
"Feral Chronicle I" is a two-page piece that outlines the discovery of four feral kittens underneath Hansen's deck by his grandchildren.
Hansen and his wife, Toni, rescued the kittens in April 2007, nourished and neutered them, and in August 2007, set them free into the Hansen's forested backyard.
Ferals abound in the area, and Hansen noted that the trap, neuter, return (TNR) method reliably manages the population.
The four ferals in "Feral Chronicle I" comprise the only four lucky enough to enter the Hansen family.
"I don't, and my wife doesn't, discourage them (the others) from coming," Hansen said. "They just did not get the intimate familial relationship, if you will."
Hansen wrote the first chronicle over five days, and said his original inclination was to provide amusement for a friend -- though feline fondness indubitably influenced him.
"The primary reason I chose the topic is because I love my critters. It's as simple as that," Hansen said.
In a world of tax deviants and loopholes, ferals offer Hansen sublime comfort.
"It's just something that we found to be wholesome and good," he said.
The piece has since circulated to friends who asked for copies. Those friends sent copies to their friends, who e-mailed Hansen to marvel at his story.
The plaudits have filtered in from around the nation, Hansen said.
"I recall our first bowl of fortified milk," Hansen writes, from a cat's viewpoint. "None of us knew how to attack it.
"The bowl had no nipples, so we followed one another's lead and started biting the milk... I don't recall which one of us happened on the tongue-lapping technique.
"But it was akin to the invention of the wheel, and we have been fat and sassy since."
Such is the story of "Feral Chronicle I."
The second chronicle, if Hansen writes one, shall carry the title, "Feral Emancipation Day."
Though unsure of whether he will publish the tale, Hansen said he would like it if the stories could provide profit for either the Payson Humane Society or Friends of Ferals.
He's "not looking at this for commercial exploitation."
Two of Hansen's ferals eventually went missing. (Though the felines had the forest to themselves, they would return for food and love.)
One cat has since returned. But the other has now been away for 26 days, as of Wednesday. Hansen can only speculate on his cat's fate. Could be a coyote. Could be a "two-legged predator."
"Some people shoot them," Hansen said. "I don't understand the motivation because I can get into a cat's mind easier than I can get into the hate-mongering-against-animals (mind)."
Perhaps it's a more pleasurable place to be.