the nine lives of the cat man

a work of fiction by: vickie taylor
super rock awards magazine - fall 1979

you all know that a cat has nine lives!
part of the reason for peter criss' "cat man" costume
may be his multitude of lives!
here's the inside story!

peter criss did'nt dub himself the "cat man" for nothing. some of it has to do with the character traits usually associated with that animal - wisdom, independence, mystery and evil. peter saw these same traits in himself, and felt that the cat costume was therefore an appropriate metaphor for his own character. another aspect is the humorous nature of a cat mask, and doubtless peter had the humorous element in mind as well when he fashioned his mask of makeup. there is something playful about peter's looks, just as there is something playful about your kitten at home. this also stands in a stark contrast of down-to-earth familiarity in comparison with the demonic gene simmons, the star-struck paul stanley, or the space cadet ace frehley. unlike the others, peter has made up as a man who knows just where he stands - the sensible, aloof mask of the feline.

but there is yet another cat aspect that is not immediately apparent: the nine lives that the felis domesticus is proverbially said to possess. has peter criss had nine lives? that question might well be on the tip of many a fans tongue (sorry, simmons fans - no pun intended). the answer may surprise you.

peter recently went to a clairvoyant to have the mysterious questions of his past and future answered. the main one was this: had he other lives? would he have further adventures after this one?

the fortune teller did not have to look long into her crystal ball. she became very excited all at once. "you are a cat!" she cried, staring into the haze inside. "you have had many lives - and the full nine are not yet done!"

peter was fascinated, of course. "really?! tell me in detail!" the mystic was mesmerised, and quickly began her revelations.

"you first existed back in the dawn of mankind - five, perhaps six thousand years pre-christ," she explained. "at that time, you were a primitive catlike creature - half feline, half homo sapien. as you developed a more and more manlike brain, you sought amusements in your leisure, when you were not hunting or finding food. you stretched animal skins in your cave and soon found that, besides providing clothing and shelter, they could be stretched over bowls to form poundable hollow instruments. thus you became the first drummer.

"in your second life," the mystic continued, "you were cleopatra's personal pet, a royal feline to the throne of egypt. oh, what pleasures were yours then! all the ladies of the court petted and pampered you. many female felines visited the court to pay their respects. you had every dainty dish a cat could desire to eat - fresh cream every morning, tuna fish caught for your dinner, and all served by a swarm of attendants who looked after you. when you died, cleopatra truly mourned you, and had a sphinx erected in your honor."

peter was equally mesmerised. "amazing! what next?"

"in your next life," the gypsy replied, "you were court cat to king henry viii. because, catlike, you were silent and aloof, you were privy to many scenes that would have scandalized englishmen - the weddings, the divorces, the affairs with other henry was a busy old goat." the gypsy cackled gleefully at this.

"but onward! in your next life, still in england, you were wandering the streets of london when you were befriended by a young man named dick whittington. when dick, a common slave gave you to his master to mascot him on an overseas voyage, you were sold to islanders overseas for more riches than all the man's mansion. when he returned from his travels, the resultant riches made poor dick a very wealthy man - and in time, he was elected london's lord mayor as a result."

peter could'nt believe it. "wow! really?"

"that is'nt all of it," continued the mystic. "you were a stray cat on the streets of new york in the days of tammany hall. corrupt politicians walked by narrowly missing you, and you heard all their conversations about the illicit graft of the new york governing system. it was but a short leap from that life to your birth to the crisscoulas of brooklyn, and your subsequent putting on a cat mask as a member of kiss."

"gee, up to the present already?" peter was reluctant to leave the story so soon.

"you have'nt had nine lives yet!", the gypsy replied. "the present merely marks your sixth. i the future, there will be even more miraculous things!"

"that's the best part," peter said breathlessly. "tell me about them."

"you may well have a life on another planet," the clairvoyant intoned, squinting into the smoke in her crystal ball. "you could be the first cat sent to the moon - or even the first of a larger breed of the species sent to another planet. a leopard on mars, maybe. it is not too clear yet."

"and the ninth life?" peter pressed on.

"it is not too clear. there is too much, my, how dim it's getting!" and indeed, the smoke inside the ball was already settling. "it is not good to look too far into the future...we have seen so much of your past! it is up to you face your fate."

so you see, peter really was a cat. as for the future, who knows? right now, peter's having the life of his time, though, as the cat man of kiss.

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