By Raymond Palma

When I grew up we had many cats and dogs as kids.  They were inside/outside dogs and cats.  So when I decided to get a cat for myself in my apartment, I decided I would keep it inside only.

My friends alerted me that that their co-work had two litters of cats under their lifted shed.  So I went there with my friends.  I had wanted to get a black cat and I was told there were several black cats.

When we walked up to the shed, the owner of the house went to one side of the shed and used a tool to make a noise so that the two adult cats who gave litter and their kittens, would be scared and would run out from underneath the shed.  When this happened I scurried to try and pick up a black kitten.  They were too fast for me.  I was able to grab a calico colored cat.  It was one of the larger kittens.  But it scratched me very hard and I dropped it.  They kitten didn’t want us near them and certainly didn’t want us to pick them up.

Then, walking out from underneath the shed, came a kitten crying and walking straight-up to me.   It was so weird that all the other cats and kitten ran from me yet this one kitten walked straight-up to me meowing at my feet.  This kitten was tabby-colored.  So I picked it up.  It was calm in my arms.  So I said to myself, this is the one I will take.  In fact, years later when I did research on animals, it said you shouldn’t pick your animals; you should let your animals pick you.  And that is what happened. This kitten picked me.

So when I got back to my friend’s house, I realized it was a boy kitten.  I didn’t have a name picked out.  Later that evening, I drove by another friend’s house, Mark,  as I was heading home.  He wasn’t home, but his younger brother Sal was.  When growing up, Italians would eat scungelli, which are snails.  In most families they would eat very small snails.  So when I was growing my mother would refer to anything that is small scungelli.  So I nick-named my friend Mark’s younger brother Sal, Scungelli.  So Sal, Scungelli, said I should name my new kitten Scungelli, the nickname I gave him.  So that’s what I did.

A few months later, Mark came to my house.  At some point, he looked at my kitten and said in a deep voice, “Scungelli, I am your father.”  It was phase many people attribute to the famous phase in Star Wars when Dark Vander reveals himself to Luke Skywalker that he is his father.  It was a strange, yet funny statement that Mark said to my kitten.  Weeks, later, Mark sister Jen came to my apartment.  At some point, Jen looked down at kitten and said, “Scungelli, I am your father”,  in the same tone and manner that her brother Mark stated to my cat weeks before.  I was bewildered that both Mark and his sister Jen would both make that Star Wars reference to my kitten.  I told her, in fact, that her brother made the same statement to my kitten.

My kitten Scungelli was your typical rambunctious kitten.  Playing with things he shouldn’t, climbing on things he shouldn’t.  One of the things he would do is that when I was using my laptop on my coffee table, he would run across the keyboard.  For reasons I didn’t understand myself, one of the times when he ran across my keyboard, I decided to hit the enter key.  When Scungelli ran across the keyboard, a scattering of numbers and letters that his paws hit appeared in the search engine.  And when I saw those numbers and letters, for reasons I don’t understand, I decided to hit the enter key.  What happened is that the search engine began to search for things related to the numbers and letters that were in the search bar when I hit enter.

This is the picture of what happened on my screen from my kitten hitting random numbers and letters and me hitting the enter key.

                       [88YYi 88888888888888888888888888]
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       ,oooo888 ooo   88888778888^7777ooooo7777^8887788888        ,o88^^^^888oo
    o8888777788[];78 88888888888888888888888888888888888887 7;8^ 888888888oo^88
   o888888iii788 ]; o 78888887788788888^;;^888878877888887 o7;[]88888888888888o
   88888877 ii78[]8;7o 7888878^ ^8788^;;;;;;^878^ ^878877 o7;8 ]878888888888888
  [88888888887888 87;7oo 777888o8888^;ii;;ii;^888o87777 oo7;7[]8778888888888888
 o88888888888888 877;7877788777iiiiiii;;;;;iiiiiiiii77877i;78] 88877i;788888888
 88^;iiii^88888 o87;78888888888888888888888888888888888887;778] 88877ii;7788888
;;;iiiii7iiii^  87;;888888888888888888888888888888888888887;778] 888777ii;78888
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                 [87;i8 7888888888888887 ^^^^   87ii77888888 78888888888
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                 87;788 7888888888888887i]      87i78888888 788888888888
                [87;88 778888888888888887       7ii78888888 788888888888
                87;;88 78888888888888887]       ii778888888 78888888888]
                7;;788 7888888888888888]        i7888888888 78888888888'
                7;;788 7888888888888888         'i788888888 78888888888
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                '7;788 778888888888888]         [788888888 78888888888'
                ';77888 78888888888888          8888888888 7888888888]
                 778888 78888888888888          8888888888 7888888888]
                  78888 7888888888888]         [8888888888 7888888888
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                   [877;i77888888888]          [;78887i8888878i7888;
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                          ,7;78888888          [;;i788888 7888888888]
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                          ;788888888]           i77888888 788888888]
                          ';88888888'           [77888888 788888888]
                           [[8ooo88]             78888888 788888888
                            [88888]              78888888 788888888
                              ^^^                [7888888 77888888]
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                                                 87778^^^ ^^^^87778
                                                  ^^^^ o777777o ^^^
                   Imperial Stormtrooper       [i77888888^^^^8888877i]
                  (Standard Shock Trooper)     77888^oooo8888oooo^8887]
                       Bob VanderClay           iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii



At first, I couldn’t ascertain what the art picture was.  Thenwhen I scrolled-down and when I read the caption under the art, I realized it was an ascii art, computer-art created by using numbers and letters.  What it was an ascii art picture of a an Imperial Stormtrooper from Star Wars.  At first I just looked at the art work, then moments later, I recalled the words that Mark and Jen stated to my kitten, “Scungelli, I am your father.” My eyes and mouth opened wide!  I was in shock!

What is the coincidence that first, my friend and then his sister would make the same bizarre Star Wars reference to my kitten, but then my kitten would run across my laptop keyboard and for some unknown reason I hit the enter key and an Imperial Stormtrooper appeared!

After telling many people the story and thinking about it, I began to become upset.  I felt that Mark and Jen saying to Scungelli that “I am your father”, meant that Dark Vander was his father.  And proof was that the Imperial Stormtrooper appeared.  So I guess that meant that I was Dark Vader since I was Scungelli’s father?  I always felt I was a decent guy who liked to help other people.

Scungelli was an incredible cat.  He was more like a dog – very friendly and outgoing.  And when he died, I printed out a picture of the ascii art Imperial Stormtrooper and I put it in paper protection and I buried him with it along with his bowls for food and water and with his cat brush and rug from his scratching post.

What does my cat Scungelli and the strange Star Wars connection story have in my life?  I have yet to realize it.