i feel your pain. i feel your fright. i am here to make right. you delight, i alright. you are hungry, i am food. you are thirsty, i am god. curl up sound without a sound. four legs low to the earth. animals we, miracle birth. do not cry. do not speak. i understand each to each. scamper on, life so pure. don't mind me, i inure. everyday, heart to fill. private world, secret unspill.
yesterday was my birthday. i don't celebrate my birthday anymore. not like i used to. i don't think about myself anymore. i don't think in terms of cake. i'm no longer a leech sucking off the next nearest available plant. i have them to thank for that. it is a blessing.
my apartment is small but i pay it no mind. the one thing i made sure of was that it was pet-friendly. or rather it was a human-friendly pet area. i looked past the leaky roof and the dryer on fire. i'm not good with people so the guy had to repeat the conditions to me five times. i tend to mumble around two-legs. he still doesn't know if i signed on yet! heehee. i pawed the dotted line paper away without my reading glasses, which my cat stepped on. relax, man, order that carre d'agneau crown roast at the market tonight at 1AM the only time you could squeeze in for non-work matters, enjoy it with your family before they're gone and you grind yourself to death. i agreed. i enjoy my family. prolly wasn't until he got a call from the bank. heehee. my deposit went through thanks to my sister, thank her for your sigh.
it's gotta have a lawn, too, natch. today is a very sad day for me, i'm slithering across my new backyard the way Kiss would have. i'm on my back with all fours pointing straight up to the gray clouds. i mew in anticipation of a new scent she might have picked up in the middle of the night. i call out to her through my tears but both my throat and ducts have long since dried up. not out of will but out of nature. it was the Master i know it. i dare not speak his name. again. standing there all black and brooding in the middle of your field. and then of course his dark magic takes effect and your precious will to live is snatched under cover of night where only he dwells. both disappear from your sight but not your memory. i don't treat them like toys. you can't just get another one. i'd as soon get another me from the factory.
i hate the word pet. i try not to pet their heads. i try not to be condescending like that. but it's hard. they're so cute. it's such a damn reflex. this stuff gets hardwired into your young brain from Sesame Street and shit. this is tv's fault. i was watching the annual ASPCA telethon which interrupted my baseball game last year. it's funny when they said this was the 5th Annual, never noticed it before. guess i wasn't old enough to be a man. for i sure did notice the hostess this time. mmmmmm, Olga. that Olga with her Russian charms spilling out her worn khakis and Duluth Trading blue shirt with extra-long tail, gotta have that insurance in case the cameraman decides to get pervy with the angles. wow, sex even sells decency. it struck me this time for some reason, those helpless faces in cages. i couldn't wait for my sister to get back from work. work? work?! work's not important, cats are!
it took fucking four buses and four fucking hours to snake around what would have been a leisurely fifteen-minute drive in my sister's lincoln towncar with the gullwing doors up the hill to the vet. the vet on the hill. the first thing that hits you when you get there is how cold it all is. actually, no, the horse smell hits first. poor ponies. i didn't even want to look at the condition of those stink-filled stables. i was growing compassion right before my eyes. thank god, nothing else triggered me. even the hills further back are cold, tired from holding all the rainwater in their basin hats. i reached a sterile building and didn't know what the hell i was doing. was i qualified for this? was i enough of a human to care for another soul? i had forsaken my man card years ago but at least my membership in the animal kingdom wasn't in arrears. as long as i kept paying my dues.
first thing i see is a monk zooming past the security gate. the clerk nurse of course tells him "sir, that is a restricted zone, you can't go in there" like in every movie. too much media. our lives have become scripts, haven't they? this monk, i believe they called him Codependent or something, was a badass, he was a superhero with a shimmering garb and Lex Luthor head and shiny Mr. T medallion. it's like he was my magician, no my magic man, come to steer me in another direction. another world. imagine if i hadn't been there at that right spot at that right time.
monk: kid, hold Kiss for me, i gotta go fix something in the universe. she's yours now, her brother is with the aunts.
me: the ants? i see, god rest his soul.
monk: no, he's with the aunts, call them to see if they're home first then reunite them. don't break into their house, they hate that. these cats are brother and sister, i know it. not by blood, by chance. i hate broken homes. family is all. it's better this way, i hate drawn-out goodbyes.
he never came back. and he never left me the aunts' number. i hope the brother eventually reunited with his sister. they are undoubtedly reunited at this point. now if i told you i saw the monk exit the office, leap over the stables potato-rucksack cape flopping in the wind, and fly directly into the sun, would you call me crazy? don't answer that. well that's what i saw. but then again i had him pegged for a superhero the moment i laid eyes on him.
so i filled out all the paperwork. or the nurse filled it out for me. i hate paperwork. i hate signing things. i don't want a record of myself. i just want to play.
and yes i made sure to choose the cute girl volunteer to give Kiss her first flea bath. and yes i was in the room the whole time staring at her butt in jeans, too shy to look directly at the beauty of her face. she would make small talk with her confident vet-in-training knowledgeable voice and i'd just look down. hey give me some credit, i saw those cute boots she was wearing, too, i gave them some shine in my mind.
when Kiss died, i did, too. or when she poofed into thin air. forever. i didn't know what to do with myself. my belief in all was shattered. but i was determined about one thing, the only thing i've ever been determined about: i would not go one fucking day without a cat. i could not endure a catless day, for that was an unconditional-loveless day. i took a short nap and dreamt about having a little critter moving around inside a soft down blanket with spinning-top weaves by my side under my comforter in my bed as i watched Total Blackout on Syfy at 10:30PM. Jaleel White is a pimp. yes, i could not enjoy Jaleel anymore if i wasn't cowatching with my new furbaby. i would forsake Family Matters forever. no more reality tv for this bub. no more tv. how could i enjoy anything again without a four-legs? there was a hole by my side.
so i just did it. i didn't make excuses like i usually do. the bus ride, uh, rides, were shit as usual but i returned to the ASPCA center to get myself a new companion the same day of the funeral. it's like ordering one of those online Russian brides but way cleaner. y'know i never thought to buy an animal. adopt, don't shop. i'm not sure whether that comes out of my generosity or another slogan on tv. probably tv.
any girls were out so i found myself at the door of the dude vet. i entered to find him in a preppy shirt with a horse on it and no coat slumped over on the exam table white paper roll, steadying himself from licking the floor with his hand in the tongue-depressor jar.
me: uh, the vet on the hill?
vet (mumbled through the paper): yes?
me: you're not what i expected. you seem young. i like your crew cut, though, nice and trim, you don't see that style anymore in my generation. i appreciate the nondyed sandy dirty brown nowadays. anyway i went to the glass area and encased myself playing with a few kittens. i was all set to get the teeny tiny black-and-white spotted one that was so small i was worried i'd step on it when Emilio the racehorse came in. this cat took center stage, ran around the pen five times burning off his excess energy and attacked the mouse-on-a-steel-spring toy with such baby ferocity it broke all the circles in half. he couldn't be ignored. i called my sister and she said she fell in love with his hands. i'm dubbing him Trinity. came to me in my nap. he looks like a tiger...oh snap, damn, oh well, too late, i already signed the name page.
vet: is that the one who's so big the nurses aren't sure how old he is exactly? like it could be a Little League situation where the team's star pitcher is 30 years old but has a babyface? why do you want a cat? they just die in the end. they're too much trouble. they pee everywhere and scratch your eyeballs out and never listen. they get into your stuff and scratch up your final divorce notice papers and your dismissal from the military and contaminate every faucet you have with their filthy tongues. see my two water bottles at the ready on my belt here? yeah, let them try something, i got an answer for their attacks.
i pet the vet's head.
me: orange tabby. dull. he's not dull, his orange is. i've never once thought in terms of counterattack. never in my life. whenever i got hit, i just took it silently. i understand your frustration. the Master is a menace, his black coat isn't the only thing that's black. his magic is, too. i don't want to think about the horror my poor Kiss witnessed in the clutches of the dark lord. i just hope it was quick and painless. i say it so i don't have to think it.
vet: master? what the hell is that? you go to the local junior college, huh? you have that weird speech pattern to you, like it seems deep but it's really just rambling. is this some sort of metaphor for the putting to sleep that eventually comes to all creatures great and small? don't worry, we follow the local euthanasia laws, we don't break, we're humane.
me: i could never be in that room. there is nothing humane about death.
i don't think the vet lifted his head once the entire bonafides interview. i rushed the process along cos Olive Garden next door was about to close. had a fierce hankering for some large garlic croutons. i told the vet to take the ransom out of my sister's account, i had paid for him to sign over the deed of this cat to me and all his shots and visits and treats and waterbowls beforehand, with my word anyway. it was weird, my heart felt two sizes too big, it was heavier like i was carrying all the love the vet had lost in me. heavy. i was supposed to notice the heaviness of the atmosphere when i got outside. i was so distracted with making sure Trinity had a leash on so he wouldn't make a break for it and run away to them thar hills the minute he got out of jail. wow, i didn't notice it raining outside. me. me! for me that's a miracle. in reverse.
on the bus ride back Trinity kept crying in his big white cardboard box with holes. i felt bad for him being in there but there was no other way. the bus driver was a hardass about no pets allowed out. the other passengers were not amused. man this place sucks. just as well, seeing a cat on a leash is just too silly. i at least spared my boy that embarrassment. it was too funny, eventually Trinity's yelps actually sounded in rhythm, it was like a well-oiled measured orchestra of meows every eighth of a beat. Bach would have been proud god rest his soul. Bach was God. the more annoyed the other busriders got the more i smiled. heehee. externally not internally. i don't care about these people, i don't go home to them, forget them.
though my socks were tight about my ankles and my shoes were stiff and my heavy overcoat was still on over my pajamas, i felt lighter when Trinity crossed the threshold. i made sure to permanently remove his collar. the air all around was imbued with a new smell of freshness and light. it was night, i had conquered the day. as you can imagine i was exhausted. my emotions had gone down to sleep hours ago. i hopped into bed and was wondering what would happen next. i gotta admit, Total Blackout is particularly boring tonight. but maybe i'm just not paying attention. i have the blanket all set up but Trinity ripped it to shreds when i went to get the milk. just as well, i was entering my own total blackout. where's Trinity? can't see him. i like to keep my room lights off when i watch tv, adds to the movie-like atmosphere. my eyelids are heavier than the rain. then Trinity hops onto my bed unexpectedly, gives a loud mew like 'what the fuck did i just endure back there on that bus and how do i know you're not a worse enemy and will i ever get fed again?' and scratches my eyes out.
i can't blame my cat, i really can't. but even that didn't prevent me from falling asleep.