it was a frightful scene. it was like the entire earth had had enough of man's shit and snapped. there was no more Baja California, no more Baja, it was all just one big messy California. the California side slid into the Mexican side. geography knows no borders. the gigantic landslide came from the top of California, from the mansions where i and a few other protagonists not explored this time around live, and it smashed into our natty neighbor to the south in a wave of angry dirt and terrible tectonics. this wasn't gerrymandering but maps would definitely need to be redrawn.
Wolf: getting our initial small reports on the landslidearthquake in california. or should i say mudslidearthquake, that's more fun. i mean local reports. seems all of the trees have been stripped bare of bark. what the fuck is going on?! read the rest on our website. back to CAMPAIGN '16!!!
in the middle of all the tear and chaos and decidely non-magic dust, Talia is found by her brother hiding in a microwave.
Talia (shivering): thank the ferrets! where's amicus?
Trinity: not here. gone. you are a cooked cat. get outta there, that isn't a toy! we must get to safety...
Talia: i know, i feel the aftershocks, too, they're in Mexico now but they're coming.
Talia starts licking her lips like she always does but not out of just eating food but fear.
Trinity is prepared and lugs his heavy rucksack over his back. he takes out and spreads three of those cute toys amicus always got them, fuzzy squeak toys that looked like yellow dogbones with the head of a lion on one end.
Trinity: here, play. or rather, count. learn. 3.
Talia: i'm getting the shakes. get the poisonous lead out, old man.
Trinity: it's not just you. please don't attack me.
Trinity tries to fit his wagony frame into the microwave. he notices a long-legged spider and is thankful. he paws at it and with the slightest touch kills it.
Trinity: sorry not sorry. once again, death is the ultimate distraction.
Talia picks Trinity up by the scruff with her mouth and drags her stronger bigger male counterpart along the dirt. but not very far. Trinity is quite tired.
Trinity: i am one pooped pussy. get to the tunnels. i'll join you soon.
the ceiling starts depositing dirt off its roof with every tumble. it curtains Trinity from Talia's view. the male tomcat raises his paw and pets his heart as the sand seals in with its shield.
Trinity: remember sororis, always remember: go where there's color. cos that where there's light.
Talia's view becomes dark. permanently so. she is frightened. terribly so. not cos of the dark. for she has black spots. cos she's alone. Talia starts to cry. her tears soak the already shifty ground, making it unreliable and soft.
Talia (sobbing): where's my amicus?! where's my brother?! wah hah hah hah! i remember when amicus turned the faucet back around so i could have a drink in the kitchen and a bath! the drops would fall on my wet nose! wah hah hah hah hah! i remember when my brother taught me the alphabet of numbers! wah hah hah hah! i don't want food anymore, i just want them! i don't want to remember anymore! i want to drink with them! wah hah hah hah!
she calms down cos her nose leads her to sniff a new atmosphere on the floor. the light comes in like a blazing fire and within the eternity of a second the landscape swivels into lush short trees of catnip and rivers green so animals' reflections can stick to the film. beneath her sensitive toes is the softest ground she ever did land in, lovingly malleable to the touch and with a gentle intelligence under it, pushing her and a bevy of sundry and various other felines and rodents and ash and landsharks along the way. left. when Talia comes to the bridge the bridge disappears and moves a few paces ahead of her. she pivots her head and tilts it all the way around as cats do, looking at everything backwards. she notices as her still-young eyes adjust to the golden light that the circular area surrounding her and the others isn't an outside floor at all. it's not a stable carpet. it's rather a neverending rainbow that shimmers and accommodates each traveler with slight movements here and there up and down. and sideways. especially sideways.
Talia: i hate that there are other people here. i don't want anyone seeing my embarrassment. the more people, the lonelier i am.
she plops herself on a spot and nibbles on the yellow flower next to her that is eaten but never loses a petal.
Trinity: i lied. poor girl. but them's the perks of being the adult. she'll learn when she gets older.
he makes his way up a steep throughway, the last one left, and into the secret hole in the opening of the exit to the entrance that only Trinity knows about cos he was the one who dug it. the tremors are less. slightly.
Trinity: i'd hum that The Long and Winding Road song to keep me company if only i heard of it before. not a singer, that's Talia's bag. well i can still whistle that song from those delightful seven small men. i can relate to The 7D, they speak my height.
Trinity whistles while he works and finally pokes his head out of the rubbletop to the outside of the pile. a scarlet-chested parrot flies in to greet him.
Trinity: you had to land on my hole? right here of all the places on earth? that can't be coincidence. who are you?
Rougned the scarlet-chested parrot puffs up his red chest and says, "who?" then says "Spooky!" to Trinity, is spooked and flies away.
Trinity: thanks a lot, pal. that's the first time i've come across a fellow animal i didn't know. i thought i knew everyone. there's a whole new world out here.
Trinity sees a middle finger sticking out of the burnt debris. he bites onto the finger and pulls my sister out. she opens her eyes even though it's tough to tell cos they're brown and her face is smeared with soot.
Trinity: no time to get lovey-dovey. miracles happen all the time.
he takes out a smartphone, puts his paw around my sister's shoulder and snaps a selfie of the two of them. he hands her the smartphone.
Trinity: reflect on this pic a few years before you sell it to the highest bidder. i must get back to my family. luckily Talia won't need a picture.
my sister stunningly and with a stunned expression stares at Trinity. right in his eyes.
Trinity stares back.
so does my sister.
Trinity stares back.
my sister stares back.
back and back and back
stare stare stare
my sister (roused): what was i saying? oh yeah, there's a leftover brownie in a baggie you can have if you can dig it out of my backpocket.
Trinity: you sure it's a brownie? *eats it* it looks like a mudbrick. too soon. and what am i crunching?
sister: those are the walnuts. the best part.
Trinity: i think i just became allergic.
sister: oh yeah, where's my brother? he'll be calling me soon, calling on me, asking for new shampoo and/or conditioner even though we have tons of the stuff in cans in the basement. i was gonna give him that delftware set i ordered. in case he ever got married.
Trinity: i know the one, i was in the room when you ordered it on the phone.
sister: didn't notice you. oh and when he asks why all the plates have cracks in them...
Trinity: ...i'll let him know that's just the delftware design, heehee. *group laugh* *well the two of them laugh*
Trinity: um, i can carry the plates in my bag here................this place is buried in bodies, i can smell them. still.
sister: that's not a bag, it's a backpack.....................what, those two idiots with the sundry and various knives? they got what they deserved. by which i mean a proper burial. henchman, whaddaya gonna do, huh? eventually everyone betrays you. but it's high time for a woman in the highest seat of power. of getting high.
awkward pause #2
sister: you strike me as a cat who's got his shit together.
Trinity: did you ever find that pizza place?
sister: yeah. dingy joint. greasy pizza. but aren't they all? Greenberg was in there complaining and chewing out the poor woman checker with Olga on her nameplate. you know that's her third job of the night and all she wants to do is glide over the order and get to playing the arcade video-game cabinet beside the non-sliding glass doors.
a light breeze blankets the bistate area as sirens begin to filter through the atmosphere. in the distance barns are burning. my sister looks out on up over the horizon.
Trinity: Ben Stiller is underrated. heart of gold. well, good bye. it was nice knowing you.
sister (blank-eyed): man i need a vacation. i want to go to Helsinki, to that Burger King with the sauna. there's more water on earth now after this catastrophic event so i'm sure the cruise fares are cheaper. it's not so much that i want to enjoy a Whopper with jets up my ass, i just want that Burger King towel.
Trinity is long gone but my sister keeps talking.
sister: how can i go on? how can i live in a world where Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne have split up?...
Trinity goes back down where it's safer and traverses the canyons and rope-swings the snake pits and roll-rides the huge boulder all while wearing a stylish brown Indiana Bones fedora.
Trinity: i think my mama was a hamster. in a previous life. wheelie whee!
he makes it to my previous home, you know the one before the mansion? Trinity saunters to the backyard that's still there and pristine, no one would dare purchase such a dump, and curls up on his old tin cracked china water bowl that's also still there, untouched. the dandelions aren't there anymore, though.
Trinity: good. nobody's watching me. no one. noone. i can in peace.
he sets his heavy head down on the cold brick patio and closes his eyes for the last time.
Trinity (softly): what's so special about opening your eyes again? we continue because we're forced to. but then we don't continue. on a whim. both things. i'm looking backward to this...
it's been a long hard week alone and shivering for poor Talia. Trinity appears and hugs her by landing on top of her and pinning her.
Trinity: oh damn what? i'm still my age? i thought i'd come here as a kitten, isn't that how it works?
Talia: thank the gerbils! i couldn't stand any more looking at those poor squiggly pink baby critters with no eyes being eaten with beer. please, there's got to be a less cruel world out there!
Trinity: it's here!
Talia: but i can't live in a world without amicus.
Trinity: i'm afraid we'll never see our friend again. but we shall always remember him. our stalwart. our protector. he is our war hero. i can see him now: finding out we're both gone, that'll get him out of bed, at least before noon this one time, and scouring the flaming countryside looking for someone to blame. avenging us by killing the Master by now. and crying about it. damn the fates! why couldn't amicus grow more legs and join us?
Talia: you can see him? no, amicus would never kill. i talked to a fly the other day that said he could take amicus. amicus was the one exception, our sole savior. he was apart from the animal world. he followed no laws, which is tough cos it's a jungle out there.
Trinity: no you're right, i guess i'm still old skool. no, that's just an expression. i hate expressions. i want reality.
Trinity brandishes his long nail and strikes it on the rainbow below his feet to form a tiny but adequate campfire.
Trinity: young one, do you have a story to tell?
Trinity: me, too. go ahead, it's the same story as mine.
Talia: i tricked him. i would sleep with him, too. but i waited till you were BOTH asleep. i'd climb on top of your head and sleep. but only for a few hours. i'd be sure to wake up long before you would wake up then amicus would wake up. you two were none the wiser. btw i think of you as kind of an honorary two-legs. i mean i see amicus sleeping like a log and i bring him the fuzzy toy to his face. but i do the same with you, Trinity. i put it in your face, too. i regard you as another human, small one, semi one but a human. that's how much i came to respect you over the year.
Trinity: so that's why i have all those lion dreams. but the white stuffing in those toys is havoc on my allergies. oh amicus, i recall very little at my age. but i remember everything. i still believe there's something in your eye. that's the secret. whenever i smell food i see amicus eating a bowl of something. i jump up onto the table with a signaling meow and start smelling his mouth. but it's not in the mouth is it? the food comes from the eye. i sniff his eye! i sniff his eye! i'm convinced! amicus would let me into the dryer. he said he would never turn it on with me in there but i'm still convinced that would have been good knockabout training for the earthquake. oh amicus you sly devil you. you gentleman bastard. we're gonna miss you. oh hi Rougned, how's the fam?
Rougned the scarlet-chested parrot: good good ese, thanks for asking. my son's joined a gang but at least it's the red-colored one. so, y'know, whaddaya goin' do.
the two cats hold each other tight together and are starving. they can't sleep in here.
Trinity: we get hungry here still? what is there to eat?
Talia: don't ask. too organic for my sensitive junk-food palate. too dippy. i don't want to eat. there's a difference between heaven and home and this ain't home. you made me cry again! wah hah hah hah!
Trinity: shit you're gonna make me cry woman. and manly tears are heavier..........wah hah hah hah!...
all the colors of the rainbow floor turn into dingy dirt-color and a gray ground.
Wolf (on the screens): Bump is taking a bathroom break so we've been granted a breather to add tons more meat to the bone of the story out west, the California earthquake. it's boneless now. we coulda done this earlier in the broadcast before His speech but our news drone crashed. everyone on board is dead. anyway, so finally, THE BIG ONE. first reports are often always inaccurate. come to find out, i stole that from Rome, come to find out that this isn't the only shakeup going on over there. Doreen Chatman has been identified as the new head of the infamous drug cartel once led by El Chapo, the Sins of Noah, after El Chapo got got. this is no actress, folks, she is the real deal. one cruel night all of the cartel senior-staff administration got murdered while they celebrated their one millionth street sale at a local strip club, the one on the wharf. okay, fine, killed. two mook henchman were later found at a local Bump-supporter rich-person's big home done in by the landslide. her code name is Malia the Mexican Madame. she uses whatever means necessary to get what she wants: sex, drugs, and salsa. well she's not a secret anymore. everyone knows her. everyone knows who she is. i mean Viva Malia! upside-down exclamation point! long may she reign! i mean terrible terrible thing that happened. drugs are good. drugs help people. El Chapo personally supplied my depression meds without which i cannot do this thankless job night after night. i'm not depressed anymore cos i'm high all the time. it's all about finding that right combination.
a breeze lightly dances on the rainbow where all the animal yelps align in unison behind an uptick in returning color. the wind drags in a peculiar smattering of white dandelion seedheads fluttering in the pink sky. it's enough for our two cats to notice it, they remove their paws from their small sorrowful soft faces and their red eyes are bathed in the most glorious golden light.
at the end of the rainbow
a figure approaches from the right
moving toward Trinity and Talia with a deliberate step
coming toward the two brimming cats
their whiskers perk up before their ears do
they swallow again for the first time
the man is almost here
Talia and Trinity are staring at him with wide grinning slit pupils