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My Evil Cat is Trying To Kill Me
Some people are cat people and some people are dog people. I'm a dog people. I had a dog. I had two dogs, in fact. I had grown weary of living in New York City. I wanted a red jeep, a dog, and a house, so when I moved back to the Midwest, I got a red jeep and a dog. The house would have to wait. I had wanted to get a Bloodhound and name him Elvis (get it?), but true Bloodhounds are, not surprisingly, hard to come by and expensive. Their special tracking skills make them desirable in professional capacities, not to mention that their average life spans are a meager 6.75 years and they carry a dizzying array of medical problems, as do most pure breed dogs.
I was blissfully unaware of such things, so I opted for my second choice, the exuberant Dalmatian, who carry their own medical textbook packed with illnesses. So a Dalmatian it was and I named him Elvis. He was my baby, with one eye blue and one brown. We did everything together. You should have seen us, tooling down the road in the jeep with the top down, Elvis next to me wearing his doggy seat belt and digging on the wind. We were young and free and hot and we new it. Elvis truly was—as my sis called him—a chick magnet, and we turned the heads of all the females, human and canine.
If you ever get a Dalmatian, take everything you think you know about responsible dog ownership and double it. Many people think that Dalmatians are stupid. Not from my experience. They just don't give a crap. And then there were the accidents and medical problems. While going downstairs once to answer the door, Elvis tripped me down a very steep flight of stairs—not from anger but exhuberance—but nevertheless, there I was, instantly 30 feet down and my head cracked open on the tile at the bottom. When I opened the door, the Pizza man looked at me with something akin to horror, having heard the thud, boom, bam, thud, thud, POP. I realized blood was gushing from my head and soaking my shirt. “Just give me the damn pizza,” I said, shoving a $20 into his hand and closing the door.
Once, Elvis was hit by a car. I wrapped him in a blanket and picked him up off the pavement, his eye—his brown one—hanging by a tendon and the hole in his face spurting sanguine fluid all over both of us. I held him and talked to him gently as my neighbor drove us—in a rather leisurely fashion, I thought—to the animal hospital. Hey, boy. How ya doin', boy? We're gonna fix you up yes we are. He was going into shock as we arrived, but they saved him. They couldn't save the eye, so from then on it was sewn shut.
That didn't cramp our style, though. I got him an eye patch and fixed it so it would stay on his head. Then we looked beyond cool. James Dean and Spuds McKenzie cool.
And then he got urate crystals so bad they blocked his urinary tract. It was such a painful thing, for him of course, but also for me, as his woeful cries emanated from the emergency room as the vets unsuccessfully tried to “clear” him out with catheters. Baleful, heartbreaking cries. They showed me the tools of their torture afterwards, long metal things, bent and bloody.
They had to surgically change him so that he had a vagina instead, just so he could pee. I told everybody he'd had a sex change operation. When people asked in disbelief, "why," I said, "He always felt that he was a bitch trapped in a male's body."
A New Kid In Town
I finally got that house in a little hamlet and then added another dog, a mutt this time, half Dachshund and half unknown, but he looked like a Jack Russel terrier. A really long Jack Russel. When I first brought him home and showed him to Elvis, Elvis almost bit his head off. Upon hearing the story, my father said, "Alas, poor Yorick," and so the dog was named. He was a strange and funny character. I used to tap on his head and say, "Nobody's home." Sometimes I don't think there was anybody home in there.
The three of us slept together in the same room. It was blissful at first, but as usually happens with threesomes, somebody gets jealous and accusations are made and it culminated in my banning both from my bedroom. It was just as well, since I got married a couple of years later and the bed wasn't big enough for four. Nor do I think my wife would have liked being told she had to sleep on the couch. Several years later, I had to put Elvis down as he was unable to walk due to old age. I waited too long to do the deed because I couldn't bear to walk the long, green mile with him.
Another One Bites the Dust
Two weeks later, Yorick wasn't looking so good. He wouldn't eat, but he was drinking copious amounts of water. I cooked him a steak and he wouldn't eat that either, which, as anyone who has ever owned a dog will tell you, just ain't right. I said to him, "What's the matter, Yorick? You look like you're about to die." Two hours later he was dead. Just laying there on the carpet like a stuffed animal. I buried him out back during a thunderstorm, the torrent of rain mingling with my tears. I realized later with a little research that he had been poisoned. Yorick? Hamlet? Poison? Something was rotten in the state of Denmark.
But this is not a story about dogs. I merely tell you this to emphasize that I am a dog people. I had been raked through the emotional coals and I couldn't handle the commitment of another dog. So I thought a ca....a ca....I can't even say it. You know, the sworn enemy of dogs. Those furry things that say “meow.” He was a feral cat to boot, so I was asking for trouble. I see cats around the neighborhood who are unmistakably his relatives, plus many others that are just part of the gang. I think they are organized, infiltrating homes throughout the area.
We named him Champers. At first it was just those little things that all cats do, like getting in between your legs when you're walking, all those little behaviors cats engage in to trip you. It's like they think humans are “Weebles” or something: We wobble but we don't fall down. Well, I almost fell down plenty of times. Still, I was blind to the true nature of my cat, chalking it up to common, evil cat behavior. Likewise, his surprise attacks—which not only nearly gave me several heart attacks—but often drew blood. He was, after all, feral. He would calm down eventually, I believed. He would come to love me as all animals loved me. Or so I naively thought.
It was later that my suspicions deepened. I had broken my ankle and suffered second-degree burns at the same time, so a hard cast was impractical as the burn had to be constantly monitored and treated. The crutches were also difficult in that any movement in my foot or ankle area hurt like hellfire. This is when my cat's "Operation Weeble" went into DEFCON 1.
His tripping activities multiplied exponentially. He not only would sneak up behind me when I was balancing on one leg and cooking (handling knives and boiling pots and sizzling grease, you know, dangerous things), but would lay down there, silently, very close behind me, so when I turned to move I would trip over him. When going downstairs—a precarious undertaking at best—he would time his operation perfectly, darting between my legs at just the right moment, leaving me holding onto the banister for my one-legged life while my crutches went kerplunking violently down the steps, as if to say, “This could be you, mister.”
He got me, too. Not on the steps, thank God, but he got me. Several times. When you can't use one foot to catch yourself, there is nothing to do but accept the fact that you are going down and try to use your arms to soften the impact as much as possible. I did that. So hard did I impact the linoleum that the house shook. Every time. It was after the third time, laying there on the kitchen floor, after my cursing tirade had fizzled and fell only on deaf furry ears andtrying to figure out how I was going to get up, that I said to myself, "Hmmm...I think that cat bastard is trying to hurt me." Little did I know.
Japanese Ghost Scroll
The next event requires a little background. Sometimes my wife and I think we might have ghosts. I'm not saying we do and I'm not saying we don't. I wouldn't mind having a ghost, actually. Not if it was a cute little mischievous ghost. One that would stack the kitchen chairs into impossible pyramids when we weren't looking. Or when it wrote on the walls in blood it wouldn't say, "You will die at midnight." It would say something like, "Tag. You're it!"
There have been things though. Strange noises. Slamming doors. Oh, we've never seen a door slam, just the sound. A loud, violent slam. And then there was the mistletoe. One Christmas we hung some plastic mistletoe in an archway and never took it down. For years it was there, providing an excuse for the unexpected kiss. We were having a conversation one evening about “first kisses” and I, being my usual cynical and curmudgeonly self, was deriding them and their importance, and generally just saying bad things about kisses, when we heard a noise behind us. A fluttery, brushing noise. I investigated. It was the mistletoe. On the ground after all these years and torn to shreds.
So anyway, for various reasons, we think we might have ghosts, but you didn't hear that from me.
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken
So one night, my wife and I are in bed watching television as was our habit, when my wife leaves the room for a few minutes. After she left, the door began to close slowly, creaking eeeeeeeEEEEE, and then THUNK as it hit the door jam, and then slowly drifting open again, creaking its way back EEEEEeeeeeee. "What the...?", I said to myself. And then it did it again. EeeeeeeEEEEE as it slowly closed, THUNK as it hit the jam, and EEEEEeeeeeee as it opened again. I was freaking out a little. It had to be my wife. Very funny, dear. She was messing with me. "Honey?" I said. No answer. "Hon?" I said a little louder. Nothing. And then it did it AGAIN!
EeeeeeeEEEEE, THUNK, EEEEEeeeeeee. Ok. Think. We don't really have a ghost, do we? Nah. Some anomaly. Some strange wind current, perhaps. Was the air conditioning running? No. What the...?
Shortly after, my wife came back into the room. "Was that you?" I asked. "What," she said. "The door," I said, "Was that you with the door?" She looked at me funny. No it wasn't. T hen what? I laid in bed thinking about it, trying to solve the mystery. I would investigate thoroughly tomorrow. Maybe it had something to do with the exhaust fan in the restroom. Maybe the suction along with a series of other circumstances caused it, but then why hadn't it ever happened before? As I sunk into a fitful sleep, it had not escaped my attention that it didn't happen while my wife was in the room, only when she was out. Ah, ha! A clue. I would get to the bottom of it. Just you wait.
Evil Cat Imprisoned
The Cat's Dream
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken
The next day, I could find no plausible explanation for the unusual happening. Nada. Zilch. It was three nights later, when my wife once more left the room, that it started again.
EeeeeeeEEEEE, THUNK, EEEEEeeeeeee. Ok. Whether it's my wife or the ghost, I'm going to find out. I began to get out of bed slowly, silently. EeeeeeeEEEEE. I carefully began to stand up, making not the slightest sound. THUNK. I moved cautiously towards the door, careful not to make the floorboards squeak. EEEEEeeeeeee. I was like a Ninja. As silent as stillness. EeeeeeeEEEEE. My heart was pounding as I approached the door. THUNK. I got there and screwed my courage to the sticking place. EEEEEeeeeeee. Come wife or demon, the time was NOW!
I QUICKLY OPENED THE DOOR AND...nothing. There was nothing there except silence.
And then I looked down. There was the cat. One paw in the air and that look that says, "Who? Me? I didn't do anything." And that's when I got it. The cat was trying to kill me. He thinks if he ever gets that door to actually close and latch while I'm in there by myself, then I won't be able to get out. He thinks I don't have opposable thumbs. And naturally no one would come looking for the likes of me. Why would they bother to come looking for a philistine? Then it will just be the two of them. He and my wife. Alone at last. They won't find me for months, he thinks, and when they do, I'll be nothing but a skeleton with the remote control clutched in my bony hand.
Is there a moral? Well...don't get a cat is always a good lesson. Or maybe it's something deeper. Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer? I don't know about that, but I do know this: You are not paranoid if they're really out to get you.