Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sidekick

Fuck I hope he's okay.
He isn't back yet?
No.
Oh. Well, just try not to think about him. Forget, if you can.
The phone rang. Surprisingly not the bank, wondering why I'd banked and cashed cheques from an empty account.
Her voice sounded bankish. She could actually speak english.
Hello I'm calling from the SPCA.
Oh, yes. You got my email.
Yes. And I have a Boo Cyr here, in Lost Cats.
Thank fuck. My little non-judging, snuggle-bum. Alive. And with all his limbs.
He's been here for 3 days, we tried to call-
Oh god, yes the number was changed just last week...
Our chauffeur (probably a strange translation from their french name for him) dropped by your house today. He left a note.
When can I get him?
We shut 11pm , just don't come on the dot. We're at 5432 Middle of fucking nowhere street. Bring ID and cash, we charge per day (aha! maybe this explains the lack of prompt communication).

That place had terror in its walls. I know animal lovers gravitate to jobs like that, I don't know why. Never an animalish person, not able to get past the slobbery tongues and bad smells, that place was traumatic, just to visit. Along one wall, chains and large labels, to hook onto cages. A hospitaly, no fun allowed font, all written in french, severe and self important. The chains looked old. VICIOUS. ABANDONED. NOT TO BE DESTROYED. TO BE DESTROYED.

I looked around for a bell, or someone who could help me, raising my 'excuse-mes" louder and louder. A tired little man emerged from an office piiled high with paper and junk.

Some cats shut down emotionally, the man warned me. It's how they cope. Don't be surprised if he doesn't recognize you, or seem happy to see you. He led me down a long concrete ramp to the basement, the stray cat prison. The artificially lit, concrete room was small and floor to ceiling with metal cages. Each cat had its own cage, about 4 times the size of a cat carry-box. And there he was, the first cat I saw. "Oh he hasn't shut down" the man said, the other cats lying as if dead, not even looking up.

When he unlocked the cage Boo seemed excited, but no meow, not even one. I reached out and picked him up, the way I love to hold him, the way he hates to be held. Usually he squirms and wriggles, definately a meow. Instead, purring manically, his body limp, cradled baby-like he looked up at me, his face unusally narrow and pinched looking. I felt like an evil imposter, or the dumbest, most uncaring owner. But I had to say it.
This isn't him. It can't be. He's not like this.

The man doublechecked the file number, and held out Boo's collar.
But this is his. Isn't it?
Hmm...

Even his fur felt different. His smell, strange. His bratty attitude had gone. I mean purring? Fuck, he's too cool to purr. He didn't meow at all until in the cab, 20 minutes down the road.
Finally I knew him.

That place was like an orphange from the dark ages. The thought of his 3 days, in there, caged, unable to walk or run. It makes my chest hurt. The ones that have to stay for months? That's animal cruelty.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very compelling writing, Tui. I love your writing style, in all truth.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude tui... did the fix him while he was in the tank? maybe thats why he was different.... sounds pretty traumatic for him nonetheless... an experience worth a can of tuna if nothing else.

-anonymous

9:33 AM  
Anonymous mary said...

Are you going to have him fixed now Tui.

10:08 AM  
Blogger The Very Reverend Ace Clemmons, Jr. said...

get him fixed!!!

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poor boy; not scarred for life I hope?

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my traumatized kitty, king (or queen, some think he's gay) of the ten day cross-country roadtrips sympathizes. but maybe a little psychosis makes us more interesting?

5:45 PM  

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