The first week with neither word from the tawny owl, nor thumping bass lines from his lovely wife, Thee Mrs., was not too hard to withstand. I was nominally claiming responsibility for the care and feeding of needy tween twins who were the certifiable offspring of my loins. Concentration on small details like liquids, gases, solids, was mandatory. The judicial system was being well served and amply compensated. One twin preferred Otis Redding to achieve proper equilibrium in the morning and the other Al Green. Neither questioned why anymore. Clearly, my brainwashing techniques had sunken deep and taken root. But that week was ending.
I knew I had a lot of catching up to do in the struggle against the murderous cats and their human enablers. Now, it was going to get rougher.
Preparing to lock the door behind me I said, “By the way, what’s your opinion of the white cat next door?”
Bags were packed, the circus train was ready to roll. There was never any question of turning back. My question, while not innocent, seemed harmless enough. Still, four suspicious eyes looked at me as if each sensed a different trap. Each trap required its own deft response. Each eye was an ambiguously different shade of the allegedly same color. Was it blue, green, a pathological hybrid? Or simply mix and match like tacos and dumplings? The possibilities were profound and weighty. In that respect at least, the tween twins, who are nothing alike, were identical. I remember when they popped out all gooey. One looked around in wonder, and the other cried for mercy.
I continued, “I’m not making any judgments. I’m curious, that’s all. I know there are many seemingly good people who believe white cats are cute, especially as fluffy kittens. If I’m not mistaken, your mother is one.”
“What white cat?”
“Yeah, dude, like what? What are you talking about? Why do you talk about stuff so much?”
I said, “The white cat next door. It’s around. You’ve seen it. C’mon, you know.”
“I don’t think I remember.”
“Who cares? That’s so gay.”
Later, after I had partially cleared my car of extraneous debris that included two woefully mismatched socks, a catcher’s mask, a green jelly bean and a pink stick of gum, a serrated knife, fluorescent panties, a watermelon rind, a box of colored pencils, spilled glitter, AAA batteries, a ball bearing, and sticky stuff that might have once been partially digested, I was considering myself more than lucky. I believed I was improving my strategic location in the constant shuffle of stacked decks. What a dope I was.
And therefore, am. The decision I made next to temporarily seek adult conversation was a typical doozy.
A man was sitting on a stool with a rotund ass that looked suspiciously familiar. There were dim lights and signs revolving. I had previously believed I was able to read the signs.
He said, “Where ya been?”
I said, “I’ve been around.”
He said, “Man, I wasn’t sure I was ever going to hear from you again. You were talking some pretty crazy shit last time.”
“What did I say?”
“I don’t know. But, man it was out there.”
I said, “Oh, that.”
I was wary. Is my guilt that obvious, I clandestinely worried? If I’m not mistaken, Benedict Arnold was hanged. I knew this man worked for a government. It never mattered before which one. He was a bureaucrat. I know it is a venal sin and a crying shame but I previously laughed at his ass. I remember he once responded to a question I had never asked with an apparent answer, “Policy.”
I also remember I declared, in astonishment, “You don’t mean they listen to you? Do you?”
This time I said, “I just remembered something.”
He said, “Where ya going?”
I said, “That’s what I remembered.”
He said, “Ya just got here.”
“That’s what I get.”
That’s what I get for all I’ve done. That’s what I get for becoming such a dope. That’s what I get for making a wrong turn. That’s what I get for serving time. That’s what I get for pushing. That’s what I get for pulling. That’s what I get in the end. That’s what I get in the other end.
Much later, it was so dark that invisible bugs came out to bite me. Was there a hole that I could crawl into and escape? What about so far out there I could never be found? Not by the government, any government, all the governments. Would my tendency to become carried away take me that far?
I started out the next day by shaking the only rotund ass I call my own. No guilt in that. Nothing spooky. The sun was up and rounding a curve. The sky was low enough to reach. Keys jangled loosely in my pocket, along with some spare change. My brain had been thoroughly washed and pressed while the lava in the crater was hot. Otis was singing, Shake. I was free to switch sides. Killer white cats were stalking prey. The rulers of the game were crooked. What is creepier than stalking? I had no better crimes to commit than my own. There was still a whole lot of catching up to do.