It started as an amiable relationship, my feline friend and me. Miss Kitty moved into our house and made herself at home nearly six years ago. We had never owned a pet, because we lived so close to the roadway that ran by our house in Daniels.
Having a pet was a new experience, and we spoiled Miss Kitty every way we could: with food, play, rubbing her back and allowing her to sleep at the foot of our bed on winter nights. It was a blissful arrangement, just the three of us — my wife and Miss Kitty and me.
The good-natured pet often catnapped near my chair as I wrote my weekly columns for the newspaper and listened to Enya on my CD player.
Everything seemed to be going well at our house. That is, until Miss Kitty started talking. At first it was only a word every now and then, saying things like, “Out,” when she wanted to go into the front yard at night.
Later, she came out with “Eat,” when her bowls were empty in the kitchen and the TV room.
Then one day, much to my astonishment, Miss Kitty broke out with an entire sentence. She did it while I was busy working on a column at my computer. As I reached for the thesaurus, Miss Kitty suddenly blurted, “What’s the matter? Can’t you find one of your own words to use?”
“What did you say?” I stammered in disbelief.
“I said, can’t you think of what you want to say without lifting words from somebody else?”
“How dare you!” I snapped, insulted.
She went on, “I mean, you’ve been at this business for nearly half a century, and you can’t even think of the right word when you need it.”
“What are you talking about? How can you say that to me when I am practically a slave in this house to your every whim? Besides, everybody knows cats cannot talk. I am obviously imagining this whole ridiculous scenario.”
“I don’t have to talk. You already know what I think. I may be in your subconscious, but I’m still talking, aren’t I?”
“This is absurd. Get out of here. You are only a house cat. What do
“I know that you’re over the hill. But what I really want to know is how do you call yourself a cook? You stand over the stove for hours, tasting each item six times from every single pot. Look at your gut! What happened to those expensive, wool-tweed professor jackets that you used to wear? Are they still hanging in your closet upstairs? What is the deal, don’t they fit you anymore?”
“Well, so I’ve gained a few pounds. I can lose it if I want to.”
“Yeah, you keep saying that you are going to walk around the neighborhood or go to the gym, but you never do. If napping were an exercise, you’d be thin as a rail. As it is, your former students are laughing behind your back. Didn’t you go to a Woodrow Wilson High School reunion to take pictures this past weekend? Have you looked on Facebook recently?
‘Hey, look! Old Mr. B has really chunked a few, hasn’t he? He used to be a lot smaller. Oh well, I guess he’s got it coming. He must be pushing 70.’”
“The nerve! The ab-so-lute nerve! After what I’ve done for you! Who makes the money? Who pays the bills on this place? Who spends $45 every two weeks to keep you in Cheezies? Huh? Oh no, I get up every morning and clean out your dirty litter box. I see to it that you have a cozy place to sleep, and that’s the thanks—.”
“Speaking of sleeping, do you know why I sleep on your wife’s side of the bed? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s because you snore. But you don’t just snore. You sound like a hog having a seizure. And what about those night terrors? You wave your arms like somebody trying to flag down a Greyhound bus! Your right leg kicks into the air like a spastic asylum inmate, with St. Vides Dance, yelling, ‘Get it off me! Get it off me!’ It’s probably the devil grabbing you at night for all the crimes you’ve committed in the name of journalism.”
“Get out! Get out NOW! Do you hear me? Get out!”
“Okay. (Miss Kitty yawns repeatedly.) I’m bored in here anyway. Guess I’ll just go have some Cheezies.”