Part One: Old Apartment.
I left a plant growing at my old apartment; I bet its dead now. When you leave life to the wolves they always win, mongrel dogs. Where I was laying my head down at night was a showing room in a funeral parlor in a time long since silenced; that’s what the walls told me. My cat had midnight conversations with the empty spaces between purgatory and the essences of energy. He looked at me as if he was saying, “How do you not see this?” My eyes are blind with ignorance dear cat.
Part Two: Midland
Mex came by tonight with a six pack and his six string, harmonica’s and his gospel voice. We played music that evening. Acoustic rhythms bounced off the walls and mingled with Mex’s rhythmic harmonica playing. After our fingers were tired and mouths chapped, and lungs empty we started story telling.
I was in the mood for listing so Mex took center stage. I listened intently till I was in the dessert, far from anything familiar, a land for the recluse. Mex spoke of a pack of street cats that visited his ranch everyday. The leader of the pack was a big ol’ cat by the name of stormy. He was the meanest cat street domestication has ever seen. Every day as the sun broke in the heat to heavy to hunt in; the cats would grab a hand-out of spare parts, odds and ends on the porch of the Toulouse Ranch. Stormy was the leader so he always had first pick, Stormy offered seconds to his lady. A Siamese named Jenny. Jenny was a stellar street cat of beauty, a rarity that distinguished her from the rest of the domestics. Jenny, a majestic indoor opium den cat with stray style and circumstance was the pride of the pack. The rest of the pack, that followed Stormy and Jenny, were the son’s and daughters of Stormy from his wilder days as a bachelor stray. The pack comprised of a half dozen black cats, a handful of gray and spotted whites. The rest all looked like tigers, in the most delicate and stoic of way’s as Mex described it.
Stormy was fertile, before long Mex had noticed jenny was pregnant. The appropriate amount of time passed before Jenny gave birth in the garage. She had a successful pregnancy, passing the kittens into the world sometime over night and when the ranch woke the next morning Eight kittens, four Jenny’s and four Stormy’s said hello to a new universe, curled up at the belly of there mother – blindly suckling for milk.
* * *
Mex and his siblings were coming back from town after a night of picture shows at the drive-in. It was a double feature; the first show was a love story, cut and dry. They left during the second film because it was some monster film and Mex’s little sister was starting to lose her nerve. . Mex pulled the Mercury Fairlang into the driveway. Noticing someone forgot to shut the garage door, an ominous wave of uncertainty washed over Mex’s being… As the car drove up to the garage Mex noticed splatters of blood and kitty parts marking the concrete floor, spotting the once solid shade of gray. The car stopped at the foot of the garage where Mex told his sister to close her eyes and shove off into the house. She peeked out of her hands like all curios seven year olds. Mex walked up and all the litter was murdered, and brutally. Heads missing, spines exposed, tiny bodies’ in-half and some even tinier, they never had a chance. The mother jenny was now just an unrecognizable corpse. Mex Grabbed a shovel and his brother grabbed a plastic bag, they sat there silent scooping up the remains. The metal on concrete echoed threw the now quite garage.
The closest neighbor lived a quarter mile to the left of the T at the end of there road down dead man’s drive. The Family on dead man’s drive owned two germen shepherds. Big attack dogs that would have made Hitler himself find solace in the Torah and say to hell with art and world damnation. Mex figured since the neighbors were notorious for never locking they’re gate, the dogs must have just roamed free to take out there murderous behavior in the tragedy of his garage, in the dessert mysteries were easy to solve.
Stormy was never to be seen again, but the people on dead man’s drive were now experiancing bereavement over their now lost dog and a-half not long after the genocide of the kittens. One of the Shepard’s was found dead with it insides picked apart by tiny mouths, leaving a shell of a dog comprised of bones and skin. The one that was spared was blind and badly wounded in his back legs so he just sat on the porch and howled all hours of the night and drowned into the roster’s crow of morning. Mex said “Come to think of it, after the horror in the garage Stormy nor the pack cats ever returned, they disappeared into the dessert, past the cactus were the tumble weed rolls endlessly”.
Part Three: A party. A tragedy
Gregory came by and picked up Mex and I for a party for a mutual friend who was about to spend thirty days in the clink. The people who attended this affair where from all walks of life, brought together for a celebration of fading moments of freedom. A DJ was playing some music to keep the mood light in the heavy heat of a southern night. Conversations , laughter and cigarette smoke rose to the tops of the ceiling as the pretty girls began to dance around each other smiling at all the sideline guys watching and waiting for there chance.
Gregory, Mex and I took to drinking on the front porch when some uninvited guest showed up to crash the party, acting as adolescents. Gregory, feeling uneasy as they walked by us and as they did not return Mex and I’s polite hello’s, the adolescents responded with “where’s the beer” rather impolitely. We just pointed at the fridge and the keg of beer about to float shooting eyes in a triangle back at each other thinking the same thoughts. (These kids are here for one reason, trouble) Gregory said he did not dig “there vibes” he could feel them that night having ingested a hit of liquid LSD.
I was back inside the party, inhibitions were falling and all reason was about to break. I was looking for Gregory to see if he wanted to depart and find something more fitting for the evening. I comprised plans inside of what and were to go next while i was dancing with some girls. I heard Gregory’s voice shouting “Get the fuck out of here, no one wants you here or your problems.” With this, I ran to rescue him from his short temper while under the influence of an irrational mind. Gregory was not making his case with his words and I knew it was only a matter of time before fist started doing the brunt of the talking. This party for a friend going to jail was going to lead Gregory to similar circumstances. I made my way into the kitchen where the aggressive conversation was going on. I stepped into the room in time to separate the menagerie and push Gregory back before landing a punch on the bigger of the two boys. It was not a fair fight, everyone at the party new us well enough to know which side to fight on, it would have only ended up embarrassing and badly for the grown adolescents with bad hair cut’s. All tensions were built to spill , so I grabbed the two instigating party crashers by the cuffs of there neck and tossed them to the streets like a pair of stray’s.
Tension was running high for a moment, Gregory feeling unsettlingly uneasy thought he embarrassed himself enough for the evening , walked shyly out of the party shuffling his feet while adjusting his glasses and rubbing the back of his head,. He said good night and apologized for the hundredth time for his actions, when there was really no need to.
The party went back under way; the girls took to more dancing. The boys continued to wait for there chance. All was well again until the police arrived with there cavalry, it must have been a slow night for them and I don’t know why because all the real crimes go unsolved. Mex and I had taken to the front porch when the cops arrived. We talked to them for a moment as they tried to investigate who the proprietor and perpetrator was., they were not leaving empty handed. Mex and I tried to shrug off the beat and get the blue’s out before any more trouble arose.
The girl who rented the house walked out and said “This is my house, what seems to be the problem” The cop replied “No problem, but could you talk to me over by the patty wagon.” She walked over, was cuffed then escorted into the wagon. She was not even twenty one yet and had never been in trouble with the police. Her closest encounter with john q. law was when her roommate, the man of the hour. was arrested and sentenced to the thirty day’s he was about to spend and serve secluded from society. He was hiding upstairs under a couch wanting no more trouble from the coppers.
She was booked for being intoxicated under the age of twenty one and a disorderly house, a new ordinance invited for such an occasion. Mex and I cleared everyone out of the house, helped the DJ move his equipment and collected money to bail our host out of jail. The money was collected, the bail bonds man was called and Mex and were out the door to get her out of the small concrete holding cell so the concubine could bid adieu to her jail bait.
Seven hours later, two hundred dollars and a night of not sleeping, she was let free again. Mex and I dropped the concubine off and into the hands of her jail bait roommate who was off to jail himself in a few short hours.
Glad the whole situation was done with Mex and I drove back to my house to get some bearings on a night we were glad was behind us. I was almost home when out the window of my car I noticed Gregory on the steps of his apartment with his head in his hands, sobbing as it seemed. I pulled the car over and ran up to him to see what was wrong. He shook back and forth repeating “It’s dead, I tried to save it and its dead.”
“What’s dead? What happened?” I asked
“The kitten, the poor kitten. It never had a chance.” Gregory sobbed.
I handed him a cigarette to calm him down and he thanked me with a half smile. He began to explain his irrational conversation realizing how absurd he must sound with out explanation. Gregory composed himself the best he could and began.
“After the scuffle at the party last night I decided to just go home and cool off this head of acid in my own environment. I parked my car and as I exited the vehicle I heard the wailing of a kitten under the mauling of two large pit bulls. I ran the dogs off and where they had been, laid a mauled kitten. I picked it up in my hands and it let out a whimper it looked me in god damn eye’s and said good bye to this cruel world.”
Greggory picked up his hands in despair as he tried to continue running out of words to say. I saw the dried blood on his hands and began to sob with him for a moment as well. Mex told Gregory he knew how he felt, and oh how he did. I asked Gregory to take us to the corpse so we could give it a proper service. We put the kitten in an old shoe box and drove to the river on the edge Bonaventure cemetery. Not a word was spoken between the three of us from the time the kitten was put into the shoe box and sent down the river.
Part Four: Thought’s before sleep.
When i was finally home I sat in bed with thoughts of my own similar story, realizing we are all strangely connected the same weird wirings. I was firing synapses of when I was seven years old, in the basement of my house looking for something in the annex under the stairs. I had a cat named magic that had been around before I entered this earthly equation. He was midnight black and was born on Halloween. He would come around for months at a time and leave for a few weeks and return as if nothing had changed. I always wondered what crazy adventures he must of had out there in the big world. He had been missing for a few months now.
What I was looking for under the stairs was this old exercise machine from the sixty’s that was a string attached to a pulley wheel that would retract when you pulled, then you would pull it again and repeat to complete your exercises. I found it and picked it’s orange base board up. It was stuck to the ground by something that made and awful noise as I lifted it. The noise stretched like putrefied remains rotting to the concrete floor and being removed from its final resting place. In horror of what I found I ran up the stairs to find my father.
My father was putting on a suite and practicing a speech in the mirror he was about to be giving down at town hall. “I found magic Dad, magic’s dead, I found him under the stairs. He is dead.” My father could not believe my words and questioned me, being the dreamer I already was but not yet macabre. I grabbed his hand and guided him downstairs. I was not crying at this point but when I told my father where I found magic he looked and returned and told me the facts. “Yes, magic is dead”
This is when the water works started. My father tried to console me, loosing all words he walked out to get the shovel out of the shed. He put the Shovel next to the door and found a shoe box and a plastic bag and put magic’s remains in the Adidas tennis shoe box.
In a three piece suite my father walked me down to the river with the shoe box and shovel in hand. He began to dig a hole on the shore of the river and asked me to find something that would make a nice head stone for magic. I grabbed the biggest rock my seven year old hands could carry; I got the stone of the wall that separated our house from the river.
My father put the dirt on top of the shoe box and we planted the head stone. Magic would never run away again, his adventures were over. My parents bought me a children’s book about dealing with the first death of a pet. Death makes a way for life they say as night makes way for day.
Part Five: New Apartment.
As I started to fall asleep my cat ran into my room and jumped up on my bed and nestled me into his rhythm with his ice blue eye’s. He began to purr as if to tell me everything was going to be alright. I do understand; cat, as I am not as ignorant as I was. We fell asleep not fearing a thing but the growls of hell hounds on our trail.