I’m going to make this quick. I’m sitting outside of a closed coffee shop in a semi-seedy part of Baltimore, about 6 blocks from my hotel. Yay free wi-fi.
The O’s won tonight, Pie (pronounced pee-YAY) hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run). It was a pretty good game. This is the third year in a row my job has sent me down to the Orioles game to entertain colleagues. It was fun. Only one chick there: a Japanese/Brazilian who moved here two years ago to go to George Washington University for her PhD in Business Strategy. That’s like all my fetishes rolled into one person.
Tomorrow I’m off to hang out with my buddy John Waszilycsak, and then back to the Jerz in the afternoon/evening.
Being that it’s a quarter to one in the morning and I’m in the aforementioned not-very-nice area of Baltimore, I’m going to jump soon. I’ll leave you with Lauren Flax‘s submission to last week’s Weekly Writing Assignment. Other than the fact that it would seem a bit unfair for her to win two weeks in a row, I have no idea why she didn’t win this week. Her piece was awesome. Mine didn’t even get a finalist slot, but that’s to be expected when it was done so last-minute. So, without further ado:
by Lauren Flax
Sheila started with all of the past life business after her brother got cancer. She started buying weird books from the hippie dippy bookstore downtown, and sometimes at night she would lean into the garage while I was working on my bike and say stuff like, “Stan, come in and spend some time with me, or you’ll come back as a rat.” One night, after I had a few MGDs and told her bug off, she glared at me and said, “I hope you come back as a woman.” In a way, she got her wish. I may not be a woman, but I don’t have any balls, either.
The first thing I remember after the crash is hearing a woman say my name. “Stanley,” she said. “Stanley?” Everything was blurry, and I tried to say something, but the only noise that came out was this little squeak. The next thing I remember is sitting on the floor in Scott’s living room. There was the biggest chair I’d ever seen off to my right. It seemed like it was ten feet tall. I stretched my arms and legs as I was coming to, and saw these paws in front of me. I tried patting down the front of my body, but I was a completely different shape from what I remembered, and I fell on my side. I heard people laughing. That was when I saw my tail for the first time. I grabbed at it, trying to figure out what it was, and the people laughed some more. “Oh my god,” Scott said. “He’s adorable. Best birthday present ever.” The same voice I heard saying my name earlier said, “You said you wanted to have a cat named Stanley one day, so I went into the kitten room at the shelter and said, “Stanley,” and this little guy answered. I knew he was the one for you.”
Being a cat is kind of fucked up. For one thing, I don’t have any balls, but I don’t care. For another, when Scott watches football I know it’s football, but I just don’t care what the Steelers are doing, because that wadded up wrapper from Scott’s sandwich is fucking driving me crazy. I must defeat it. It is taunting me, all white and balled up. I hate it. I can’t begin to describe how much I hate that balled up sandwich wrapper. Why does he do this to me?
Sheila would laugh her ass off if she knew that I was a cat. I couldn’t stand that mangy beast her parents had when I met her, and when it died about a year after we got together, we almost split up because I said I was glad it was dead.
Sheila also said I wouldn’t remember anything. She went on and on one night, about how after you cross over or whatever, you carry with you all the debts you owe, but no memory of why, and that is why sometimes bad stuff happens to good people. Her brother was no saint, but I guess it made her feel better. Turns out she was wrong though. I remember everything, and I’m a fucking cat.
Actually, there are things about being a cat that aren’t so bad. Like, I can shit on the floor. One night, I knocked over some glass candlesticks and broke them because, god, they made me so angry, just sitting there on the table. I had to put them on the floor because they sucked, and as soon as I was strong enough to get up on the table, I knocked them over and broke them. Scott and his girlfriend were furious. Scott threw me into the bathroom while he cleaned up the broken glass. He had no business putting me in there; those candlesticks were annoying and they had to be destroyed. So, I shit on the floor. He was mad, but then he laughed, and said “I guess you showed us.” Half an hour later he was petting my head. I don’t care how cool your wife is, if you shit on the floor she is not going to clean it up and rub your head half an hour later.
Getting petted on the head is one of the other cool things about being a cat, It feels awesome. Then the purring starts, and the vibration makes everything feel even better, like sitting on one of those vibrating massage chairs at the mall. It’s good shit, more addicting than anything I ever drank or smoked. Every morning when Scott sits at his computer I need to jump on his lap and make him pet my head. I have him pretty well trained. Thing is, as good as it feels, it still seems kind of gay. So, after a few minutes I bite his arm, and go dig around in the litterbox,
I guess being a cat isn’t actually that bad. I don’t have to worry about money, and I’ve got some one to take care of everything I need. Maybe, for all of Sheila’s complaining, I didn’t do so bad. I spent more time in the garage with my bike than I did with her sometimes, but I took good care of her and her family. Still, sometimes, I wonder what the hell I ever did to deserve that balled up paper and those candlesticks.