The dead cat, just saying, "Wassup?"
It was early summer, 2009. I was the current resident of the couch (we named it the Murphy B------ Memorial Couch for Sitting), and I had no job at the time. This influenced me to earn my keep - for lack of a better term - by cleaning up the Randall House and cooking dinners for the boys. I was not taking summer classes, but two of the three boys were, and with the third working every day, I was alone most afternoons - which was about the time I would wake up.
On this specific afternoon, I woke up to see all three of our cats with bristled tails. Even the manx had a bristled tail, which looked like an unlucky feline was victim to someone gluing a Koosh ball to the top of his ass. They were pacing back and forth by the patio door, and not one of them was meowing, as those talkative little shits often did. I put on my eyeglasses and walked to the patio door, as curious as a cat (one might say), to see what was so damn interesting.
I didn't see the breaking news for about thirty seconds. But when I saw what it was, I immediately pulled the blinds and walked back to the living room. I texted Eric: There is a dead cat on our porch. Eric replied some kind of weird (generic, for us) response, and I asked him what I should do.
Should I call Animal Control? I texted back.
Probably, he responded.
I fumbled through the phone book to find the phone number for the city's Animal Control, and upon reaching them, the woman who answered - her name was probably LaShawndra - told me, "We don't do dat. You call Waste Mangemint." Yes, that is exactly how she said it.
I called Waste Management to let them know of this deceased animal. Their response? "Put it in a trash bag and put it on the curb. We'll come by and pick it up soon."
Pardon me? You want me to put this very dead cat into a trash bag and just set it on the curb? Gross.
Well, I didn't want to handle all this myself, so I waited for Luke to get home from class. When he got home, I showed him what was presented so kindly under one of our luxurious $10 plastic patio chairs, and we made a plan. Luke ran upstairs to his room and grabbed his foldable spade. I grabbed a trash bag and went outside, camera in hand.
Our plan did not go so smoothly, though. The cat was in rigor mortis, so its weight did not distribute itself well onto the spade. Instead of scooping this lifeless creature onto the spade and subsequently into the trash bag, the stiff kitty merely allowed itself to be pushed about our back porch, scooting around like some depraved child's sad attempt at trying to have a remote control toy.
"Ugh. Rigor mortis," Luke said. I couldn't help but laugh. There we were: two college students, one still in pajamas, scooting a dead cat around their back porch with a foldable spade, with one student stooping and walking backwards with a trash bag in her hands. It was almost like a game. The object of Dead Kitty Scoot was to push said kitty into an open trash bag, but because of rigor mortis, you had to finesse it, because the kitty would just slide under the bottom lip of the bag, and the teammate would have to reverse herself to present the goal once more.
We finally got the cat in the bag (pun intended). I was still laughing as I walked around our house to the curb and placed the bag, as ordered by the woman from Waste Management. On my way back to the house, I saw our neighbor, who was an older man, and he seemed as if he were searching for something - like, a pet cat.
"Are you missing a cat?" I asked him. Yes, I asked him that. I'm an asshole.
The neighbor looked at me, and he said, "Actually, yes. Our cat usually comes back, but she's been gone all night."
I sunk my head into my chest. I felt horrible. Here I was, making fun of a dead cat, and the entire time her owner is searching for her, and the sad part? He looked worried.
"She died last night." The words fell out of my mouth as if I were in a confessional booth. "The city told me to put her in a trash bag and place her on the curb. I'm sorry. Would you like for me to show you where she is?"
He gulped, then nodded. When we approached the bag, I felt ashamed. I was making fun of this cat as if it were some sort of entertainment, all the while our neighbor was looking for her and missing her as any pet owner should. I pointed at the bag.
"There she is," I said. I blinked a few times. Why in the hell would I say something like that? As if there were a bevy of trash bags full of dead, stiff cats on the curb that day? God I'm retarded.
What happened next was both sweet and really fucking gross. My neighbor knelt down to the bag, opened it, pulled out the cat and hugged it. But he didn't stop there. He muttered something loving to the carcass, and to my surprise (and boy was it a surprise!), he kissed her head. HE KISSED HIS DEAD CAT'S HEAD. I gave a brief shudder, and when he stood up, he was tearful.
"I'm sorry. I didn't know it was your cat," I professed.
"It's okay. Thank you for telling me," he croaked.
"...do you need a hug?" I offered.
The neighbor walked right up to me and hugged me, still holding his cat. I patted his back a couple of times, then told him that I'd give him his time with his pet. When I returned to my house, I looked at Luke and told him what had happened. He snickered a little, and then told me to post the picture I took on icanhascheezburger.com.
I submitted the photo, but it never posted. Also, the neighbors got a new cat. It looks exactly like the dead one, only alive, and this time, she has a collar.