Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Dead Cat

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. 

" 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

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. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Leif Garrett's Disease

Joe pushing Murphy in the "new" wheelchair in the backyard. 

One Saturday evening, the boys and I were having a few beers and enjoying the cool weather of late winter in Savannah. Joe and I decided that, yes, it was indeed time to drive to McDonald's and order some succulent, nasty, fulfilling fast food. Because I was sober, I was elected/volunteered to drive the two of us down Abercorn Street to the beacon of light so proudly represented as a large, yellow "M." As we clamored into my Jeep and began to pull away from our home so fondly named "Randall," I spotted a rather large pile of random junk left on the curb for the next day's bulk trash pick-up.

I stopped the Jeep. "Is that a wheelchair?" I asked, pointing at the mound of abandoned items.

Joe squinted into the night, and upon realization, his eyes lit up. "YES!"

I turned to him, slowly, and in response to his excitement, I calmly expressed that we were definitely in dire need of a wheelchair. However, we were hungry, and I did not feel like parking my jeep and wasting precious McDonald's time to throw a wheelchair in the house. Instead, I asked Joe to send a text message to Eric, who was still in the house, and ask him to retrieve said wheelchair and bring it into the house for us while we were out foraging for food.

This part of the story is not relative, but it is funny. As we were driving to McDonald's, Joe insisted - in his booze brain rationality - that he speak of the conundrum of having coitus while inebriated.

"You never get your nut," he said. "She'll be like, 'You finish?' and I'd be like, 'No, I'm American.'" (As a side note, Joe likes to say really hilarious things while he is drunk, such as the previously written text. Other quotes have been saved in our memories, but they shall be mentioned at their respective times in my stories.)

Upon our return from our quest for the Great Hunger Defeater, Joe and I excitedly entered Randall to find, staged under the ceiling fan's light, an old, dirty, blue-seated wheelchair. We had not noticed it at the time, but stenciled on the back were the words "VAMC CHARLESTON PROSTHETICS." We were elated at the fact that we had managed to find a wheelchair so easily, and we excitedly raced through a list of the many things we could do with such a wonderful vehicle.

Before bedtime, Joe and I cleaned the wheelchair as best as we could, pushed ourselves around the backyard while wearing a Burger King crown for a good bit, then retired the chair to its current resting spot - in the dining room, parked next to the table for that hungry resident who wants to sit at the table and enjoy his meal.

* * *

The next weekend, Eric, Joe, and I had friends over for a little get together. The wheelchair was put to use, harboring my childish demeanor I immediately fall into at any time that I am inebriated. I wheeled around the kitchen, yelling, "I don't need your assistance! I can help myself!" 

Eventually, I made my way, via wheelchair, to the back porch of our little home, and proceeded to tell Eric that I, in fact, was suffering from the ailment "Leif Garrett's Disease."

"You mean Lou Gehrig Disease," he responded, laughing at my mistaken vocalization.

"No," I retorted. "I have Leif Garrett's Disease. I talk to people in wheelchairs."

Our friends erupted in laughter. In my drunken stupor, I had created a new "disease." This disease apparently involved the symptoms of being inebriated and having the ability to speak to others seated in wheelchairs. 

Now, at any time I find myself sitting in our new piece of furniture, I am reminded of the proclamation I made of my newfound illness: "Leif Garrett's Disease."

 I promise you that I am not one to lay judgment on those who have been unfortunately made to spend their days in a wheelchair. However, I am also not one who only applies one schema to an object commonly known for its assistance with those who are disabled. One man's vehicle may just be another's toy. 

Looney Tune, as told by Eric (the best friend)

Eric, learning life lessons from Looney Tune.

While on a downtown adventure, Murphy and family ran into a homeless man who called himself "Looney Tune." This is the account of that story, as told by Eric, who was roped into a twenty minute conversation. This is what happened...

While downtown one night, in September of 2010, I had a conversation with a man that would change my life forever. He was a downtrodden sage who smelled of whiskey and bad decisions, and the wisdom he imparted on me that day is something that I will never forget. 

We were just standing around when he approached me. He asked Murphy to bum a cigarette, and I vaguely remember him asking for quarters. We then struck up a conversation after Murphy continuously mentioned that he looked like her dad. She may have been a little inebriated, because she ignored his constant reply: "I don't look like your fuckin' dad." 

In order to distract him long enough for Murphy to get away, I somehow ended up sitting on a bench with him for what felt like several hours. But in reality, it was only about twenty minutes. While sitting on that bench, he regaled me with woebegone tales of his homelessness in Savannah, and insisted that I try on his hat. As interesting of a hat as it was, I feared I may contract some incurable disease had I placed it on my head, so I politely declined. 

During our conversation, Looney Tune began dishing out life advice. As I sat there, sipping on my beer and listening to this crazy homeless man, I realized that he probably had no idea where the fuck he was. So I continued to listen to this schizophrenic homeless man as he continued giving his life lessons to, as I imagined he saw me, a giant gummy bear or an injured Confederate soldier. 

Thankfully, I received a respite from his tirade, as Murphy reapproached us and asked if he was, in fact, Satan. He stopped mid-sentence from his drunken monologue and cried: "I don't mess with no devil."

"The only thing the devil does," he said, turning back to me and waving his finger in my face, "is suck on my ass when he tries to put his dick in my face."

I was awestruck. Never had truer words been spoken by a man so completely oblivious to his surroundings. I could tell that this man was in a constant state of fear that at any moment the devil would return to hunt his backside. I then understood that no problem I had, however big or small, compared to what this man had to suffer every single day of his life. 

I cannot imagine that I will ever meet up with Looney Tune again, but I suspect that he's out there, fighting the good fight. As for me, I will never forget his words of wisdom that no one but I will ever understand. 

The Cicadas

During the summer between my 8th and 9th grade year (I think), the 7-year and 17-year cicadas emerged from the ground at the same time. The noise was deafening every night. They were everywhere - blackish two-inch bodies and little red beady eyes. When one would crush a cicada with either their foot or their fingers, they would make the most satisfyingly disgusting crunch sound. I just got the eeby-jeebies.

Anyway, at about that time, I really hated my little brother. I actually loved him dearly - and still do, but he got in the way of my daily activities, because I was always made to let him play with my friends and me. So yeah, I kind of didn't like him. However, I never missed a chance to pick on him, as if it were some sort of fee or compensation for hanging around my cool self. Well, I eventually learned that my little brother was definitely not a fan of these cicadas. So here's what I did:

I found an empty Folgers coffee can - you know, the huge, metal one that holds what seems to be enough coffee to last a thousand years, but really it only lasts a few days? Yeah. That one. Anyway, I took it upon myself to spend about two hours catching every cicada I could and putting each one into that coffee can until there was absolutely no room for any more of those bugs. The coffee can vibrated from all the buzzing inside (I'm pretty sure they were pissed off - at least to some degree), and even I was somewhat grossed out by the whole thing.

I hid behind the corner of the house and called my brother's name: "Richieeeeee! Hey! Richieeeeee! Come here! I have something to show you!"

Little Brother, unknowingly and possibly a bit too trusting, emerged from the front door of the house and immediately began running to the side of the house, where I was crouched...waiting...giggling.

I pulled the lid off the coffee can as fast as I could, and in one fluid motion, I stood up and dumped the can's entire contents onto the head of my little brother. And yes, I definitely was laughing in that maniacal giggle that only truly evil children can make.

I'm not sure how loud he was screaming, but his wails seemed to blend perfectly with the screeching of the cicadas. I stood there, laughing and watching my little brother flail his arms wildly, until a very strong hand grabbed the top of my arm like a pair of channel locks.

It was my mom. And she was pissed. That woman beat my ass until I made it a resolution to never sit down again. And to top it off, I was grounded.

God, it was worth it.

These are true stories...seriously.

The stories I'm about to tell you are all true. I will never use last names, but I promise, you'll laugh regardless. To be honest, I'm posting these stories, because I think about past moments when I laughed so hard that I would almost piss my pants. And I still laugh about them today. They're funny. And I like sharing. So there.