It’s a very odd thing—
As odd as can be—
That what ever Miss T eats
Turns into Miss T.
Walter De La Mare, Miss T.
As much as I used to love turning into a mouse, it kind of gets to you after a while. The ears are pretty cute if cute’s your thing, which it’s not, wasn’t or ever likely to be, so I’m looking for something else to be— and if I’ve learnt anything over the last few days, it’s that the female of species is distinctly off-limits.
You could say I’m on the market for a new barrel— a furry one, something that floats and preferably— something that tastes goood. Especially since I am having an extended vowel sound day…
I was chatting with my friend Delfinus some time ago about a similar subject. She’s from Illinois and unfortunately for her, had a peculiar blood condition which left her symptomatic of something rather less than alive, so there was not much else to do other than find a way to laugh at it. This was all pre-vamp chic, so being bitten by a vampires wasn’t quite the vogue it is today; and for a Christian: becoming affiliated with the dark side, had certain social quandaries and a similar ring to a teen-aged boys first foray into Playboy ownership.
Why else do you think we would’ve been discussing eating our neighbours pets?
She was philosophical about it, though it did get her down at times. It can’t be easy making friends with people and then eating them, can it? I’d even toyed with the idea of getting Hag to give her a few tips on what species of flesh tastes best and how to prepare it when you are in a spot— perhaps even consider opening an eatery for other Lords of the Undead, calling it Killer’s, specialising in corpses to go. But then again, I thought it for-the-best that not too many people find out about either of them, unless there were to be incentives like how to carve a wooden steak.
Like I was saying first of all, this mouse charade had to stop. I loved the ‘eeek-ing’ and I loved the fact I got to eat my weight in cheese whenever the transformation took place; but Autumn had started to give me looks. Brave she may not’ve beeen— since ‘positively cowardly’ is the only ‘pc’ in her routine— but when it came to getting a scamper on with only a couple of ‘eeeks!’ to defend myself, there are few realistic stands worth a chance in hell to bet against surviving— even if there was nothing remotely regimental about my cat.
This I suppose is still a dilemma, because it’s only a matter of time before I get eaten by something. And if I’m gonna get eaten, I want to taste goood!
Call me old fashioned, but I can’t remember the last time I went to a restaurant and found mouse on the menu— cat on the other hand? So I think I’m justified therefore, to conclude that they aren’t the best tasting rodent on the face of the earth. I wouldn’t even like to begin to imagine how much meat you’d get off one… Well, not again:
The last time I did, I declared that we should get a discount on the blind ones, only to be told that they were Chef’s speciality— reared in complete darkness in a cage strapped to the back of retired pit-ponies; something to do with the price of canaries spiralling out of control— and since they were gong to be killed anyway, it was cost effective to use them instead of the birds.
‘It all adds to the flavour’, said one old boy. ‘Thems there mices are bloody ‘eroes. Taste better then them others do too. ‘
To which I added very little but a wry smile and decided to try the fricassee’d panda. There is no doubt in my mind, that if they tasted like chicken there’d be millions of them— so dispute that at your peril.
So mouse-meat would not fill you up and in all honesty, would probably be bland. I find rabbit a little bland and they have a great deal more going for them then mice— but they don’t really have enough variation of sound to warrant a full coolness rating; much like the Martians, but they get discounted owing to their leathery skin; and our future monkey overlords who haven’t yet been introduced to the narrative— and besides I’ve already stated that I consider their meat to be a little tasteless.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is, that if I had to eat someone or something, I’m betting it’s the ones I love that tastes better. Take Autumn or instance. My special lady she may be, but if it came down to having to eat her or some dog of the street. I’d eat her. If I had the choice to eat someone I had genuine affection for or a contemptible prick— I’d choose my friend…
This wouldn’t land me in good stead if mine were the only family left standing after a catastrophic event leaving the globe unpopulated. Between the green blood coursing through Toebag’s veins and Hag— I’d rather suffer the fate of the Stephen King’s Survivor Type as opposed to tucking into either one of those two. At least I know I’d taste sweeet.
Since I’ve failed miserably in my attempt to make a point by neglecting the original reason for making it in the first place and ended up making several completely different ones; I’m not sure whether I should elaborate on my meat theories— which are rather wonderful; further my discussion on the animals I fancy becoming when the moment takes my fancy; why Hag would make such a poor hor d’eourve; pointing-pictures, monkey kings; the website that does tell you how to prepare rogue flesh when you are in a spot; or why cosmetic labels are linguistic wonders.
I guess either way it’s going to be a busy week.
Back to the dinner plate; for it is my drawing board—
And today my pen’s a knife and fork…
Such temperate palms doth pitter like rain—
Our misery is their entertainment…
I’ll forgo the usual introduction and instead reproduce a cartoon I found in the hope that it will at least seem to justify my labours as much to you, as it does to me. And of course, make them appear all the more sane: With the exception of a few pursuits I could be pressed to lay a hand on without overly taxing myself, I can honestly say that owning a cat is one of the trickiest. The word itself: pursuit, perhaps sums up the very relationship we have with our feline friends better than any other. Let me assure you, I’m in no way making allusions to that sound they make when they’d like to make us think we are causing them botherations— I am deadly serious. The word pursuit is perfect; implies a chase— and more often than not, it is we who are doing the chasing.
I like to think they prefer it this way, because no matter which way you look at it, there is an inevitable run around that occurs from day to day which can leave you wondering where your next breath will come from. This is something cats consider beneath themselves, for they are animals which have indifference hard-wired into them; they are the same creatures which can sleep for three days then fall forty feet onto solid ground and land gracefully: panting therefore is something they gaze upon with a kind of indignation reserved for the owners of lesser pets. I’ve little doubt that in their minds, such behaviour would no doubt spoil their whole aesthetic. It inevitably comes down to the simple question: who owns whom? For it’s a simple truth that, as much as we would like to believe otherwise: it’s thems which does the owning— which unnaturally brings us full circle to the original point of pursuit…
Cats need to be tackled— something easier written than done, but there you have it. There is no other way of putting it: their outward gaze may be one of calm, knightly almost— but underneath beats an epicentre of cruelty and uncompromise. This is something I have noticed over the years and despite the odd exceptions— tackling gets you respect. It also allows you to retain a little dignity, once you realise any hope of clinging onto all of it is sadly unrealistic.
Cats operate on an entirely different biological clock you see, but this is all part of their tactic to confuse and befuddle their owners. They’re the peace-time equivalent of P.O.W.s wanting to get home by first irritating their captors. Autumn, since she is my case-study, has long since been banned from watching anything that might encourage behaviour of an overly irritating manner, because like many of her kind, she doesn’t need any.
She has just the three settings:
Sleep time for cats is a curious affair. They can be in a vegetative state for hours, be curled still and dreaming of catching sparrows and offering them as gifts— and still become alive at a moments notice to create havoc and make us cry. This is where they differ from us. We wake up and generally plod about and walk into things for a few minutes, whilst spending the next few hours trying to remember who we are.
It’s also the time they boast the ability to operate in all three states simultaneously. When they sleep they dream; when they dream, they are invariably thinking about food. When they want food they think it’s cute to get our attention; firstly by playing and then by making the most unremitting sound imaginable: some of them not dissimilar to a crying baby. This is where they differ from dogs, who haven’t the ability to produce more than a half dozen utterances; whereas cats have a resonating chamber granting the them powers of production over something in the region of a hundred-odd noises designed to register a frown, wake the dead or put you off whatever it was you were doing at any time of the day or night.
Luckily, cats will sleep on average, a full twenty hours a day— if for no other reason, so they can be fresh to disturb their ‘owners’ whenever they damn well please. When they are not however, they are hunting lap— and don’t be fooled into thinking it’s an act of love. Altruism and cats do not mix: it’s because your lap is warmer than the floor, or invariably the chair or bed it was sleeping on. You only have to ask yourself how many times you’ve left your chair only to return and find a cat’s curled up or contorted on it sporting a big grin as though born there… It’s all part of cats’ sleep time.
Play time is next, and there is only one lesson here to be learnt. Cats play when they want to play: Period… There are no exceptions. Autumn for instance barely moves. She does occasionally stretch and sigh; looks good doing it too; and though she’d never dream of doing the two simultaneously in case it affected her balance, she rarely plays. A couple of times a day though, usually at about the time she feels she deserves to be rewarded with food, she goes a little do-lally-tat. This is the only time she really ever shows herself up: as much as I worship her little paws, she is perhaps the most ungraceful creature alive. She’s got the art of lazing about and extending her little legs down to a tee; and looking beautiful goes without saying; but her landing, leaping, running and methods of evasion leave a lot to be desired.
So when she’s tear-assing up and down the stairs because a video tape has just tried to bite her; or she’s mistaken the central heating for something unfriendly— with that startled look of abject horror in her eyes: she flies— which is all the more remarkable because she’s a bit of a waddler at the best of time; speed her up and her back legs resemble those dwarfed-horses. But when she’s calmed down and realised there is nothing to fear from the crisp packet in the corner, she becomes far more sociable: at least this is what she’ll have you believe.
Being cute means give me attention, and it’s all part of their ‘not to be messed with’ policy. Yes— they play mind-games too. The spasming out they do is an ulterior act, made out for their own ‘peace of mind’— just to have you chase them around the house— and just to convince themselves they’re still the ones running the show. When on the face of it, it’s the only running they ever intend to do. This is one of the few times we are in accordance with them— why run, when we could be eating. And with hunger, comes the most familiar cry in the cats arsenal. It is easily the most disturbing:
Take me to your feeder
It’s as close a translation as I can manage but yes— it’s there to inform us that it’s time to eat: the final piece in the great triumvirate of the kitty universe. It’s also their favourite time of the day, and quite possibly the only time of day they truly make you feel as though all their love is a bit of a sham.
There’s little you can really do to null the emotional trauma they inflict upon us at feeding time, besides preparing a little; and the easiest way to do that, is to be your pet. As hard as it may be; when you hear the thud of a cats’ imperfect landing at three in the morning and wide awake, beckoning you for strokes and companionship to brace the outdoors— it’s best to turn the other cheek and instruct it back to bed…
Your success in this instance will be nil— and your cat will never tire of repeating herself. She will do her best to trip you up so you fall down the stairs and hurt yourself, and run away feigning fright at the tumultuous racket that ensues— but she’ll be back; just about the time you want to hit the sack again pretending she hadn’t just tried to kill you and that she really is your best friend.
She’ll wriggle about and purr and lick and yelp a little if she can be bothered, but deep down she’s thinking only one thing, and that is that ‘you’re an imbecile!’ And when she’s had enough and you’re just about ready to nod off on the downstairs carpet— she’ll hop onto all fours, give her head a flick, and ignore you.
This is not letting them know who’s boss. Not that I can really speak— I get up two or three times a night when hear Autumn’s ungainly thud on the floor and every time give her exactly what she wants.
But this is where I am taking the sports to a much higher level. I am using her own tactics against her; I play to her strengths— at least I believe it to be that way. If she wants love when it’s inhuman to expect it: I won’t play ball when she gets her ‘munching’ face on…
You must be cruel to be kind. Or in the case of felines in general— cruel to avoid having misery thrust upon you, since it is their main goal in life.
So just remember: cats are not your friends. Why do you think that they are not mentioned once in the bible? They are sharp and cunning— even the thick ones! So play the game by their rules and the two of you can live harmoniously,
If you give them an inch—
They’ll own you…
And they say there’s no rest for the wicked…
One’s real life is so often the life one does not lead…
Such are the senses, that we have more than five and fewer than six. Try tasting something without seeing it for instance; it almost always tastes like something other than what it’s supposed to and rarely anything other than chicken; listen to someone speak without seeing their mouths move or those unusual sounds that keep you awake at night when you’re trying to sleep that never turn out to be two thousand pound mice and you’ll forever be in that darkness— or even tasting something without smelling it and so on and so forth. Life is so much more than it appears to be, though it’s little more than it actually ever is. Unless of course, there is such a thing a two thousand pound mouse or you really were asked to shake and squeeze the band which gave King Tut its mildew…
My real life is far cry from the award winning, affluent, multi-faceted and admired jaunt and jolly through which my other self is no doubt enjoying somewhere where the senses are better understood and household pets and rodents are disproportionately large; but that’s not to say I’ll ever be to old to be everything I could have been-or too small for Autumn to call me sweetheart.
It puts me in mind somewhat rather of him— S; a splendid chap and so was his wife— K. At least she was when I knew her. She was smart too, in that sensible way that can get up the noses of people who try to sit down to quickly wearing tight pants, smoking whilst owning chest complaints and the intolerably foolish doing well, anything. She could and would point out the obvious with a style and punctuation, few of us would or could even dream about. I remember one such occasion at college, when she was trying to persuade S to disband one of his pro-radical movements— he liked to use meaningless compound phrases in those days— retro-activist-avist was his favourite— he said that it left dangling inferences suggesting guile and determination. K said it left an unpleasant odour in the air and a salty taste in her mouth whenever he said it. Her favourite saying on the other hand was, What’s with the finger E.T.? They were a charming bunch.
Anyway, he claimed the campus anti-everything lobby weren’t doing enough complaining about things that didn’t matter to anyone, so he founded the double A. E. B. The Anti-Anti-Everything Brigade, to which K merely pointed out that its tautology gave it ’all the noise of a harmless educational committee. Trying to point out the pointlessness of rebellion in the civilised world— is rather like an unwanted splinter’ she meant this quite literally; ‘a forgotten part of the Nation Union of Teachers perhaps’ she fancied, and besides, wasn’t it dishonest describing himself as a brigade, especially since he hadn‘t persuaded anyone else in actually joining him; that to disband an army of one was something that ‘reality just wouldn’t allow’ and perhaps he should try doing something useful instead like, drawing up a petition against himself and joining the N.U.T., ‘allergies allowing of course’, maintaining that she had read somewhere that ‘at least education had an ethos…’
S had missed the train again. It was the third time in as many days and he was starting to take the whole thing very personally. He wouldn’t have minded had it not been for the decrepit old fool in front of him who insisted on buying his ticket with an exact change he couldn’t really see; unless demonstrating the ability to distinguish the denomination of a coin by rubbing them against his eyeball counted as seeing.
As for me,I have a new cafeteria— reward for installing a utility next door, which brings me to my last point in a pointless exercise…