Sunday, September 20, 2009

Beeswax Silouette

Dear Diary,

I have been studying and substituting so have not felt like blogging about my hopes and dreams. Since it has been over a week - I thought I would post an essay my son John wrote when he was in college at ASU. The teacher gave him an A - best in class so I hope you enjoy it. Some of ya'll have seen this before.

Here goes - it is kind of long.

Anyone who owns a cat has, at one point, come home to find the mangled remains of a bird that kitty managed to have for lunch. One day I did too, and imagine that this bird had been creamed on the freeway by a speeding tour bus: the end result would be similar, but not quite as messy as the number my sister's cat had done on this one. Getting home from school I happened upon the little creation Flower left for us on the front porch. Within a ritualistic circle of feathers and guts she had decapitated the bird, left the head looking straight up at whomever would find it, and to the side had stretched out the wings and legs in a grotesque degree, as if to say she "loved us 'this' much."

Normally one might be shocked, but the sad fact is that so many animals have met equally horrendous deaths involving my family that, like the horse whisperer on a tour of the glue factory, I came out with a pretty upset worldview.

In this case though, I attributed it to Darwinism. If Flower had managed to kill it, then that was one stupid bird and it deserved to die. Why? Because this cat can be best described as a big black poof wearing a bell. It bares repeating: a bell. Whenever I step into the yard, she flattens herself in the grass, so all that I can see is a big black ball of fur, and eyes looking at me through blades of grass. Think camouflage! Then she darts to the next bit of cover, "ring, bling, ring, swish!" And then she darts to the next bit of cover, "ring, bling, ring, swish!" and then she pounces, "jingle, bling, ring, rawr! Ah! They see me, run away! Blingy, ring, jingle."

Now usually people say that when cats leave dead things for you to step in, it means they love you, or are giving you a present...but at the point where the cat goes Hannibal Lector on it's food, and rips off the head...that's not a present, that's a threat. Instead of "Ilove you" it's more like "this could be you, I know where you sleep." My best guess is she is tired of my little brother stepping on her tail, or still bitter that we stole her kittens and gave them away. Especially when she still doesn't know who her babies' daddy is.

That's another thing about Flower, not only is she apparently evil, but she's also a whore. Before we had time to spay her, she was out wandering the neighborhood and got knocked up. She was a teen mother of a broken home. Of course I got in trouble when, talking to my dad, I referred to her as "the skank". My ten year old sister overheard and wanted to know what it meant...and it means bad kitty if she should ask. Flower didn't take it hard though, and in fact for some reason I became the surrogate father to the little bastards. She so thoughtfully chose the dirty clothes underneath my bed as a nest to keep the kittens....Kittens that like to meow as loud as they can in the middle of the night. She put them there because that was the only place she could keep them out of the hands of my brother and sister who spent hours trying to squeeze under the bed, faces pressed against the side, reaching as far as they could to get one of the meowing fuzzy bundles of fun. And whenever she would get hungry, or go out and search for her babies' daddy, she would carry them one by one to the top of my bed so that I could babysit while she was gone....Thanks kitty, let me put down my calculus so I can keep kittens from tumbling off my bed to their death while I beat my siblings away from them with a stick.

It turns out though, that it was my dad who actually killed the bird. That makes more sense too, because he wasn't wearing a bell AND has a BB gun. Lucky for me, I can go to college because in his midlife crisis, instead of buying a corvette, he chose a more economical instrument of death, the BB gun. The logic behind this purpose was "the damn pigeons" keep nesting over the porch and installing chicken wire just isn't fun enough. What apparently was fun was buying about one hundred forked spikes to glue down on top of the pillars holding up the roof of the porch which was where the pigeons lived. Apparently, the idea was for the pigeons to fly into them at full speed and skewer themselves. Instead, the pigeons merely flew over the spikes and enjoyed a new fortified nest. Birds, one. Dad, zero.

Aside from the pigeons, there are also large black birds called grackles that steal the dog's food, and apparently carry mystery bird diseases that can kill us all. Therefore the best solution is to pump those bastards full of lead! So far, the pigeons are gone but since Dad has taken to baiting the grackles by putting the food in plain sight, there are actually more birds than there were originally. So it stands to reason that we are all therefore much closer to dieing of exotic bird diseases. Birds, two. Dad, zero.

Not only does dad enjoy mercilessly killing the bird menace, he's discovered an even greater joy in the telling of his killings.

"There was this huge one, right? And it was sitting on the fence, and I thought, maybe there are houses behind it in the line of fire, or maybe not...but I'm taking this shot! And I shot it and you could tell it was like 'What the hell?!' and it starts to fly off, but then it's like 'uhoh...not feeling so good...' and then it took a nose dive into your mother's ferns...and I think I saw the cat run off with it a little while later." So dad fearlessly maintains his post when he's outside; reading the newspaper, drinking beer, he always has his faithful Red Rider within arm's reach. In fact, after he's done with the newspaper, and a substantial amount of beer, he's still clinging tightly to it while passed out and snoring...which I think is a bit unhealthy...but we've learned not to discuss these things.


Esther said...

What a fabulous story! Your son is a great story teller. My cat brought me a rat last week. I think the neighborhood ran out of mice and birds because I've picked them all up off my "welcome" mat.

Leslie said...

I loved reading this again!! John's got your sense of humor!

Michele said...

What a wonderfully amusing story! Your son is quite a writer, no wonder he got best in class.

And thank you very much for the email, that is very helpful info, I think I'll try and make a different piece to send in. :O

eclectic archivist said...

Lisa I am laughing so hard I have tears running down my face...I know were this kid gets his sense of humor!

aka: eye-poppers said...

forgot to mention in email that I love the pix on your blog. Are those family members? Anyway, it's great.

Sandy said...

Thanks for the first laugh of this day. I'd say like mother like son! Great visuals as I too know of the presents (threats).

whymsicalmusings said...

Lisa I LOVE this post. What a great laugh along with a Fabluous Story:)

Your son is very talented.

Hope you have a beautiful week.

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Well, I may be way behind on my blog visiting but had to come by and read a page full of stories from you. You tell the best stories, sprinkled about with your lovely art work.

Here's a twist on your bird/cat/dad story. I went to visit my grandmother once for a week and came home to find my one an only cat, Jasper had run away. I was an adult before I found out my dad had shot my cat because it was eating all the blue birds. My dad is wildlife biologist and at the time we lived on a refuge where he was the manager and he couldn't excuse our cat from eating the birds he was supposed to be protecting and managing. There are several versions of the story and exactly how and why the cat met its fate but generally all that matters is that it met its fate with my dad in one way or another. So, don't be too traumatized. At least your dad didn't kill the cat. hee hee!

TheresainMS said...

OMGosh! What a wonderful story; a truly gifted writer. Please, please ask him to publish more. Both of you are such amazing word artists; love to read your blog!

Barb said...

LOL...WHAT A GREAT STORY TELLER HE IS!...thanx for a good belly laugh!