Saturday, July 29, 2006

Den of Spies, Part 2 of 3

They took me to the Den of Spies, where the veterinarian, Henry Kissinger, strutted in his butcher's apron and threatened to take blood and urine samples from me.

"This is absolutely unnecessary," Murray Slaughter interjected. "I mean, what's the real problem here? Nothing I can see."

Shelly said, "She's pooping outside her box, Murray. Don't you think that's a problem."

"For you two," Murray replied. "I'm so sorry this offends your delicate bourgeois sensibilities. 'Oh, no! How ghastly! A mound of shit on the floor. Bring me the Murphy's Oil Soap! Woe to me, I'll never love again!'"

Henry Kissinger dismissed Murray with a wave of his meaty hands.

"She will be fine," the blood-dimmed, vainglorious Dr. Kissinger said. "Don't worry. I do this all the time. She also needs to have her anal glands drained."

My legs buckled under me.

"Sometimes when the anal glands are swollen," he continued, "it hurts when they go to the bathroom. We'll also want to change her diet. Then you can come back in a few weeks and we'll run some more tests. But first, we have to drain those glands, Shimmy."

I passed out.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Den of Spies, Part 1 of 3

"Shimmy, no need to be so crabby," Henry Kissinger said.

He took the cat carrier away from Tony and Shelly. The barren, chromium landscape of the Uptown Animal Hospital examination table spread itself before me.

The Den of Spies!

Dr. Kissinger strutted in his bemused butcher's apron. He poked his nose against the cage door of my carrier.

Dr. Kissinger's distressing eyes. His wet, violent lips.

I curled my forehead into Tony's old green sweater, which carpeted the inside of the carrier with the furry splotch of his betrayal. (I had been sleeping underneath his desk, my glorious body placed in exquisite symmetry between his desk chair legs and garbage can. Then he picked me up. Transferred me to this cell. His old green sweater in it.)

"I'm going to have to take a blood sample," he said to Tony and Shelly. "A urine sample, too, of course."

Of course. And how do you plan to colonize my body with your malevolent syringes? Don't you fucking touch me.

"How long do you think you'll need?" Tony asked. His betrayals are galactic and no longer surprise me.

"The illegal we do immediately," Dr. Kissinger said, chuckling. His head bobbed and he scratched his nose. "The unconstitutional takes a little longer."

Friday, July 21, 2006

This Morning, the Overlook Hotel

THE GRADY GIRLS [in unison]: Come play with us, Shimmy. The Vet says it might be an intestinal parasite. Come play with us.

[I awaken beneath the footstool. The sentimental look on my face says, "The red laser-pointer dot is replaced over and over by its own disappearance. But its memory remains like a damp cloth or a taste of somebody's yogurt left behind in a bowl."]

SHIMMY: [covers eyes]: I just want to go into the closet, on top Shelly's backpack, and think things over. Or under the bed.

THE GRADY GIRLS: You've had your whole life to think things over, Shimmy. What good's a few minutes more going to do you now? Come play with us.

SHIMMY: I'm fine. Leave me alone. You don't know anything. There is no veterinarian anymore. I made Dr. Kolm move to the suburbs.

THE GRADY GIRLS: Come play with us, Shimmy. Forever . . . and ever . . . and ever.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

List, V

Tania was scared by images and ideas.

Erzebet Bathory was scared by shelters and offices, hissing at the base of the tree.

A scared Mina Loy belonged to a neighbor.

Soon your freezer is full. This isn’t Madame Blavatsky -- and Willa Cather has been sulking since.

Do not chase after or try to pick up Ida Lupino. Be patient and understanding. The other incident involved a young girl who was holding Kira Roessler in an improper manner.

Poor, scared Squeaky Fromme will puff up her tail. Mrs. Iselin bit off the mouse's tail. Patsy Cline stepped on the mouse's tail to prevent it from crawling away. It scrabbled at the dusty cement with its forepaws then succumbed to heart attack.

Lene Lovich's ears swung around in the air when the Vet walked into the room. The Vet checked the bathroom. The Vet failed to evolve.

Hi, Bessie Head! Like you, I am nervous.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

My Astrological Chart

Inspiration might hit you like a bolt from the blue today, dear Shimmy. Your imagination, innovation, and ingenuity are operating at a very high level -- which leads you to read a report that characterizes Guantánamo Bay as "a prison beyond the law." You never thought such an institution was possible in the United States. It's a positive day ahead, though, and you'll be more tolerant than usual of the mercurial moods and passions of those around you.

As you read the Center for Constitutional Rights's Report on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, you'll notice, with dismay, a resemblance to John McCain's horrific tales of Viet Cong torture. Whatever you devise or discover should attract a lot of positive attention your way, except when you're reading about Sami Al-Laithi, a pro-democracy English teacher whom U.S. forces determined was "no longer an enemy combatant" on May 10, 2005, and was later released. Al-Laithi is now confined to a wheelchair as a result of beatings by the U.S. military at Guantánamo. Raped by U.S. soldiers during his imprisonment, Al-Laithi said, "I am in constant pain. I would prefer to be buried alive than continue to receive the treatment I receive. At least I would suffer less and die."

Thus, your nerves could also be a bit stressed, so try to remain calm and not get too flustered if you hit a few blocks here and there. Remember, of the roughly 550 prisoners at Guantánamo, about "a few dozen" provide "continuing intelligence value" for the U.S. military, according to Lt. Col. Anthony Christino. If you can manage it, take a little break from your busy schedule to devote a few minutes entirely to yourself! Of course, you're not used to so much self-indulgence, Shimmy, but today it would do you a world of good.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Episode Eight: "Guantanamera, Guajira Guantanamera"

MARY: I'm torn. I understand why the President is waffling on this one, Rhoda.

RHODA: He broke the law again. He can't help himself.

MARY: On one hand, John Yoo of course deserves Geneva Convention protections. At the same time, is he really a prisoner of war?

RHODA: Enemy combatant, Mary. He attacked the Constitution, and by proxy the American people, without a formal declaration of war.

MARY: But he’s not stateless, after all. He’s not like Al Qaeda. Instead, he attacked the United States Constitution with the direct support of the United States government.

RHODA: So he’s a cannibal?

MARY: I prefer traitor. Is that a laser-pointer dot flickering on the rug?

RHODA: I’m not torn at all. No way. Yoo should not be protected by the Geneva Convention. He doesn’t think you should be, either.

MARY: The laser-pointer dot came back last week. Do you hear the curmudgeonly jangle it makes when they take it off the bookshelf?

RHODA: Rumsfeld stands all day and he says that’s not torture. Schoolteachers stand all day, and that’s not torture. John Yoo lies around all day in a plush bean bag chair. I don't think it's torture if he stands up for a few hours. Can you believe we're even having this conversation in the United States of America?

MARY: The flashlight doesn’t make any noise. And it’s bigger, invasive and round. It comes to you in globules. But the laser-pointer is tactical, like a capricious sunbeam.

RHODA: If John Yoo doesn’t have anything to hide, then why isn’t he saying anything to interrogators at Guantanamo?

MARY: Everyone wants to steal my food.

RHODA: I saw Joe Lieberman on his knees at your food dish in the middle of the night, eating stale Hairball Control leftovers. Democrats and Republicans call this “checks and balances.”

MARY: If I find Lieberman sleeping in the bathtub, I’m moving to Canada.

Monday, July 03, 2006

What They Did to Scout's Leg

Scout's leg shouted obscenities at the world. Scout's leg offered miserable teenagers a small fortune. Scout's leg was missing something by the minute. Scout's leg was a small girl who loved autumn. Scout's leg was seriously cornfields on both sides. Scout's leg threatened a small boat by a large creek. Scout's leg was an octopus, a Bolshevik's cape -- and Scout's leg for a long time pulled out snowflakes from the trees. Scout's leg rode a bus and lost its guitar. Scout's leg cursed in seven languages for the good of the planet. Scout's leg loved the smell for years of the canary under the bed.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Conversations with Guy Debord (3)

"Shimmy, why haven't you written much in your blog lately? Are you upset about Karl Rove?"

Rainsoaked musk Gauloise smoke, Guy Debord's red-tassel loafers scuff the hardwood floor. The grassy timber of his voice!

"We'll never know if he's a traitor, " I said. "Or Cheney. Maybe they leaked Valerie Plame's name. Maybe they betrayed the United States during a time of war to settle a political score with Ambassador Joseph Wilson."

"The spectuacular sham struggles of rival forms of separate power are at the same time real in that they translate the unequal and antagonistic development of the system," Debord said. He flicked an ash -- thinner and less round as it fell to the rug.

I swatted my stuffed catnip carrot with a bell on the end of it. It moved. I am surrounded by vulnerable food and dainty clatter.

I said, "When Robert Hanssen hears a key rattle the lock on his cell door, he jumps out of bed and kisses the floor and says, 'Serviam'."

"You know as well as I do, Shimmy. It's the relatively contradictory interests of classes or subdivisions of classes which acknowledge the system and define themselves as participants within its power." He ran his fingers along my spine, stopped and tickled my exceptional tail bone.

"I loved it last summer when the Washington Post apologized for Rove," I said. I stared at the window sill in the bedroom. The sheer curtains, made from saris, flickered in the wind. If I timed it right, I could jump without tangling my legs on them. "He didn't reveal Plame by name, the Post said, but only reported that Joseph Wilson's wife was a CIA operative. As if that somehow was not exactly the same as revealing her name? Oh, please. Someone stop me, Debord, I'm falling asleep in the bathtub!"

"The truth of the uniqueness of Rove, Cheney, Hanssen, and Aldrich Ames resides in the universal system that contains them," Guy Debord said. "The unique movement that makes the planet its field -- capitalism."

"Does Hanssen wear a barbed-wire Cilice around his upper thigh two hours every day in prison?"