Monday, January 29, 2007

Review: Le Petit Lieutenant

They left early this morning, my food bowl pellets dutifully doused in tuna juice, heart medicine, and arthritis powder. Tony said if he didn't have time to eat dinner, then he would buy popcorn and pink lemonade. I followed them.

They opened the wrong door, the front, which won't help me go outside on the back porch. A goldfish flopped out the bathtub spigot. A delicate lump in the rug was a bag with catnip trapped inside. The door shut as they disappeared. I licked my right paw to polish my gleaming brow. I slept in the empty newspaper box underneath the bed.

Iran shot down a pilotless U.S. spy drone. The dogs upstairs were taken for one of their sudden menial walks. The milk-bottle-cap ring was silent and very afraid under the couch. Interviewed on Pravda, former Senator Rick Santorum said that the President of the War on Terror's war on Iraq has been "Lincolnesque," and he said that the White House already knows the U.S. is at war with Iran. It was dark -- I must have been sleeping again, for a long time -- and I heard the door of a taxi shut.

My god, they had been away for hours. All day. Then the slapstick clomp as Tony and Shelly chewed their way up the stairs.

"I didn't think he was going to die at the end," Tony said, opening the wrong door. They walked into the living room.

Shelly said, "Right before it happened, I had a feeling. He was just too happy. Too innocent. Something was going to happen to him in that scene."

Why are you just standing in front of the bookcases? The felt-wrapped carrot with catnip trapped inside -- and bell attached to it -- doesn't play unless you touch it. Christ, do something.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Episode Twelve: "Mesopotamia"

RHODA: Listen to him, Mary. Think about the stupid stubborn audacity it takes for the President of the War on Terror to stand up in front of the Congress, to stand before the figure of the people of the country, and do anything but apologize. To claim he has any idea about the "state of the union" that is not spelled i-r-a-q.

MARY: He's been irrelevant for a long, long time, Rhoda.

RHODA: He's a disgraceful human being.

MARY: Shhh. He's about to say something about a country north of Saudi Arabia and west of Iran -- the site of a number of Mesopotamian civilizations, including Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, and Babylonia.

RHODA: Mary, don't get too excited.

MARY: Listen to this tripe: "This is not the fight we entered in the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia."

Look at Nancy Pelosi. Everything will be all right.

MARY: What's that skittering noise in the kitchen walls?

RHODA: Look to the light, Mary.

MARY: I'm waiting for him to say that the divorce rates are up for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.

RHODA: Do we still have soldiers in Afghanistan?

MARY: That's a lot of terror to be President of the war on.

RHODA: Maybe he'll apologize because the rate of suicide among U.S. soldiers has doubled over the previous year.

MARY: Or at least admit it's unprecedented in U.S. military history to have soldiers going back for a third tour of duty.

RHODA: The Army's Third Infantry Division just went back to Mesopotamia for its third year in the war.

MARY: At risk taken to guard against our own precautions.

RHODA: Ladies and injuries: shape the outcome of victory. Let us be on this day at this. Let be be finale of seem.

MARY: If I make twenty-thousand surges for the laser-pointer light that Tony and Shelly shine on the rug, this won't help me catch, kill, and eat it.

RHODA: Mary, don't worry. We've confiscated all the cell phone cameras in Mesopotamia. Nobody can make clandestine videos of hangings anymore.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

List IX

1. The near-corner of the wastepaper basket in the living room South Forest.
2. Underneath the ottoman.
3. Top of the ottoman.
4. In front of the living room bookshelf, next to the lump in the carpet where the catnip bag is hiding.
5. On the empty UPS box, in front of the living room bookshelf, unless the vaccum cleaner waits for its bag to be changed.
6. The right corner of the paper shredder next to Tony's desk.
7. The rug in the bathroom.
8. Bathtub spigot.
9. Atop the box of summer clothes under the bed.
10. In front of the wall in the hallway that leads to the kitchen -- where the skittering sound comes from.
11. In front of the stove, where skittering also comes from.
12. Living room South Forest canopy.
13. Inside the empty newspaper box, under the bed, lined with scrap-paper Internet printouts.
14. The far edge of the small rug in front of the bookshelf.
15. The long window sill that faces Greenview Avenue and looks out to the building where the black cat lives.
16. The window sill, cramped, that faces the Mayakovsky Tree.
17. Places where they keep their shoes.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

You're Never Safe

A "plumber" came this morning as I dozed on a captive string of mint-flavored dental floss with a milk-bottle-cap ring tied to the end of it. I stood in his way and hissed. His work boots big as an ice cream truck. I let loose my best Linda Blair. I know he wanted to clomp those immense boots into the kitchen and snatch my food bowl from the floor -- wet food, Iams Lamb and Rice, I was saving for later this morning. Tony picked me up, my inimitable legs kicking, and locked me in the bedroom. I know the "plumber" was too scared to go into the kitchen. As I was carried into the bedroom, I saw him playing with the radiator in the North Forest of the living room. Fine. There's no food there. I already checked.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"You are too sensitive for this vulgar crew"

The Chariot, in conjunction with the World, carries your social life along at top speed today, Shimmy. Lots of socializing in store, notably with people you haven’t met before. You'll work alongside Martin Van Buren all day on a crag under the sky, assembling a prototype of an aerosol spray using methyl and ethyl chloride as propellants. Caught up in the whirlwind watching the black cat in the window across the street lick himself, you’re in danger of getting carried away and falling for him, passionately but unwisely, at first sight. Don’t forget, Shimmy, that passion is best taken in small doses and the bathtub spigot reeks of incense. Where is the string of dental floss? As far as work goes, those around you need all their energy and forcefulness to shake you out of your insecure state of mind. Who put the catnip bag under the rug? The Hanged Man makes you ill at ease in yourself, and you find it difficult to join the vague endeavors of your colleagues. At least be polite, make an effort, if Vivian Vance dumps a handful of Aquari-Yum tuna treats on the floor for you.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Their Merely Being There Means Something

After not much water came out of the bathtub spigot yesterday morning, I sat next to the computer chair. Rubbed the paper shredder, the keyboard clacking above me. I almost fell asleep on two folded plain scraps of yesterday's New York Times on the floor. I forgot why I was next to the chair and the blended little painstaking pieces trapped in the shredder bin. I jumped on the window sill. A rank, malodorous squirrel hunched in the bole of the Mayakovsky Tree, nibbling and mixed up. Its soft neck slanting. I wanted to pray up there, in the tree. I licked my right haunch, the stubborn clacktey-clacks diminishing behind me. You can pray to Jesus up in that tree. Go ahead. I am the Christ.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ill in the Head

I spent all day yesterday sleeping on the large, rectangular box of summer clothes under the bed because of this:

Monday, January 01, 2007


I walked toward the bookshelf. I heard the rumble of champagne poured into flute glasses. I turned to face the living room. I ran between the sides of a triangle formed by Michael, Shelly, and Tony sitting on the floor. I ran between the walls. I ran between two small couches and made myself as large as possible.