Turns out I don’t have to work all week after all. Walked into the school office yesterday morning and knew right away something was wrong. There was whole herd of us substitutes in there, lowing nervously and pawing the ground. Somehow they had called in too many of us, and the secretaries and the principal were running all around, trying to find things for us to do. And then they cancelled me for the rest of the week, which is just as well. I can get some writing done today, and get another bike ride in (we’re having beautiful weather this week), and be generally be lazy, which is what tiggers like best.
And since I suddenly have all this time opened up, I have decided to not only try to wrap up the first draft of BRCM but also to beging playing with another project that’s been on my mind. It’s called Suicidal Thoughts, and so far I don’t know what it will turn out to be (a self-referential novel? An extended essay?) except this it is sure to be amusing. For the writer, anyway. It’s always fun to write about taboos. Here’s what I’ve gotten down this morning:
The most immediate problem is the cat. You can’t just kill yourself and then let the cat starve until somebody gets concerned enough to break down the door and discover the body. Ah, but of course you say: I could simply leave out a few weeks’ worth of cat food and a huge bowl of water. Not so simple, my friend. The cat, a beautiful tortoise-shell named Tanaka, was abandoned as a kitten, and has food issues. She is the only cat I have ever had (and I have had a few) whose food I have to ration. Twice a day so much kibble and a forkful of canned food, a kibble snack in the evening, and of course a sample of anything interesting I prepare for myself. Oh, well now, says at this point a certain sort of finger-wagger (not you, I trust, gentle reader), the reason Tanaka is fat is that I let her eat people food. To these fault-finders I say: not so fast. First of all, Tanaka is not fat. Yes, her belly hangs a little low, with folds of skin that waggle from side to side when she runs, but this is very common in spayed cats. Seen from above, she has a lovely shape, tapering in very nicely behind her rib cage. And if you stroke her luxurious fur, you will find that her loose folds of skin are that and no more: loose skin. Cats are famous for it. It’s why you can pick them up by the scruffs of their necks. And even if she does have a tendency towards a certain voluptuousness, she is both nimble and active. She jumps like a champion, loves to ambush me and then quickly scamper acrobatically away. In full sprint, I must add, her back legs always seem on the verge of overtaking her front ones, now on the left, now on the right. Very amusing to watch. Nimble, active, and clever as well; she even, every once in a great while, catches a bird.
What?! (This is the finger-wagger again): You allow your cat to go outside and massacre the poor, defenseless little birds who do nothing but inspire us with their flight and soothe us with their song? You deserve to die, you beast! Kill yourself immediately! And if your horrible cat becomes desperate for food and feeds on your rotting carcass, so much the better!
She catches mice, too. But do these nature-lovers get up in arms about the poor, defenceless little mice? No, they do not, for they are nothing if not inconsistent.
Besides, she does not catch so many.
Coincidentally, she did get one this very morning. Although she usually prefers to sleep indoors, sharing my bed, if I wake towards morning she will take the opportunity to have herself let out, for she knows that the early morning is prime hunting time. She lies in wait beneath some shrub, possibly the forsythia by the bay window, just outside the bedroom, until some foolish and unobservant avian morsel, the loss of whose DNA would be, if anything, a boon to the species, hops too near.
When she does manage to get one she is terribly proud. I opened the front door this morning and into the house she hopped, the sparrow still in her mouth. Only after she had shown me her prize did she gobble it up, leaving nothing but a few tail feathers on the living room floor.