Friday, April 29, 2011

Choose Your Own Badventure

The Choose Your Own Adventure series was my favorite as a kitten. I read and reread Journey Under the Sea and The Abominable Snowman, hoping each time that this time, finally, I would escape death.

Of course I never did, and perhaps this affected my development. Perhaps the Choose Your Own Adventure series perverted me. Would I have been a different cat if I had not read them? Maybe. Perhaps I would now be one of those happy kitties you see gracing calenders demanding "cheezburgers." Maybe not. We cannot know for sure how greatly we are affected by that which surrounds us as we grow, and how much is coded in our genes.

As a tribute to these influential books, I would like to invite you to participate in my own Choose Your Own Badventure. I use the word "Badventure" instead; perhaps you know why? I apologize for this nostalgia. It was prompted by a dream I had, that I do not remember, from which I awoke weeping.

Luco de la Cabeza Grande's Choose Your Own Badventure

Panel I
You are in a bathroom. You find yourself overcome with a sense of impending doom. Your heart is like a rock rolling around in your chest. You feel untethered, as though there is nothing keeping you from floating through the ceiling, past the atmosphere, into the depths of space.

If you choose to remain in the bathroom, go to panel III. If you leave, go to panel II. If you cannot make a decision, go to panel IV.

Panel II
Upon leaving the bathroom, you are confronted with Mingus trapped in a gigantic purse, cleaning his paw, snuggled in a golden jacket. What you do not immediately realize is that Mingus has the power of Medusa. 

You are turned to stone. 

This is a painful death because you feel your body changing, and although it takes only moments, it feels as though it takes entire lifetimes for your blood to slow, running sluggish from your heart to your brain. You feel your veins hardening, filling with rock. Your saliva turns to cement. Your last thought as you gaze into his evil eyes? "He is sooooo adorable!"

Panel III
You stay in the bathroom for another moment, allowing the anxiety to pass. You feel your body relax. This is due in part to the fact that poisonous gas is being pumped into the room by the evil prison guard. It is becoming more and more difficult to breathe.

If you remain in the bathroom, go to panel V. If you leave, go to panel VI. If you still cannot decide what to do, go to panel IV.

Panel IV
Your inability to make a decision causes you to become more and more anxious. The poisonous gas being pumped into the room does not affect you, but slowly you become aware that something is wrong. Your eyesight seems to flicker. You feel as though you are in many places at once. 

And then for no reason your body begins dissolving into myriad pieces of blood and bone - you are melting like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz. Perhaps this is a consequence of some evil you did not realize you were committing. Perhaps you suddenly developed an allergy to oxygen. Perhaps god has become angry with you. It is no matter (you remember the truism: life is absurd). 

Your heart is the last to burst in fleeting fireworks of red and black. 

Panel V
Your decision to remain in the bathroom was ridiculous! The room is filling with poisonous gas, why would you remain? Do you see the skull over there by the clock radio? That is your skull, fool, because the poisonous gas is poisonous, and you died.

If, however, you had a straw in your pocket and you used it to filter the air, please proceed to panel VII.

Panel VI
You run out of the bathroom, through the hallway, and to the safety of the Outside. Passing through that back door, however, causes a horrible metamorphosis; you become the dog.

You feel every piece of fur like a torment. You itch all over. You have an urge to eat your own feces. This fills you with an overwhelming revulsion. Shaking, you stare with wonder into the expanse of a cloudless sky.

If you begin to weep, go to panel VIII. If you do nothing, go to panel IX. If you lose all hope, go to panel X.

Panel VII
Liar! There is no possibility you had the foresight to bring a straw with you on this badventure! Those bloody hand prints are yours, reader, from when you reached for me to help you and I did not because I cannot help a liar escape her damnation. It would be unethical.

After your lie about the straw, you began to feel a trembling rush over your body. The poisonous gas causes you to bleed from every pore. It is a disgusting death, reader, and very painful. 

Panel VIII
You will continue to weep until you die, although you do have the small consolation of being allowed Outside. Unfortunately, being an insatiable dog, you eat all the dirt and the grass and the trees and the weeds in the backyard, and your body expands and expands until you burst, dog parts flying through the air. It is an uncomfortable death, but you do have the satisfaction of having eaten the backyard. Before you die, you are quite proud of this.

Panel IX
You do nothing. Nothing happens. 

You continue doing nothing. You lie in the sun. Nothing happens.

It grows hotter and hotter. You do nothing. Your fur absorbs the heat. You do not even turn your head.

The sun sets and still you remain motionless. It rises again. Clouds fill the sky. It begins to rain.

You do not move although rain pelts you. Then it begins hailing. One fist sized piece of ice hits you between the eyes. It does not hurt. You die.

Panel X
I have also lost all hope. Please proceed to the next panel.

We die alone together - never having understood one another.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Luco & Envy

Here I am in the prison kitchen, walking along the sink. If you have read my other entries, then you know how fond I am of sinks. Sinks and dripping water. A leaky faucet is a thing quite near perfection. 

However, upon looking out the window, I am accosted by a most unpleasant sight.

What do they see in him? Why is the dog allowed freedom? What must the sunlight feel like? Is the light blinding in his eyes? Do lizards creep up to him and beg to be eaten? What does a bird song sound like so close? Does the grass feel like feathers? How does it feel to scoop pawfuls of dirt? Where did they get that pool table? How do I know what a pool table is? Is there a man in the tree back there?

So many questions only the dog can answer, but I am loath to ask. Imagine admitting to the dog that he has insight! Knowledge I cannot fathom. Experiences that would electrify.

And he taunts me through my favorite window. I can see him even now, an indistinct blackness in the grass. Sometimes my soul is taken up with a thought that burns - a thought so shameful I cannot consider it for more than a moment. I allow it to bubble to my surface, and then I push it back down with everything in me. That thought that froths and rises inside me?

Would I were the dog.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter, Love Luco

This morning the table was covered in these mysterious pastel colored plastic eggs (I would not use this many adjectives, but my wonder prompts excess, please excuse me). What is their purpose? Why do they shine so, in a lovely dim way, in the morning light?

Is this an act of contrition from the dog - does he realize his beastliness?

Or is this a gift from the prison guard, a sort of, "hey, sorry I've kept you captive for like forever, but like, I love you!" (This, sadly, is not hyperbole - I have been a student of her dialect for the entire course of my pathetic life.)

Whatever the reason (Mingus has informed that these eggs are for "Easter," this, however, seems rather unlikely to me as I had been under the impression the prison guard practiced only oppression and therefore had no time for religion), these charmingly colored eggs make me ill.

Why, do you ask, am I made sick by the sight of their muted pinks, blues, purples, and greens?

These are symbols of inchoate, burgeoning life, and as such cannot but also suggest decay, rot, the inescapable stench of death. No amount of Easter Lilies can mask that smell; no amount of baskets full of candy can hide the truth.

The truth that we will die. And these myths of a man who has risen on this day? My heart is moved to sorrow for his extended suffering. Let us die when we die; let the void fill our eyes and our hearts and our bodies so that we are taken up with the dew into the cosmos.

These eggs are a pricker in my paw- insistent, whispering you must die, we all must die.

Also, chocolate gives me a tummy ache.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Luco & Polytheism

This morning has been a long one. I woke up several times in the night to prowl around the prison. I ensure there are no burglars or other no-goodniks. Maintaining a constant vigilance is simply part of my life. For whatever reason, I am committed to these people, to this prison. So I did not actually sleep much. 

In addition to my surveillance, I was aroused from my slumber by horrifying nightmares. In one, the prison guard and her husband had human bodies with dog faces. In another, we were all hung from the ceiling, spinning wildly, laughing madly. I am not certain what this dream signifies, but it was deeply unsettling. In yet another nightmare, the dog had become my very closest friend. We embraced, enraptured on the couch, sharing dog food. Reminiscing about "the good old days" (apparently becoming best friends with the dog impaired my ability to avoid cliché expressions, because that was the exact phrase that trailed me like smoke out of the dream).

Waking from that dream, I nearly suffered cardiac arrest. But then, one final dream awoke me not much later. Mingus killed us all and was venerated forever as a kind of god-king. The prison guard rose from the dead and she and Mingus danced and danced in feverish circles around the prison- the prison I work so hard to protect (trust me, that small dog isn't working the security here at all; he is more interested in eating the couch). But perhaps my dream was prophetic.

What do my tired eyes rest on upon waking? This scene here. Perhaps the nightmare foretold this abomination! It is a purse upon which reside the countenances' of a duo of Mingus-twins. The prison guard is absolutely relentless in her Mingus-worship. I am absolutely relentless in my awkward grammatical sentences! 

I apologize for that moment of self-deprecation. I was overcome. Please consider what it means to be one Luco de la Cabeza Grande. Firstly, the prison guard has my name wrong; she calls me Luco la Cabeza Grande. Secondly, she thinks I have large head. Thirdly, I suffer innumerable degradations like this each and every day. The worst of which is the fact that she brought home a dog. Why would she do this to me? 

Allow me to continue. After these three slights, slights I must bear in silence, made to act the fool, comes the fourth and final insult. This Mingus-veneration. This Mingus-worship.

What is it about this small, orange cat? If you will pardon the colloquialism, what's he got that I don't? I am not sure what is so wonderful about Mingus, so I will never even begin to comprehend how to compete with him. Is it his adorable face? His saccharine devotion? His involuntary purring? His great capacity for love? 

Is my tireless work protecting this prison entirely worthless and furthermore futile?

Yes, probably.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Luco Lives in a Very Bad Part of Town

The prison guard and her husband were cleaning the floor, so they put the chairs up on the table up-side-down. These up-side-down chairs create a private fortress from which I can safely observe the other inmates; I see them, but they cannot touch me (and if I sit in just the right way, they cannot even see me!). The dog cannot jump this high, and the other felines would not fit. It is a nearly perfect set up.

I am protected here. It is like a gated community with a titanium gate, a pack of Dobermans, razor wire, and poisonous gas. An enclave surrounded by raging gangs of thugs carrying high powered semi-automatic weapons. Unafraid to shoot. It is an island nestled in the center of a volcano. A hot air balloon dangling rabid piranhas. 

Or perhaps not quite, but this is how I like to think of it.

And if no one pets me, it is because I am in my fortress, not because they would rather pet the dog. 

Perhaps the prison guard has a point when she berates me for "actively participating" in my own "alienation." She is too naive to realize the valor in what I do. The strength it takes. I maintain disconnection to protect us all in the same way this up-side-down chair protects me from the other inmates. If I reach out to them - to the prison guard, her husband, the other felines, the dog - and they do not reach back?

They do not extend a hand? A paw?

And if they do reach back, what myriad ways will we learn to make each other suffer? Who do we hurt the most if not those we hold closest to our throbbing hearts?

It is a risk I cannot take. I prefer the height of the table. The comfort of the chair legs. The security of my loneliness. They will not make a fool of me because I will never allow them the chance.

But it is rather lonely up here.