Cat Scratch Fever; WTF Kind Of Name Is Eighty-three?


So. To catch you up on things, Squirt and I were abducted by a cat who participated in a massive escape from Cat Lady Prison, located over to East 51st Street. One of about one hundred fleeing feline inmates who fled the unbearable conditions, the little Siamese, named Eighty-three, jumped into the open window of my classic GTO and hid for her escape.

Somehow the cat lady, warden of Cat Lady Prison, had managed to know that Eighty-three had taken off with us and called the cops.

“You got a cat in there sir? We had a report that a man matching your description just stole a cat from over on East 51st Street,” were the first words the Deputy Sheriff said when he walked up to my window.

Eighty-three was sitting in my lap at the time, so even if I wanted to lie I was caught red-handed. Have you ever wondered where that expression “caught red-handed” came from? My best guess is that someone stole a chicken from a pot and their hands were red and scalded from the water. That or it’s a Billy Shakespeare dealie and it refers to bloody hands. Not that it makes a shit in the bigger scheme of things, but I was just wondering.

Like for instance, who was the first person to say, “What the fuck?” and why did they say it, you know what was their meaning. I remember when I said what the fuck the first time and I also remember the five swats the utterance brought from the assistant principal back to junior high. We were in Mrs. Browningwell’s class and that old Baptist gasbag said something stupid, and…

Anyway, the cat in my lap bristled at the officer’s words– back arched, hair standing up like she’d seen a ghost, and I felt each of the twenty pinpricks made by her claws as she anchored herself on my thighs.

I said, “Officer, I didn’t steal this cat. She stowed away to escape Cat Lady Prison.”

“This isn’t the first time that funny looking cat with no tail has pulled this stunt. It ain’t right a cat’s got no tail…” the deputy stopped mid-sentence, lifted his sunglasses and peered in at my face. “Oh for the love of God. You’re Mooner Johnson, aren’t you?”

“Why yes indeed, that’s my name. The cat in my lap says she’s called Eighty-three, and that cute little lump over there is the Squirt. You want my autograph?” I guess I’m gaining fame in law enforcement circles. “Just don’t Taser me until I call my girlfriend. She’ll want to be there to bail me out.”

Of course she’ll be pissed at having to leave work again, but pleased with her rewards. Every time I get Tasered I get a woodie to beat all get-out.

“I might shoot you, Mr. Johnson, but I won’t Taser you. I heard the stories about trying to get you into a straight jacket after shocking you. I want no part of that.”

It’s difficult to fit a 6”4” man into a straight jacket just for starters. His possessing a rock-hard stiffy adds layers of difficulty to the task.

“Look,” he said, “just hand the cat to me and I’ll return it to its owner.” With that said he reached into the window for the cat. Major fucking error in judgment.

Eighty-three hissed and spit when the officer’s hands approached her, and when he grabbed at her all hell broke loose. In a blur of cat fur and claws, a cacophony of spits and hisses and cat growls, and an, “Aiiiiiiii,” from the deputy, I witnessed the four-second shredding of a sheriff’s uniform. By the time he managed to extract his arms from the car, the sleeves of his shirt were tattered shreds of deep brown wool.

“Sonofabitch!” was all he could say.

“Holy shit, did you see that?” was the Squirt’s response.

After I got over the shock and surprise, I started laughing. Couldn’t help it. And, of course, my giggles started the Squirt. She and I laugh like little girls sometimes. We can be most inappropriate, like when Gram spilled gravy on her date’s lap and she starts cleaning it off at the table. I guess it was contagious because soon Eighty-three was laughing as well.

At least I think she was laughing. If a cat laugh sounds like a mix of hiccups, purrs and snorts, then the smelly little feline was laughing right along with us.

When I managed to get my giggles under control, I realized that the deputy was gone from my window. I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw him in his car. I stuck my head out the window to get a better look and that’s when he gave me that “shoo, go away” thingie with his hand. Made the gesture, repeatedly and with high energy. The shredded sleeve of his shirt looked like Hula skirt.

That particular moment is when my ADHD decided to seize control of events.

“Holy shit you stink; how you bathe a cat; what do we feed you; I hope Dr. Sam I. Am-Johnson like imported cats; I need sex; will Eighty-three get along with Gram; I’m not cleaning a fucking cat box; do cats shed; I bet sardine shit make a terrible mess; can cat’s swim– what if cats can’t swim…” The jumbled thoughts spilled out of my mouth.

“Squirt. Ask Eighty-three if she can swim. And ask can she pee in the sink. If she can pee in the sink it will solve a bunch of problems for me.”

The puppy and kitty cat spoke in whispered tones. “She says she can learn to do anything, that as long as she feels respected and appreciated, she won’t any trouble at all.”

Ugh. That was the worst thing I could have heard. Every woman in my life has said those same words to me. I somehow manage to live my life in the attempt to show respect and demonstrate my gratitude to those women and all I get in return are giant loads of crap. The Squirt is the only woman currently in my life who doesn’t hassle my ass.

“Tell her respect is a two-way street, Squirt. Tell her she’s entering a world filled with strong, bitchy women.”

Squirt cocked her head and stared at me. “Qui estes-vous appeler une chienne, Senor Mooner. Are you calling ME a bitch?”

“Oh for shit sakes, of course not. Look, we need to get out of here and back to the ranch. Eighty-three needs a bath and I need a cold Carta Blanca beer.”

The cat stiffened in my lap again and said something to Squirt.

“She said if you think she’s taking a bath you better rethink things. She says cats don’t take bathes, they clean themselves, and thank you.”

Ugh, and ugh again. The bitchiness begins.

“Well,” I told them, “tell little miss stink bomb to get in the floor board at your feet so she’s safe. And tell her to get busy with her self-cleaning routine as we drive.”

I decided to give the cat a chance to do it herself. If not, I’d bathe her when we got home. Then I started ADHD’ing again. “What the fuck kind of name is Eighty-three; we need to rename you; I need sex; how do you bathe a fucking cat; will Rick Perry and Rush Limbaugh get along with the cat; it isn’t natural for a cat to not have a tail; wouldn’t it be nice to have a fresh-plucked tomato from the garden with my beer…”

Manana, y’all.

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