Cat News; A Ghost Story


So. I’m starting another day—the sixth such day in a row—wherein I’m free to make a twenty-four hour schedule without considerations for anything but the dogs and my veryownself. Honor has forced me into a required hiatus and I’ve had a belly full of the four walls here to La Casita Johnson de Santa Fe. There’s only so many of New Mexico’s infamous dust bunnies one man can gather-up in wet paper towels. Which begs the question: Where, inthefuck, do all those dust bunnies come from?

Wait. I don’t mean Honor the Cat, I’m speaking to the other Honor, the personal integrity and single-most important trait I seek in other men. As for said and same fucking cat, Honor Johnson has been on hiatus from our company for several months. And you cat people don’t need to be getting all up in my ass about my lack of care and allowing, as so carefully said by one feline-obsessed reader when she said to me, she said, “You can’t let a cat run wild in Santa Fe, you inappropriate shit, the coyotes will get her.”

Honor Johnson—house cat to this brood of Texas transplants—has decided that the living is far better in the environs a block over and one down from the adorable stucco compound we call home. It seems that said cat finds life far better with a crazy woman and her dozen other cats than living here at Sane House with me and the dogs.

“Don’t be pissed, Mooner,” the Squirt told me when I ranted upon first learning that the fucking cat had changed addresses. “It’s what cats do. Besides, your ADHD is tough on cats’ nerves. She says she doesn’t need a hot tin roof when you’re around.”

“But I saved her from that last crazy cat lady who had her imprisoned with a hundred other fur ball pukers. She said she hated that stinking place.”

“She did, Bwana. But she was a prisoner with that woman in Austin and she says she’s a welcome guest at her new home. When I told her we wanted her to come back, she said she likes living with her own kind. Those are cats and cat people over on Third street, Mooner. Here at our place Yoda and I are dogs and you’re an asshole.”

The adorable brown puppy was right about living with the same kind as yourself. I’m guessing that a cat living with dogs and me would be akin to me living with right wing conservatives, like the Jimmy Swaggart family. Then, again, old Jimmy Swags did get him some poontang, a commodity I’m finding rare in the rarefied, thin mountain air of Northern New Mexico.

Which reminds me. I had this dream the other night—one of those enjoyable dealieos that leaves you awakened with joy—and in this particular dream my daddy was still dead, but alive. The dream setting was back to Austin and we were having this big “Welcome-back-from-the-dead” party for Daddy. The entire family was there—Gram, Mother, Aunt Hilda, Grampa (also, I guess back from the dead), Sister and her wife Anna the Amazon, Rush Limbaugh the Pig and the ostrich Rick Perry, Streaker Jones and Gnat.

I’d BBQed a whole hog, Rush Limbaugh’s favorite, and everyone else had prepared a favorite dish to go with the succulent pork. We all were enjoying the food and company and everyone was asking Daddy what it is like in the afterlife. Daddy wouldn’t answer any questions about his current residence, he’d only say, “Don’t worry, you’ll see soon enough.”

Ordinarily, I’d have found myself somewhat disturbed at having a dead person tell me that I’d be finding out what being dead was all about “soon enough”, but just seeing Daddy was plenty to chase all fear away.

We finished dinner and as the table was getting cleared, Daddy asked me to go outside with him for a chat. We took fresh Carta Blanca beers and a fat doobie and walked to the fishing dock that sits on a cove off Lake Travis. After sitting on the worn planked deck and taking several pulls of beer and doobie both, I was staring at the tiny ripples in the brown water—thinking how nice it was to sit with my father one more time—w hen Daddy asked me, he said, “How’s it hanging, son?”

“Hanging is a good word choice, Daddy. Seems I’m all up in the air over a particular situation.”

“Hmmmm,” my father hmmed me in a voice that was familiar yet not my father’s. “I just want you to know how proud everyone is that you held your honor. You’re a right strong shithead sometimes, son, but you’re good for your word. If all a man has is his word, he’s rich beyond gold. You’re golden, boy.”

I felt tears in my eyes, the tears that only a father’s approval can put there. Those were the words I heard my father speak hundreds of times when I was a kid. I realized, in the dream, that it was my father who taught me honor. Daddy taught me how to be a man.

I turned my head from water’s gaze to look into my father’s face. The words, “I love you, Daddy,” were in my mouth, but stuck there when I found instead God, and this visit He looked the spitting image of my friend, BJ. As a devout agnostic, it has been difficult for me to accept that God pays me somewhat routine visits. But as a man who tries to give all precepts fair review, I’ve grown to think that this God is my God, my personal imaginings of who God should be.

Said another way, If I was God, this God is who I’d choose to be. OK, this God is Who I’d be. I’d get to be the subject of intense and silly capitalization rules as well as all-knowing and all-seeing.

Fuck. I’d be All-Knowing and All-Seeing.

“Are you taking good care of your mother?” BJ God asked me. “She’s in one of Life’s hard spots, son. You need to have patience with her.”

“I try, Pops, but it’s so fucking hard.”

“She’s got dementia, Mooner. Try harder, don’t be such an asshole,” and with that, God disappeared in a poof of sparkled dust.

I recounted this dream to Dr. Sam I. Am-Johnson in today’s telephonic psycho therapy session. She says to me, she said, “Oh, my God, you do have a conscience! I’m calling Psychology Today to report an actual miracle has occurred.”

“Bitch,” I told her. Why “bitch” was the best shot I could take makes me wonder at the state of my own mind, and trying to be a more caring son to my demented mother is my new goal. I’m guessing that my God thinks that putting in the time isn’t the same as caring.

Ugh. Ugh-ugh-fucking ugh!

But who really gives a shit about my travails. I’m going to call Mother and make nice-nice and then I’m cleaning the floors of dust bunnies. Again.

Fuck Walmat and all the other greedy fake capitalistic goat turds. Manana, y’all.

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6 Responses to “Cat News; A Ghost Story”

  1. Katy says:

    Cats do their own thing. I’m never offended when it seems like a cat doesn’t like me. I did have one who regularly assaulted me, basically tracking me down like prey. But female hormones put an end to that, if only because he more than doubled in weight, making chasing me a big, big chore.

    Honor is almost as elusive as a cat, and tends to throw a wrench into my plans for the weekend a lot more…

  2. Mooner Johnson needs sexing says:

    Katy. Cats are the most ungrateful of Earth’s breathing stock. I named the fucking cat Honor, in honor of those brave Americans who defended our country in what I consider to be dishonorable war efforts. I just reread my own words up there and now realize that I, like so many, am using the word “honor” too often, too easily.

    I guess the part of this situation that I’m not good about is the part wherein I forgive. I’m not a good forgiver. All I want is for certain people to see my point and, at a minimum, tell me they appreciate something. I keep hoping that–as my eyes view things–at least one person would at least pick up the phone.

    Maybe I’m the worst offender of all. Maybe my honor comes with a price tag. Maybe I require acknowledgement for my word to be good, solid.

    Ugh. More psycho therapy required.

  3. Squatlo says:

    BJ would make an awesome god! (not awesome like a hotdog, but more like ten million hot dogs… cue the Eddie Izzard clip)

    Honor is what distinguishes us from lower species (that, and opposable thumbs). If honor were a prerequisite for Congress, most of the delegations from Tennessee and Texas would be sent packing, tails between their legs.

    My own son and I were having a heart to heart one afternoon when he had called with a personal problem that was bothering him greatly. I told him that a man is judged not by how he handles success, but by how he handles adversity, especially when no one else is looking. He’s grown to be a stand-up guy with a ton of that Honor thing you wrote of, and I believe he might have more of that quality in him than I’ll ever hope to have of my own. But as much as we value honor, we (as a society) sure do glorify a lot of folks who don’t have a shred of personal integrity or honor. Open up the internets and read the latest from the world of sports, or Hollywood, or Washington DC for proof of that.

    And before BJ writes to commend your choice of Godly visitors, let me preempt his sign off with this: Fuck a buncha cats!

  4. Mooner Johnson needs sexing says:

    Squat. Why did you have to mention hot dogs. I now face the task of driving all the way to the ABQ to fetch me some Der Wienerschnitzel dogs. Two kraut with mustard and, onions and one chlil with onions. I don’t get the all-beef either. Make mine mystery meat on a steam-softened bun. I could eat a dozen in that two-to-one mix but can’t take the indigestion these days.

    One time back to the early seventies, Streaker Jones and I had a Der Wiener Dog eating contest with these two girls from Corpus Christi. Skinny little things, those two, but hot dog packers.

    What were we talking about?

    We have every sort of method to determine of you are telling the truth. I think that all public servants should take a truth test and then have that, their FBI background check, published. At least that way it would be open and publicized just who it is we elect. Whom we elect? I always trip over that particular gramatical hurdle.

    Fuck Walmart, still, and hard.

  5. bj says:

    Another great write, my friend, and now I know why I was having that out of body experience the other night. You should concentrate on the well preserved, strawberry lipped (tinted and flavored!), youthful image of Ms. McGraw instead.
    I’m very pleased to hear you’re taking a different approach with Mother, and kudos to you for that. Even if she doesn’t realize your shift and it changes nothing in her behavior ….. your actions will make a werld of difference to YOU after she passes; and we all die. Now you won’t have to carry that regret til your passing ….. and on passing; “It seems the good they die young” and ol’ Chigger was a good’ern and a man’s man. You couldn’t have had a better mentor …
    Also pleased to hear that Honor (both cat and attribute) are still alive and well there to Enchanted land. Better than having a cat living with you … is a cat that lives blocks away …
    Cheers! and Fuck Walmart! … obscenely HARD!

  6. Mooner Johnson needs sexing says:

    Beej. While I know that the conjerings of my personal God have everything to do with the swill swirling inside my very own skull, I so far lack the capacities to choose God’s visage when an appearance is made. I starting to get to the point with these visits that I’m not unsettled to have been visited. At first I feared I’d end like old Joanie D’Arc–you know, driven batty by my Godtalks and pushed to engage the English Saxons in gruesome conflict in God’s name.

    Or, maybe, to scrunch a Crown of Thorns tight to my brow and drag a wooden cross up to Chimayo while wearing nothing but the torn and tattered rags I was taught made the dress on the original cross-dragging.

    Have you ever thought how painful it would be to disengage a Crown of Thorns from your pate?

    And my daddy was a good one, and missed by me at times and in ways never imagined.

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