For the past three years I’ve been feeding a “neighborhood cat” I call Mister Hisster (yes, that is him in the header). I figured that by giving him a name I’d eliminate the “stray” stigma. Mister Hisster is a smallish long haired gray tabby, and leads with his right. There is nothing overly tragic about Mister Hisster because he is feral and has no use for the human race, but tolerates me–to a quickly arrived at point. Whenever I place his food at his spot under the boxhedge, I’d better get my hand out of the way awfully damn quick or the next thing I will do with it is open a tube of neosporin.
“Good morning, Mister Hisster. How’s my favorite little son of a bitch today?”
“Cool. Glad to hear it. Here you go….”
On the occasions Mister Hisster smotes me he makes a noise that looks like “Uff-thuth-uh-yi-yay” in print, but moves much faster in the ear.
Then, I usually call him an epithet that lies between bastard and Mo-Fo (depending on the severity of the smote), say “See you later,” and retreat inside to get the neosporin.
Mister Hisster is a survivor. The first winter after we’d met I thought I’d show him that there can be an upside to people; so I tried to hook him up with the Humane Society (which here is merged with the city, thus shrouded in bureaucracy), who claims to run a no kill shelter and has a “Special Place” for feral cats (“A Farm,” perhaps). Turns out that they didn’t want him or anyone like him. This was when I first heard the term “neighborhood cat.” Although I had already long known that it is in God’s plan that every semi-official person from the city I speak with on the phone is a turnip seed, I had to ask what the hell do semantics have with keeping cats warm in winter?
The turnip seed suggested that I coax him indoors. I explained that Mister Hisster isn’t exactly what you call “Social.” It would be like bringing in a coyote. I also said whenever either of my two cats catch a glimpse of him through the window, threats and harsh observations are exchanged via a “hooning” noise issued by all parties. Even so, I confessed to attempting to coax him in once, and that turned out so badly that I had to open a new tube of neosporin.
Then it all became clear to me. Penetrating questions came to mind: “He’s my problem, right? You don’t want him because he’s a violent old pirate, likely a Republican and not a cute feral kitten that can be brought around to the shelter’s socialist way of looking at things–right? You figure by rebranding him as a ‘neighborhood cat’ that everyone will work together and see to his well being–right? You were obviously brought up by Barney the neighborhood dinosaur–right? Gotta a flash for you: Few around here do much for the ‘neighborhood people’ sleeping in doorways, let alone willingly support neighborhood cats….”
Unfortunately, turnip seed city officials have no self esteem. I’m not talking low self esteem, mind you, but complete ignorance, innocence and immunity of, of and to self esteem as a concept. You can treat a city official like a whorehouse spittoon and not affect them in the least. Thus city officials are incapable of being insulted. They patiently wait for the right moment to come and then experience a sudden “technical issue.” You can tell when you have a veteran city official on the horn. They make it seem that the connection died under mysterious circumstances while they were in mid-sentence. And there’s no point in calling back because it took two hours to trick someone into answering your call the first time. And my city has learned the Amazon and cable company dodge of not providing an email address for contact. Instead you get a 1-855 phone number answered by a system of infuriating Stephanie Hawking autobots.
It’s nearing Mister Hisster o’clock. He comes around the same time every morning and waits at his place under the boxhedge. I feed him the same stuff I feed my cats, and he gets all finicky about it sometimes, which I interpret as a good sign. According to the city I will be feeding Mister Hisster until one of us dies. Yet another winter is coming, and I have launched yet another desperate shot at helping Mister Hisster. I mailed The Humane Society (who do great work, but now only schedule appointments) a donation written on a paper check, but “forgot” to sign it. I had a technical issue, I guess. Maybe someone will call about that and give me another crack at them. I will tell them I’ll be right up to sign it, but that I have found a feral “kitten” who looks just like Bernie Sanders. I have an expensive trap cage that maybe Mister Hisster will fall for, if baited well enough. It fits nicely in the backseat of my car. We will see.
Two days later….
Update: My bank cashed the check minus my signature. I send donations every month; everyone involved must have just rubber stamped it. I’m not going to complain. I take it as a sign from the Universal Power That Is (aka, The Supreme Turnip Seed) that Mister Hisster is mine for keeps.
Let us move on to more elevating subjects:
We had one first time contributor this week, two who broke through a second time and two writers who are nearing a combined two-hundred appearances.
The elegant prose of Antony Osgood made its second LS appearance on Monday. Christmas Lights Icicle Frost glitters and conveys a tragic happy sadness that the word “bittersweet” fails to accurately describe. Don’t let the title fool you into believing that it should be read at only one time of year.
It is also in the Greater Plan that Yashar Seyedbagheri appears in every weekend post I write. Then again, considering that he has published almost as many pieces to date this year as there have been weeks, the odds favor it. Yash uses simple titles that get to the heart of his works. His thirty-seventh piece, Voice, spoke well this Tuesday. Though I could not successfully resist the cheap pun there, I recommend that you give it a listen if you haven’t already.
On Wednesday, Tom Sheehan returned with Hard-pressed My River Is. I find it nearly inconceivable that one writer can present the same degree of quality as often as Tom has. And yet, there it is, a stack approaching a hundred and fifty–each a crafted gem. I have no doubt that Tom will soon hard press the two-hundred mark.
Thursday marked the site debut of Livia E. De Sousa.Unbound, Toward Her Repose, is an ethereal and effortless bit of writing, full of captivating images and ideas. I love the siren’s bone; the entire piece is magic.
An Evening at Sonia’s by Martin Rosenstock concluded the star turns on Friday. It is Martin’s second LS story. It’s the rare Crime piece to make it through. That fine genre is usually hampered by the maximum length we look at; but this piece found plenty of room to move, well and fast.
And now for the big finish…Tenth slot left open for the usual reason…
Things That Still Need To Be Invented
- Landline Telephone Taser (most city employees use landlines)
- Internet Troll Identifier (post something shitty and everyone knows it’s you)
- Veganstan (A new nation where everyone is better than us)
- Marriage License Learner’s Permit (followed by testing)
- Impenetrable Dome Over Veganstan
- Adverb Mass Indicator (Useful for writers; beeps like a smoke detector when prose gets all adverby.)
- Landline Telephone Phaser (When tazing just isn’t good enough)
- Animal Cruelty, Abandonment and Neglect Prison (Plenty of great guard candidates)
- Remote Auto-Tune Self Destruct Device
One for the road:
I want to thank everyone who comments on stories that appear on the site. But it makes me sad to think about all the “neighborhood observations” out there, which formed in some minds while reading the daily stories, but somehow got lost on their way to the comment box. You occasionally see one perched on a rooftop or lurking a squirrel behind the hydrangea. So I beseech one and all to comment on stories often and responsibly.