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Week 386: What’s It All About, Five, No Four Works of High Fiction and the A to Z of Buying a Round For the Unsteady Jukebox

What’s It All About?

I’ve begun my fifth year of feeding the little gray menace in the header–Misster Andy Hisster. Andy is in fine health and continues to live the pirate life even though I constantly offer him different situations. Off and on for the last few months, Andy has had a sidekick; a young Tuxedo Cat (also pictured–goody, I see he was photobombed by my device) first named Patch, but after an exchange of enlightening interoffice communications with Diane, I now call him “Alfie”–as in the ne’er do well portrayed by Michael Caine.

I’ve always been suspicious about Alfie during the six months or so he’s tagged along with Andy, for me to feed under the hedge. Alfie never shows up when the weather is bad nor does he ever appear to have slept under the building, covered in cobwebs like Andy often is. Andy is indifferent to personal grooming, which is unusual for a House Cat, but not unseen in the ferals. Alfie is a dandy. Never a hair out of place. Fop.

It’s a gross understatement to say that there’s a bit of roue in all Tomcats. Those smooth operators who are often seen jumping out windows when Whatshisface comes home early. So it is especially easy for me to suspect Alfie of extreme duplicity. I think the little blackguard is a kept man. I also think that he is kept by more than one bored Lady Housecat. And I also believe that I’m just another in a long line of human enablers who feed Alfie under various hedges throughout town.

Yet there is an actual mystery involving Andy and Alfie that I cannot figure out. From unsolicited backside views, I understood long ago that both Alfie and Andy are unaltered Tomcats. And although they aren’t what I’d call bosom buddies, I’ve never seen them go after each other save for the occasional slap to the head issued by Andy; it’s not that high table manners displayed under the hedge, but the little paw reproofs have never escalated to actual violence. The only thing I can think is that Andy is at least six and Alfie who wasn’t fully grown when I first met him can’t be more than eighteen months; but that infers respect for an elder, which is about as un-Catlike as things get.

Naturally, being that they are Cats, the odd situation has me thinking that the boys are up to something. But what? Maybe somehow, they have uncovered the meaning of life, thus they no longer sweat the small stuff.

“Dudes, what’s it all about?” I asked this morning at three, as they ate side by side under the hedge, while I smoked, trying to think up a new way to give the Finger to the witch in an upstairs apartment who almost always scowls at me through a gap in her blinds because I feed the boys. I went with the classic scratch the nose with the middle digit today; it’s one of the few things I learned in school that I use in real life.

Alfie ignored the question and kept eating. But Andy paused and looked up at me, his thoughtful gray eyes brimming with wisdom. Sensing an opportunity, Alfie made a bit of a play at Andy’s food, which was met with a quick paw upside the head. Then both resumed eating, and I continued to smoke and scratch my nose with my middle finger.

I really wanted, needed, a clearer answer to the question, for it was to be the wow finish of the opening to this post, maybe the long sought easy segue to the week’s stories. But all I have to offer those who ask “What’s it all about?” is a quick smack to the head, the Finger, tuna fish served on napkins and cigarette smoke.

Four Works of High Fiction and One Created While the Writer Was High on Something

This week involved the Lottery Retirement Plan gone awry; the most poignant and yet common of role reversals; strange doings out in the Enchanted Wood; traditional soul guidance and the sort of person most of us cross the street to avoid. According to my math skills, the five have exactly *400 combined appearances, even though two of the writers made their site debuts. (*My math skills force me to say “give or take a dozen or so”–but I like the big even number.)

The great Tom Sheehan opened the week with Quick Death of a Lottery Foe. It has humor and insight and a bit of a sad ending that only makes sense, all things considered. And for those of you who like to plan ahead, Tom will be making his 200th appearance on what my colleagues call Boxing Day, the 26th of December.

Tuesday greeted the site debut of author-educator Robert Steward. Gone takes a fresh look at a topic we see plenty of but rarely to this degree of fineness. It is a non-contradictory clarity of confusion. Touching, and sadly a thing plenty of us can identify with by proxy.

Wednesday was brought to you by the makers of RockStar and Tramadol. I consumed copious amounts of both during the production of Name Game. Any port in a storm, friends, any port.

Sara Hozumi published with us for the first time on Thursday. Hatsubon is a perfect example of ancient tradition meeting modern times. Despite every effort innocently made to foul things up (not at all the little sister’s fault, but due to circumstances) the idea of this moving little ceremony retains its class in the vulgar crash and thud of the constantly thoughtless world.

There’s something eternally three in the morning about our own Hugh Cron’s characters. An inner darkness mostly caused by the ineffective “nurture” of a society rotten to the core. I could just see secret killer Ben, yesterday, glowering over his sins and pains. Although I am writing this before the story appears, I am certain that the people whose tales Hugh has supported have returned the favor. No jibe intended, just a little observation.

In fact I want to encourage comments and support for all writers. You cannot imagine the light it casts on the three in the morning of the soul.

The A to Z of Drinking Songs

( E, J, K. U and Z open for suggestions)

This list is also brought to you by the aforementioned Wednesday sponsors. You will notice that a few of these tunes have little or nothing to do with alcohol. Yet I associate them with the fine art of self destruction. Or maybe that should be instruction. I would have included the Budweiser polka-like song if I didn’t strongly detest the taste of Bud. So, here goes:

A: Alabama Song (Whisky Bar): The Doors

B: Ball and Chain: Social Distortion

C: Closing Time: Leonard Cohen

D: Don’t Come Home From a Drinkin’ With Lovin’ On Your Mind: Lorretta Lynn

E: open

F: FairyTale of New York: Pogues and Kirsty MacColl (There’s a Top of the Pops clip in which the guy is blotto)

G: God Didn’t Make Honky Tonk Angels: Kitty Wells

H: Have A Drink on Me: ACDC

I: I Drink: Mary Gauthier

J: open

K: open

L: Lilac Wine: Nina Simone

M: Mama Told Me Not to Come: Three Dog Night

N: No No Song: Ringo Starr

O: One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer: George Throrogood and the Delaware Destroyers

P: (The) Parting Glass: Traditional Scottish

Q: Quarter to Three (One For My Baby): Frank Sinatra (okay I stretched a point)

R: Rehab: Amy Winehouse

S: Sunday Morning Sidewalk-Johnny Cash

T: Tequila: Champs

U: open

V: Victoria: Kinks (best sung very loud and drunkenly)

W: Whiskey in the Jar: Thin Lizzy (Best of many)

X: Xanadu: Olivia Newton John (Not a drinking song, but I wish I was drunk every time I hear the Christless thing on the muzak at work.)

Y: You and Me and the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby): Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Z: open


14 thoughts on “Week 386: What’s It All About, Five, No Four Works of High Fiction and the A to Z of Buying a Round For the Unsteady Jukebox”

  1. Could have been “Scotch And Soda” A-Z. On the subject of old (I have no idea what most of those songs are), Michael Caine at 63 when asked if he was middle aged replied “Yes if I live to 126” (he was 63. By similar reasoning, I’m dead.

    Out new treat is flavored vodka. I’d drink our local Wild Roots peach vodka if it didn’t have alcohol.

    Important things learned in school. Solution to quadratic equations and that culture cycles while technology advances. That explains wars forever, but the internet which I’m using now is (relatively) new.

    Keep on rocking in the overheated summer (we have or had a predicted 100F day, but not 116 [yet]).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Doug–

    Yes another spate of hot weather for the northwest. Just in time for wildfire season. For me summer is the only season that has no saving grace. It’s sweaty and smells bad.

    Now, if you took off the oldest and newest song from the list I bet the average age would qualify for AARP.
    Enjoy your vodka in a shady place.


  3. Please let us know if Alfie or Andy ever answer The Question. A fun intro and good recap of stories. Even though you already have an S (and an excellent one it is), I’d add “S.O.B. (Son of a Bitch. Give Me A Drink)” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (and others including, occasionally, me after a rejection).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another great post and I love that Msster Hisster and Alfie are now known by the world – well the Literally Stories bit of it anyway. You have a couple of my favourites in the song list – Cohen and Gauthier for sure. As I read the post a few ‘titles’ popped into my mind but as I read the list I realised that actually I was adrift and was thinking of ‘drunken’ songs (mostly very rude and part of my distant past) rather than ‘drinking’ songs. As such I won’t suggest any!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Diane.

      Andy and Alfie have robust egos. Knowing that they now have a presence online only enhances that party. I do not know any true drinking ditties, but on my list I like Closing Time and Sunday Morning Sidewalk best.


  5. Hilarious description of those unlikely cat pals Andy and Alfie, with you trying to figure out what they’re all about through the hedge while the annoying neighbor spies on you. Have you tried the flipping-off technique of reeling out your middle finger like a fishing rod? Thank you for a good laugh:)! You have a “c” but “Chandelier” by Sia is a flamboyant, sad portrayal of over drinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A writer with a fine understanding of cats. Thank you. If I may, could you tell me, if it’s truly the case that cats live in the eternal present, why do they bear a grudge? And for the vacant J slot, I’d like to suggest John Barleycorn – traditional, also Traffic.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Damn it, the screen froze before I could finish the above gibberish. Anyway what my brother had to say about knowing women applies to all cats and some dogs. They are eternal mysteries.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Leila,
    That is one bastard of a list for me to complete, I think I still have eleven to find…But I’ll get there. Maybe in a few weeks there will be another posting in this thread!
    Other folks have mentioned this but I also love your knowledge of cats. To know them is to piss them off! They hate it when they can’t surprise us!


  8. Oh I forgot to mention, thanks for the very kind words about my story!!
    All the very best my lovely friend.


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