Yearly Redux (One of Many)

That Cat on Cackler's Lane

I tried to do a live action version of this poetry reading, but the cat wouldn't stay on my lap, even for dramatic purposes. She's currently sitting on the floor behind me, and every time I glance back at her to make sure she's not plotting my demise, her eyes crack open just enough to let me know that yes. Yes she is.

Posted by The Storyfolder on Monday, October 30, 2017

I tried to do a live action version of this poetry reading, but the cat wouldn’t stay on my lap, even for dramatic purposes. She’s currently sitting on the floor behind me, and every time I glance back at her to make sure she’s not plotting my demise, her eyes crack open just enough to let me know that yes. Yes she is.

For example, here’s a very old attempt at this poem. Over a year old, I think. At the very least that’s my mother and father’s basement, pre-construction.


And finally, I know I’m an evening early for the All Hallows, but I’m posting this one today because I’m hoping I’ll have a Reformation one for tomorrow. Even though the closer the clock ticks toward midnight, the less likely I am to finish before the deadline.

So much procrastinating, eventually so little time.

There is no entry in Microsoft Word’s thesaurus for the word “snot”

They didn’t even try to offer me the word “booger.”

Highlights from the move:

  • Getting my sister-in-law to admit that she loves me too.
  • Stopping on the edge of Nowheresville, SD. My sister and brother-in-law’s dog greeted me like the prodigal son, but only because I’ve spent years ingratiating myself to her with daily walks along the railroad tracks. I also picked up a cold on the way out the door (likely from the four-year-old, who’s shirtsleeve was streaked with snot by the end of each day; my brother-in-law’s disgusted but ultimately resigned attempts to get him to use a Kleenex ended in failure), but it was well worth it for the long weekend at their house.
  • One of the joys in my relatively frugal life is cable while I travel. I’ve never paid for it myself and likely never will, so the first thing I do when I get to a hotel is turn on the TV. I stayed up until 12:40 in the morning, waiting for something good to come on. I gave up in the middle of a documentary on the murder of Laci Peterson, after looking up the ending on Wikipedia. (The husband did it.)
  • My stuff took up a grand total of seven linear feet in the moving truck, but you have no idea how much this is until you live in a second floor apartment. Thanks go to Dad and Mom on one end, and the volunteers I somehow conned into helping me on the other. The TV cabinet I inherited from my grandmother wasn’t nearly as heavy this time around, getting to watch someone else haul it up the stairs.
  • There are 8,000 stores to shop at, and possibly twice as many restaurants in Fort Wayne. I have already gotten the rundown on which Walmart is the crappy one and which one is the good one, and – having been to the megastore every day for four straight days – I can tell you they were right. Also, I stood in front of the TVs for half an hour on day number four, talking to my brother on my cell just because I missed the sound of his voice.
  • I love store-bought frosted sugar cookies, but I should probably eat something else for breakfast. Fortunately, my sister packed me two of the pasties we made on Saturday, and a quart Ziploc of homemade caramel popcorn.
  • Still not actually breakfast, now that I think about it.
  • Sitting on the glider in my living room while I type this, I’ve only just noticed that my DVD holder (a book stand) prominently displays the movies at the end of each shelf. One of those movies is “High School Musical 3,” another is “Transformers,” and I am officially shallow enough to tuck those back into their respective piles and replace them with two of the three dramas I own, just in case anyone stops by.
  • I’ve set my cat’s water and food dish on the porcelain window seat in my bedroom, and for some reason this confuses the snot out of her. After I dump the food in the bowl, Harper continues to follow me around instead of jumping up on the ledge to eat, meowing like I’m hoarding her kibble in some mysterious place I have yet to reveal to her. Once she figures out the new system I’m thinking of moving the dishes somewhere else, just to see how long it takes what I formerly thought was an intelligent kitty to adapt.
  • Walking back from the Redbox at Walgreens, I noticed an office building that houses “Your POS Stuff.” I am almost certain this doesn’t stand for what I kind of hope it stands for.
  • A lot more than the above has happened, but that’ll do, pig. The rest of this week’s update will go largely unseen – unless you look for it. I’ve rewritten my “About Author” page on every site I exist on, updating it to reflect my new job and state.
  • And finally:
  • The Cat, lording it over her one subject. She insisted on the apartment with the loft and spiral staircase, undoubtedly for this reason.

In the meantime…

I’ve been taking a break from not-writing my novel in order to not write my novel; it’s amazing how much time it takes to do the five thousand small chores I’ve been putting off for the better part of a year, now that my upcoming move has forced a deadline. This morning I went downtown to the county courthouse to take care of some car business, mailed a letter and a package, and bought the world’s second largest cat litter box. I almost bought the largest one (with actual built-in garbage bag and scooper slots), but it cost $44 at Petco and goodness knows my cat would somehow get urine in the handy organizer anyways. While my cat not only loves me to death but is currently the closest thing I have to a husband, I’ve also seen her pee on the wall while aiming for the back corner of her box. Thus the new litter box, which has three plastic walls that come up over her head and a fourth, shorter wall to act as an entrance. Chances are she’ll start aiming for that side of her new prison bathroom (and/or will kick litter out of the sides while straight-leaping the fence-line of Auschwitz), but I’m just hopeful enough to optimistically anticipate how my $20 purchase will play out.

In vaguely related news, I clearly don’t have a whole lot of anything to say. And yes, I’m just now remembering that I admitted that last week, but there’s nothing like confessing twice to really get more bang for your buck. Once I’ve moved and started my new schedule (but more on that later), I plan to begin working on updates that actually include stories for the story folder. In the meantime, here is the first page of a prologue to the darkest story idea I have cluttering my word document folder, because I’m seriously scraping the bottom of the barrel:

When Adam Zoloff was nine, he charged Charlie Wickes twenty-two dollars to talk to his dead grandfather.

It was a lot of money – more than Charlie had, at any rate – but Adam had chosen it because it worked out to two dollars per classmate. Even that had been a little outrageous, but Charlie’s grandfather hadn’t been dead long and Adam, even then, was canny enough to know that everybody liked a good show. They’d pay, if they wanted to watch.

They’d paid. And for twenty-two bucks he made it look good. No actual dead grandfather (he couldn’t have raised him if he’d wanted to – which he hadn’t, there were easier ways to fleece his classmates – as Mr. Wickes had had a Christian burial, his grave warded with water blessed by his pastor), but that hadn’t stopped Adam before and it didn’t now. The light show was enough to scare a bunch of fourth graders, who’d gone screaming back into Paradise, thrilled and frightened and CERTAIN that they’d seen a real ghost.

Adam made out much worse than twenty-two dollars. He’d been young enough that his cousin Byron still awed him, and in his excitement not only bragged to him about that money but the two additional dollars he’d earned fake-raising three canaries and one very dead cat earlier that week. When he went to school the next day, twenty-four dollars poorer, he discovered exactly how serious the charge of necromancy actually was.

“Do you have any idea what I can do to you?” the Sheriff demanded. He was a large man, especially to a nine-year-old that was decidedly small for his age, and he didn’t wait for an answer. “If you think I’d waste the resources keeping you locked up in jail for the rest of your life, think again. I can do much, much worse.”

When Adam still didn’t answer the Sheriff leaned in closer, the smell of pipe tobacco and the hamburger patties from Gould’s Diner heavy on his collar. It was an achingly good smell to Adam’s empty stomach, but the nine-year-old kept his eyes downwards, like he was bored.

The lawman grabbed his chin and jerked upwards. “Do you understand me?”

Adam did. He always did, but he looked past the Sheriff’s left ear and just kept on picking away at the scab on his knee like he couldn’t hear, let alone understand, because most days it was easier to pretend he was stupid.

The Sheriff sighed, releasing him. He’d wasted most of the morning trying to track down one of the family to come in and answer for their Zoloff leavings, but it was nearly lunch now and Adam was still sitting in the jail by himself (not in an actual cell, just in a chair next to the sheriff’s desk, but it was a terrifying lesson nonetheless), a sullen look on his face. There’d been an impromptu town council meeting about him, mostly because necromancy was a hanging offense.

Awhile ago I was trying to feel out how the protagonist fits into the fabric of this particular reality, and thus managed to not-write my other novel for an entire afternoon. This is only a piece of the ground rules I’ve laid for his overly dramatic character arc, but since it’s book number seven on my list of novels-I-am-eventually-going-to-get-around-to-writing, I figured you may as well enjoy it. Makes for a decent blog update anyways.

We Attack at Dawn!

My cat is under the impression that I’m as thrilled by the prospect of getting up in the morning to feed her as she is. Most days I don’t technically have to get up at any specific time (which is pretty nice when I’ve stayed up until two or three in the morning, finishing a project), but my cat won’t let me sleep in past seven. I think she waits until I begin rolling around, apparently waking up, to really start insisting that it’s breakfast time, but it’s hard to appreciate her forbearance even when I do go to bed at a decent time the night before. I’m not a morning person.

And let’s be honest here: she doesn’t actually care about my feelings on the subject.

Her mode of attack is, overall, gentle. She sits next to a piece of bare skin – either my arm or, when I figure out what she’s doing and hide my arms under the covers, my forehead – and ever so slowly reaches out one paw. It descends slowly on the target area, rests for half a second softly, almost tenderly, on my exposed flesh, and then out come the claws.

The View at 6 AM

She has yet to draw blood with this tactic. They emerge from her paws by an almost invisible margin, just enough to prick but not pierce. I jerk out of her reach, roll over and hide whatever piece of tender flesh she just tried to maul in the most loving way possible, and she waits half a minute for her next opportunity. I should keep a snorkel in the bed with me, because I can’t breathe comfortably under the covers for long. Eventually a patch of skin reemerges, she pads over to get a better angle on the situation, and the process starts over.

I have put her off for forty-five minutes this way. I have a semi-official policy that states I have to start getting ready for the day once I’ve fed the cat, so I have every reason to put off this moment for as long as possible. Unfortunately, a couple months ago Harper discovered that the lining underneath my box spring mattress has shredded with age, and, out of either extreme starvation or straight boredom, began eating the lining of my bed. I would like to say that I get up as soon as I hear her start to go to town on that bad boy, but…well, I’d hate her to think that it actually works.

My cat actually has pretty decent manners when it comes to eating random items (she won’t even bug me for people food; I can leave cereal boxes and chip bags on the counter without worrying about her eating through the packaging) but the two exceptions are 1.) the blue fuzzies that live on the undercarriage of my bed, and 2.) curling ribbon. Every Christmas I can count on seeing present trappings in her litterbox, encased in hard excrement but otherwise untouched, because curling ribbon apparently has the half-life of either plutonium, or those Styrofoam cups that are presumably filling our landfills.

Her second strategy is more incidental. Every now and again – whenever I’ve rolled onto my back – my cat will suddenly realize that HOLY CRAP, THERE’S SOMETHING LIVING UNDER THERE and will leap onto my diaphragm as it moves up and down. I can count on getting a gut-full of cat every couple of weeks or so.

Still, this is nothing to the family cat from my junior/senior high years. In my last year at home, after both siblings had gone off to college, every morning at 5 am she’d take a seat on my chest, put one delicate little tabby paw out, extend her claws the barest millimeter, and then hook one of my nostrils.

That cat spent a lot of mornings locked in the bathroom. The door was slightly loose on its hinges, so I’d lie awake, imagining the many ways I could kill her as she beat the door against its frame, confident in the knowledge that someone would give in eventually.