Five annos on

June 2012

The past few years have treated me luxuriously.  I have a partner with a smile so shiny, she lights up every room she enters.  I get to write things and post them around, and call it my profession (I profess that this is what I do; is that close?).  Daughtergirl is rump-kicking her way into a life of joy and patience and beauty, and doing a better job of mapping the rapid-running straits that lie perilously close to the embarkation docks than did either of her parents when we were young, a time only we remember. Smalldaughter, as competitive as my wife, has fixed her focus on doing even better than her new toy, the best kind she could have: a big sister.

Five years ago, I saw none of that coming.  My life since then has illuminated the reasons why I’d rather be lucky than good, but just before any of those lovely things came to fruition, I lost a small friend.

With apologies to my friends who’ve been around this block once before — holding hands with me as we went — this is a look backward with a quiet toast to my fuzzy little buddy.  Queakah, I hope you hit that Rainbow Bridge flat-out-belly-to-the-ground, with your jaguar-patched fur straight out, tail like a baseball bat and the blood of your killer soaking your sharp little claws.  I know you made him pay.

But maybe you’ll forgive me for imagining that you just strutted across the neighborhood and moved in with a nice old lady to end your days in quiet splendor, plied with rich, fishy snacks while draped across a plump, purple-skirted lap, warm and indolent as a tea cozy.


Cat hunting on a suburban lawn.

A fierce Hunter in his domain!

May, 2007

My ex- called at 0445 to explain that everything is not okay.  That’s her job, but it’s still impossible to answer anyone’s oh-dark-thirty call with anything but, “Are you okay?”

Hunter went missing Monday night.  Lily saw a narrow, curious-looking dog with a big tail stop at the head of the drive and look her in the eye, then trot off.  It was likely a coyote.

There is no blood spoor; I’ve looked.  And there’s no little challenging miaio in the yard, either.  Just squirrels and crows, and the neighbor cat who bites my foot.

Hunter, of all the damned cats at this damned house, was the one I had an understanding with. He rode my shoulder around the house and yard, alert as a turret gunner.  He wrestled like a little dog.  He sat on my legs while I wrote my manuscript.

I’ve had it pretty good lately, brilliant bloody good if the truth be known.  Good enough to ignore a crappy work situation, the wind-up of my divorce, editors who care more about my political positions than my tangible experiences, the accelerating  disintegration of my neck and back.  I’ve been better treated by life than I deserve.

And Queakah was just a cat, just another goddamn cat in a world full of cats, and I’m not a fan of cats.  I’ve killed higher-order mammals than him.

So how come I’m sitting in my ex’s front yard, while the neighbors wonder and the crows laugh, snotting up over a cat?

Just a damn cat.

Goodbye, little friend.


  1. I should tell you the story of FuzzyWuzz, the cat that adopted us and whose previous family had given up for dead.

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