Throughout my life, I have often joked about being the “untalented” one out of my group of friends and family. I know songwriters, actors, singers, pianists, photographers, scenic designers, graphic designers, cartoonists, writers, dancers and storytellers — just to name a few. And me…well, I’m just me. My talent is less obvious and somewhat more entertaining, if not a whole lot more bizarre.
You see, I’m cursed blessed with a gift that encourages people to talk. And I don’t mean talk about the weather. I mean they tell me the shit they feel they can’t tell anyone else. Some people may say that I’m just a good listener. I think perhaps its more. As Elfie recently told someone, I’m a good confessor because I must have it on good authority what will send people to hell. I’m not sure that I agree with her, but I like the sentiment.
So, people tell me shit. Like the weird ass doctor a few months ago. That was strange, but it wasn’t intensely personal. The confession I’m about to share is about as personal as it can get between a man, his neighbor, and a cat.
To set the scene, picture a man, easily over six feet tall, weighing in at 250 pounds. A relatively large man who has a physical job hauling crap from one store to another. A manly man. More or less. We will call him Doug. Names have been changed to protect the innocent and the tragically comic. And Doug owns a man sized dog. A boxer. That is important to the story about to unfold.
As Doug tells it, the story begins…
So, my neighbor had a cat. (yeah, you read that right. Had a cat).
Doug came outside to his front porch where he found his neighbor’s cat, unfortunately deceased. The cat appeared to have been the tragic victim of a man sized dog, such as a boxer. The fur was matted and dirty, bloodied and torn. Doug said his heart broke when he saw it, and I assure you, my heart broke when I heard it.
After hearing the pieces of his heart hit the front porch, Doug immediately went into “fix it” mode. It was obvious that his dog had killed the neighbor’s cat. Now, Doug had three options. 1) Man up and tell the neighbor what happened. 2) Hide the evidence and deny, deny, deny. or 3) Lie.
Not up to telling his neighbor of his boxer’s antics, Doug decided to combine options two and three. This manly man took the cat corpse from his porch, bathed it, blow dried it, groomed it, and gently placed it on his neighbor’s porch. He carefully, gently arranged it so there were no visible marks and it appeared the cat had simply curled up to sleep and never woken up.
In case you missed it, he went so far as to blow dry and comb out the fur to cover the tracks of his best friend.
Then, Doug went about his normal routine like nothing happened.
Until his neighbor had a conversation about a week later, during which he expressed some concern for the strangest thing. Two weeks prior, his cat died. The family had a funeral and buried it. And then somehow, it showed up. CLEAN. ON HIS PORCH. The neighbor was, understandably, more than a little freaked out as he reburied the cat before the kids got home from school.
By this point in the story, I was crying, and out wasn’t because of the poor beloved deceased pet. He WASHED, GROOMED, AND STAGED the poor thing in order to spare his neighbor, and managed to evoke images of pet cemetary and brain eating zombie cats from hell instead.
I managed to choke out a question, “Doug, what did you do?” And he just shrugged with a sheepish grin. “What could I do? I finally told him the truth.”
Originally published April 24, 2012