Monday, September 8, 2003

My Secret Government Mission

by Thompson Maeda

"This blonde feline gets caught in a trap and ends up gnawing off three of her legs. And she still is stuck! Enjoy the kibbles and bits and be sure to tip your waiter!"

Say you're a frisky young kitten who is allowed the freedom to roam the wilderness of a nearby park at the same time as someone nice is nice enough to feed you on occasion and suddenly one day you find yourself trapped in a trap. And your paw aches and your leg can't move and you don't know what can possibly come next (if anything) and the next thing you know you are at a white sterile place that puts something in you in another leg and when you awake you're not entirely the same whole as what you went asleep as. Put the immediate pain is gone and all you can think about is eating again because that need left you in all your other pain.

Eventually you are brought to a whole other place where you are paired with this rambunctious black cat with an impressive tail who seems to lop onto all those far and near. You're not sure what to make of things. And the ache in the front side where your leg used to be reminds you to be extra cautious.

At the place where you lost your ability to be free they dubbed you "Tumbles" in an accurate but still somewhat cruel description of your new found state. You do tumble over because there is a certain change in your eternal sense of balance. Let's see anyone else do any better in a similar circumstance if such a thing could ever really exist. But you do have a persevering quality within your being that gets you through even though the fact of the matter is you don't know any better that had you been brought just about any other place your survival would not have been a choice and the easier option of letting you go would have been inevitably made for you.

You find yourself in an obvious basement made into a room (with high windows you have to make an effort to reach) living with that other energetic if not forgotten like soul and another who plays loud music and cuddles and smells good. You try to re-orient yourself to all that has changed but you keep tumbling over and you don't like that feeling. You merely want to prance about like you used to but kerplop something is eternally missing in who you know you will forever now be.

One day a wobbly soulless but needy man comes to visit. He watches not only you but your best friend, that lucky black cat and even throws a toy or two your way. He gently pets you and somehow is smart enough (it doesn't seem part of his natural makeup) not to try to pick you up. You don't like to be confined in any way, you need the freedom of your own movement and you love to dart from one side of the room to the other.

As part of your new routine you have been occasionally brought to this big smelly yet fascinating place where people walk by and look at you and pick up that black cat and then after a few mumbled words walk away. You somehow sense that they were talking about you but you never know. It's all rather scary and at the same time it is yet another bonding experience with your fellow feline friend. It is the one time he seems as scared as you and you call out to comfort him and he calls back. One such visit that wobbly friend comes by with a nice smelling friend. He looks at you and smiles and says "Hi" like he really means it. A few days later he's back to visit you at your home. He plays with you more extensively and you hear more talk that you just know has to be about you.

Then with the sound of U2 blaring he comes back evenings later and you are gently placed into a cloth carrier (loaded from the top as you prefer) and you hear your black cat roommate being also loaded into a carrier. You are carried outside, put into a car that smells like another cat. The drive seems unbearably long and you aren't sure where you are headed or what could possibly come next. You just want to rest your head or run around free. You enter a place that smells more like that cat you never met and your friend the black cat immediately darts down some steps into the darkness. You decide you should explore your new surroundings and you are very meticulous at searching each and every room of this strange place.

The wobbly man strokes your fur and whispers comforting words into your extended and alert ears. Your friend, the black cat, is nowhere to be seen and won't be for another day or two. But that gives you the freedom to roam and make things your own. The wobbly guy seems nice enough. (Days later he tells you about a Bob Dylan film that inevitably ends with Dylan being betrayed by yet another woman and muttering about how people search for the meaning of things when they should spend an equal amount of time searching for what things don't mean. And you know exactly what that means.)

A couple evenings the wobbly man leaves you and your fellow feline alone and on your own even though that nice smelling lady comes and feeds you and plays awhile. It is then you know you should be nicer to the man when he returns and you decide you'll stretch out for a belly rub every morning when he awakes. He's trying and trust will come at some point.

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