Barry Smith: Irrelativity
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
There’s no way I can prove this, of course, so you’ll just have to take my word for it: The following conversation actually took place between my cat and me. Some parts have been paraphrased.
CAT: Hey, you left the door ajar, so I shoved my way in using the top of my head. What’s with locking me out of your office lately, anyway? Wait … shhhh … what’s that noise?
ME: Nothing. Here, let’s go downstairs and see if we can find that piece of string that you love so much.
CAT: Quiet! Do you hear that? I think there’s something in this box.
ME: Nope. Your highly sensitive cat hearing must be deceiving you. Here, let’s just …
CAT: No touching!
CAT: There is totally something in this box, and I need to know about it. Now back off, or prepare to bleed some more.
ME: I can explain …
CAT: Holy @#%! this box is full of small birds!
ME: Well, yes and no, you see …
CAT: Shut up! For the past few weeks I thought you were keeping me out of your office because you were working on some big important project and didn’t want to be distracted by my adorable behavior. And I chose to respect that. I stood outside that door – a door that had been hastily shut in my face – and I said, “OK, I will honor his choices to not allow me in because I know he is a good man, a man of integrity, and although it hurts to be excluded, I have to trust that he’s using his time in there to concoct new and better ways to open cans of cat food, and I will not stand in the way of this crucial work.”
ME: I remember hearing you say that. Through the door it sounded a lot like incessant, pleading meowing, but I knew what you meant.
CAT: And now I discover that you’ve been in there tending to this box of small birds, lying to me all this … oh. Oh dear. You were going to surprise me! This is so embarrassing.
ME: Well, sorta …
CAT: No, no, it all makes sense. I must have a birthday coming up, and you got me the best present I could ever hope for – a dozen small birds in a box! Two of my favorite things – birds AND a box to play in after I’ve eaten them. I’m so sorry I doubted your intentions, and I understand now why you’ve kept me in the dark. Wow, you sure got me. Surprise! Ha ha. A box of small birds right here in the house for weeks, and I never suspected a thing.
ME: It’s just that …
CAT: But as you’ve probably noticed, I have no real sense of time, so rather than waiting for my actual birthday maybe I should just eat all the birds now. Oh, and thank you. Really, this is the best birthday ever.
ME: No. Sorry. You don’t get to eat the birds.
CAT: Come again?
ME: These birds are not for you to eat. These are baby chickens. I’m keeping them inside where it’s warm until they’re old enough to go outside in the coop.
CAT: Coop? Is that what you call that thing you’ve been building? Looks more like a … a poop.
ME: Your rhyming is really coming along.
CAT: Thanks. I’ve really been concentrating on it lately. The concept of rhyming doesn’t come naturally to cats. Dogs, sure. They know all the words that rhyme with “walk” and “park” and “out,” but since cats ignore all human verbal commands it’s challenging to grasp the nuances of … hey! Don’t try to change the subject.
ME: These chickens aren’t for eating. They’re for laying eggs. And in a few months they’ll all be bigger than you, and you’ll most likely be scared of them. So if you’re nice to them now, maybe they’ll remember.
CAT: If you let me in the box with them for a few minutes they’ll remember that, too.
ME: I’m sorry I deceived you, and I’m sorry you had to find out in this way, but this isn’t negotiable.
CAT: This is far from over.
ME: The chickens are part of the family, and we don’t eat family members. You wouldn’t eat me, would you?
CAT: Not while you’re alive.
ME: Not funny.
CAT: Or awake.
More at http://www.barrysmith.com.
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