Tales of Animal Husbandry (h2so4 3)

[Seymour fed my cat while I was on vacation, and this is what he left for me. JS]
[My note to him:]

Hey Seamy,

Thank you for feeding the BEAST.

Please give him the can next to this note in the bowl in the kitchen, and put the half can in the refrigerator in the bowl that is in the bathroom. Yes, the bathroom. JS

JS

That note ... Yee. It took me a long time to figure out what you were telling me to do and where to do it. It's lucky for me this is a small apartment.

Duster decided to dine on top of the table. He wanted to lick the lid from the cat-food container but I explained calmly and rationally that the tongue is an essential component in satisfactory oral sex and lid-licking would imperil his future successes with the lady cats. Therefore, bowl city, Fluffo. Chatterbox that he is, Duster begged to differ. I pointed out that the only one who suffered by meowing with his mouth full is named Duster. End of discussion. While D-Man was en scarfe, I busied myself with my own taste test of the most abundant item in your fridgeolives.

1) Peloponnese Brand Ionion Green Olives. A hearty, robust olive with a slight afterburn that is simply sublime.

2) Peloponnese Brand Kalamata Olives. With a more tangy bouquet as well as flavor, Kalamatas might strike the cranky olive-eater as ostentatiously flavorful. More extravagantly cured (red wine vinegar brine) than their more traditional siblings, the Ionians, Kalamatas rip away from the pit with ease and uniformity. A delightful addition to all special occasions.

3) Trader Joe's Brand Stuffed Queen Sevillano Olives. With a realistic packaging, indicative of Spaniard utilitarian values, these olives make up for in bulk what they lack in innovation. Nearly disqualified because the jar is sorta foggy.

4) Townhouse Brand Manzanillas. A hideous excuse for Mediterranean cuisine. Sometimes called "Drinker's Olives" because the only people who can endure burning sensations in the mucus membranes are career drunkards, they should rightly be packaged with a warning to sterilize the contents before consuming.

Duster has concluded his "Feline Sonata in Gurgle (No Movement at All)" and is fast asleep. Time for me to leave. Seymour

JS Vacation #2, Seymour's Diary

Day One... Fairly uneventful visit. Could hear Duster's meow tape loop in the elevator as I whizzed past the fourth floor. Looked out your windows for a bit. Read a submission or two scattered on the h2so4 editorial parlor floor. Patted Duster's head while he and I played "Endure the Catfood Breath." Ate the brie and bread.

Day Two... Creepy old neighbors tried to bond with me through our feline charges. Theirs was a horrid little puffball codename Isaac which Mr. Creep held aloft as he stood in the doorway introducing himself to Duster, whose posture suddenly seemed more territorial than usual. Kissed the Pale Ale and chips good-bye as Duster and I played "1,001 Meows on the Wall" (call and response version for 2 or more players). Pondered Mrs. Creep's announcement that she had taken Duster for a Siamese, an assessment based, presumably, on the tenor of his meow; resolved that this dreadful woman must be taught a lesson at a later date.

Day Three... A brief visit, as Duster was more interested in playing "Molestation" than in slurping down his fresh bowl of gruel. In cleaning (and disposing of contents) of his catbox, I was nearly overwhelmed by a toilet bowl in revolt. As I frantically employed the handily located Stauffer family plunger, it occurred to me that it's about time someone invested in a kitty doodoo knife. So upset by the proximity of calamity was I that a bottle of IBC rootbeer was bid adieu in an effort to steady the nerves.

Day Four... In the lobby, some sad young pro weepily smothered some sad old wheezebag with pathetic birthday wishes. An exercise in awkward smiles and stammering. Had I known that Duster was waiting upstairs to show me a new trick, I wouldn't have dawdled to gawk. Up on the 5th floor, Duster impressed me by meowing and eating his gruel at the same time. It sounded like a chihuahua gargling. He must have practiced all day long. Quite impressive. After playing "Are You Going to Pat Me or Am I Going to Walk in Your Pasta?" we moved on to "Who's Hair's in My Dinner?"

—Seymour Glass

Animal Husbandry II
[2 weeks with Duster]

...if I were a drunk, I can only fear the things I'd have been saying, but I controlled myself towards proper ventilations; ironic quips, sarcastic self-effacements, all no doubt lost on Duster. No single event stands out with this cat, but I felt sympathetic toward my father and his slips, throughout my erratic childhood, into irrational (if benign and controlled) anger. I had more than one moment where, mirrors missing, I must have looked for all the world like my father as I reasoned with Duster at :26 AM, "what? what? foof, you have, the litterbox, attended to, what? love? here, love, too, what? the covers are all yours, pillows, more pillows? what?" No fear, I lost every struggle. I resorted to drastic ends, wrapping duster up like a doll and walking him about the house and cooing, hoping that this would induce kitten-ish flashbacks from the days you undoubtedly subjected this once-normal feline to similar girlish rigors. It would work for isolated moments, some understanding flashing before his eyes, a distant clouded memory and an appreciation for my efforts, before all would fall from his grace and the banshee-howl would once again rise. In The Sound and the Fury the crazed and undeveloped brother, Benjy (nŽ-Maury), would howl in periodic innocent abandonment/yearning for the days before his family's dissolution. Sound and Furry, indeed. What weight this single soul must bear, a kitty one at that.

Kamran Rastegar