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Southern Rail: Cat tales

By Robert Filla

I’m a huge animal lover, having owned my fair share of dogs, snakes and even a stable of racing turtles. But I just don’t get cats. Independent, aloof, acknowledging your mere existence only when in need of food or drink, they remind me of a poorly maintained relationship with a haughty female. But some people love ’em—love ’em to the point of endangering human life. In this case, mine.


When I first moved to Houston, I was living with a gal in a one-bedroom apartment, keeping my Harley both on the fenced back patio and in the foyer right next to the front door (no, of course management didn’t know). She was a cat lover and had an indoor, all black mini-beast from hell named Dieu (she said it meant little God in French, but her Mom told me it was derived from Doo-Doo ’cause the animal used to leave his droppings everywhere). The little bastard hated me and, I must admit, I had little use for the worthless piece of fur myself.


First there was the time when crap-cat decided that his scratching post was too worn to use and that my new leather seat on the Shovelhead would be more appropriate. “If you didn’t keep that stinky thing inside the apartment you wouldn’t have to worry about the cat damaging it,” my gal stated, defending caca-kitty from my violent outburst of anger. She liked the cat better than my Harley; see, cat owners are just plain weird.


And then feces-face upped the antagonism level one day when I came in from the road and took off my riding leathers, tossing them on the sofa. Next thing I noticed, there was ol’ poop-head nestling down on top of my jacket, absorbing the warmth and totally infuriating me. I hollered something and feigned an attack; he jumped and hid. Next time I looked back into the living room, stool-sample was squatting on my jacket again, taking a wizz! Oh the bastard. Things were definitely spiraling out of control and I figured any day I’d either have to split or I’d be digging a shallow hole for ol’ turd bucket.


Friends came over one Friday night. One was a big Italian named Blackjack. He rode a Shovel also, but it was one of those newfangled ones with an alternator instead of a generator. And Blackjack loved to screw with Dieu. Fine, save me the trouble and aggravation. We went out riding, the four of us, stayed out way too late and were flaked out the next morning. Blackjack’s cute-as-a-button ol’ lady (a tiny little thang) needed to make a run to the store, got up and walked clean through the closed sliding glass door (tiny little thang, yes; head hard as a rock, yes, too). Glass exploded onto the back patio area, showering both bikes, but not a cut on Button. So we cleaned up the mess, explained our problem to maintenance and were told there would not be a replacement door available until Monday. So we stood the sofa on its end and shoved it in the gaping space, hoping to maybe keep some of the mosquitoes outside and keep some of the AC inside. But with a 4” gap at the top, it was half-assed at best. Little did we know that fecal-feline was eyeing that space with evil intentions.


Got up the next morning, Dieu had vanished, gone, disappeared, was no more. Good, except… my gal simply would not have it. Next thing I know Blackjack and Button are back and we are on patrol, scouring the neighborhood. By this time it’s noon, and we needed beer if we were to continue this feline scavenger hunt. So I hop in the truck and start to back out when I spy the little dump-nudnik on the apartment roof, the second story roof. My gal goes ballistic, demanding I rescue fur-butt. So I climb the stairs to the neighbor’s balcony and, with the help of Blackjack, climb up on the banister railing with some cat chow in an attempt to lure the creature close enough for a grab. Well, like I said earlier, little shit didn’t like me before and sure as hell didn’t want to cooperate at this point in his soon-to-be short life. I figured I only had one shot, so, timing it with the skills of a cat ninja whisperer, I offered the food and made for a grab when he got within range. While Blackjack steadied my legs and I had a death grip on the gutter, I looked below and realized that if I slipped, I’d most likely be impaled on my scooter’s 36″ pointy sissybar. Yep, most likely right up the ol’ pooper. And then, for some unknown reason, after my lunge and a successful handful of pussy, black-crap decided at this point he really liked living on the roof and latched onto a shingle and refused to let go. I was eventually able to rip him free and, although I should have just tossed him to the ground, I held on with massive biting and scratching ensuing.


All three of us climbed down; me, Blackjack and one pissed off cat determined to exsanquinate all my bodily fluids through my right forearm. I tossed him in the bathroom, slammed the door and took off with Blackjack for a celebratory cerveza. We came back an hour later and there was my gal, holding and stroking her cat. But of course it wasn’t the one I’d rescued off the roof. No that one was unfortunately an innocent bystander cat that bore an uncanny resemblance to shit-muffin. Dieu had shown up minutes after we rode off, apparently waiting for our departure to reveal himself. My gal and Button had already released the copy-cat with the unknown identity.


Six months later, Dieu ran away again. I found him, flat as a pancake near the freeway feeder road after about a week. And while I love all animals, and hate to see any die, especially in a horrific way, I can only hope that when it was Dieu’s time to give up that ninth life, I sure hope it was a Harley that did him in.


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