New Beginnings

June 28, 2010

The Mushroom and The Baby have flown off to Toronto, leaving me and my Dad to get everything ready for the move. This mostly involves cleaning up the hairs The Mushroom has left in the corner of every room due to her Annual Malting,  picking up the random plastic spoons and bits of megablock that come with living with a toddler, and then putting everything else in the Jeep and driving for five days.

It has not taken me long to work out who has got the better end of this deal.

(Although I must also admit that my part in the cleaning and packing is pretty minimal.)

‘So, how’s it going?’ asked my Dad on the Wonderful Skype Machine.

The Mushroom looked a bit like she’d taken speed. ‘Look! LOOK WHAT I HAVE!’ she held up a muffin, a bag of carrots and some moisturizer.

My Dad looked confused.

‘That’s an odd lunch,’ he said.

‘I went into a SHOP and I BOUGHT THINGS. LOOOOOOK!’

There is a store here on the Prairies, I have to add. I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned before. I’ve never been in it, obviously, but apparently it’s an excellent place to go if what you’re really after is some grain. Or cigarettes.

‘Aah,’ said my Dad. ‘You’ve been shopping, then.’

The Mushroom’s pupils were dilated. The Baby was playing with a new toy. They are, very clearly, happy to be back in the city.

‘I miss you.’ said my Dad.

Hmm.

What The Mushroom and The Baby probably don’t know, of course, is that my Dad has woken up not just this morning, and not just this morning and yesterday morning, but for the past three days lying, fully dressed – including his shoes – on the sofa, a half drunk can of lager next to him and with a mouth covered a little in bits of pizza. They also probably don’t know that last night he and Enthusiastic Teacher went to a cowboy/oilrigger club, drank whisky and danced to Nickelback. What The Mushroom most definitely does not know is that since they left, the nearest thing my Dad has come to a vegetable is the mushroom on the pizzas he has been eating every night. In effect, my Dad has been main-lining alcohol and salt for SEVEN DAYS STRAIGHT.

She’ll smell it off him, I bet you. She will probably have some sort of salt swab tests waiting for him as he gets out of the car in Toronto.

In only three days, my Dad and I will set off on our Epic Road Trip. It will not be as I expected it, as there will be no Fluffy Usurper in the back getting over excited. He was a prairie cat, Mr Wilson – a little Prairie lion, in fact – and on the Prairies he will remain.

I am, as my Dad makes progress in packing boxes and hauling them into a pile by the door, getting a tad worried, though, about where I’m going to sit. The Jeep’s at the garage getting a once over and I think he may have forgotten that it’s not actually an articulated lorry.  I hope he’s not planning to put me on the roof. 

I’m also mildly concerned about out motel stops.

“Three out of four are pet friendly,” says my Dad.  That’s brilliant, I thought. And what am I supposed to do on night 3? I’m not sleeping in the frigging car.

“For the one that isn’t,” he continues, “I’m going to have to carry you in in my rucksack.”

Oh, for pissing sake.

I do have a bandana, though. I tried it on last night. It took me ages to tie it on, what with my claws and generally not knowing what a knot is.

I looked like a twat in it.

No bandana, then. Still up for the Johnny Walker, though.

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Ode to Fluffy Usurper

June 8, 2010

Fluffy Usurper was run over and killed on Saturday. It was very sudden, he wouldn’t have known anything, and everyone here is very sad.

I don’t know what I’m most shocked about; him suddenly going, or how I feel about him suddenly going.

You see, I’m a fraud. Admittedly, the first few weeks he was here he was a monumental pain in the arse, what with his jumping, and scratching, and humping, and general kitteny ways. But then he grew up a bit. I’ve never had a playmate. Always been a solitary cat. I’ve never socialized with the other cats no matter where I’ve lived. But eventually, when he stopped trying to eat my ears, I realised that in actual fact, he was alright.

I used to wait for him to eat first cos he was growing and outrageously greedy. I didn’t mind.

On more than one occasion we were caught sleeping curled up nose to tail.

We used to sunbathe together on the windowsill.

He was fearless. Me, I avoid all things that look even remotely hazardous.  He didn’t know that there was anything out there that could hurt him. He used to chase the stray dogs away, or at least try to, and then run up a tree. He would happily take on Volvo cat next door, and win.

He had golden ears and a stripey golden tail.

I didn’t see it happen, none of us did. A neighbour took him away and buried him out on the Prairie. Perhaps this is why I can’t stop sitting on the step outside, just keeping an eye out.  I know he’s not coming home, really. But I can’t stop waiting anyway.

He was not called Fluffy Usurper, of course. His name was Mr Wilson.

He was a good boy.

The Countdown

June 3, 2010

The Seagulls are still here. They are traumatized.  I don’t think they’ll be going anywhere for a while, at least not until they’ve had access to counselling.

I think it’s one thing to get lost flying across Canada. I think that may happen  a lot. I think maybe, in Prairie communities across this land, little clusters of Seagulls settle down every Summer because they got sidetracked flying over Nova Scotia and now their wings hurt.

It’s another thing, however, to find yourself, at the end of May, after a week of blissful heat, in the middle of a frigging blizzard.

Seagull 1: [Shivering] Mate, I can’t feel my beak.

Seagull 2: [Hopping from one claw to the other] This is not fucking funny. Is that hail? Is that fucking HAIL?

[Both birds hop up and down on the roof to avoid the hail]

Seagull 1: Has this ever happened before?

Seagull 2: [Covering his head with his wings] I don’t know, mate. I always go to Mexico. It’s that Bernard’s fault I ended up here.

[Both Seagulls stare at Bernard, who is sitting alone on the next roof, ducking to avoid the hail pellets.]

Seagull 2: Told me I had to see Newfoundland. I always fly south of it, y’see, and across America, but he said, no, mate, you got to see it, it’s like Scarborough.

[Pause]

Seagull 1: Is it?

[Pause]

Seagull 2: A bit.

[Pause]

Seagull 1: I like Scarborough.

[Pause}

Seagull 2: Yeah, it’s alright. But then I lost my sense of direction and just kept flying, see, and now I’m here. [He turns in the direction of Bernard. Shouting] I fucking hate you, Bernard.

[The hail subsides. It continues to snow]

Seagull 2: They don’t even do decent chips here.

Seagull 1: [Looking crestfallen] Really?

Seagull 2: What I’d give for a portion of chips and gravy from Golden Fry right now.

[Bernard looks up]

Seagull 2: [Shouting]  Bugger off, Bernard! I’m  not letting you have any of my chips! [Pause] NOT EVEN IMAGINARY ONES!

If you ever needed proof of a traumatized Seagull, there you have it.

I caught a seagull once. Years ago. I brought it in through the kitchen window and left it under the bed for my Dad.

Anyhoo, the countdown has begun and, in two weeks’ time, The Mushroom and The Baby head off back to The Cave Troll and the Hippy, and my Dad is following a week after. I thought I would be bundled into that box again and sent on a plane, but no. This time, it would appear, I’m going on a ROAD TRIP.

I am WELL EXCITED.

I’ve seen films about road trips. They look AMAZING. Quite a lot needs to organized before I can go, though. I need:

a) a gun,

b) a bottle of some hard liquor. I was thinking bourbon, believing it to be a Hard Man’s tipple, until I realised that Southern Comfort was bourbon, and that is drunk mostly by old ladies and teenage girls who mix it with coke, so I don’t want that.  Then I thought Jack Daniels, but all I really know about Jack Daniels is that it turns people into twats and I don’t want to be a twat on a roadtrip. I think, maybe Johnny Walker then. Have no idea what it is.

c) some kind of hat,

d) a leather jacket, with studs on the back spelling out something cool and a bit menacing. Like, I don’t know, ‘Bad Cat’. Yeah.

e) Ooh, a bandana!

e) a motorbike.

Is this all going a bit ‘Easy Rider’?

I am not sure, upon reflection, that all this would work. I don’t think I could ride a motorbike on my own, and I don’t think my Dad would be able to ride it with me AND Fluffy Usurper, and cart all our worldly goods across Canada. Right, then, I’ll just settle for sitting in the front of the Jeep with my Dad (Fluffy Usurper is TOTALLY going in the back), swigging my Johnny Walker and wearing my leather jacket and my bandana and my hat and AVIATORS, I need those too. I am going to look BRILLIANT.

I must admit to being mildly concerned as to how my Dad is going to sneak us into his Trans-Canada motels. Is he going to pretend to be pregnant? Are we going to be stuffed into his holdall? Are we going to have to sleep in the car? But it’s all okay, though, cos I’m going to have a GUN.

Right. Off to work out how a cat can get a gun in Saskatchewan. I’m reckoning it won’t be too hard…