Monday, October 1, 2007

Don't Fear the Reaper

Sometimes, in the uneasy, silent watches of the creepy almost-dawn (3:30-4:30 a.m.), you wonder about the Grim Reaper, don't you? Well, after this weekend, I know a thing or two about the Grim Reaper, and let me tell you: The guy on the left in this photo ain't the Grim Reaper*:
You know who IS the Grim Reaper? This kitten. This frickin' kitten is the frickin' Grim Reaper:
My friend's cat. Adorable, huh? Pretty much. But, when she is sweetly slumbering like this, and/or cuddled up against my chest purring madly, she is scheming about the best way to disembowel a hapless mole with her super-effective brand of Mole-Fu. Her paws are registered weapons.

How do I know this? This weekend she grim-reapered a squirrel that was three times her size. I don't get it. She's just a simple, tiny little cat whose turn-ons include dainty china saucers full of cream and head scritches (turn-offs are phony people and tainted cat food)--or so she claimed to be with her happy little purrs and carefree, pre-carnage frolics. Oh for those hilarious times when her major pursuit was trying to jump. Ho ho! The pratfalls! The hijinks!

Well, it's a new day, and I'm suddenly remembering some early clues to her true identity. Like the time she ran past me, muttering under her breath as if she were a busy CEO and I a mere lowly member of the typing pool. We would have ignored each other, except I noticed that she appeared to have a toothpick jauntily sticking out of the corner of her mouth. I stooped down, grabbed her tiny jaw and popped it open, and there was a baby frog, gazing up at me and promising to start a new religion in my name. Ho, ho. I let it go, no harm done.

But now the list of her victims is growing, and I can't let them go because they're already gone. Before the squirrel it was a mole and a mole and a vole and a CHIPMUNK. NOOooooooo, not a CHIPMUNK. They are devastatingly cute and mind their own business, you know? I could not think of a more innocent bystander than a chipmunk. What if it was Alvin? There cannot be a Christmas song** without him.
What's next? A baby deer? A child?

Almost overnight, my friend's kitten has become a serial killer. It's NATURE. It's INSTINCT. It's what she does. She's a country kitten, and I'm used to lethargic, obese old city cats who would rather watch TV and monitor their stock portfolios than hunt mice. I'm just saying: Couldn't nature also give the kitten the urge to tidy up after herself? Couldn't it give her a "decent burial instinct"? I know she's PROUD and whatnot, but I'd give large coin to just see her running by me with a tiny shovel gripped in her mouth instead of almost-stepping in the rotting fruit of her daily bloodbath.

I do quite like the kitten, but this new side of her personality is turning me into the warped wife of a serial killer, primming my lips and saying, "I don't mind what he does as long as he doesn't bring it home and he's a good provider." The trouble is that she does bring it home, her tiny little tail raised high like a flag of victory. And, her Mole-Fu is getting worse. The television is warm sometimes, and I'm pretty sure she's watching slasher flicks and taking notes.

Anyway, now you know. You can stop waking up early and worrying about the Grim Reaper. Don't fear the Reaper. It's a kitten, and I'm pretty sure that you will be able to distract her for many years by stealthily creeeeping a feather tied to the end of a piece of ribbon across the floor like a snake. Also: She likes tuna, so you could get on her good side that way. Me? I'm just biding time and waiting to wake up with a horse's head on the pillow next to me.

*Still image of a scene from Ingmar Bergmann's film The Seventh Seal, which a friend of mine was watching recently while we were on the phone. Exact transcript of our conversation:
Me: "What's happening now in the movie?"
Friend: "Death is walking along the beach, and the guy sees Death."
Me: "Oh, okay. Does the guy go "Aiiiieeeee!" the hilarious chase music kicks in, and the guy hops on a Vespa and zips along in the opposite direction, while Death steps on a shell and starts hopping up and down saying, 'Oh, shit! Oh, shit!'"
Friend: "I really can't talk to you about this movie, can I?"
Me: "I'm just saying-"
Click. Bzzzzzzzzz (dial tone).

**This image of The Chipmunks is the sole creative and intellectual property of famous Armenian Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. and his estate. Here, I use the image only to make a crucial, educational point about the senseless killing by a tiny kitten who is the Grim Reaper ("Me, I want a hula-hoop..." SOB. )You can see Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. in the fine film, "Rear Window" with Jimmy Stewart and Raymond Burr. In this film, Ross plays an obsessed piano player songwriter. Ross was also the cousin of famed author William Saroyan. Together, they wrote Rosemary Clooney's song, "Come on-a My House."