Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Cat - Chapter 1

It all started last week. The Man took the Dog to his office. It was “Take Your Dog to Work Day," or some such stupid human thing. Some dumb PR flak probably thought it would be a good idea, help improve morale. Well, during the course of the day, the Dog noticed his picture on the Man’s desk. It was a big desk, too. The Man was “The Man”, if you know what I mean. So, the Dog sees it and starts getting big ideas. It was an old family photo. I remember when they took it. They tried to get me into it, but the last thing I wanted to do was sit and pose with them. Other cats may allow their vanity to show so easily, I cloak mine in self-assurance and total disdain for everything less than myself, which, obviously, is everything.

So, the Dog comes home thinking happily about his newly discovered “status”, he’s bloated with conceit, and, to be fair, it took a short train of thoughts, which I never believed he could conduct, to come to the conclusion that he should feel pride in what he’d seen. Most dogs wouldn’t have even noticed the picture, they would have been distracted by the jar of jelly beans next to the picture or the scent of an old potato chip bag coming from the trash can. Dog not only saw the photo, he saw its prominent location and he saw the deference the rest of the humans showed The Man. If there’s one thing a dog can do, it’s identify the Alpha Dog. Dog was clearly one of the beloved of the Alpha Man. He was important, if only in a tangential way, yet that was enough. The dim light reflecting off that frame might as well have been a solar flare the way Dog bathed himself in it. He proceeded to parade through the office, head held high, nose in the air, aloof, proud, a celebrity even. Oh, I can see it now, the way those office drones must have fawned over Dog, coo-ing and petting and using any manner of showy affection to suck up to The Man, by proxy. What a perfect way for those useless simps to show their loyalty and devotion, by groveling at the paws of Dog, his most loyal and devoted.

The results were immediately apparent. Dog came home and he was instantly insufferable. You would have thought he was the King of Siam. We had always had an unspoken agreement, I would avoid all things Dog, and he would show the same respect for the world of Cat. Now, though, he was nudging me off couches, he was lounging in my noon-time sunny spot, he started rubbing his miserable hide all over my scratching post. Something had to be done. There is only so much you can pretend to not care about, only so many small insults you can walk away from with casual indifference. Eventually even a cat can look put out. I wouldn’t have it.

How was it to be done, though. How could I make this worthless hound recognize again his lowly place when it was only the reflected glory of The Man allowing him to assume this mantle of faux magnificence. There before you, dear reader, lies the answer, if you aren’t so irretrievably dense to see it. Try to think you wretched waste of flesh. My course of action was clearly laid out before me. I had to bring down the sun to darken the moon. Without The Man, Dog would be nothing, he could return to the natural state of his kind, skulking in back alleys, nosing through trash and mire to eke out a pitiful existence, the only life a dog deserves.

Before you think me unkind, before you chasten me as cruel and indiscriminate, let me tell you, you feeble bleeding hearts, that this Man was no angel. Indeed, like many of you humans with power, he was a two-faced, back-biting, lying, conniving scumbag. Beneath the Brooks Brother suit and pampered skin, and wedged amidst the carbon infested-lungs, beat a cold cold corazon that had blithely made decisions that caused the ruination of countless lives, his only excuse lay in the last refuge of the modern monarch, his charter to protect the best interests of the shareholders, of which, of course, he was one of the largest. Divisions were sold, plants closed, deals were done that left thousands around the world in dire straits, indeed.

I play this up now for dramatic effect. He was a shit, true, but what did I care? If there’s anything a cat desires, the one thing we wish for above all else, and, I’ll point out, one of the traits that sets us above the rest of creation, it is the desire for peace. Not world peace, or any such treacly nonsense, although were I to wax philosophic for the moment, if all creatures were so committed in their quest for peace, the macro-view of this plagued planet might be a bit rosier. I’m talking about my peace. My ability to eat, lounge, sleep, think, yawn, pee, shit and eat and lounge and sleep again without fear of interruption from lesser beings. What higher calling could you ask for? Indeed, what is it that most of you sad, misguided fools pray for, answer me, what do you seek when you go to church or mosque or temple, what is it that you raise, both figuratively and literally, above you as the shining beacon to strive for. Aye, you know it, you seek heaven – Heaven. And, what is this mythical heaven of yours, a life of peace, a world without strife or pain, a place where all is cared for and you have no wants that go unfulfilled.

Wake up, people! We’ve got heaven right here. Well, I do; and a whole lot of other cats, too. So what if I ride on clouds created from the condensation of the sweat of the masses, what do I care if The Man used and abused nature and labor for my benefit? Who among you, who among you sick lot of worshippers, won’t acknowledge that you don’t give one whit whether those in another creed miss out on eternal salvation. You mean fucks revel in it. One true faith, my ass. Peddle your half-baked kindness somewhere else – I’m not buying it.

That’s right, I had mine, I had my slice of heaven, and I was willing to fight for it, too. I’m going to take a moment here to let you in on a little secret, and I don’t want you to get the idea I’m trying to justify my actions, you shouldn’t assume that in revealing what I am about to reveal that I’m engaging in your human penchant for self-aggrandizement via the “I-pulled-myself-up-from- my-bootstraps” so I am somehow worthy of living like I do malarkey. No. I tell you this not so you will think I deserve my life of luxury, I tell you this so you will know I have seen more of this world than the inside of this palace. I was not always the refined, elegant feline you see before you today. I was born on the mean streets. I’ve seen a catfight or two. I might have even engaged in one myself, although you won’t see a confession of such here. I don’t want to get into details, I’m not the sort to scribble the self-indulgent twaddle you hawk on your precious television, your insipid talkshows. The intrepid amongst you even trade such tales for power. Oh, here’s the son of the janitor, who put himself through college mowing lawns and hauling trash, who started out on the bottom of the corporate ladder and worked his way up until that hard-earned day when he could piss in the same washroom his father used to clean. Look at him, this hard-working golden boy – doesn’t he deserve to be CEO, to be a Senator, oh, let’s say it, to be President, as if that’s a job to want.

No, I just want you to know I know this world sucks. Anyone that tells you different is either an idiot or trying to sell you something. I’m wise enough to know I’ve risen to where I am by luck, certainly I’m brilliant, beautiful and can croon like Crosby, but I’m not so blind to think I would have gotten here without a healthy portion of luck.

This is how I distance myself from The Man. This is how I dismiss any worries or concerns I feel for Mrs. Man and that fine daughter of Man (bless her gentle fingers, those delicious digits that know all the right spots to soothe my lithe frame. Let’s hope they aren’t forced to do any real work on account of what I’ve done.) Beside the fact that Man is a rat-bastard worthy of burning in hell for his conscienceless sins, beside the fact The Man is a unrepentant hypocrite, beside all the unmentioned acts of moral depravity that would curl the toes of the most jaded amongst you, beside these things, I can separate myself from The Man and feel good and fine and right in bringing him down to where he belongs because he does not know how lucky he is. He really believes he deserves everything he has, that he somehow earned it. Let me tell you, there’s nothing more nauseating than the righteousness of the successful. I’m loathe to quote the saints, false piety is not my style, yet there are plenty among your feeble lot who could benefit from hearing and contemplating these words – “There but for the grace of God go I.” Substitute “luck” for the god part if you like, the sentiment stands.

How many greedy pricks would deign to acknowledge the verity of that phrase. Men, yes always men, who make 20, 30, 100 times what their average employee makes, shamelessly, they take it hand over fist as if it were owed them like a birthright.

I’m no communist. I’m not a Christian. I’m something so superior any name fails to match my grandeur. In case the fact has slipped through the sieve you call a brain, you will remember, I am a cat. I don’t care about the common man, I don’t lose sleep over whether the workers of the world will unite, and it affects me neither one way nor the other whether or not more than 2,000 years ago some Jew died, was buried, and astonished the civilized world by performing the cheap parlor trick of rising from the dead like some Aramaic Harry Houdini. In case there’s any confusion in that addled human skull of yours, let me say it clearly. I don’t give a shit about any of that. That is humanity’s concern and I don’t care. What I do care about, and what I absolutely will not suffer is being pushed around by a dog. A DOG!

I am not a terrier or a retriever, I’m not a shepherd or a pointer. I do not run in packs and I do not work for Man. I am Cat, and Man works for me. Unfortunately for Man he has inadvertently provided Dog with an excuse to assume some of his arrogance. Dog is now like the flight attendant in First Class. Well, I refuse to be made to feel small by such a thin grasp of power.

Now, as I sit in The Man’s “home office” sipping his Glenfidich and finishing off one of his Macanudos, I will set before you the barest outline of my plan. You may for a moment consider my efforts too simple, you may “think” it won’t work. Please, don’t trouble yourselves. You can just sit back and watch, it’s what you do best. In between ads promising to fix your impotence, your bladder control, your constipation – you will see the results of my actions. It’s irresistible. I can hardly blame you your split-second of superiority, we all love our poppy lopping, watching the mighty fall, watching the preened and pampered perp-walked to the curb, oh, who amongst us can resist it. The Fall of the Corporate Criminal, it’s a tale not told often enough. What did that old President of yours say about corporations – “no body to kick, no soul to damn.” Just a bunch of suits with photographs of dogs and families on their desks, photographs that somehow show them to be good and kind and caring. Look at me, I take care of my kids and I love animals, I’m a decent person. Rubbish. They suck just as much as the rest of you.

It’s so simple these days to bring someone down. A few emails, the wrong file sent to the right address. A New York Times reporter, maybe the Wall Street Journal, or People. A newbie looking for a big story that will buy him a permanent by-line. It’s taken me longer to write this screed than it did to find enough evidence to string up The Man. In the end he was just as much of an idiot as the rest of you clowns. Imagine, using your dog’s name as your password.

Watch for the cascade of bad news on your magic flickering boxes, people. Revel in your grotesque schadenfreude. You may be a pathetic collection of muck and mire delusionally believing eons of evolution have put you at the top of the food chain, you may be flaccid mounds of putrefying flesh, but at least you’re not a dog.