Pick Of The Litter
Lately, Regina's been sending me links to pictures of adorable newborn Boston Terriers.
"Hercules needs a friend," she says.
"And he can have one," I say, "if you allow me to tie Teacake in a sack and toss him into the Arroyo Seco."
Teacake is Regina's ancient, senile cat. His entire body is covered in benign tumors. He eats a lot, and barfs a lot. He howls all day to go outside, but Regina won't let him because he hasn't had his shots.
"It would give him so much pleasure," I say.
"You just want him to get hit by a car," she says.
"True. But at least he'll die happy."
We simply cannot accomodate another pet. The fish we got at the L.A. County Fair is thriving in the new five-gallon tank that Regina bought for him. And the cats won't die. They really offer us nothing. We have to lock them up in the bathroom at night, because if we don't, they'll roam around howling, keeping us all awake. This means that we have to clean the bathroom every day, unless we want our son bathing in cat shit. This also means that the litter box is in the bathroom. And it means that Hercules has access to the litter box.
Among other endlessly annoying pet-related matters, we're always trying to keep Hercules out of the litter box. He likes nothing better than to squeeze a cat turd between his jowls, chomping on it like it's a Snickers bar. Because of this, his breath is horrible. And he's a licker.
Yesterday, I was at my desk. Hercules came up to me, put his paws in my lap, and looked at me adorably. I petted him all over his face. For some reason, I then put my hand to my mouth. Something crunched between my teeth. I tasted something dusty, then something sour. I immediately rushed to the bathroom, lunging for the mouthwash.
"ARRRGH!" I cried.
"What?" Regina said.
"I just ate cat shit."
"You have to get rid of your cat immediately."
"I think I'll just buy a gate so Hercules can't get into the bathroom."
"I'm going to have to lift Teacake over the gate whenever he has to pee."
"Give him a break. He's old."
"Give me a break."
"I ate cat shit."
"I'm sorry. I'm not getting rid of my cat."
I predict that, assuming the planet doesn't shrivel and explode before then, that I'm going to live another 40 years. I can only pray that some of them will be Teacake-free.
"Either he goes, or I go," I said.
"Don't make me choose," said Regina.