I come home tonight and it’s like I’ve walked into the pages of a Stephen King novel. When I get out of my car, it is to the deafening sound of meowing, screeching cats on the ground and squawking crows in the air.
The scavenger crows try to antagonize the feral cats, or at least that’s how it appears, but the cats don’t care. They (the cats) are everywhere and are of various sizes, nonchalantly loitering about, hanging out with their friends, forming alliances and rivalries; a couple of them erupt into a cat fight while another pair starts copulating right then and there in the open. Disgusting.
“Get a room!” I shrill as I trudge past them and across the street towards the 300-stair climb to my brother’s Psycho House on the mount where we’ve been staying while he’s away until we can get back into our own house.
A scraggly looking man carrying an unopened case of Lucky beer and wearing shorts that show off his prosthetic leg happens to be lopping by right as I'm telling the fornicating felines to get a room. He (the scraggly dude) evidently thinks I'm referring to him and screams at me, “YOU get a room!!”
It doesn’t even make sense for him to tell me to get a room, even if I had said the same thing to him, which clearly I did not - or at least it should have been clear. It's not as if he had cracked open one of his beers and was now gallivanting down the street with it, whooping it up in a one-person party: just a rowdy, scraggly man and his cheap, scraggly beer. So I scream back, “Really?”
I am a wizard of witty replies.
“You want a piece of me?” he immediately spits back even though it also is a ridiculous, stupid cliché thing to say, especially given the present context. Is he teasing? No he is not. Here I thought our little encounter had run its course. But no. Lucky-beer-guy-with-the-missing-leg wants to continue this altercation I’ve inadvertently started. Why all the sudden are people so confrontational everywhere I go?
Only a few meters separate us by this point as he continues down the sidewalk and I continue across the street. It’s absurd he thinks I told him to get a room for no apparent reason. And I don’t want him going around with such an absurdity in his head, so I call out, “Take it easy! I wasn’t talking to you – I was talking to the CATS!”
I can’t quite make out his reply, but I suspect he calls me a “crazy bitch cat woman” or some variation of same.
I DO NOT want to be thought of as a crazy cat lady. I don’t even like cats.
“They’re not my cats!!” I yell a little too desperately.
But it’s futile. He’s lost interest and keeps going, disappearing into the bowels of the darkening street with the erroneous notion now embedded in his worldview that I’m some crazy cat lady who inexplicitly thought he should get a room. I do not like this turn of events at all. Not at all. I feel unsettled now and fight the urge to run after him in an attempt to clear up this horrible misunderstanding.
As for the cats, they are oblivious to all this unfortunate human drama their existence has caused. They wander aimlessly in the middle of the road; some block the sidewalk and others trespass on people's lawns. They do and go where ever the hell they please.
There are so many of these cats that I feel like I'm in danger of being jumped by a gang of them. I tell them to "shoo! shoo!" but they ignore me. They're not afraid of me. They are afraid of NO ONE.
I however have spent enough time thinking about these cats and it’s gotten dark. I only want this day to end. So I race up the stairs and when I finally reach the front door I have to stop to catch my breath. As I do, the door creaks open, as if someone has pulled it open, which is weird since no one appears to BE there. It gives me an eerie feeling made all the more eerie when I walk into the dimly lit, quiet house, save for a ticking clock and running toilet. I turn on the light only to discover, much to my alarm, that my family has probably been abducted by aliens.
The evidence is everywhere.
You’d have to be a FOOL not to suspect alien abduction here. It looks as though everyone has vanished into thin air amidst doing normal evening activities. They were taken in mid-sentence, mid-bite, mid-brush, and in mid-picking-up-the-wet-bath-towel-you-dropped-on-the-kitchen-floor-because-who-doesn’t-get-out-of-the-shower-and-go-straight-to-the-kitchen-to-get-ready-for-bed?
There are discarded, unattended, undone, unwashed, untidy items all over the place; nothing is where it should be and the lack of human sounds is making me think my wry observation of possible alien abduction might not be so far-fetched after all.
Then I hear a noise, a kind of rustling behind me, and as I turn to look, I’m startled by the sound of the front door slamming shut.
I jump and whirl around, half-expecting to see a big-headed alien, maybe even three aliens, with huge black sockets for eyes staring back at me.
But it’s not an alien. It’s something much, much worse.
It’s a cat.
It’s one of those frigg’in stray cats from the street, just strolling right on into the house as if it owns the joint. I gape at the thing in paralyzed disbelief as if it’s, well, an alien. It meows at me, does a quick jaunt about the living room, basically shrugs its shoulders, if it had shoulders, and then leaves out the door it came through- the same door that only moments before had been slammed shut. The door is obviously possessed.
What’s next in this creepy place? The crows? Should I wait for one of those nasty bird monstrosities to fly through the wall and peck my eyeballs out?
Actually, it won’t have to go through the trouble of flying through the wall will it? The always accommodating front door, which evidently has a mind of its own, will just let it in: "Come on in everybody! Come in and freak Lala out! Come fowl, come feline, come scraggly people and malevolent alien abductors! Come one, come all!"
Welcome to my nightmare life. It has become a Stephen King novel. Now excuse me while I shut the front door.