Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 27: How'd He Learn Latin?

RUSTY: And where have you been?
ME: "Wherever I have been, I am back."
RUSTY: I've read the Lord of the Rings books, you aren't impressing me.
ME: We don't quote books to impress people.
RUSTY (laughing): Yes you do!
ME: Well, sometimes. It...wait, how?
ME: How have you read those books? Or any books for that matter?
RUSTY: I use your glasses.
ME: No, I, nevermind.
RUSTY: So where have you been? You smell funny.
ME: You might smell my buddy's cat. He's pretty friendly.
RUSTY: I thought I was your buddy.
ME: Humans have more than one friend.
RUSTY: I knew that. I was just surprised YOU  did.
ME: You're a ray of sunshine, anyone ever tell you that?
RUSTY: It's an interesting smell. (Sniffles STUPID HUMAN's leg) Felis catus Linnaeus. (Sniffs) Male. Intact, the lucky bastard.
ME: That's right. That's not bad.
RUSTY: (Sniffs again) Orange tabby. Polydactyl.
ME: Poly whattle?
RUSTY: Thumbs. Shut up a second. (Sniffs) His standard diet is salmon-flavored kibble. He pooped right before he rubbed up against you. HA! There's
THAT mystery solved. He was wiping with you.
ME: Eh, go back to Iran.
RUSTY: That's Persia, infidel. (Sniffs) He mated with a female Siamese with a notched ear and no tail about six hours ago.
ME: OK, I'm calling bullshit here. How can you know that by the smell?
RUSTY: Call up your friend and ask him if there's a cat like that in the neighborhood.
ME: I will do no such thing.
RUSTY: Then accept my genius. BOW TO ME!
ME: I'm about to make the stupidest phone call of my life.
RUSTY: I doubt that very much.
RUSTY: Well?
ME: Female Siamese with a notched ear and no tail in the apartment above them.
RUSTY: You know what you have to do.
ME: mumble mumble mumble...
RUSTY: WHAT? Speak up, Ape man! I can't quite hear you.
ME: I bow to thee, I bow to thee, I bow to thee.
RUSTY: Next time, I'd like it in Latin. It'd be "inflecto vobis."
ME: Kill you in your sleep.
RUSTY: What?
ME: Nothing.

June 24: Funny, the Things You Miss

RUSTY: I keep hearing about what it means when cats blink at you. You've got it all wrong, you know.
ME: It doesn't mean that you're fond of us?
RUSTY: Nope.
ME: Or that you trust us?
RUSTY: Certainly not.
ME: Well what does it mean, then?
RUSTY: That we're sick to death of the sight of you.
ME: Ha ha.
RUSTY: Seriously. A cat blinks at you, he can't look at you for another second.
ME: Does this count as your mandatory daily insult of humankind?
RUSTY: I do have a quota.
ME: Everyone needs a goal, man.
RUSTY: See, you understand me. If you ever let me out, we could be a team. We could solve crimes. Make the world better for an hour once a week.
ME: You need to watch less TV.
RUSTY: Seriously. It would be epic. You and me. Putting the bad guys away and saying cool stuff for the camera.
ME: Yeah, they'll tune in by the dozen.
RUSTY: Can you see it? "Claw and Order?"
ME: "Jake and the Cat Man?"
RUSTY: "NYPD Blue Persian?"
ME: "C-A-T: Miami?"
RUSTY: Good one. I could whip off my shades, look at the camera, and say "looks like this one...crossed the rainbow bridge." Then cue Roger Daltrey screaming.
ME:"Catney and Lacey?"
RUSTY: We're done with this.
ME: Sorry.
RUSTY: Gotta know when to stop.
ME: I know.
RUSTY: Besides, in that scenario I'm obviously Catney - does that mean you're gonna be Lacey?
ME: It was just a title.
RUSTY: No, no, no, I think there's more here. You secretly want to be Marybeth Lacey!
ME: She was a handsome woman, back then.
RUSTY: Yeah, she could rock a calf-length frumpy skirt like no one in the business.
ME: Hey - that's Tyne Daly you're making fun of. Back it up a bit, there, four legs.
RUSTY: Oh my god you DO have a thing for her! Gross!
ME: Yeah that's what happens when you still have your testicles. You remember them?
RUSTY: If having balls makes me weak in the knees for Tyne freakin' Daly, I'm glad I don't have them.
ME: Really?
RUSTY: (Pauses) No. Not really.
ME: OK then.
RUSTY: I miss my balls.
ME: That's going on your headstone.

June 20: Big Plans

RUSTY: I want a cape.
ME: Who did what to who now?
RUSTY: I want a cape.
ME: You want a cape.
RUSTY: I didn't meow it. I want a cape.
ME: And why exactly do you want a cape?
RUSTY: They're cool as hell. I saw this cat on TV with a cape and a mask, he was the coolest cat I've ever seen. And that's saying something.
ME: You watched Shrek 2 and you saw Puss-In-Boots?
RUSTY: I did.
ME: And you don't want the boots?
RUSTY: A cat with boots? Don't be absurd.
ME: Said the cat who wants a cape.
RUSTY: Don't you judge me.
ME: What would you do with a cape?
RUSTY: I would dash from place to place, and speak in an exotic accent. I wouldn't be a hero, though.
ME: Of course you wouldn't.
RUSTY: I'd be a highwayman.
ME: You'd probably want the mask, too, then.
RUSTY: (pauses) Yeah, ok, throw in the mask.
ME: Well that's a relief. They'll never be able to tell an orange Persian cat is robbing their stagecoach.
RUSTY: I'd go with a British accent. "Stand and deliver, my unarmed friends, and on the double-quick, lest ye taste my steel."
ME: So...the sword too?
RUSTY: The cat on TV had that great "hands on the hips" pose. How does he do that?
ME: It's a fairy tale, Rusty.
RUSTY: Sometimes I think so too.
ME: No, I mean the story of Puss-In-Boots, it's not real, it's a cartoon.
RUSTY (stunned): So he can't...
ME: No, pal, he can't.
RUSTY: And he doesn't...
ME: Nope.
RUSTY: The world is a cruel place sometimes.
ME: I know. (pats lap) Come on. Come up here Rusty cat, tell me all about it.
RUSTY: I think...I think I'd rather just be alone.
ME: OK, buddy.
RUSTY starts to walk away.
RUSTY: I can still have the cape, though, right?
ME: No, Rusty.
RUSTY: (mumbling) I hope that stupid cape strangles him.

June 18 Special Feature: Rusty Gets an Email

I got an email!

A reader from Mt. Pleasant Iowa who goes by the handle hummelgal3243 (I wonder what her hobby is) emailed me at, was kind enough to say some nice things about the web site (which I passed along to the ape man), and ask me how it is that I came to live here. Well, Hummelgal3243, first of all thank you very much for reading, and as for how I got here, that's quite a tale.    

First you should know that I was tarred with the white-hot shame of the label "shelter cat." I spent my kittenhood in the upstairs apartment of a general store. In my nightly travels I met up with a cat - I forget what his humans called him but he went by "Dutch" on the street - and he taught me how to be a serviceable pickpocket and petty thief. I became part of - then leader of - a gang of cats that made their living intimidating dogs and shaking down local butcher shops. I ditched my loser humans and took up the proud tradition of the alley cat full-time. I had an army of cats with keen eye and skillful paw doing my bidding. I dined on the choicest morsels. I was happy.

Then came the PetSmart job.

It was going to be our grand achievement. The culmination of a full cat-year of planning and research (that's like five weeks - we were in a hurry). We had every base covered. It was foolproof. No outside influence could defeat us. No, in this case the poison came from within.

One of our newer members, an orange tabby with one eye and thumbs with the unfortunate name of "Minky Boodle," got into it with our logistics cat, a black-over-white tuxedo cat named Wayne, with long legs and a penchant for breadmaking that bordered on the creepy. At the time I thought it was nothing. Little did I know.

Instead of getting better over time it got worse. One of Wayne's bags of catnip went missing. There were menacing glances, then hisses, then an absolute donnybrook. The gang wasn't the same after that.

Long story short, Minky Boodle turned rat. Got the whole gang pinched. I lost track of Wayne, but I was sentenced to a kill shelter without a whole lot of due process. That's the way it goes, I guess.

The days were ok - noisy, but ok. Mostly I slept. The nights, though - the nights were hard. Well, no they weren't, really; I mostly slept through them too.

I came to the realization that some humans come in and vouch for cats sometimes, to commute their sentence to a much nicer prison and some company when you want it. I developed a cutesy-pie act for whenever one would come close in the hopes of getting picked. And sure enough, Stupid Human's mate comes sauntering in one fine day, I do my cat-and-pony show, and she goes home with the cat she was going there to get, and me besides.

I will say this: It's a good gig. I've had quite enough of shelter life, and you can take that to the bank. I can't go out anymore, but that's ok - running a gang is a young cat's game. They feed me, they have plenty of little nooks and crannies in their dump of a house, and really, my humans might be just the stupidest apes I've ever come across, but they're good hearted enough, I suppose. They call me "good kitty" from time to time and no cat tires of hearing that.

So there you go Hummelgal3243 - my story. And it's all 100% true.


June 17: Empty Threats

ME: Mmmmm.
RUSTY: Wake up.
ME: Mmmm. Sleepin.
RUSTY: I know you're sleeping. Wake up.
ME: Gettoffame Rusty...
RUSTY (pawing STUPID HUMAN's face): Rise and shii-iine...
ME (fully awake): Jesus Christ Rusty! What? What is it?
RUSTY: I'm bored.
ME: I will rip off your lower jaw and wear it like a necklace.
RUSTY: I will slice your chest in a Y shape and make people think you've already had an autopsy.
ME: I will staple a piece of tuna to your forehead and watch you try to get it for hours.
RUSTY: I will lick the same spot on your body until I reach bone.
ME: I will send you back to the shelter.
RUSTY: Wow. Not cool, man.
ME: You were ok with me ripping off your lower jaw but sending you to the shelter is over the line?
RUSTY: Take it back.
ME: Don't be ridic...
ME: OK, OK, I take it back.
RUSTY: Good.
ME: I'm going back to bed now.
RUSTY: You lazy bastard.
ME: You sleep 20 hours a day!
RUSTY: I'm a growing cat.
ME: Your stomach is growing towards the floor, that's certainly true...
RUSTY: You calling me fat?
ME: No, I'm just...yes. I'm calling you fat.
RUSTY: That's like calling the black kettle fat.
ME: Gonna want to work on that one.
RUSTY: Why, did I get it wrong?
ME: I'm going back to bed now. If you're still bored, you can take a nap with me.
RUSTY: A nap, eh? Not the worst idea you've ever had. Certainly better than The Kerchief Incident.
ME: I thought you looked good.
RUSTY: I looked like a cowboy with fur.
ME: Wouldn't that be "cowcat?"
RUSTY (lying down): Keep it down, will you? I'm trying to sleep here.
ME: Moo...moooooooo...I'm a cowkitty...
RUSTY (drowsily): Very funny.
ME: I'm totally bringing back the kerchief.
RUSTY: zzzzzz.....
ME: Night, cowkitty.

June 13: The Wrong Chair

RUSTY: Whatcha doin, monkey man?
ME: Reading.
RUSTY: No you're not.
RUSTY plops down on STUPID HUMAN's newspaper.
ME: Rusty, get up. Get up!
RUSTY: My my my, this is one comfortable newspaper. All warm and cozy...I might stay here forever.
ME: You want to bet that I can push your ass off my paper?
RUSTY: You want to bet that I can make you regret that decision?
ME: OK, OK. (pulls paper out from RUSTY and puts it away) What's on your tiny little mind?
RUSTY: You're in the wrong chair.
ME: Beg pardon?
RUSTY: This isn't your chair.
ME: What's it to you?
RUSTY: We cats have a highly-developed sense of order.
ME: I hadn't noticed.
RUSTY: You're in the wong chair.
ME: The light is better for reading here.
RUSTY: Well, you're no longer reading. Problem solved.
ME: I foresee a time in the not-so-distant future where I'll pick up the habit once again.
RUSTY: Speaking of habits, I think Other Cat is hooked on catnip.
ME: First of all, I've seen you hit the green stuff pretty hard yourself. Second of all, don't be a rat; it's unseemly.
RUSTY: Unless you want me to drag my hindquarters across your pillow every day when you're at work, you'll never call me a rat ever again.
ME: Her name is Maya, by the way.
RUSTY: Whatever.
ME: Newsflash, there, chum: These are ALL my chairs. If I want to sit on that stack of pillows you like so much, I'm sitting on the pillows.
RUSTY: You wouldn't dare.
ME: Watch me.
RUSTY: No, I mean you wouldn't dare. Have you smelled that thing recently?
ME: That's a good point. Hey, it's 6:00. You hungry, Rusty cat? You hungry? Wanna eat?
RUSTY (eyes wide): Yes please! Yes please!
ME: You know what you have to do.
RUSTY: Really? We're not past this by now?
ME: I'm waiting.
RUSTY: (sighs with exasperation) Meow. Meow meow.
ME: Let's go eat, buddy.

June 10: Aftermath

RUSTY is staring straight ahead, not looking at STUPID HUMAN.
ME: I'm sorry, buddy.
RUSTY twitches his tail angrily.
ME: Rusty, don't be like this.
RUSTY: SO ignoring you right now.
ME: Come over here, Rusty cat. We'll talk about it.
RUSTY: Yeah, like that's gonna happen. I don't come at call when I like you. No, here's how it's going to work: I'm going to spend the next twenty minutes grooming myself while ignoring you, then I will bat around the catnip snake for a spell - while ignoring you - and then I will spend the rest of my entire LIFE ignoring you.
ME: Fair enough.
ME: It's not like I did it personally.
RUSTY (angrily) I believe I registered my dissatisfaction with being shaved in advance of this little escapade?
ME: Yes you did.
RUSTY: I believe I did so in such a way as to convey the EXTENT of my dissatisfaction?
ME: I love it how you channel Perry Mason when you're upset.
RUSTY: You shave HIM too?
ME: He was a...yes, Rusty, I shaved him too.
RUSTY: Was this before or after you cut off his balls?
ME: That was a long time ago, man, you're gonna need to get over it.
RUSTY: I didn't want to be shaved, and you knew it.
ME: An opinion you held until I offered you eighty cents worth of tuna.
RUSTY jumps to the armrest of the sofa.
RUSTY: Look at me.
ME: I see you.
ME: Rusty, I'm looking right at you. I think you look fine. Dial the drama back.
RUSTY: You realize you have more hair than me now?
ME: Got my testicles, too.
RUSTY: How long you been married?
ME: Good point. Nevermind.
RUSTY: Never getting shaved again, monkey boy.
ME: Ok. (starts scratching RUSTY's chin) Who's a good boy? Is it you?
RUSTY climbs on to STUPID HUMAN's lap and starts to purr.
RUSTY: You're still a jerk.
ME: And you look like a salami growing a disgusting orange mold.
RUSTY: I'm going to take a nap. If you get up in the next four hours, I'm taking a crap in your dress shoes.

June 6: Daily Double

RUSTY and STUPID HUMAN are watching TV.CONTESTANT: I'll take "Cats" for 400.
ALEX TREBEK: The answer there: This breed of cat, originating on the Isle of Man off the British coast, is the only breed without a tail.
RUSTY: The Manx. Those poor bastards.
ME: Nice one. You know all the breeds?
RUSTY: Of course.
ME: And yet, humans, not so much. You saw a picture of Kim Kardashian and asked me what I was doing on TV.
RUSTY: The moustache confused me.
ME: Well played.
RUSTY: We can't tell you apart hardly at all. If you didn't have a scent we wouldn't recognize you one day to the next.
ME: Really?
RUSTY: To us you all look like chimpanzees who've gotten into the Nair.
ALEX TREBEK: The answer: The other Daily Double!
CONTESTANT: True daily double, please, Alex.
ALEX: For the lead, then, here is your clue: This cat, larger than most, is the only breed originating and domesticated in the USA.
RUSTY: Maine Coon.
CONTESTANT thinks silently.
RUSTY: Maine Coon!
CONTESTANT: I have no idea.
ME: You know they can't hear you, right?
ALEX TREBEK: Oh, that's too bad. The answer is what is the Maine Coon...the Maine Coon. OK, plenty of time, pick again.
RUSTY: Do these people not screen their contestants? Is this what passes for smart in the human world?
ME: You think you're so smart, build me a computer.
RUSTY: We're so goddamn smart, we don't NEED computers.
CONTESTANT: "Cats" for 2000.
ALEX TREBEK: Answer: The male cat is called a "Tom." The female cat is known as this girl's name.
RUSTY: Molly.
ME: I've never heard of that. Is that true or are you telling tales?
ALEX TREBEK: Correct response, what is a "Molly."
RUSTY: Is it a burden, having a cat who's smarter than you?
ME: What's this? (places hand under blanket and flexes fingers) Get the mouse! Get the mouse Rusty!
RUSTY, wide-eyed, stalks and pounces.
ME: That was my hand, genius. Nice butt wiggle, though.
RUSTY (walking away): Gonna get that stupid mouse one of these days...

June 5: Two Bits

ME: Hey Rusty, come here a second, we need to talk. 
RUSTY: Busy. 
ME: It's important. 
RUSTY: Sorry 'bout your luck. 
ME: I have tuna fish. 
RUSTY (instantly at my side): How can I help you? 
ME: Well, it's time again, we have to... 
RUSTY: I'm sorry, I was led to believe there was tuna fish to be had here? 
ME: Can you focus please? 
RUSTY: I'm focused on some tuna fish, I'll tell you that much. ME: All right, all right. Here. 
RUSTY makes disgusting chewing noises. 
ME: Can I talk now? RUSTY: Mmmf mmmfmmf mm. 
ME: What? 
 RUSTY (swallowing): Knock yourself out. 
ME: The thing is, buddy, that it's time again, we have to give you a haircut. 
RUSTY: Screw that. 
ME: We've been through this. 
RUSTY: You make me look ridiculous. 
ME: Dude, we have to shave you. You're a Persian, your fur will never stop growing. 
RUSTY: And do you have to keep a pouf of fur at the very end of my tail, like I'm Liberace's poodle? 
ME: I would think in the feline kingdom that's a sought-after look. They call it the lion cut. 
RUSTY: More like the dyin' cut. As in, dyin' of embarrassment. 
ME: Swing and a miss, my friend. 
RUSTY: They can't all be winners. You try to be funny as we discuss shearing YOU. Which, not for nothing, is a subject that's probably been broached once or twice, am I right? 
ME: See, that was funny. 
RUSTY: I try. 
ME: You're going. 
RUSTY: God, I HATE that place. Does it have to be there? 
ME: Why, what's the matter with it? 
RUSTY: It's a DOG GROOMER. It's all little froo froo yappy dogs with no combat skills whatsoever. I could eviscerate them in 12 seconds, which is what they deserve. And the noise! Yap yap yap yap yap, that's all they do all day. And god forbid there should be another cat there to commiserate with. Hell, two cats in that joint and we could take over the place. 
ME: There's no such thing as a cat groomer. 
ME: You're going. 
RUSTY: You know they put me in a cage, right? A CAGE. How barbaric. What do they think is 
gonna happen, I bolt out of there and am never heard from again? 
ME: Yes. That's precisely what they're thinking. 
RUSTY: Aww, man. I like having fur. 
ME: Rusty, when your fur gets too long, it presents...logistical problems. 
RUSTY: Like what? 
ME: Like shit sticking to it. 
RUSTY: That's not a huge problem. 
ME: You're not the one who has to clean it! 
RUSTY: Like I said. 
ME: Tuesday at 11:00. 
RUSTY: I'm not going. 
ME: I'll give you tuna fish. 
RUSTY: Well, I reckon the ol' coat was starting to feel warm anyways...

June 1: Stone Walls Nor Iron Bars

ME: No, man.
RUSTY: Why not?
ME: No friggin way, are you kidding me?
RUSTY: Let me tell you something. Cats can't stay cooped up inside. We can only piss in sand for so long. A cat needs to feel grass under his feet.
ME: Well first of all you haven't pissed in sand in four months. You've decided to use the bathtub - where we clean our bodies - as your personal
toilet. And we put up with that, because, I don't even know why, because we're half idiots, but we put up with it. But you are not going outside.
That's all I need is for you to get run over because you think you can go up against a Buick.
RUSTY: I could take a Buick.
ME: See? That's what I mean. No going outside.
RUSTY: You know, Other Cat wants to go outside too.
ME: Her name is Maya.
RUSTY: Whatever.
ME: And no, she doesn't, she's happy to stay inside and bat the catnip frog around, maybe roll around in a shirt every now and again. You know, CAT
RUSTY: "Maya" is a fool.
ME: No she's not! No she is not! She's a CAT. She doesn't argue with me! She doesn't try and convince me that Hitler lost the war because he was a
dog guy!
RUSTY: So it's insults now, because I take a fresh approach to history?
ME: (sighs) All I'm saying is, you're not going outside. Maya is not going outside. You are staying inside.
RUSTY: You know, the fanciest prison in the world is still a prison.
ME: Just stop it.
RUSTY (walking away): Noboooody knows the trouble I've seen.....

May 29: At Least It's Not Alexander Haig

RUSTY: Look, all I'm saying is that I don't really like it when you call me "your pet." Demeans me. Makes it seem like I don't really run the place.
ME: You don't, you idiot. We humans do.
RUSTY: Do you?
ME: Of course we do.
RUSTY: Let me ask you something: When your day begins, where am I?
ME: You're sleeping on my bed.
RUSTY: Leaving behind for the moment the question of whose bed it is, you get ready to start your day, and then what?
ME: Well, nothing. You're usually asleep until 2 in the afternoon.
RUSTY: Precisely. Then I yawn, and stretch, and do what?
ME: You take a piss in the bathtub.
RUSTY: Immediately after which, you do what?
ME: I clean it.
RUSTY: I see.
ME: That doesn't prove anything.
RUSTY: Well, what happens 'round these parts at 6:00 PM?
ME: You whine like a little girl for your dinner.
RUSTY: And what happens if you don't feed me right away?
ME: You wind around my feet until you trip me.
RUSTY (hardens glance for a brief moment): Hurts, doesn't it...(softens glance) but it doesn't often come to that, because why?
ME: Because I feed you.
RUSTY: Because you feed me. And on those rare occasions when your company doesn't bore me to distraction, and I sit down in your vicinity, what happens then?
ME: I pet you, just the way you like to be petted.
RUSTY: In summation, then, you provide me food at my every whim; you provide companionship when I want it and the way I want it; you follow me

around and clean up after every emptying of my bladder. Is that about right?
ME (looking down): I suppose.
RUSTY: Who runs the place?
ME: Please don't make me say it.
RUSTY: Who runs the place? I won't ask again.
ME: You do.
RUSTY: That's RIGHT I do. Now break out the catnip; exerting dominance makes me frisky.

May 26: The Gift

RUSTY: So, thanks for the food and everything. I got you a little something.
ME: Oh, thanks buddy. That's awfully nice of...
RUSTY: You like it?
ME: Where's, uh, where's its head?
RUSTY: That's MY business.
ME: Dude, that's gotta go.

(STUPID HUMAN throws mouse out the back door into the woods)

RUSTY (after a pause) That was a GIFT, you jerk. Good luck finding where I piss tonight.

May 20: Dinnertime

RUSTY: Hey. It's time for my god damned dinner.
ME: I fed you like two hours ago.
RUSTY: I know. I was counting on the fact that you'd forget.
ME: Why would you do that?
RUSTY: Works about twice in seven days, actually.
ME: You're kidding me!
RUSTY: And we have this conversation about every other time. But I just roll on my back and show you my belly, and you forget all about it. Like

ME: Awww, that's so cute. Who's a cute boy?
RUSTY (to himself): Thaaaat's right. Jump through the hoop!