From the recording Marry Me Margret
Don’s rambling, unverifiable account of what took place after the chipmunk spoke.
The best job I ever had I almost didn’t get because I ran over a cat streaking out from behind a pink and white mountain hydrangea bush.
And although almost late my conscience could not bear to leave that dead cat eyes open searching for yarn.
But in my new suit and nails done perfect I was vainglorious and would not bear to place my hands on this house pet killed with my carelessness.
So I searched for anything to clear the by-way but it was a sterile suburban enclave with no discernible detritus and I thought of the Mickey’s Big Mouth carton covering the egg shaped hole under the accelerator and with this cardboard begin to push the feline corpse to the curb.
Then on the last roll its tail already starting to stiffen I brush the cadaver with the back side of my hand and I swear on all things I love which are written on paper in my back pocket it lifts its mostly flat head and looks my direction and I think maybe I should carry it to some county hospital for cats but a voice like burnt shag carpet seeps out its misshape mouth and says,
“What are you looking at dipshit?”
Then it’s off under the rear tires of a Buick Regal.
And there is no time to assimilate as I am so late. And I haul ass shirt sweating through to the service door of The New Faith Church of God and after two interviews and three laying of hands I accept the holy spirit a landscaping position and guardianship of the Wednesday Night Youth Ministry.
And in these positions I thrive mowing and administering solace to the hoodlum offspring of the congregation.
And tomorrow at seven as reward for excellence in edging the prayer garden I will administer the Blessing of the Beasts.
And moments from my first sermon hair as high as gravity will allow I gaze from the altar through the drive-thru window where I once received a bright red Dilly Bar on my birthday all sorts of trucks and trailers clogging the pea gravel parking lot and animals all around
with ribbons and unnerving v-necked sweaters and quickly I know the verse I have chosen Leviticus 15:13 regarding God’s distaste of beastiality is inappropriate.
But I do not panic and quickly say to myself,
“What would Jesus do?”
And in a rhema response he replies,
“Ask St. Francis, it’s Wednesday.”
And that is solid council for before I know I am giving the grace of God to an array of domestic breeds including a chicken which makes me laugh.
But in her Bates Motel wheelchair over by the dumpster Esther Crane motions to me with an arthritic cudgel and she channel locks her misshapen fingers into my soft flesh and I know before the cage is uncovered there are hamsters inside.
And it is not the good feeling I once experienced but the reek of rancid tallow from a Sunbeam frier and in my spastic recoil limbs flailing Esther is now unconscious the cage unsealed and rodents are on the run.
And if proof is ever needed that freedom comes at a cost the presence of so many untethered large animals on this Wednesday morning furnishes it.
And as I witness the mess and mayhem I have created searching the scene for any solution I crumple to my knees an unexpected array of needles shooting sharp through my suit and thigh.
And on the curb Connie Kapplemeyer’s calico cat is licking droplets of blood from its multicolored paw and in that same voice inappropriate for one so small says,
“I’m suppose to give you a message from God but after this shit show, I don’t know.”
And with no hesitation my right hand snatches that cat by the scruff and I serpentine sprint across a most excellently manicured lawn.
And I can not stress enough Mittens was a surly unpleasant companion our four years together.
And in those many days in an unairconditioned Airstream by the reservoir I wait for that cat to make further comment but all she does is shed on my silk suit and say nothing.
And that’s how things go until me and Margret get married.
And it was great and full of grace. And I gave my entire being to her and she holds my face against her breast and I think I see a mouse under the bed and I can tell it’s over and my heart is breaking and mending at the same time but it’s alright because I feel that same solace from my childhood.
And in this maelstrom of memory and emotion she asks for a remembrance and it’s Mittens she wants and in this moment I cannot refuse but plead for another touch and she says,
“One hand only.”
And I touch her waist and Mittens from the foot of the bed licks her back foot and purrs,
“Aww, too bad, baby. I was going to tell you everything tomorrow. Now give old Maggie there a feel and get the fuck out.”