So It Goes

I ended up doing a little editing and a lot of reviewing during my writing session today. It was wholly unplanned. Part of it was that the stories drew me in. I wrote what I liked to read, and I enjoyed reading it.

That’s the best part of this writing life, that I can read these things that seem to flow into me from somewhere else, and enjoy them. They seem like they’re far superior to my thinking and skills. Weird, right?

Time to call it on another day of writing like crazy.


The Caring Cats

It was day zillion of my head cold. That could be an exaggeration but that’s what it seems like. Illness impacts time perception, just like being in school when you’re young and in school impacts time perception. My illness found me in bed at a time that’s not my norm. Apparently, that fact slipped past my cats.

I can’t say I was dozing. Motionless on my  back, I was concentrating on the pains and sounds my body made, sometimes writing in my head, and sometimes attending the sounds and movements of the mucus streams in my head. The moment’s key is that I was motionless and quiet.

I heard the door open but didn’t think about it. Then I heard an unusual voice say, “I come with claws sheathed, brother.” It sort of sounded like James Earl.

“Claws sheathed,” other voices said as my mind said, “What the hell?” I opened my eyes but didn’t otherwise move.

“Why are you here?” a voice like Howard Keel said. “You’re not allowed in here. You’re going to get in trouble with the people.”

“I come to speak about Michael with you,” James Earl said. He’s been sick.”

“I know he’s been sick,” Howard Keel said.

Locating the sounds, I lifted my head and turned it. The bedroom door was open. My four male cats were in a circle. It astonished me. Pape and Boo didn’t get along, Tucker and Boo didn’t get along, and Tucker and Pape didn’t get along.

I had to be dreaming. This didn’t make sense. Why the hell would my cats talk like humans? They’re cats. They have ways to communicate.

“I’m worried about him,” the James Earl voice said. That belonged to Tucker.

“So am I,” Quinn said in a Ray Ramano voice. “That’s why I urged Tucker to come in here. We need to talk about it. If Michael dies, we’ll depend on K to take care of us.”

“So?” Boo said. The big black tailless cat was Howard Keel. “She’s done it before.”

“That’s right,” Pape said in a Doogie Howser voice. “She always take care of me. She likes me.”

Boo stood. “That’s not the point,” Quinn said before Boo could speak or do anything more. “Yes, she’ll take care of us, but I assure you, it’ll be minimal. I’ve lived with them longer than any of you. Michael used to be gone all the time. She took care of us when he was, but it’s not the same. She has an iron will. She can’t be manipulated like him. He’s a soft touch. You can’t give her a mew and a purr and get a treat or catnip. There’s little lap time with her. Trust me, it’s different.”

A cough welled up in me. I swallowed it down and fought to keep it in.

Tucker nodded. “I’ve been around long enough to witness what Quinn says. I can testify that it’s truth.”

“Okay,” Pape said. “So what can we do?”

“We can do our best to keep him alive,” Quinn said.

Pape said, “We’re cats. I don’t see how.”

“Monitor him,” Quinn said. “More than we usually do. Stay on him and with him. Pray to the Nine Lives that they hear our concerns and answer our prayers. Show Michael that we care so that he’ll care and fight to stay alive.”

“You really think it’s that bad?” Boo said.

I launched into a coughing spasm. When it finished, the door was closed and the cats were gone, except for Quinn. Tail up, he grumewed over the bed toward me.

After blowing my nose and wiping my eyes, I put my head down and thought about what I’d seen and heard. It had to be a fever dream. Cats don’t talk human languages.

“Mew,” Quinn said to me. Purrs pouring out of him, he bit my cheek in a gentle love bite and then nestled tight against the side of my head. His purrs thrummed through my skull.

Yes, it had to be a dream.

United Airlines Lottery

United Airlines put me on a roller coaster this week. First, they announced plans to stop giving employees bonuses. They would instead use a lottery to reward them.

I thought it was a great idea. I always feel like it’s a lottery flying with United. Yes, I have a ticket for the flight, but do I have a seat? Will I get on a plane? And will it be on the day that I’m scheduled to be flying? Let’s start a betting pool!

The betting pools always made those of us waiting in the gate area feel better. Even though there was a chance we wouldn’t make the flight (or the flight wouldn’t go today), at least there was a small chance that we might win. It was a little rain of sunshine on a bitter day traveling on United Airlines.

I thought having employees rewarded by lottery would help employees and passengers bond. Now employees would feel how we passengers feel when we wait to see if we’re going to fly on the flight that we bought a ticket for.

I don’t think the executives were going to participate in the lottery. I felt sorry for them. It seemed mean of United to exclude them. I accuse United of being executivists, treating executives differently just because they’re executives. It seems like companies will discriminate about anything these days.

But then, United announced they were not going to do the lottery. Say whaaat? Apparently, the employees weren’t as excited about the bonus lottery as I was.

That surprised the president of United Airlines, Scott Kirby (which admittedly sounds like a movie star’s name in the 1940s). Kirby said, “Our intention was to introduce a better, more exciting program, but we misjudged how these changes would be received by many of you.”

I admit, I paused when I read that. The company president was surprised that people weren’t happy that they weren’t going to receive the bonus money that they were probably counting upon. I think that gives us a little more insight into why United sucks more each year (hell, each month) as an airline. It explains why they’re surprised when passengers are pissed about paying extra for the blankets, food, and a seat that isn’t out on the wing.

Is it surprising that United will start selling priority boarding for coach passengers? I believe they’ll next be selling priority exiting, too. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they’re going to start charging for the seats in the crowded waiting areas around the gate. “I’m sorry, sir, can I see your ticket for that seat? You can’t sit there if you don’t have a ticket. Would you like to buy a ticket? Just five dollars per hour. What’s your flight number? Oh, you’ll need about six hours, then.”

Then, like all of United’s twisted, greedy thinking, they’ll oversell the tickets for the seats in the waiting area. “Sorry, just because you have a ticket, it doesn’t mean that you have a seat.”

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that United Airlines employees must buy desk time at work.

United Airlines: “Fly with us. It’s a lottery.”

Coffee Apocalypse

I don’t like this story today, about Tully’s Coffee shops in Seattle closing because they don’t have coffee. They’re a coffee business, with the inside path to procuring coffee. You know how the old expression goes: “First the businesses run out of coffee, and then you run out of coffee.”

Makes me shudder. Imagine if this coffee shortage spreads, and all these coffee drinkers suddenly lack their daily fixes. (Talk about zombies.) Once this news spreads, there’ll probably be a run on other coffee shops.

Better go stockpile.


Catability (catfinition) – the capacity to imitate a feline’s sound, behavior, or expressions.

In use: “Michael’s catability includes meowing that perplex the cats, who start searching for the other cat making these noises.”

Friday’s Theme Music

Today’s music is a little gross.

Supine in bed, I would feel the mucus shifting. It moved with a soft snapping and crinkling sound, like it’s trying to sneak around my head. From that, I began singing, “Mucus stream,” to the tune of Bush’s “Glycerine,” from Sixteen Stone.  I was making up whole verses for it by the time I stole into sleep.

That’s not to denigrate “Glycerine.” I like the song, and enjoyed the album. It still lives in the shuffle space dedicated to that era.

(My CD player holds two hundred discs. They’re divided into eight sections. Sections are assigned genres, eras or purpose. Like, one section is for the blues, and houses Buddy Guy, Albert King, B.B., SRV, etc. Another section is home to classic rock, with Cream, Blind Faith, Traffic, Led Zep, The Who, and so on. Bush lives in the section I call post disco rock, along with Def Leppard, the Scorpions, later Van Halen and ZZ Top, and STP. My wife has a section of her favorites, and I have a section of my favorites. Since my punk and alt offerings are small, I just mix them in with other sections. Anal, aren’t I?)

(And of course, the CDs are stored alphabetically by group or performer’s last name, and I’ve indexed them on an Excel spreadsheet. Yes, anal.)

Returning to the song, the lyrics fascinate me, and I thought the video reflects the song’s mood.




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