Prefloofcupied

Prefloofcupied (floofinition) – 1. To be distracted by an animal’s behavior, needs, or wants.

In use: “She’d planned to get up and make a coffee cake but became prefloofcupied with the kittens.”

2. An animal who seems obsessed or deeply focused on a sound, action, or activity.

In use: “She opened a can and called her dog, but he was prefloofcupied with something beyond her view outside.”

The Swat

I’m on my knees, typing at my desk.

The cat is asleep on my chair.

It wasn’t so planned. I’d been typing when I raised my coffee cup to my lips and discovered it empty and dry.

No coffee.

But I had plans, and they included coffee.

Damnation.

I got up and went into the coffee to make more. When I returned, the cat had taken my chair. Curled up, he looked asleep.

Could that be right? I’d been gone two minutes. He’d taken over the chair and gone to sleep in two minutes? Yes, I was suspicious.

He’s done this before, so I know the routine. I moved the chair out of my way (the cat didn’t move anything during this — not a whisker, not an ear, not even a tail twitch), dropped to my knees, and resumed my activities.

When at last I was did, I stood and stretched. Now I needed water. Turning sideways, I slipped past the sleeping cat on the chair, my back to him.

That’s when I farted.

It wasn’t anything dramatic, just a loud burping noise.

That’s when the cat swatted me.

I stared down at him. “Did you just swat me?”

He was looking up at me. I swear that he looked defiant. I thought, he’s been planning this. He’s been thinking, I’ve had enough. The next time that he farts in front of me, I’m going to swat him.

I glared at him. “I don’t fart that often.”

Rearranging his paws, he lowered his head and closed his eyes.

I think he looked smug.

Four Floofs

Four Floofs (floofinition) – Floofmerican vocal group formed in Flooftroit in 1956. Achieving international floofularity in the 1960s, the group helped define the Flooftown Sound.

In use: “A 1965 hit for the Four Floofs was “Floof Can’t Help Himself (Sugar Floof Honey Bunch)”, which reached number one on the Floofboard Hot 100.”

The Finds

The sight ahead drew Bruce out of his inner world and back to reality. It could be an ambush.

Damn it. It’d been a good day (part of a good week) till now. Decent weather (upper sixties, and the wind and rain had passed), and no smoke.

Copping a squat, he considered the pile ahead. It resembled a human in clothes. He’d been walking down here to avoid humans. Zombies and survivors…neither were usually good company. He wasn’t much as ambush prey. Did have a gun (two, actually), some rounds, food (mostly energy bars, nuts, and dried fruit), a little water. Not substantial quantities.

Ravine walls thick with grasses, bushes, and brambles rose on two sides. Yeah, perfect place to take the easily beguiled.

The pile wasn’t moving.

Sighing, he put away the trail mix he’d been munching to free his hands, pulled the handgun out, and cursed. He was off the roads and highways because he was non-confrontational, didn’t have many rounds, and wasn’t a great marksman. He also wasn’t a good Samaritan. Heaving heavy sighs, he shifted his backpack and crept forward.

The pile didn’t move. A wind decided to add mischief to the leaves and bushes. He hoped to hell it was the wind, and not someone getting ready to get him.

Yeah, the pile was a human, female in jeans with a torn light blue shirt and jacket, non-zombie, but probably not alive. Blonde. White. Brown eyes were staring, and all that blood. Maybe forty or fifty years old, or somewhere in that zone. Not dead long. No animals had visited. Only touching her could tell him more.

He gazed up. She’d probably fallen from above. Pushed? Why would anyone be up there? What was up there?

With slow awareness, he realized something was not far from him. Pulse shifting to a faster speed, he turned and stood.

Dog.

The animal (a lab? — he didn’t know these things) regarded him, tail down. It looked decently healthy and had a collar and tags. No pack was around, although that didn’t stop his guts from nervously squalling.

“Nice puppy.” His voice caught on a rasp. Been how long since he’d last spoken?

The dog flicked the tail once or twice and turned away, but kept looking back.

Follow? Really?

Bruce tapped his foot in his head, debating choices, uncomfortable with where the dog might lead him. The dog seemed patient, insistent, and intelligent.

“Okay, Lassie.” He walked after the dog. “Lead on.” He’d shoot the dog first if it led him to a trap. Well, that would depend, wouldn’t it?

The dog disappeared past some trees. Bruce took his time following. Rounding the trunks, he hunkered down and peeked around them like a child playing a game.

A man was on the ground. The dog was beside him, looking back at Bruce.

Man, woman, and dog, Bruce thought, putting things together. No ambush. He moved forward.

The man moved. A gun was in his hand but he didn’t raise it. A noise between sigh and grunt, word and pain, oozed free of him.

Bruce approached. “Hello.”

The man opened and closed his eyes, then opened and closed his mouth, adam’s apple jerking. A canteen was at hand. Bruce approached it, saw it open, and picked it up. It sloshed. Bending, he wet the man’s lips. “Hey. Hey.” He didn’t know what else to say.

From the pale, wan face, thin silver hair, and sunken cheeks, Bruce guessed him seventy something. The clothes told of some wealth (as did that watch).

The man responded to the water. Bruce trickled a little into the man’s mouth. “Thank you,” the man said. He closed his eyes. They snapped back open. “My wife. Carrie. She…”

“Blonde white woman, about forty to fifty, wearing jeans?” Like there could be anyone else. “I think I found her.”

The man’s expression shifted through hope to understanding. “Okay. Okay.” Tears threaded out of his eyes and down the sides of his face. “This is the way. I fell. Down the side. She was trying.” Eyes closing, he shook his head. “Doesn’t matter.”

Bruce wondered. Where could he take him? What could he do? “Where are you hurt?” Could he get help? “What…” He swallowed. “What can I do?”

“Nothing.” The man smiled. “No use. Back. Legs. Insides. I’m a mass of hurt. Oh, well, it was good until now. Can you…”

“What?”

The man marshalled himself. “Bring her here? That possible?”

Bruce shuddered inside. He should just walk the fuck away. He should have never come over. He breathed out. “Okay. Okay. Sure.”

Hating the decision and himself for what he was doing, he tucked his gun into his pants took off his backpack. Retracing the way, he found the woman again. First, well, check. Yes, dead.

Trembles rolled through him. He hated touching the dead. Yeah, it didn’t make sense, but that’s how he was.

Realizations caught. She was still a little warm and pliant. Jesus, she could not have been dead long. He wondered what’d killed her. There was a lot of blood.

Bile rose. He didn’t want to get blood on himself.

Really? How fucking pathetic was he? He didn’t want to just drag her, either. That seemed just…wrong.

After sucking in three breaths, he squared himself, bent, and picked her up. She was so light, he almost sagged in amazement. Poor person, to die out here like this. That was the world but it didn’t make things any better.

He carried her back with no problem. The dog greeted him.

“That’s Jasper,” the man said. “Thank you for doing this. Now. Put her. Here. Beside me. Please.” As Bruce did, the man smiled. “Thank you. Thank you.”

Tears were storming down his face. “Okay, two other things, but I’ll reward you,” the man said.

Bruce knew what was coming. “Wait. What’s your name? I’m Bruce.”

“Bruce, I am Jerome. Thank you again, for what you’ve done. Now, if you can do more…”

Bruce knew what was coming. “I don’t know.” He glanced at Jasper. “Won’t your dog object?”

“Oh, I talked to Jasper while you were away getting Carrie. He understands it, probably better than us. Just aim at the chest, you know? I don’t know if I can be saved or not, but I figure, a world without Carrie isn’t where I want to be, not the way it’s turned to shit.” His voice was thinning. Jerome coughed, then pursed his lips for several seconds. “You can have my air yacht in return.”

“Your what?”

“Up the top of the hill. It’s yours. Take it. Live, survive.”

“Okay.” What the the hell was an air yacht?

“And if you can, well, find my children. Son and daughter. They don’t speak with me. Didn’t care for Carrie. Were angry, which made me angry. In hindsight, which is all that’s left, it’s stupid of me and them. We all thought there was more time, but here we are.”

Jerome cleared his throat. “I’m asking a lot. The list just keeps growing. Kill me. Take care of Jasper. Find my son and daughter, Gerald and Jeanine. Their locations are in the yacht’s computer. That’ll give you guidance. It’s up to you, but I’d like it if you can find them, tell them what happened to me and Carrie, so they know.” He settled his gaze on Bruce. “I know I put a lot on you. You can promise anything, of course, and then do whatever you want. I understand that. The air yacht’s loaded with food and drink. It’s comfortable and secure.”

“I never heard of an air yacht. How will I fly it?”

“Oh, it flies itself. It’s at the top of this bluff. I think you can get up there. Fob is in my pocket. Opens all the doors, and turns everything on. It’s yours, Bruce. Just finish the job here, and take care of Jasper, please. He’s a good dog.”

Shadows were claiming the ravine by the time Bruce complied with Jerome’s request. Afterward, the dog went to the man, sniffing him and licking his face for a bit before turning away and joining Bruce. The dog’s humanity impressed Bruce.

He took the fob, along with Jerome’s watch and gun, all with regret. Then, speaking to himself as much as the dog, he squared himself and looked up. “How the hell are we supposed to get up there?”

Jasper responded like he knew. Heading for a path, he paused, looking back and waiting for Bruce to follow. Bruce tucked Jerome’s gun into his pack and swung it up onto his shoulders. Another long look was granted to the dead man and his spouse. He considered burying them.

He’d already buried so many, he was weary of it. Did that change anything? No, but he had nothing to dig with. “I’m sorry, Jerome. I really am.”

Life sucked enormously, yet it seemed like his was looking up. “Lead on, Jasper,” he said, then began following the dog up the side.

Saturday’s Theme Music

Well, this one is a baffler.

I’d fed the cats, done some dreamflecting, emptied the dishwasher (and put the stuff away), and was making breakfast (and writing in my head) when some neurons took a sidebar to discuss today’s theme music. Without any apparent deliberation, they decided it’d be “American Woman”.

Why? “That’s why,” they answered. My neurons can be so immature.

So now, “American Woman” is rumbling through my head. Which version? Oh, several. Lenny Kravitz led off, but the neurons switched back to the original version by The Guess Who (1970), followed by the Butthole Surfers’ cover (which is always interesting). In the end, the original led the way.

Here we go. I selected several of the versions as theme music at least once before, so this is a redux, but the neurons have spoken. Here we go.

A Three Cliché Dream

My subconscious and its dream offerings gave me a laugh this morning. As I emptied the dishwasher, I thought about them, and realized three things emerged from the dreams.

  1. I’m carrying baggage from my broken arm.
  2. I’m starting anew again.
  3. I need to clean out the cobwebs.

Clichés, am I right? Here’s how it unfolded.

In the beginning… I was preparing to travel. I had a large gray garment bag, which was a problem because there was a small car, being shared with others. I can fold my bag, I thought. But I couldn’t, because…my arm.

Yes, dream logic. It made sense in the dream. Perhaps I’ve lost grasp of some details that made the logic fit. In the dream, though, I thought, yes, I can fold the bag if I can protect my arm. From somewhere (the air?) I found a coil of clear, semi-rigid plastic. I could wrap that around my arm and protect it.

It took a few tries with the coil, but it was finally done. I folded my bag and put it into the back of the hatchback, off we went. Stops ensued. More people joined us. Some left us. I didn’t know any of them. We were just travelers going a common way.

My bag again became an issue. An older woman was trying to fit luggage into the car. My bag dominated. Everything else couldn’t. I told her, “No, just fold it in half.” She wouldn’t. I again went through finding the clear plastic coil, putting it over my arm, covering my arm to my elbow over my shirt, and then folding the bag in half.

I was now at work. I was the new man, not certain of where to sit or my role. But they were expecting me. I was warmly greeted. A boss (a white male) came by to show me where to sit but then was vague on what I was to do. It was something about writing on a computer. We seemed to be a sort of publishing organization.

I went off, doing dream things. When I came back, my stuff was moved. Minor annoyed (and worried, because maybe this was a sign that hiring me was a mistake), I found my stuff, then sought the boss, looking for an assignment. “Just type,” he told me. “Just write.”

About what? I asked back, but he waved me away and went off to do other things. I wandered, asking others what they’re working on but everyone was busy typing. I returned to my desk.

Everything was moved again. That worried me anew. An assistant came by. “Oh, you’re over here, now. We put you over here with like people.”

Following her, I grumbled, “Really? I’ve been moved three times? I haven’t even be here that long.” She laughed. “But three times is a charm, isn’t it?” Then she showed me my new space. It was much larger, cleaner, and…well, newer, than the other places. Not that they’d been bad, but this was a huge improvement.

Pleased, I sat down. My co-workers greeted me, which is where that segment ended.

I was next at another work office. As part of our routine, we were to play at mock fencing. That’s about the only way I can summarize it. I understood it in the dream — it was a long-standing tradition — but outside of the dream context, it makes little sense. I was searching for the right weapon to use in a duel. Pointed sticks were available, but I thought that would hurt others. I tried fashioning a foil out of tin, but it was flimsy and failed. Someone suggested I use a pencil. I wouldn’t, as I worried about lead breaking off under someone’s skin.

The boss (a white woman) needed to leave for an appointment. She had clients with her. I wanted to duel her. She was willing but we couldn’t find suitable weapons, and the clients were there. I began helping her with the clients, just retrieving stuff as she called it out. During this process, I came across areas thick with spider webs and cobwebs. As clients were there, I surreptitiously cleaned them up. Looking more sharply, I realized that such webs were all over the place. I decided, as soon as the clients leave, I was going around and cleaning them all away.

The end.

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