Thursday, August 25, 2016

helen died.

she's been gone for a whole week and i still listen for her. grumbling while hauling her bulk up the stairs, panting in the dark next to the bed in an attempt to get me up and into the kitchen to put seven diet kibbles in her bowl, mocking me under her breath as i attempt to make vegan posole ("what is the point of living if that's what you're eating to stay alive"), the sawing of the nail file as she shapes her claws into tiny razors.

when i sent helen to test out michigan prior to my arrival i didn't miss her even a little bit. finally, i could luxuriate in informercial jeans with an elastic waistband without fear of judgment from the fetid hellspawn grooming her privates atop my pillow! i wouldn't have to lock myself in the bathroom to enjoy a six packs of beers and slab of ribs that i'd otherwise have to guard with my life as she plotted a way to take them from me! WHAT BLISS. i got a picture every few days of her in her new home doing something awful (glaring at a bird, hissing at some actor on television, breathing) and smile thinking about how i no longer risked waking up to her tiny paws desperately gripping my throat.

ken's neighbor found her when she was only a few weeks old, a slimy and disgusting ball of hair and worms that was barely clinging to life, and i hated her guts from the minute i laid eyes on her. she hissed at me when she was still too young to open her eyes, sank her little needle fangs into my jugular (in a vain attempt to kill me) before she even had the motor skills to walk across the cage. i only took her home because i never thought she'd make it a week, let alone last long enough to have a significant impact on my finances and serenity, and i'm pretty confident she only grudgingly packed her suitcase and came with me because she overheard me talking about how often i order chinese food. neither of us planned for this to be much more than a one night stand. she had a chronic, incurable upper respiratory infection and the personality of old shoes, but she was funny and refused to die and i respected her tenacity. plus i couldn't euthanize her without all the bitches at my job judging me. that jerk ended up puking and sneezing all over my shit for almost nine years.

it feels weird writing about my little dead homie after sitting at the emergency vet in the wee hours of last wednesday morning, alone and rolling my crying eyes at the unqualified mansplainer in the waiting room yelling at a helpless receptionist about phenobarbital, trying to decide whether or not having the techs make a paw print would humiliate her in the afterlife. so instead of confronting my vulnerable feelings about grief and loss head on and unpacking them in an unhealthy way without a therapist, i instead found a template for a eulogy on the internet and madlibbed our info into it in the hopes it conveys how deeply sad i am. about an awful cat who mostly hated me.

we are gathered today to remember the life of the worst cat on the planet. my beloved companion animal friend, helen keller, was a marginally sufficient substitute for romantic human love for many years. she was mostly loved by me, her owner + daily tormentor; many strangers on the internet; and approximately 137 homeless feline siblings born near o'hare airport before her mother was eventually caught and spayed and rendered unable to continue filling the streets with her demonic progeny.

although she came from simple beginnings, helen worked her way through my nerves and had a long, successful career stealing chicken wings off my plate and trying to escape my apartment with various maintenance men and food delivery drivers. hard work and determination characterized this dreadful and hate-filled piece of actual garbage.

she was born to a flea-ridden stray gray tabby and [father unknown] in an abandoned garage in chicago. it was a shitty, overcast day (probably?) in september 2009. a neighborhood girl recorded in her diary that all of their relatives and neighbors from the surrounding sensible bungalows and single family ranch-style homes had gathered to greet the baby hellion. perhaps as her father and mother looked over the first sproutlings and blossoms of springtime, they were reminded of the life and growth awaiting their new nightmare with teeth.

her childhood is best described as both humble and wondrous: while her adopted mother got by on what meager money i made from being continuously belittled in a grueling customer service job every day, young helen ripped holes in the bed linens and vomited in my shoes. an avid malcontent, i helped the young albatross i'd been saddled with learn the hard work and dedication it takes to be an unrelenting asshole. the time we spent in mutual dislike for one another cultivated a love for mindless emotional eating and antisocial indoor activities that would stay with helen for her entire life.

at the time of the tragic neurological episode that took her life, helen was a sickly, angry 56 in cat years old. unlike many cats her age, who are sweet and smart or cuddly and adorable, helen was awful and judgmental and not worth the expensive-ass pine litter i had to buy for her. throughout her life she cherished two major things: her filtered water pitcher and the burn book in which we documented the various transgressions mounted against us by our enemies.

i loved helen as much as is healthy for a 36 year old woman with no children and will miss her kind of a lot but hopefully not so much that it creeps anyone out. helen's lifetime of excessive flatulence and pointed disdain for decency and manners serve as a monument to the exemplary cat she was. her lack of humility, integrity, and hard work continue to inspire those who knew her.

i worked with animals long enough to know what a relief it can be when a sick pet dies. shuffle off this mortal coil and take the antibiotics you bit me 137 times while administering them to your ungrateful ass with you. everyone's being really nice to me and trust me, i am definitely trying to milk as much goodwill as i possibly can out of my friends, but i also found a pair of tom ford frames that old girl had dragged to the crawlspace she liked to plot crimes in and had obviously been chewing on prior to her demise, and you're cool and everything helen but not designer eyewear cool. and now i can finally cop some new furniture without having to seriously contemplate what color couch will hide dagger marks and best coordinate with "blood-tinged cat mucus." but who even cares about any of that if helen isn't around to physically attack me for deigning to sit on it. or to growl menacingly at shadows. or to eat the carcass of a spoiled honeybaked ham that I WAS PLANNING ON EATING, YOU SAVAGE. man, i'm gonna miss her. pour some gravy out for the hardest bitch to ever do it.