On Punching a Gift Horse in the Mouth Chapter 3

With a single desperate knock the door creaks ajar unenthusiastically, but for Jack- rather indeterminately.  He peeks his head into the house and wonders the appropriateness of just resting within the doorway itself legs extended until they bent at the knees from a large frame in a smaller one.  He redoubled the knot on his bathrobe and stepped into the house hollering “hello” feeling at once like one of the Goonies hollering into the catacombs of One Eyed Jack.  His very voice seemed too tremulous for the contents of the home and his own voice quivered back to him noticeably.  Pacing about in the foyer, unsure of what to do, he began to take notice of several large ornate russian dolls with the appearance of engorged cats spouting out litter after litter of oversized smaller versions of themselves, each had a new gift, a new treat wrapped in it’s paws.

From there the kittens seemed to catch on like wild fire, after having picked one out the denizens of the feline world seemed to stretch from beyond the walls of his imagination into the cracks and boards at his feet, chandeliers with kitten paw crystals, a living room with a scene frozen in time of a family of cats laying lackadaisically, on the couch watching a television that when on only seemed to slide black or green screens continuously alternating back and forth as though enough signal not to be complete fuzz  but not enough to merit any worthwhile sound or picture.  The stuffed cats lay frozen transfixed by the broken television and Jack wondered at a Simpson’s version of these cats lives sitting with a beer gut and the family some bread winning hair removed father would strangle his kid just for a better picture.  This was not so.  And Jack left wondering what they might have died watching- was it Golden Girls?  or Monday night Football?  he ruminated with pleasure that they might have been watching Frasier.  Singing the closing theme he realized he had made his way through the living room and into the dining room of the house.  He felt it best to explain himself to all the cat china, this feline finery may well turn against an unwanted intruder.  “I live next door, I was caught in the storm and got locked out wondering if you might have a phone I could use.  My name is Jack Coswell.”

Nothing responded, the only reply he received was the silent applause of the thousand of cat eyes that stood transfixed on him, he thought- and suddenly he heard it.  The only sound to greet him since the creaking door.  A lovely little clock-clock sound.  And following it to the kitchen found only half eaten cans of catfood or tuna and the soft clock-clock sound of Felix the Cat looking left and right suspiciously swaying his tail side to side on the wall to the rhythmic clock-clocking of his own plastic heart.  The Tin Man had found a pet.

In his mind a bullet had torn through his head as his body flopped lifelessly with the commotion of the gun in his hand, blood, brain, bone splattered upon the wall behind his living room couch his bathrobe come to rest open as it had been before for the past few days.  Embarrassment had finally set in, and like all times he felt embarrassed he desired the only natural recourse- suicide.  A kind of deja vu passed over him as though he had shot himself many times in the head, or would someday.  For now the stinking scent of the trash can bothered him more than his embarrassment at having walked into a house thus the desire for bullets leaving him with every nasally inhalation of what he was sure was rotted cat food or tuna fish still clinging to their unrecycled, unwashed cans.  For now he covered his face, in particular his nose, with his bathrobe, and muffledly he called “herro ihr anrhybarry hom?”

He turned the corner to find a set of stairs leading to the second floor, he recalled the empty window and while repeatedly asking himself what exactly he was doing, thought that someone might possibly be home there in between the blows he administered to his head.  It was all he could do to keep himself alive was to embarrass himself further.  He wondered if he had been getting off to this particular idea, and thought himself a better writer all the more for it.  His face now unmasked he called unabashedly “I am not a thief or an imposter my name is Jack Coswell I live next door, I’m cold and wet and I’m locked out of my house in my bathrobe- no I’m not a pervert (oh fuck he thought to himself- you’ve really gone and done it now), your door was open and if I could just use your telephone rather quickly I will be right on my way… As soon as the locksmith arrives, or the weather let’s up, it’s near enough a monsoon out there and I nearly caught the death of me…”

The third door now that he had tried swung open slightly to reveal a valley of dolls, porcelain kittens bright white with painted paws and faces.  Cute and would be cuddly, huddled close to a limp lump of a bloody woman.

“Oh shit” was a phrase used by many in excess, in moments like these Jack was accustomed to repeating it as though tapping out the distress signal for a sinking ship with nothing more than a telegraph tapping morse code style “oh shit, oh, oh oh shit, shit, shit shit, oh, shit, shit, oh shit, oh…”  And on and on for about 311 seconds, at which point he collected himself enough to check the barely breathing body.  What little medical training he had received as a patient and as a visitor of WebMD.com informed him that she needed medical attention immediately, and his work in 9th grade english class reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in congruence with his in-depth studies of Wikipedia on turn of the century Russian novelists, allowed him the notion that she might actually be dying on death’s door step.  He wasn’t entirely sure of the connotation, but he was completely aware of a very real need for the nearest telephone.  In the room across the hall he found the courage to dial 9-1-1 amidst a pile of bedding and stuffed animal look alikes of kittens.


Not sure how to respond in an emergency to an emergency response operator, Jack mumbled away his own address minus 2, for which he thought himself sounding as though a drug addict or some other such individual hitherto untouched by the constraints of reality and human dialogue and chose instead to converse in grunts and his own particular brand of morse code.


When all was said and done Jack returned to the room of the unresponsive woman and taking her head in his hands he shook from her any comfort upon the floor not to mention the hello kitty white light that seemed to have been fast approaching- all the more as she was ripped back into a society that had so heavily lost her presence.  In waking to this poor reception, realizing she was in fact not dead but bloody in the arms of a stranger she began a screaming fit she had not seen in herself since she was four years old and unable to persuade her mother into purchasing a particular candy bar which she had grown suddenly intensely fond of after a store sample in the aisle.


Jack was thoroughly unamused, and furthermore frightened into a frantic frenzy himself.  The two had unknowingly launched an assault on every single pussy cat doll in the room.  Domino effects to each and every side in numbers and directions great enough to put a dent in the domino effect record for non-domino objects.  A rube-goldberg machine presented itself naturally in the form of falling cats that managed through cat upon cat to the fireplace implements knocking over a broom that swerved off to the side sending a gourd shaped kitten rolling on it’s axis on the mantlepiece to bump over an unlit candle and launching it’s holder over the side and plummeting Jack into his subconcious- he was out like a light cold on the floor with the spinning back fists of tumbling Jane beating his limp body.


Blood, porcelain, severed heads and limbs of cats were everywhere.  Jane relaxed momentarily, understood in that moment what had become of her kingdom, and despite what incisions the battleground had already provided her, collapsed to the ground to collect more from the massacre as blood loss trickled it’s way out of the many’ed scrapes and cuts along the whole of her.


Then again, these were the least of her worries, if she had any in her saunter towards the hello kitty light.  For no one carries bandaids for internal bleeding, and she was awful fond of Hello Kitty.  “Hello” she said shyly, but with the blushing twist from side to side of a school girl in conversation with the football captain whose just taken notice of her.  “Hello Kitty.” as her vampiric floorboards got mouthfuls of their own sweet ambrosia.


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