Monday, March 14, 2005

Hell… The Weekend from… Part One: Alacrity

Just as I'm beginning this tale of woe (or whoa!), I'm compelled to put it in some relief. And it's a relief to tell you that I reached 75,000 words on the new novel this morning. Yep, that's me. Just ticking off the words.

And it's a good thing, too, because I need good news.

This weekend was so awful, it was one for the books. I mean, sure, Vicky and I argued… but that's normal by now. All my money went into bills, sure…. But that's normal by now.
There was just so much that was Abnormal, well… you'll see.

Let's start with Alacrity, by far the worst thing that happened.

Friday night, I came home as usual - hating my life. I'd just put it my 9 hours at work, been told I didn't know how to write by a guy who could hardly speak, and had to explain articles to idiots… a usual day. What wasn't usual was the screaming I was greeted by when I came home. Screaming! Alacrity was on the sofa, emitting these blood-curdling sounds. So, you know, I knew something was wrong.

I called Vicky, who was on her way home, and we decided to wait until the got there. Meanwhile, I'd go pick up some soda because Dwight and his new girlfriend, Monica, were on the way. When I returned, though, it wasn't Alacrity who was screaming. It was Bandoo! (For those of you who don't know, I have a unique system for naming cats - one I would never apply to kids, lest I totally fuck up their lives.) He was out in front of the house and he was screaming like he'd just lost his best friend.

Realizing this, I ran inside. There was no sound from Alacrity. In fact, there was no sign of Alacrity! He was gone! Disappeared!

Of course, I thought, he's gone off to die. I've lost him! Oh, I felt like such a terrible person, leaving my suffering cat to get soda. I was tempted to call Vicky and tell her not to hurry. It was all over. And I was declared worst pet poppa in the world…

Which was when Alacrity came out from wherever he'd been hiding. "Why you little -" I started to say, but noticed he was still in a lot of pain.

I knew that scream. I'd heard it before from Winky, the first cat Rosa and I had taken in. He hadn't yet been a year old and he started crying and crying. We didn't know what to do; it was a weekend. By the time we brought him to the vet on Monday morning, he was too far gone. He'd had crystals in his bladder and he couldn't pee. As any man who's been on a long trip without stops will tell you, that kind of stuff can kill you!

So, I knew I had to get Alacrity help. Vicky knew it, too, having dealt with the same problem with Othello, who fortunately is alive… even if he doesn't like me much… So, we called the vet and the vet said, "If he's completely blocked, you've got to get him to the emergency room." Oh, great. Sounds like fun…

Mind you, I had woken up that morning at 4am. By the time we got to the emergency room, it was nearly midnight. Now, as bleary-eyed as I was, I was sure that I could just plop my plastic down.

So, imagine my surprise when the bill came to $1600… and I didn't have enough available credit on my card… and, as much as I thought it would be better for my finances, I couldn't have him put to sleep, not for this, not for something that they could fix… But they had something there called CreditCare, which is basically borrowing money from the mob.

Of course, I did it.

I did it without a whole lot of thought. Actually, I was too tired for a whole lot of thought.

We went home. I poured myself a drink and sat outside for a smoke. And that's when I thought. All night, I'd been seeing Alacrity as a kitten, when Rosa and I had first picked him up from the vet. (We'd adopted.) Basically, it was Rosa's fault. She handed him to me and he curled up in my arms like he was nesting - what more did we need? But when I'd left Rosa, I'd promised to take care of the cats. I'd promised. Even now, when years have passed and she'd done more than her fair share to help bring the curtain down on my miserable life, I still feel those promises like steel bands. And I honor them because they let me know I'm still a human being. I haven't turned into one of those "people" who feel that a promise should only last as long as it has to. I still believe that my word should mean something even after the conditions that made my giving it necessary have passed on. And I'd like to think that even Vicky would take some assurance in this, knowing that my promises mean so much to me.

Well, Alacrity came back home on Sunday and I was $1400 poorer. I wonder how I'm ever going to afford to pay it. I even hit Tim up for some money! (Slug feel like a I!)

… and that was only the beginning of my weekend...

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