the open door

        "Oh my god." 
	Jonny's head turned as soon as I said this. Indeed it was quite unexpected. I didn't exactly expect it
myself, actually; I had never said such a thing before in my entire life, as my vocabulary had thus far been
very limited, to say the least. But Jonny seemed to sense something more, and he kept staring at me. It was
not long before I finished my thought.
	"I've been anthropomorphized."
	This caught Jonny's attention even further; he was not at all used to me speaking English. He had
been sitting on top of the snake cage, as a matter of fact. That little moron always liked it up there, even
though it was quite clear he would never get to the snake. Maybe the lamp made him warm too; I wouldn't
know because I have always been too fat to get up there myself.
	But now he jumped down and walked over to me. My mind was racing, but it is very difficult to say
exactly how; my mind had never actually done that before. I suddenly had this certain knowledge, something
I couldn't quite pin-point but something very significant. In any case, I wanted to ask Jonny about it.
	"Do you understand me, Jonny?"
	Jonny continued to walk toward me, getting very close now, and within seconds he was sniffing my
face as though I was some sort of enigma. I'm sure I was, actually. He finished sniffing me, licked my cheek
a few times, and then simply sat down his hind end. He looked as though he was waiting for more.
	"What are you staring at me for?" I asked. "Why don't you just go eat more of my food or
	He answered me with only a purring hum, as though he was asking me a question. I may have
understood him before the change, but this time he made no sense, except that he appeared not to
understand. So I slapped him. "Answer me!"
	Jonny promptly leapt at my throat. This of course was nothing unusual, and I always just took it
and did my best to challenge him by half-heartedly fighting back. I didn't usually want to exercise too much.
I weighed twenty-three pounds then and it was enough of a workout just to get up on one of the living room
couches. But now I weigh only twenty-two pounds. I've been jogging.
	That little manipulative and domineering alpha-wannabe had me pinned and was digging his back
claws into my stomach, over and over again. I may have been old and robbed of any positions of dominance,
but anybody can only take so much--I bit him hard on the nose and he immediately shot about two feet away
from me, almost ramming his head into the end of one of the couches. He looked back at me as though I had
broken some unwritten rule. I was no longer concerned with rules. Someone had enlightened me. I knew it. 
	Still I walked up to him again, thinking he would probably be the only possessor of any clue as to
why my enlightenment came about. I asked him, "Do you have any idea what's going on?"
	Jonny meowed at me, and then just decided to start grooming his ugly tabby-orange fur. He was
not helping. I turned my back and that jerk jumped on it, sending me sprawling on my very vast stomach.
(That's right: vast. I'm probably the fattest cat in town --a black bowling ball with legs, according to
some--and I am not ashamed of it.) He was starting to annoy me: "Stop that!" Jonny apparently thought that
an apology involved chomping down on my tail. That hurt.
	My response was to scream first, and then to shove him back so hard that his head actually did ram
into the end of the couch. That was when the breakthrough finally came: "Ow! That hurt!" he said.
	"What did you say?" I asked him, walking closer again.
	"I said that hurt! You don't understand or what? Are you high? Where's the catnip?" He was
rubbing his head with his paw as though to soothe a pain, something cats never do--not real cats, anyway. 
	I sat down my own hind end, nearly falling over because of the sudden shift in my center of gravity.
"So you understand me now, then?"
	Jonny looked at me with contempt. "Of course I do! Why are you acting so god damned weird?
You never acted this way before."
	This confused me even more, although I could not have articulated why. Sudden self-awareness can
be discombobulating. "Of course I haven't!" I said. "Neither have you!"
	"I've always been like this," said Jonny. "I don't know what your problem is, Batty. Everything is
perfectly normal."
	It was my turn for the contempt. "I know a DD case resource manager with a number you can
	"What's the DD stand for?"
	"Developmental disability."
	Jonny actually rolled his eyes. Of course, no people were actually home at the time. They would
have shit if they had seen this. But Jonny continued, "I don't know what you're talking about."
	"That's exactly my point," I said.
	Jonny ignored me. "I can't use telephones anyway, dummy!"
	I decided to try a different approach. "Do you remember yesterday?"
	Jonny started walking back over to the snake cage. He sure loved it up there. I bet it was because
he could feel superior, always looking down at me like that. Stupid pipsqeak. As he walked he said, "Of
course I do!"
	"What did you do yesterday?"
	"I ate." Jonny was on top of the cage now, clearly disappointed that the book was still there,
blocking his view through the cage's screen ceiling.
	"That couldn't have been all you did," I suggested, walking closer to the cage myself. I didn't care
for Andromeda as much as Jonny seemed to. I could never think of her as anything more than a big stick that
happened to move every once in a while.
	Jonny was deep in thought. "Oh," he said, "I slept too."
	"Oh, come on! Anything else?" I sat down again. Standing was taking a lot of energy out of me.
	Jonny thought some more. "No, I believe that's it."
	"Did you think about anything yesterday?" This time I was tired of sitting, so I lay down in the
position that often prompted some to say I looked like a miniature black Jabba the Hut, whatever the hell
that is. Jonny was actually talking to me now, but he wasn't helping either.
	"No, I don't believe I did," he said. Evidently he wasn't thinking now either. 
	I decided to change my approach yet again. "Who are you?"
	Jonny did a double-take. "You know who I am, dummy." He shifted position so that he was
actually laying on that book, next to the heat lamp. That was precisely when Andromeda came out of her
box, and to my complete and utter surprise she slammed her head against the ceiling of the cage, right under
the book on which Jonny was laying.
	"Get the fuck out of here!" she screamed. She didn't sound very happy. She never was very social,
come to think of it. 
	Jonny was clearly offended. "Hey!" he said, slapping the small portion of bare screen between the
heat lamp and the book. "Nobody's looking, so I can do whatever I want!"
	"You don't want to make me mad," said Andromeda. "I just ate. You remember what happened to
the little one."
	Jonny promptly jumped off the cage, and I told him to follow me. "Hey!" he snapped. "I'm the
dominant one here and you don't give orders!"
	I was losing what little patience I had left. "These are different days, Buster--"
	"My name is Jonny."
	"I thought you said I already knew that."
	"What do you want?"
	"Come here," I said, leading him to the mirror in the bedroom. I led him very close to it, and asked
him what he saw. His head jerked to the left and he exclaimed that there was a moth in the room. "Forget
the moth!" I said. "Look in the mirror!"
	"What for? What use have I for it?"
	"Just do it!"
	"Okay!" said Jonny, raising his paws up in a sign of surrender. He looked. "I don't see anything."
	"Give me a break!" I grabbed his head and made him look directly at himself. "What do you see?"
	Jonny paused for a moment. Then he began to growl in a very low tone, completely forgetting that
I was there next to him. I really thought he was going to try and kill himself in the mirror, but I very
effectively prevented that by punching him in the face. "Snap out of it!"
	"But--but there's another cat!" He looked again and started growling again.
	"No there's not."
	Jonny looked at me with huge eyes. "Are you nuts? Look!"
	"Jonny," I said. "That's you."
	"No it's not!"
	"Yes it is."
	"No it isn't!"
	I was trying to be patient. "Yes it is."
	"Oh really?" he asked me, in a tone that kind of suggested he wanted to kill me too. "How do you
	"Because I have been enlightened."
	Jonny actually started to laugh. Seeing a cat laugh was a new experience for me, and I started
backing away, it was so truly bizarre. He even collapsed on the floor, burying his head into his front legs.
After a moment he regained his composure and asked me, "Enlightened with what, pray tell?"
	Jonny wiped away some of the tears that were supposed to be impossible for him to shed. "What
	"I don't know," I said, hesitating--I didn't, really. I only had certain clues as to where it came from.
But I did speculate for him: "Human knowledge, I think."
	"Oh really?" he asked. "Tell me, then. What's the square root of 80?"
	I had to think for a moment. I was positive I wouldn't know, but then there it was: "8.9442719." 
	Jonny looked at me closely. "What comes after that last 9?" 
	"I don't know!" I barked. Cats don't usually bark, of course, but at that point I did. "The window
isn't big enough!"
	"I don't know what you're talking about."
	"Exactly!" I said, giving up and starting to walk away. As I moved away I continued, "You're not
normal either, I know that is clear--but you do not have the same knowledge that I do; therefore you are a
waste of time. I'm just going to go see if I can't find any way to escape."
	Jonny was instantaneously responsive to this. "Escape! Do you mean what I think you mean?" 
	I stopped in the bedroom doorway. "Jonny."
	"I do believe that, a few moments ago, I had an epiphany."
	"What the hell is that? Is it serious?"
	I sat down again; I figured the movement would give me some good exercise. Jonny did the same.
We probably looked . . . interesting, at any rate, these two cats just sitting right in the bedroom doorway,
staring at each other. I decided to ignore Jonny's question. "Did you know that it's my birthday?"
	Jonny thought for a moment. "I'm confused," he said. "I was always under the impression that you
were born in July, many many many many years ago. Isn't today September 17th?"
	"You see," I said, "This is exactly what I've been trying to get through to you. Something like that:
the date. You are not supposed to be conscious of these things, and neither am I."
	"So what's your point? And how old are you, anyway?"
	"In cat years or human years?"
	"Cat years," I said. "But that's not exactly what I was getting at. First of all, the feline calendar is
simply different from the human one, even when you are anthropomor-phized--"
	"Anthropo-what? You're not making any sense."
	"Yes I am. Now, listen. I'm forty-four years old and I am not supposed to be aware of this."
	"Now that you mention it," said Jonny, "I thought you were eight."
	I nearly screamed. "This is precisely why I don't want to talk to you! That's in human years! You
just don't get it!"
	"You know, too many people say that."
	"Shut up! I'm leaving! Good riddance you shithead! You are completely incapable of human
	I was starting to leave again, back into the living room, but Jonny followed. "Hey! Batty! Am I
suppose to be capable of that? 'Cause, you know, I don't think I am. And you're not human either!"
	I stopped again, and grabbed his shoulders as best I could with paws that did not have fingerprints.
"You just don't understand!" I shrieked into his face. "I'm close enough! And I'm beginning to realize that it's
a pain in the paw and whoever did this to me is a total buttface and I'm starting to think I want to kill
	Jonny might as well have slapped me in the face when he said, "Who are you?"
	I was speechless for a moment. Then I processed the question and then answered it as best I could.
"My full name is Batman. I am not a bat and I am not a man. I am a cat."
	"Who named you?"
	"The brother of the man who owns me. Why?"
	"Just because I wanted to show you--"
	I interrupted him. "Oh, that's it; this is a waste of time. I'm getting out of this house for once and I
am going to find a car to run in front of. I can't take this anymore."
	Jonny ran in front of me and screamed, "Batman! Don't do it!"
	I bit his forehead. Then I said, "That's Batty to you! Get the hell out of my way."
	"It isn't worth it!"
	"What do you care?" I asked. "You don't understand. And besides, you'll be able to eat all of my
food from now on without anyone yelling at you."
	Jonny seemed hesitant. "You've got a point . . ."
	I walked right up to the front door, and Jonny waved goodbye. I kept thinking about how stupid he
was, not realizing that he wasn't supposed to be waving at me. Then, just as I was about to inspect the front
door and not at all wanting to admit that I would clearly never get it open, the door opened by itself and
smashed me into the wall on the left.
	In walked all three of them: the tall one, the little one, the black one. The black one was mine, and,
not realizing that they had left the door open, I rushed up to him. Maybe he would understand. 
	"Meow," I said.
	"Shut up, Batty," he said to me. "You don't get any food until seven." 
	I did not understand a word he said. I didn't pay much attention to that fact, however; I always only
paid attention to his tone of voice, and now I was not caring about his obvious hostility, something that was
everyday with him. I decided perhaps I had not made myself clear enough, so I followed him into the kitchen
and spoke louder: "Meow!"
	Jonny trailed in as well. "What are you doing?"
	All three of the others were setting white bags of all sorts of stuff on the counters and the kitchen
table. The black one still ignored me. So maybe the tall one, who was suddenly closer to me, almost tripping
over me on his way to the refrigerator, would hear me better: "Meow!"
	"Why don't you feed your cat?" was his reply. I didn't get it. It became obvious that I needed to
make myself more obvious to catch their attention. I jumped up on one of the chairs.
	Jonny was looking up at me. "Don't over-exert yourself!"
	I jumped from the chair onto the table, and started walking through all the bags of groceries (why
did I know they were groceries?--because I just knew, that's why). The little one came up to me and tried to
get me off the table; I jumped from there to the counter, and ran as fast as I could to the other end of the
counter. From there I jumped to the stove. I stood on my hind legs--sort of; it pretty much put me in the
penguin position. For a moment I saw the ten mice in their cages on top of the refrigerator--put there so
Jonny and I wouldn't get to them. I wondered if they had been "blessed" by someone with the same
knowledge I had, and then I saw that they were all running around in a screaming frenzy. One of them
actually jumped right out of the cage with no top except for a book that only covered half the opening, and
plummeted to the floor below. Were they frightened by the sight of me? I decided it didn't matter at the
moment and went for one more try as I stood there like a penguin: "MEOW!!" 
	But still no one heard me. All of the mice belonged to the little one, and she screamed as she saw
the mouse plummet. The tall one screamed and the black one smiled. Jonny caught sight of it and screamed
too: "Dinner!"
	The mouse ran through the legs of the little one, who just barely missed grabbing it. Then it ran
through the legs of the tall one as well. It went straight for the black one, who promptly jumped on top of
the stove next to me. The mouse was apparently very confused, because the next thing that it did was run
right into Jonny's mouth. The kitchen was a complete frenzy, save for the two of us who were on the stove. 
	The little one yelped. "Jonny! No!" 
	I could actually hear the mouse inside Jonny's mouth, pleading. "Please don't eat me! I'm high in
cholesterol, I swear!" Jonny swallowed; the little one screamed again.
	I didn't care, and I looked up at the black one again, who is always the most likely to listen to me:
"Hey!" I said. "Didn't you hear me? I said MEOW!" 
	The black one told me to shut up again and knocked me off the stove. I would have landed on my
feet, but being so fat I kind of landed on my lard instead. "Why do you do that?" asked the tall one. 
	"I think it's fun," the black one replied. 
	The little one was crying, and she ran to her room. The tall one followed, and he shut the bedroom
door behind him. That left just the black one, who reluctantly got off of the stove and walked over to the
refrigerator, inspecting the mouse cages. I walked over to him and stood next to his leg, swatting it
repeatedly with the end of my tail. I told him that I was somehow suddenly self-aware and I wanted him to
help me get out of the house so I could commit suicide: "Meow. Meow."
	Jonny walked over to me, asking why I don't just find some way to commit suicide in the house. I
told him that would be rude. I repeated myself to the black one, who shoved me away harshly with his foot.
He never had very much patience with me when I was nagging. He finally said, "Fine, fine," and walked into
his room. Knowing that this meant food, I momentarily forgot all thoughts of suicide and raced in alongside
him. He measured out a half cup of food for me and dumped it in my bowl. Jonny immediately ran in and
shoved me aside, and as usual I took a few steps away to just sit and sulk. 
	"You know," I said, "one of these days you're not going to get away with this." The black one left
the room, obviously forgetting to get rid of Jonny. 
	"What difference does it make?" asked Jonny, talking with his mouth full. "You'll be dead soon
anyway, right?"
	Seeing his point, I decided to leave. But as I was walking out the door, I suddenly realized
something: if I was to die soon anyway, I might as well fight back for once. So I turned around and charged.
	When my huge body slammed into Jonny, the bowl of food sent little brown balls all over the
bedroom. "I can't take your shit anymore!" I said. 
	Jonny bit into my ear. "Deal with it! I am stronger and more willful than you and you can't do
anything about it!"
	I scratched his stomach, as the black one was coming back to his bedroom door. Immediately he
started cheering me on: "Go, Batty! Kick his ass!" He never liked Jonny very much, I don't think.
	"You can't eat your food!" said Jonny. "It's mine!" Then he shot out the bedroom door, through the
legs of the black one.
	I looked at the food bowl, which was overturned. I was not about to eat off the floor, so I started
to make my way out of the room myself, as the black one started calling me a dipshit, or something. But his
voice made me remember what I was trying to do in the first place, so I tried to ask him again--as politely as
I could this time--if he would help me: "Meow?"
	He just groaned and walked away. 
	I walked out into the kitchen after him, and that was when I was pummeled by Jonny. I was getting
tired, so I just took it for a few moments. Then he took it upon himself to point out that the front door was
still open. "Now you can go kill yourself!" he said happily. 
	"Fine," I said. "You're dumb and so are the reptiles and so are the humans so I have no reason to
live anyway." I headed for the door.
	"Wait a minute," said Jonny. "What makes you think humans are so dumb?"
	"Do you want to see my human impression?" I asked him.
	I quickly walked into the living room--that was on the way to the front door anyway--and stood
directly under the clock. I looked up at it and then bowed down.
"Huminajuminabuminahuminajuminabuminahuminajuminabumina . . ."
	Jonny stood next to me. "What's your point?"
	"Humans are stupid slaves to things they don't even realize they think about," I said. "And now,
suddenly, I am being presented in human terms. It's inhumane. I can't live like this. It's like I'm one of them!
They are vile, disgusting creatures. Nice to live with sometimes, sure--but I would never want to be one of
	"I don't seem to mind," said Jonny. I thought perhaps I heard some sarcasm in his tone, but decided
to ignore it.
	"That's just it," I said. "You have been affected in much the same way that I have, but with one very
important difference: self-awareness."
	I was getting tired again, so I laid down. "Some idiot took it upon himself to make life miserable
for me. I'm not supposed to care about anything more than food and sleep and hunting. Now I care about so
much more, and no one understands. Is there any point in going on?"
	"Going on?"
	Jonny, obviously, was being as annoying as ever. I continued, "This is all just too much for me,
Jonny. I'm suffering a sensory overload. I'm not equipped to deal with so many things at once, all of them
coming from myself rather than from outside sources. My brain is on overtime."
	I wanted to kill the little shit now. "Would you knock it off?" I asked. "Why must you just sit there
and repeat the last thing I say? All I want you to realize is that my head is working on such overtime that I
don't believe it will be long before it extinguishes itself."
	"Extinguishes itself?"
	This time I did scream, and I almost lunged at him--but I decided against it. It would take too much
of the energy I might need to kill myself. And then it hit me. I said to that idiotic cat, "Jonny."
	"I want you to repeat the last five things you have said to me, all in a row. Please don't question it;
just do it." I sat up to hear what he had to say.
	Jonny molled it over for a few moments, then decided to indulge me--perhaps because he knew I
would be dead soon anyway. He began: "Self awareness. Going on. Overtime. Extinguishes itself. What."
He seemed confused for a moment, and then he took it upon himself to repeat that last part one last time:
	"You see, Jonny," I said, "you do understand. You just don't realize it."
	Jonny started to walk away from me. "The door is still open, you know," he said, over his shoulder.
I think he was going back to see if any of my food was left.
	I turned around, standing up at the same time. There was the door: wide open. Why hadn't any of
them shut it? Did they subconsciously want me to go out into the unknown, where no batcat had ever gone
before? I looked back toward the kitchen. The tall one and the little one were still nowhere in sight,
presumably still in her room. The black one was in the kitchen, singing some god-forsaken Madonna song. I
never paid any attention to music before this; I think I liked it better before.
	I turned back to the door: wide open, just as before. 
	I jumped with a start. It was Shiva, the leopard Gecko, who had never actually spoken to me
before. She was standing on her hind legs, leaning against the glass wall of her cage, like a child at a candy
store. She had full view of the open door. "What?" I asked her. 
	"Get me some crickets, will you?"
	"I'm not coming back," I told her. 
	"Why not?" she asked.
	"How can you handle this self-awareness?"
	Shiva's head pulled back a little, in mild confusion. "What are you talking about? All I want is some
crickets. That's really all I care about."
	I decided to try my questions on the leopard gecko. "Who are you?"
	"I don't know. How could I? I don't have a frontal lobe."
	"Who owns you?"
	"Did you hear what I just said? Get me some crickets!"
	"You're impossible!"
	"Who the hell are you, anyway? Do you have any crickets?"
	"Wait a minute!" I said. "How did you know my name if you can't remember anything?"
	Shiva let go of the wall and went back on all fours. Still staring through the glass, she said, "Dumb
luck, I guess. Do you have any crickets?"
	I decided then that the best thing to do would be to ignore her. Once again I turned toward the
open door.
	Dumb luck, huh? What the hell was going on? I still ignored her.
	"Get me some crickets, will you?"
	I did not answer. I slowly began to walk toward the door. Then Jonny tackled me. "Gotcha!" he
yelped, and we both tumbled over. I quickly got back up on my legs, grabbed that cat by both sides of the
head, and bashed it into the end of the open door. 
	He fell to the floor for a moment, dazed and confused. When he got up he just smelled the end of
the open door for a moment. Then he looked at me and did not speak. He only gave a soft, high-pitched
cross between a purr and a hum. He caught sight of a butterfly that happened to have come in through the
door and was now on the other side of the living room. He began to make strange noises with his mouth,
and slowly approached the butterfly, ignoring me for the moment. He never did speak to me again, actually. 
	I looked at Shiva again. She appeared to be sleeping. 
	I looked at Andromeda's cage. She was nowhere to be found. She must have been under the
	Now the open door actually beckoned to me. People had beckoned to me many times before, but a
door never had. It was weird. Come outside it seemed to say to me, but I knew it wasn't really speaking. I
knew that the experience was irrational. I knew that I was not supposed to feel it. But I wanted it. I could
see far beyond anything I could ever have seen inside the house. I could see trees, roads, cars, grass, birds,
bees, flowers, other houses--you name it. I wanted to explore it all. I wanted to piss on everything. I wanted
to go find some girl kitty. And then I remembered that I lost my testicles some seven years before. I
remembered being outside that one Halloween, the teenager calling me and pointing his pellet gun from six
feet away from me. I remembered the sting in my forehead; I remembered that the pellet was still in me.
	Did I really want to go outside? 
	--But wait a minute. I wanted to die anyway, didn't I? Or was I changing my mind? Suddenly the
outdoors seemed very scary to me. I had been scared before, but this was a different kind of scared. A kind I
had never felt before. Fear of the unknown; fear of some terrible mistake. 
	The open door beckoned to me again. I looked outside again.
	A squirrel jumped up onto the porch. I sat still. It walked nonchalantly up to the open doorway.
Then it lifted its head and waved at me. I began to think about how this couldn't possibly be real. Squirrels
just don't do that. But, do cats think? I do, in any case. I decided to wave back. Then it began to make weird
faces at me--this little squirrel, putting its tiny fingers in either side of its mouth and sticking its tongue out at
me. It blew me a raspberry. Stupid cocky little twerp. I decided to start stalking it. I used it as an incentive
to get me through the open door once and for all. 
	To my complete surprise, the squirrel shot in the house, right passed me. I tried to reach out for it,
but it barely escaped my extended claw. It ran around the blue couch and jumped on the coffee table the
people had parked in front of it. I jumped onto the back of the couch, determined to catch the damned thing,
open door or not. Then I was dumbfounded by what I saw.
	The squirrel was tap dancing. 
	Right there, in the center of the middle glass square of the three that made up the table's surface, it
was actually tap dancing. I was not completely versed in this enlightened knowledge and self-awareness
stuff yet, but I was pretty sure that that was not supposed to be happening. Jonny, back to his original self,
was watching it too, from the right end of the table, sitting on the carpet. Normally he would have attacked
immediately, but even he was dumbfounded. He sat there, head cocked a bit to the side, looking at the tap
dancing squirrel, which whirled its little arms around in little circles in sinc with the tapping of the feet. 
	Then I heard the footsteps of the black one approaching, and the squirrel stopped dancing. Jonny
jumped up on top of the table and took the squirrel down with him as he fell off the other side, just in time
for the black one not to notice. I actually heard the squirrel scream in agony. I wasn't sure, but I thought for
a moment that it called out for its mother.
	"Who the hell left the door open?" asked the black one--who was actually the last one in. He
quickly approached the door, so I knew it was now or never. I shot around the couch and out the front
door. I heard, "Batty!" 
	As soon as I was on the front porch, I didn't know what to do. Everything was so new, my senses
were doubly overwhelmed. In a split second I decided that killing myself could wait just a few moments.
Right now I simply had to sniff around these wooden panels. 
	And in one swift movement, I was scooped up and tossed back into the house, through the open
door. I landed on my chin, that asshole always did that to me. He didn't notice the half-mangled squirrel
shoot out the door behind him, either--he only caught Jonny, who was trying to follow it, by the tail as he
went for the freedom I had just tasted. He picked Jonny up too, who for a moment watched the squirrel hop
down the porch steps on its head and then scramble up one of the trees in the front yard. Jonny was thrown
toward me, and I had to dodge to keep from getting hit by his body. 
	The black one shut the door. 
	I expected Jonny to get up and tell me that this was all just tough luck. Instead he got up and shook
his head a bit. Then he shot into the kitchen as if I had just electrocuted him, but he was actually completely
ignoring me. I was beginning to come to terms with the fact that my life had simply suddenly become very
bizarre. Maybe I should just find some way to deal with it. I needed to find an outlet, some way to work it
	I walked back over to Shiva's cage, and I leaned my two front paws on the glass. "Do you
understand me, Shiva?" I asked. She did not respond, not even with any kind of movement. I continued, "Do
you know what's going on?" This was also met with no answer. I began to wonder if I could learn to read.
Could I get away with trying that in front of any of the people? Probably not. They thought it was cute when
I used to watch TV, but that's not really what I was looking at.
	I got down from the cage and started making my way back to the black one's room. How could I
ever learn to deal with this? Could I try to just kill myself while I was inside the house? I decided to stop
dead in my tracks and hold my breath. 
	After a minute or so I passed out.

	I woke up in my usual spot on his bed, and it was in the middle of the night so he was there too,
breathing into the back of my head. He was too asleep to notice me moving; I got up to see if I could make
any sense out of my lost time. I sat up on my front legs and stared down into his face. He was drooling onto
his pillow. I always hated it when he did that--why do people do that? I thought maybe now we could have a
private conversation. Evidently holding my breath hadn't worked. Maybe I could get some answers out of
this guy yet.
	I looked at the clock. I had never looked at it in any of my previous days, but now I saw that it was
past midnight. My birthday was over. Was this day anything like a midlife crisis? Where was I supposed to
go from here? Some birthday present.
	I looked at the black one again--he wasn't quite as black at night, with all of those clothes off. I
batted his cheek with my paw, hoping to wake him up. Then he shoved me off the bed, into the fairly narrow
space between the side of the bed and the sliding glass door.
	I promptly jumped back on the bed, but at the foot of it. Then I caught sight of his computer, at the
other end of the room. It very quickly got me thinking. I thought and thought. 
	Was this the outlet I was looking for? 
	. . . Could I possibly get away with that?
	Could I actually find something I could consider worth living for? At least for a while longer?

				("copywrite" 10:35 p.m. monday october 6 1997)