Snoops

A shaggy cat story.

Helene, the mother and daughter Helene had a cat. His name was Snoops. Snoops was black with large black eyes. And he wasn’t just black, but the kind of black that scared the heck out of anyone who saw Snoops.

Snoops could be violent. Attack anyone, other than Helene and Helene. The mother and the daughter were not sure why they brought the thing home from the pound. Perhaps it was that they understood that they were Snoops’ last hope. With his attitude, nobody else was going to take him.

Though Snoops should have been an outdoor cat, he was kept indoors by the two. They were afraid that someone would harm the cat. But he was much too large for the house.

There were times the two thought they should get rid of Snoops. He could be cantankerous, even to them. When he was in one of his moods, they knew they had better watch out. As he became older, those moods increased until it appeared there wasn’t a break between them.

Only the mother’s voice soothed him. She sang to him, “Here Kitty, Nice Kitty, Little Ball of Fur”. He curled up and purred. It was as if the demon who tormented Snoops had been lulled to sleep temporarily.

One night, Helene and Helene ate popcorn and watched “The Exorcist”. Snoops was curled up on the couch. The women loved scary movies, the scarier the better. As the credits at the end of the movie rolled across the screen, Helene turned to her mother, “That was something.”

“Yes, it was.”

Then a lightning bolt of an idea struck the two of them. At the same time, they said, “Snoops needs an Exorcist.”

“But how do we get one?” Mom asked.

Helene went to the hall closet and pulled out their computer. With its Windows XP operating system, it took almost a half hour to boot up. She plugged the darn thing into the modem she kept around just in case. Then she headed for a google search.

After an hour’s search, she found just the right website. The Pet Exorcist had a masters degree in Cat Psychology and had been ordained by the Church of the Nine Lives. The reviews glowed with recommendations.

Helene showed her mom. “This is the guy for us.”

She took her cell phone outside. She did not, under any condition, want Snoops to get wind of what she was up to.

“Friday, at 2 pm,” the man’s scheduler confirmed.

Helene and Helene spent the next several days planning their strategy. The morning of the appointment, the daughter put Snoops favorite bowl of kitty food along with some catnip in their cat carrier. He ran in after it, and slam! the door closed. Needless to say, Snoops roared. He scratched. He went after that door like God went after Sodom and Gomorrah. It wouldn’t budge. So he settled down with a look on his face that said I will get you for this.

The exorcist’s office was in one of those run-down shopping malls with weeds growing up through the cracks in the parking lot. On the office window were giant signs, denoting the prices: fish $9.99, dogs $19.99, pigs $99.99, cats $199.99.

Helene said to her daughter, “That’s expensive. Can we afford it?”

“No,” her mother said, then she looked at Snoops. He was baring his teeth and his claws. “But we have no choice.”

The bell over the door rang as the two women and their cat made an entrance. A woman with long, stringy washed-out blonde hair asked in a gravelly sort of voice, “Can I help you?”

“We have an appointment.”

“Walt,” the woman yelled. “They’re here.”

A man straggled from the back room. He was bald, cross-eyed and wore a black robe. He rubbed his eyes as if he was waking up from a dream. Ignoring the others, he went over and poured himself a cup of black coffee. He threw it down his throat, sat the cup down hard beside the pot, then turned and gave Helene and Helene a look that said, “Which of you is the victim?”

Helene said, “No, no, no. The cat’s in here.” She pointed to the carrier on the floor.

The Exorcist dropped to the floor and looked at the cat. Snoops took one look at the man with a green eye and a gray eye and pushed against the back of the carrier. He wanted out and the look on his face said, “Get me out of here. I’m having none of this.” He was scared.

The man sat the carrier on the counter, then said to the women, “You brought cash, I hope.”

Helene, the daughter, reached into her purse and brought out ten twenties. “You can do this?”

The man squinted. “I can do this. The demon’s name is Magillacotty. We’re old friends.”

Suddenly Helene realized his gray eye was a glass eye.

He turned and snarled at the cat. The cat shrank some more at the back of its cage.

“It won’t hurt,” he said. Then he snarled. “Only the demon. The cat won’t feel a thing.” He took the money and handed it to his assistant. He went back to the cat, opened the carrier door, and reached in and firmly pulled Snoops out.

The cat looked up at Helene and Helene and whimpered. Its pathetic whimper said, “Please, please save me. I’ll be good.”

The man sat Snoops down on the wooden counter. He glared into the eyes of the cat and raised his right hand with the palm outward. Then the man’s body grew bigger and bigger. Out of his mouth came words. Unknown words, but words that sounded like an ancient language. Then his body sank and crumpled onto the floor.

On the counter, Snoops was half the size he had been. He gave Helene and Helene the most wonderful meow.

The assistant walked over and threw a blanket over the Exorcist’s body, then she gently picked up Snoops and stroked him. He continued to meow. She handed him over to Helene. “The demon is gone.”

Helene’s mother took the black ball of fur and the two women left with the carrier. All the way home, Snoops slept peacefully in the mother’s lap.

Over the next few days, Helene and Helene were amazed at how well behaved Snoops was. They also noticed he was shrinking to half the size he had been when they left the Exorcist. Deeply concerned, the daughter called the Exorcist’s Office. There was panic in her voice as she spoke into the phone. “Snoops is shrinking.”

“No worries,” the assistant said. “It’s natural. He’s melting.”

“Melting?”

“It happens.”

“How much will he melt?”

“Soon you won’t have any more trouble. Poof! He’ll be gone.”

“No, no,” Helene said. There was desperation in her voice.

“Can’t be helped. That’s exorcism for you.”

“How can we stop Snoops from melting?”

“There’s only one way,” the assistant said. “Put the demon back in. And I’m afraid you don’t want to do that. He doesn’t take well to the procedure and neither will the cat.”

“That can’t be. Snoops has such a wonderful attitude.”

“Give him a couple of days and that’s it.”

Helene hung up and delivered the new to her mother. The two looked over at Snoops. He was such a pitiful sight.

Helene and Helene decided they had no other choice. The daughter called back and asked, “How much for the procedure?”

“$999.99.”

Helene hung up and told her mother. The two looked over at the pathetic cat. Helene’s mother made the final pronouncement. “Sorry, Snoops. I guess we’ll be getting another cat.”

 

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Movie of the Week: “Easy Rider”

Easy Rider, directed by Dennis Hopper.

What is the big whoopee about “Easy Rider”? I mean, c’mon, two guys on motorcycles, selling a stash of drugs to pay for a road trip across the country to New Orleans. It’s 1969. They aren’t even hippies. They’re capitalists and their product is cocaine. And the love they’re getting ain’t free. It’s a coupla hookers they pick up in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

Give me a break. These two guys riding down the highways of America on bikes, their hair blowing in the wind. Was that the freedom all those boys were dying for in Vietnam?

They’re out to see America and we’re out to see it too. What could be more American than touring the sights with these two fellas, easygoing Captain America and uptight Billy the Kid? One can almost hear the voice of Horace Greeley himself, advising, “Go East, Young Man” as the two take their leave of California and cross the Colorado River.

They get to camp out, like boy scouts, and they get to ride those bikes like John Wayne and his pardners rode their horses. They could be outlaws if they had lived a century earlier. But they’re just wannabee outlaws. The clothes they wear are what the fashion-conscious Hollywood celebs might think would be appropriate to see America in. You just gotta love those designer sunglasses Peter Fonda wraps around his eyes.

Along the way they pick up a hitch hiker. A real hippie who thinks Porky Pig would be the thing to be. Takes the two on a detour to a commune. It’s a bit of a Noah’s Ark of a place what with the animals and the people. At least, the barn they are staying in looks like what the ark might have looked like. Then it’s back on the road again for the two wannabees.

The only thing I envied about Captain America and his partner were the motorcycles. Those were not motorcycles hippies would fly away on. They cost too much bread for any hippie. Then there was Jack Nicholson wearing that stupid helmet, riding behind Captain America. He was Jack being Jack as only Jack can be. Guess that was why he won that Academy Award. Nobody could do Jack better’n Jack.

It has one real downer of an ending. Kind of like a bad trip. They take a wrong turn and all heck breaks loose. Some might say the pair got their just end for their sins. Or maybe that’s what happens when you take a road trip in America.

But the music. Now that is something. That is something with a capital S. It was 1969 when I saw it, and it was the best music. The best I had ever heard in a movie that was not a musical. The movie’s titles start title-ing and the soundtrack cracks into one good road trip song, “Born to be wild” by Steppenwolf. There was Dylan, there was Hendrix, there was the Byrds and there was the Band doing one of my all time favs.

I had never heard “The Weight” before the movie. That darn fine piece of music laid the movie’s story out for me and it was off and running with “I pulled into Nazareth.” The hair on the back of my neck stood on end. Later I bought the album and somebody else was doing that song. I took that vinyl and broke it into pieces. How could they cheat me like that?

Still the movie doesn’t add up to the sum of its parts. Some parts you like and some make you shake your head, wondering. All I know was that I walked out of that movie, thinking what was that. But then again, what isn’t that?

Is there a movie you think is way overrated by both critics and viewers?

Celebrating the Pyrate in Me

Since yesterday was National-Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day, I decided to let the pyrate in me leak out a bit. So I did what any decent buccaneer would do. I went looking for booty. Fer ye landlubbers, booty is pyratese for treasure, not that other kind of booty. And not just any kind of treasure. Had to be a shiver-me-timbers-and-blow-the-man-down kind.

First thing was to get properly dressed in a new set of long-john-silvers. Just can’t go looking for booty if you’re not properly dressed. I put on me tweeds, me silk shirt and me brogues and off I went shopping at the local pyrate store, Blackbeard’s. You know it’s the place to go if you want to be a well-dressed gentleman o’ fortune .

“Ye be going on the account?” the attendant at the clothier asked.

“No shippin’ off fer me. Looking for booty-hunting attire, matey,” I returned him with a smile. “And I don’t want to be taken for no sprog or squiffy. If ye scallywag me, I’ll keelhaul ye for the scurvy dog ye are.”

“Aye, I have just the thing, matey.” He adjusted his eye patch. “And keep yer black spot to yerself.”

Then he dressed me up in some fine loot-hunting gear: a red scarf for me head, an earring of the skull-and-crossbones for me ear, a linen shirt under me sea-green vest and a gray-and-white striped, cotton pants fer me bottom. And to top off me ensemble. A pair of black leather boots.

“By the Powers, all the lassies will give ye the swoon, me hearty,” he said.

I swaggered out of the store like the pyrate-for-a-day I knew I was.

If ye’re going booty huntin’, best have a map. So I went to me book shelves and pulled down an ancient tome. Opened it up and what do ye know. In me own back yard, the loot was buried.

I’d be in need of a shovel if I was going booty-huntin’. I went to the shed. Hadn’t been there for weeks. Maybe months. That was where the shovel had to be. Where else would a shovel choose to hide itself? Certainly not in the kitchen or the bathroom.

I dug and I dug till the shovel showed itself. I grasped it by the handle and went to the X-marks-the-spot on the map. I pushed the shovel into the ground and soon I was six feet and more into that earth I called a yard. All the while I sang the song every pyrate sings when in pursuit of loot: ” Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest—Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! Drink and the devil had done for the rest—Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”

Down I went, past the black gates of Mordor. Past the foul smell of Buccaneer’s Den. Deeper into the dark earth I dug. Tired, beswaggered, me sweat dripping its sweat, I continued, deeper in the earth than I had ever been. But where was the treasure I sought? Could the ghost of Captain Morgan his own self have stolen it?

Just before breaking through the ground and hitting China in the rump, thar she was. The booty I sought. In an ancient chest, it resided. I approached it, trembling with fear. Yet excitement too. This was it. Me treasure, me booty, me precious.

Me hands shook as I touched the large, rusty padlock. I would need a key for such a lock. But then, by Edward Teach’s beard, the lock dropped open, freeing the chest. I wrenched the lock free. The chest squealed a banshee’s cry as I opened it. I peered into the casket. There sitting alone on a scarlet cloth was me booty. It was a box of Cracker Jacks. And, yes, there was a prize inside the box. It was a gosh-darn truly doubloon. How ’bout that?

I breathed easy, a large grin on me buccaneer-for-a-day face, and leaned against the earth. I reached into the box and pulled out a handful of the molasses-covered popcorn and peanuts. I popped it into me mouth and chewed. This must be the ambrosia the gods spoke of. It was indeed bootylicious.