Black Cat Day: Bull GarlingtonLarry Kay
As part of our series on Black Cats for National Black Cat Day, Author Bull Garlington wrote:
Eight or nine years back our cat Sharè had passed from a tumor and our Border Collie, James Tyberius Dog and his manservant, Whisky, were distraught. So we got them a new cat–Jones.
Jones was a solid black cat of unknown origins. We took our daughter to the pet store, Jones leapt onto her shoulders and they both looked at us and Jones said, “Take us home, servant.”
Jones is an escape artist, being capable of getting out of our house no matter how carefully we plug all the holes. Usually, he just runs out with the dogs and then comes in when we call them from the back yard. But twice in his short life, met with tragic accidents requiring a vet to put him back together. Sort of. On close inspection, his skull is misaligned and upon not so close inspection, it is clear he retains a single fang, alabaster and glistening against his black fur. On the outside. Of his mouth. He is Frankenkitty.
There are things about Jones that are not right, and we suspect the stem from his injuries. He is obsessed with doors and if you open one, will race out into the night, even in winter in Chicago, where it is colder than deep space. He will then sit at the dining room window and howl to be let back in. Then he’ll sit by the front door and cry to go out again. He’s an indoor-outdoor-indoor-outdoor-OH-GOD-WHAT-HATH-THOU-WROUGHT-cat.
He often sits on my daughter’s exterior second floor window sill, mewling sweetly to be let in. She’s usually not home so he’ll give up and jump down to his second favorite spot, the heater/air conditioner unit attached to my office wall under the window housed in a thin, resonant metal shell. However, we’re convinced he has Cat ADHD and halfway down gets distracted because he does not land daintily, quietly, softly–like a cat–but with a terrifying and utterly unexpected and deafening metallic thwang as if he fell ass first, which startles me out of my authorial fugue, three feet upward into cardiac arrest.
He murders small animals on our property without plan or discretion, leaving countless carcasses in various stages of dismemberment in our driveway, in plain view of the horrified children walking to school in the morning. Or in our neighbor’s driveway. Or on their steps.
He is fearless. I once saw him stare down a coyote.
He loves me more than anyone, even my daughter who thinks he belongs to her. Yet, he will sit on anyone’s lap, crawl up onto their chest, and murmur his murderous purr for hours, rubbing his head against their chin, then lightly tap their chest with a single paw while staring into their eyes which are invariably welling up with tears at his cinematic cuteness thinking he’s saying, you biped, I have chosen thee, when what he’s really saying is, here is where I will sing my fang, thou fat and corpulent prey.
As to the uniqueness of black cats, I can only say that they are unique in the same way nefarious ninja homicidal maniacs are unique in that as soon as they go outside at night they disappear, only to step into the porch light pool after you’ve called them ten million times, as if out of thin air, as if they’d been there all along, a dead mouse dropping off their jaw, their tail twitching with malice and, I assume, gleeful, grim laughter.