MY FRIEND COLIN AND DEATH AND SHAKE AND BAKE

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I’ll never forget Colin being there for me on one of the worst days of my life, and the day after that, and the day after that. My beloved cat I found in the jaws of 2 coyotes and she couldn’t be saved. I was inconsolable and blamed myself.

Colin offered to have a funeral at his house and bury her in his back yard. I accepted but decided I needed a new kitten immediately.  We went to at least 10 different shelters because of a clause in my Santa Monica rent control apartment, I wasn’t allowed to have ANY additional cats. My landlord spelled it out, if one died let there be NO REPLACEMENTS, it was in my lease. Three cats and no more.

Since I had been golden about monthly cash under the table unlike my predecessor who stopped the payola two months after moving in, I figured I could fudge a little. I would have to find an all black kitten to replace my dead black cat – KITTER GIRL.

Who else but Colin would have co-signed this lunacy? For two days we drove from shelter to shelter interviewing kittens but there were no blacks. We hit the Sepulveda shelter pronounced by Colin with his UK accent, supple vita. If I had asked Colin to drive me downtown to The Union Rescue or The Los Angeles Mission? If I had decided to adopt a man or a full grown woman he would have carried them to the car for me.

The funeral had everything, flowers, mix tapes by Colin, funerary organ music and a crowd of dear friends. He catered vegetarian as well, with dubious surprise balls. I kept asking what’s in these balls? Colin was a new convert to vegetarianism and rabid in his implementation. So when I detected what I thought was a Progresso bread crumb; I pressed for the recipe. I wasn’t sure how processed food was vegetarian. So when he wasn’t looking I went through his trash and found an empty box of SHAKE AND BAKE. Which suddenly seemed very funny and I began howling until I couldn’t breathe.

My new kitten CHEESER was there. She ended up living with me for the next 23 years and she wasn’t black after all the driving I made Colin do. Cheeser was the craziest dressed moo cow Calico you ever saw. When she poked her mitten at me thru a cage, I couldn’t deny that I was choosen. Colin was always in the background cleaning; he fussed after digging KITTER GIRL’S grave under a tree in his back yard. Another friend who had a crush on Colin made KITTER GIRL a velvet lined coffin and she was off like that with all my tears.

Colin last week was given a funeral in Thailand. A pyre.

 

 

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YUM YUM

Jack Smith and my mother were partners in douche. Not just business but there was a feeling of potential that extended beyond the scope of their proprietary formulation.

In the past douches where historically a serious affaire, medicinal, or vinegary.

Jack was a philanthropist and pharmacist who liked puppies. An unusual man who wasn’t a pervert but cared about children. I had been meandering in the fifth grade. His solution that I read Ayn Rand. Trading me for a telephoto lens.

Together the three of us opened a drugstore. We were like a family gluing down red and green felt checkerboard tiles. We stocked the showroom display cases with knick knacks and incense. We carried black light posters, aspirins, and spinning card racks.

He taught me to smile at customers and fill prescriptions. I learned to type, to count by fives and sweep pills into a well.

My friends were employed too, a few cents each to label bottles of douche. We peeled sticky labels to both sides. Slowly learning the technique to get straight the psychedelic Peter Max graphics with undulating strawberries & bananas splitting.

Jack grew up in Philadelphia wanting a pit bull terrier. One day he bought back a white but mostly pink puppy. Named “Yummy” after the douche. She was a white long nosed pedigree pit. I called her Arnold. After the pig on Green Acres.

When you’re a kid you’re the last to get the news. The douche business had been sold to a company with distribution.

Jack had fallen in love with a red head. The drug store, now closed.

The last time I saw Jack we went out for Chinese. It was a goodbye party, the theme, Jack isn’t leaving you.

I didn’t hear about Jack again until I was 16.

He had given a neighborhood kid a job caring for his dogs and watering his plants when he went out of town. One of Yummy’s puppies.

But his young charge had somehow misplaced it. It disappeared and Jack was accused of having it stolen it. The kid told authorities, Jack had set him up.

A week later Jack returned home to find his apartment empty. A police report was filed. A private detective hired. Neighbors recalled a U-Haul driven by an older woman, the seventeen year old’s mother, and child, had wheeled out Jack’s safe, his furniture, taking everything, but the dogs.

A few days later his car disappeared. After his shift ended at “Longs” he found his parking space vacant. The police soon located his old white Cadillac at the bottom of a cliff.

It was in the newspaper. The dog sitter had let himself in with the same set of keys he had used for his job. Ushering the dogs out to the patio, closing the sliding glass doors behind them.

He surprised Jack Smith, hiding behind his front door. Waiting with a baseball bat. Then poured gasoline on his body.

Arnold or Yum Yum or Yummy coughed for a year from all the second hand smoke.

In the end they called it “good behavior” when his killer served only a 5 years.

Middling

I asked Katie if I could sleep over.
She was my best friend.
When she got worms, I stopped going to the lavatory.
Snakes, macaroni and cheese, even Spaghetti
I quit.
We would watch TV but mostly pretend.
Walking each other thru various scenarios like a talking meditation.
Or a practice.
Pretend we bought an entire furniture store instead of a tiny mansion.
Her brother Mark started dropping in after lights out
wanting a back rub.
Katie did it until she got tired.
Then I Play-Dohed his shoulders.
In the middle of the night with the ocean waving.
He inched his fingers, touching me while I slept.
When he tried to put something inside of me –
from the center of him. I acted like I was waking up.
He wanted our middles to touch.