I hadn’t seen my cardiologist in the pool for over two months when I used to see her every Wednesday afternoon. I thought maybe she was ill or had moved. Then I bumped into her at the gym. We got to talking on the treadmills. Seems she has developed an allergy against chlorine that has only now cleared up. Her skin specialist told her it is quite common and once you develop it there is no going back. She now works out in the gym instead. “You will have to go swim in the sea,” I said, “when summer arrives.” “I can’t,” she said. “I have another allergy.” “What’s that?” I asked. “Sharks,” she replied. We laughed.
Rosco brought a rat in this morning.
“What the … ?” I said as Rosco clambered over me delivering the prize to Bev.
Bev leapt out of bed and Rosco and the rat went flying.
“Give it to me,” she said, chasing him around the bedroom. But Rosco kept his jaws closed over the struggling rat’s head.
“Do something,” she said to me. “Just don’t lie there.”
I hopped up and blocked Rosco’s path.
By now the rat was dead. It was also partially disembowelled.
“You are disgusting!” Bev said. It was good that Rosco was copping a serve of Bev’s wrath instead of me.
Rosco let go the rat. It dropped like a stone onto the polished floor.
I stood over it melodramatically.
“You dirty rat!” I said in my best Jimmy Cagney impersonation. I chuckled in appreciation then took the corpse outside to bury.
“What was that all about?” Rosco asked.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “It was before your time.”
[ from 'The Bilingual Cat & Other Tails' ]
Rosco is writing his biography.
“Isn’t it a little premature?” I say. “After all, you’re only five years old.”
“Thirty five!” he shoots back.
“Oh, you’re using that old argument about one year in a cat’s life is equal to seven in a human’s.”
“But you’ve done nothing. You just sit around and eat and sleep.”
“Sounds like someone else I know.”
“That’s a bit harsh: biting the hand that feeds you.”
“If the shoe fits …”
“Have you written anything yet?”
“Not quite? Either you have or you haven’t.”
“I’m not sure how to begin. I’ve got a few openings.”
“Let’s hear them.”
“It was the best of times. It was the worst of Times.”
“Hang on,” I say. “That’s been done before.”
“Someone’s copied off me?”
“The other way around more like it.”
“How about: ‘Call Me Rosco.’”
“I think we need to have a talk,” I say, “about plagiarism.”
[ from 'The Bilingual Cat & Other Tails' ]
While I am not in favour of dictatorships, benign or otherwise, it is not difficult to see, with the clarity of hindsight, the argument in favour of them. Iraq and Syria are prime examples. Under Saddam Hussein and President Assad both countries were relatively stable. This is not to say they were desirable places for all citizens. Clearly minority populations suffered secretly away from the world’s view. There were however no car bombings or suicide bombings. Disparate elements were suppressed. In general infrastructures worked. We don’t hear much about Libya any more and what we have heard about Egypt is not encouraging.
However we in Australia live in a democracy and I think it works pretty well. I would not wish a dictator on us.
It is not always true that three is a crowd. Every Friday for over twenty years three of us would meet at a city pub, down a few pints then move onto a restaurant in the city. We were close. We were great company. Then one of us had a terrible accident. He is now on life support. Very soon it will be turned off. I miss my friend very much. I cried last night. I had not cried for years. It is our loss I mourn as much as our friend’s imminent passing. We were all odd blokes. We got on famously. We looked forwards to Fridays so much. Now our friend is gone. It’s just the two of us. It’s a bit frightening.
We lost Rosco last night. We knew soon as we settled down to sleep and Rosco wasn’t there. Neither at the foot of the bed on top of the quilt nor on the window ledge gazing down our driveway for feline interlopers. Bev got me to look for him. “Where are you?” I called out. There was no answer. I looked in the usual places, under the bed, in the linen cupboard where he sometimes curls up for comfort. “Maybe, he’s outside,” Bev called out. “What would he be doing outside this time of night?” I called.
“I don’t know,” said Bev. “He just might be.”
It was after ten. We always make sure Rosco’s inside well before ten and we lock the door to make sure he doesn’t get out. But I had to look. I wouldn’t hear the end of it if I didn’t.
I got the flashlight and warily trod out to the porch taking care to dodge the chicken poo. It was then I heard a drumming at the toolshed door. “Get me the outa here,” it said. It was the unmistakable voice of Rosco, our irascible bilingual cat. I opened the door. “About bloody time,” he said. ‘Why don’t you look inside the shed and see who’s inside it before you blithely lock it?!” He had me there. It seemed he chased a mouse inside the shed before dinner, got a little sleepy and curled up alongside the bag of chicken chaff. “Get outa my way, Jackass” he said, pushing past me, “it’s past my bedtime,” and promptly curled up alongside Bev on my side!
I wrote a poem once called ‘How to Catch a Seagull’. It has been published a number of times. It was a funny poem about how my grandma told me in a mock serious tone I did not recognize at the time just how you could catch a seagull. It involved the strategic placement of salt. You may know the age-old myth. I will try to find the poem and post it on my blog. What made me think of it was the prize winning entry in the Margaret River Short Story Competition called ‘The Trouble with Flying’ which I thought would be about planes but was about seagulls. It is by a fledgling writer Ruth Wyer and is a ripper. If you get a chance, read it.