Monday, August 20, 2012

I wish to register a complaint

It's not every day you wake up to find that someone has left a dead cat in front of your door. Today, unfortunately, was one of the exceptions to that. Yes, while some people emerged from their homes today in the a.m. hours to find a newspaper on their doorstep, I emerged to find a black-and-grey striped cat lying under a garbage bag. Attached to the bag was a hand-written sign that read: "To be picked up by the municipality."


Sometimes I do wish I was just making this stuff up.
It was the grammar that threw me. "To be picked up" could mean that the person or people who left a deceased feline outside our door had already alerted the authorities to the situation; the note was just to let everyone know not to panic -- someone would be coming to pick up the body in due course. On the other hand, when lunchtime came and went and the dead cat was still lying there, I realized that "to be picked up" could just as well mean "we've made no phone calls whatsoever, but this note is to let the municipality know to please pick this up if they happen to be passing by." By this time the garbage bag had shifted to reveal a slightly blood-matted back of the head, so before things got any more gruesome I decided that linguistic ambiguity being what it is, it was perhaps best to phone the municipality just to be on the safe side. So, I of course told my husband that he should call them immediately.

My husband didn't know which department to call, as you can imagine, there being no specific department for dealing with dead domestic animals on one's front stoop, so he called the general line and got a very helpful lady who seemed to understand that it was perhaps not a good idea to let Tiger or Socks or whatever it was called sit and fester under what amounted to black Saran wrap in the hottest weather the country has seen since 1994.

And so it was that around two o'clock, as I stirred a batch of muffins in my kitchen upstairs, I heard the tell-tale slam of a truck door, and saw the tell-tale garb of a rubbish collector who had been called in to handle the expired kitty problem. It was a shame that he picked this time of the day to come though. By now the tourists were out in full force. So as Mr. Pet Sematary (yes, I know, I know, but that's how Stephen King spelled it, okay?) used a shovel to scrape Tabby off the sidewalk a small audience formed. A few faces turned upward towards the window to where I stood watching. No doubt it was assumed that this was my cat which I'd cold-heartedly thrown out as garbage when she suddenly died of natural causes midway through her bowl of Whiskas. I quickly disappeared from the window before any of them decided to start throwing rocks.

So to the family in Middelburg who is tonight wondering where Ringo or Felix is, I'm afraid I have some bad news for you. Your cat is definitely expired. Which is sad, yes, but not as sad as waking up to find its corpse on your stoop. So there you go, some perspective, free of charge. You're welcome.

And to you, Buttons or Trisket or whatever your name was, I offer in your memory the classic ode to dead pets from our friends at Monty Python. RIP.


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