Thursday, October 13, 2005

Lil' Bastard and MBH

It has been doing nothing but raining here for the entire week and not those gentle soft rains for fall but torrential downpours. It is monsoon time in New England. Sitting in my office this morning, watching the rain come down, I thought about a similar day six years ago that brought me the second best thing in my life, Lil' Bastard which led me to keeping the best thing in my life, MBH.

I was living in a small town about 45 minutes west of Boston in a condo that was converted from an old tenement building. My unit had a sloping front porch made of concrete and when it rained, it puddled about 4 inches of water right against my screen door. I was sitting bundled up on my couch, reading a book when I heard this god-awful sound coming from my front porch. Thinking some child was out in the street and had fallen down and hurt themselves, I opened the door and gingerly trudged through the small pond that had formed on my porch. Looking around, I assured myself that it wasn't someone and turned to go back into the warm house when I noticed huddled under my deck chair this gray mass of wet fur. The sound I had heard wasn't a child but rather a very wet and scared cat. After getting some old towels from the house, I went back out and coaxed the cat out from his hiding place and took him inside to dry off, pretty sure that I had seen the cat in the neighborhood and that he belonged to someone. A few hours later, after the rain had stopped, I went to all my neighbors asking if they had lost their cat. When no one claimed him, I went to the store, bought a few things a cat would need and figured someone would eventually claim him. Over the next few days, I put up posters, took out an ad in the local newspaper and left my number with the animal control officer. After two weeks, it became apparent that I had been adopted and Cedric and I became pals.

Fast forward a year, men had come and gone in my life. Every one of them had been studied and found to be wanting by not only myself but my cat. When I would bring a date home, Cedric would slink out and check them over before hissing at them and with his tail in the air, walk back to the bedroom where he would jump up on my side of the bed announcing to the visitor that it was he who was staying and that maybe not then but eventually, they would be going. Until the night I brought MBH home for the weekend. On the drive out to my house, I mentioned to MBH that in all likelihood, the cat would hiss at him, possibly take a swipe at his ankle and then sulk out of the room not to be seen again for the rest of the weekend. MBH assured me that was fine by him because he was, "none too fond of the foul beasts". I thought perfect, the first man that I really could like and the other man in my life was going to hate him.

I unlocked the door to my condo and again warned MBH about the cat and prepared myself for the typical reaction when man meets cat. Imagine my surprise when Cedric made his appearance sniffed at MBH's ankles, meowed at him and then jumped up on the couch to sit beside us. By the end of the weekend, Cedric had befriended MBH. I'm not sure if it was because he sensed that MBH was not going to back down and might hiss back or if it was the KFC chicken wing meat that MBH hand fed him (I suspect the later). And that weekend Cedric became Lil' Bastard because "Cedric is such a woosie name."

When Cedric and I moved in with MBH not too long afterwards the two became inseparable. Where one went in the house, the other was right there. As MBH works from home, they soon fell into a routine: wake up and have a "fight" (MBH and LB play rough with each other), fix breakfast, have another fight and then watch Teletubbies together, get some work done with cat tail swishing over computer mouse and plenty of mini fights, more fighting, lunch in which the cat gets a morsel for "vim and vigor", afternoon nap followed by more fighting and then WW comes home. I'd get daily phone calls, "your cat is a bastard" or "you know that lil' bastard is fast when he wants to be". Pretty soon, MBH was telling his folks about "his" cat. He taught him how to jump on a little stool for treats and to stand on a certain arm of a chair next to his computer for "butt scratches".

Now, 5 years later, cat and man are best buds. LB can do no wrong in MBH's eyes. Not long ago, when LB was diagnosed with feline diabetes it was MBH who took him to his many vet appointments while the right dosage of insulin was determined. It is MBH who every morning gives LB his shot and then plays with him. MBH buys books for LB with titles like "French for Cats". He even swears he is teaching him his shapes. When we have dinner, LB gets a little "snackeral" from MBH's plate. They really can't live without the other. And you know what, I'm glad that they are so close because I would have hated to have to send MBH to the pound...