“Sub of a nitch!” I squeaked. My wife’s cat sat beside me as I watched the news on television. It looked at me and said “Rowlf?” I patted it on the head and told it how lucky it was not to be able to understand just how depressing the news was getting these days.
“Ha!” said the cat. “As if. –I too see the depressing quality of the information, what with the freakish weather wrecking a cruel toll on the midwest, the heightened number of multiple victim shootings, the surge in bombings in Afghanistan. I see it all just as you do, my friend. I’m neither deaf nor blind.”
“Holy crap. I didn’t know you could talk.” I said with surprise.
“Oh, no you don’t. Don’t try and lay that cutesy I’m-just-a-dumb-animal stuff on me. I heard what you said. By the way, you pronounce your ‘s’ with a lot of sibilance.”
“Not going for it.”
“Okay, fine. I talk. Now it’s up to you to apply your obviously superior human intellect to whether I really have a vocal lexicon or if you’re merely hallucinating as you sit in a quasi-sleep state.” it said, pausing after to lick a foot.
“Honey!” I called out to my wife. “Your cat is talking to me. Come here and check this out.” My wife responded that she was watching a particuarly compelling moment on American Pickers, a rusty oil can had just been discovered in a dilapidated shed. She said she’d come during the commercial break. I wasn’t upset by this, the discovery of old oil cans is pretty important stuff. At least, that’s what the show tells us. The assertion was backed up by the announcement that they would sell the old can for about $4,000. Television would never lie about a thing like that. Probably.
I asked the cat how long it had been able to talk, figuring to pass the time as I waited for my wife to come witness the miracle of feline communication. “How long have you been taking morphine?” It replied. I hate it when cats answer a question with a question. It’s disrespectful. Refusing to dignify it with an answer, I turned back to the television to listen to a politician saying something about how government should be reduced in size and about all of the agencies he was going to create to reduce it.
“Did that politician make any sense to you?” I asked the cat.
“Of course he did. Why would you even ask such a thing?”
“Just doing a sanity check, that’s all. I thought I’d detected a flaw in the logic there.”
“This from a guy who talks to cats?”
“You have a point.” I admitted. I leaned back in my chair and started drumming my fingers on the desk as I waited for my wife.
“Please stop that.” demanded the cat. “It’s annoying.”
“Better than licking my own butt.” I said, giving the animal a sideways glance.
“And you know this how?” It had me there. My wife appeared in the doorway.
“What’s this about the cat?” she asked.
“It’s talking to me.”
“Is that a problem?” she queried.
“Well, it’s kind of supercilious too.” I said.
“Well, cats are pretty independent creatures. When did the cat talk to you?”
“Well, now, I mean…” the cat was no longer on the bed. It wasn’t to be seen anywhere. “It was here a second ago.”
“If it comes back and talks to you again, ask it to come in and speak to me, okay? I want to ask it what it wants for its birthday.” She disappeared back to her room and American Pickers. I scanned the room but still didn’t see the cat anywhere. I guess it went off to do cat things somewhere else in the house. I picked up the remote and went channel surfing until I found a program with promise. It was a roundtable discussion on PBS about how revocation of collective bargaining could strengthen democracy. I put the remote down and stretched langorously, settling in to watch the show. I may have dozed. Or, I might have been dozing and dozed harder. It can be a difficult call sometimes.
Plyzthgar and Xytog looked at each other and then back at their viewing screen. “This is fascinating. We can learn much about this civilization watching these beings.” trilled Plyzthgar.
“What’s the point?” complained Xytog. “They’ll be gone in just a few more lunar transits.”
“True. But they’re kind of amazing. I mean, look at all of their technology and accomplishments, and the way they control everything.”
“Yes, I concede your premise. What was it the human called its master?”
“A cat. The dominant species is cat.”