Erraticism

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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS Rube Roy's gonna enjoy this ... That sweet bluegrass kitty I wrote about? We got in an argument and I was the one who had to go to the hospital. It bit me, the little love, and drew blood. Just a couple a drops, but still, I'm a stickler for details. I called the advice nurse to see if I should bring the poor, exposed kitten in for a blood test, since probably some of my cells got left in its mouth, and it might have had a small cut or cold sore in there, for all I knew.

Ironically, the nurse was more worried about me! In her opinion, since this was technically a wild animal, albeit a cute one, I was at risk for rabies, kitten scratch fever, and sundry heavy metal maladies. Infection ... who knew kittens could be so dangerous?

"Are you behaving erratically?" the advice nurse asked. To be fair, there were other questions too, but this was the one that impressed me. Was I behaving erratically?

I had one of those blink-of-the-eye moments, where a sudden shift in perspective allows you to see your life objectively and with absolute clarity. No time passes, yet you take instantaneous and discerning stock of your entire past, present, future, and (if you're me) present perfect progressive.

Four years I've been living with my insane cat in this falling-down shack in the woods next to my homemade falling-down chicken coop. I've been driving a perplexingly sporadic little blue pickup truck that isn't a pickup truck and only sometimes has a horn, or headlights, or first gear, and also only sometimes goes.

I've been lying outside in my junkyard bathtub, plucking my boobs and wearing a cowboy hat. There's a black rubber ducky with anarchist slogans floating between my feet, a jar of piss next to a bowl of popcorn outside the tub, and on a beautiful Tuesday morning, to give just one example, while folks half my age and even probably one or two people twice my age are stuck in offices being productive members of society, here I am in said tub talking on the phone with you, Ms. Advice Nurse, because I tried to help a kitten.

"Me? Behaving erratically?" I said, more than a little miffed at her insinuating tone. "I'm a consistent character, if you don't mind! Did I bite a kitten? No. A kitten bit me. Am I behaving erratically? What about this little nefarious bastard?"

My chickens were lined up on a log, just 10 feet away, looking at me and screaming. Inside our shack, Weirdo the Cat was jumping up onto and off of our chair, repeatedly, trying to bat down song lyrics that were hanging like laundry on my indoor clothesline, swaying in the wind because the windows were open to air out something I'd done.

"What's that noise?" the advice nurse asked. "And what was that word you used?"

"Chickens. Didn't I tell you? I'm outside, in the tub," I said. "What? Nefarious? It means wicked, or evil."

"Hold on a minute," she said, and she went away and came back nine seconds later and said I had to go see the doctor. As soon as possible. I guess because chicken farmers don't normally use the word nefarious.

So, well, so I was erratic. And scared now too, so I called in "bit" from work, and did go see my doctor. I hate heavy metal music ... and am susceptible to suggestion. Even dumb ones, like I could die from this horrific kitten wound, which was on my index finger and looked like a little dot, or freckle, only smaller.

My doctor laughed her ass off. She did give me a vaccine shot against tetanus, whooping cough, and something else — not because I got poked by a kitty, but because I work around little baby human infants and shit, in addition to chickens, chicken wire, and nefarious wildlife.

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