I Don’t Plan I Plot Journal Sold HERE 15 Minute Read
I’m going to be honest with you; I’m not as smart & creative as you think I am. Sometimes, I need a little bit of help. Tonight, my help comes from a book called, 642 Things to Write About by The San Francisco Writers' Grotto. I got my copy at Target, but here is an amazon link.
You are a loser who lives alone with a cat and have for quite some time. One day your cat can’t take it anymore and starts talking. What does he say?
At 7:00am the alarm goes off, and my eyes pop open. It’s dark, I can’t see anything, and something is covering my mouth! I can hardly breathe! Am I being kidnapped? Suddenly, there’s light and I can see again. My cat, Mr. Muffins, just stepped on my face. He’s been sleeping there a lot lately. Sometimes, I think he’s secretly trying to kill me! No, I’m just kidding! He could never do that! He loves me too much.
Time to get up and start the day! While walking to the bathroom I take a look in the mirror. I don’t see anything special. Just me. I’ve got the body, and the complexion of a woman who eats entirely too much fast food. Mostly, because I am a woman who eats entirely too much fast food. My hair is short, and brown. Not the shiny kind of brown, but the dull, starting to gray, brown. I keep it really short so I don’t have to fuss with it. As for fashion, I’ve pretty much been rocking the same wardrobe for the last 20 years. I wear a uniform to work, and I keep good care of my play clothes. I do replace the occasional sock that Mr. Mittens has shredded, but other than that, there hasn’t really been a reason to get anything new.
My life is pretty simple. I get up at 7, get to work by 9, come home at 5, eat dinner with Mr. Muffins, watch TV, then go to bed. I do that everyday. Except for Saturdays and Sundays. I replace work with hobbies like knitting, crocheting, and weaving. My full time job is being a Toll Booth Operator, but I sell my fiber art on Etsy. I haven’t made any sales yet, but I’m hopeful! My stuff is good! Mr. Muffins fully supports my ambition. He loves my weavings. He’s always trying to bat at them. I’m so glad we have something we can enjoy together. My entire house is decorated with my art. It’s just Mr. Muffins and me at home. We live in the house I grew up in. I was an only child, so when my parents died, they left it to me. Not that I wasn’t already living here when they died, because I was. I’ve always lived here with them. They died about 10 years ago. Nothing tragic though. They lived for a long time. They found each other late in life and had me when they were close to 50. Dad got sick, and was never able to recover. Mom died pretty soon after. I think it was because her heart was broken.
I miss them, but that’s just how life goes.
I used to have a boyfriend, Tony. We met through the Prison Pen Pal Program. I got involved with the program after my parents died. I was feeling lonely and wanted someone to talk to. He was incarcerated for running a scam on a bunch of old ladies. He conned them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I thought, he must be smart at least! We wrote letters back and forth to each other for 2 years, and I fell head over heals in love. When he got out, I told him he could come live with me until he got back on his feet. I was secretly hoping he would never get back on his feet, and we could get married, and live together forever. Just me, him, and Mr. Muffins. When he got here, he took one look around and left. Well, first he asked for 20 bucks, and then he left.
I miss him, but that’s just how life goes.
Mr. Muffins is the only man I need in my life anyway. He’s a big orange tabby cat. I rescued him off the street after my parents died. Or rather, he rescued me. I was knitting on a park bench, when some teenagers came up, and started picking on me. Getting picked on was something I was used to, so I was just letting it happen, when out of nowhere I saw this orange flash. It was Mr. Muffins! He jumped on one of the teenagers and started clawing at his face! He was hissing like crazy! They were all so scared they ran away! He came to my rescue! He was my little hero. I took the McMuffin I was saving out of my bag and we split it. That’s how he got his name. He followed me home, and the rest is history.
It was a pretty easy day at work. No one threw their change at me, spit at me, or shouted anything vulgar at me. So I chalk that up to a win! After work, I went straight home to make a healthy dinner for me, and for Mr. Muffins. I was thinking, a Greek salad for me, and smoked salmon for the Mister. No, you know that’s not true! I drove straight to the McDonald’s drive thru, and ordered a Big Mac, (okay, 2 Big Macs) and large fries. When I got home I called out for Mr. Muffins while I fill his dish with canned tuna. I would have picked up a Filet-O-Fish sandwich, but he’s starting to look a little chunky, and boy is he heavy! After a few minutes of waiting, he finally jumps through the kitchen window. I always keep it cracked for him. He likes to come and go when I’m at work. He sees the McDonald’s bag and starts purring. “No, no Mr. Muffins. You know you’re on a diet. If you want to continue to sleep on my face, you need to lose some weight. I thought I was suffocating this morning!” I know it’s impossible, but I’m pretty sure I saw him roll his eyes. He’s such a special cat.
The Evening News just started when I shoved the last handful of fries in my mouth. I don’t know how it happened, but I start choking! Full on red face, eyes watering, slapping my chest, choking. I look down at Mr. Muffins to see him staring at me with no expression on his face. What is he doing? He’s supposed to be my hero! I try yelling at him, but nothing comes out. I’m about to pass out, when finally Mr. Muffins makes a move. He takes a running start, then leaps right into my gut. Thank goodness he’s put on so much weight because it worked! The fries fly out of my mouth, and they go everywhere, and I mean everywhere! But I’m alive! My hero saved me again! Now I feel bad I didn’t get him the Filet-O-Fish. It’s not that late, I can still go get him one. “Oh, Mr. Mittens! Thank you so much! I thought that was it for me! Wouldn’t it be ironic if I died choking on something I love so much? How about I get back in the car, and go get you a celebratory Filet-O-Fish and maybe another Big Mac for Momma?”
For a second I think maybe he has brain damage from hitting me so hard, because he’s making the strangest sound. It’s a different sound than his usual hairball sound. This was more of an internal screaming sound. He’s turns and look me dead in the eye, and he says (yes, SAYS), “Bonnie, baby, you’re a mess! How can this be your life? You do the same thing day after day, night after night, Big Mac after Big Mac! Have you given up?” His voice is so deep, and hip, really, really hip. It’s not at all how I expected him to sound. Not that I really ever expected him to have a voice. “Don’t you have any friends? Anyone to talk to, to go out with? I can’t be all you’ve got! You’re not even all I’ve got! There’s a pretty kitty up the street named Jinxie. We’ve been going together for awhile now, things are good, they’re getting serious.” I don’t know what to say. I literally do not know what to say in response to my cat. MY CAT. All I can squeak out is,
“Mr. Muff…” He cuts me off. “I prefer to go by Fins.” Fins? That’s not fancy at all! Cats names should always be fancy! “Okay, Fins. First, congratulations on your relationship, that’s awesome for you. Second, did I actually die when I choked on those fries, because this can’t be real.”
“No, you’re alive, but not well, doll face. As for the talking thing, well, I’ve always been able to talk. Most People are square, so I’ve never felt the need to, until now.” He’s actually talking to me! This is the best day of my entire life! “You’re sad, Bonnie. You’ve lost your spark for life. You used to do things, see people, bathe regularly. I’ve tried subtle ways to shock the life back into you. Mostly by trying to suffocate you, and then stopping right before you pass out. I thought if you came close to death you would feel inspired to live. But just now, when you looked like it was time for you to move towards The Light, and you want to go out for a Filet-O-Fish and ANOTHER Big Mac? You need to change, Bonnie. Get yourself out there again. And maybe not with a prisoner this time. You deserve better than that.” I’m shocked. This is simultaneously the nicest, and meanest thing anyone has ever said to me. And it was said to me by my cat. I try to speak, but my mouth is dry. Suddenly, I’m feeling very lightheaded.
I must have passed out because now I’m on the floor and it’s pitch black outside. There’s a blanket on me. Mr. Muff… I mean, Fins does usually puts one on me when I pass out on the couch. Wait, Fins! He can talk! Where is he? I look around for him, but I don’t see him anywhere. I can hear a noise coming from the kitchen. I get up and peek around the corner. I can see Fins at the window with a cat I’ve never seen before. Is that Jinxie? No, it can’t be. This cat looks big, and mean, and they look mad at each other! Big, Mean Cat lets out a hiss, and takes a swing at Fins, but he dodges it. He counters the move with a harder, faster swing, and makes contact. It turns into a full on cat fight on my window sill, and then onto my kitchen cabinet. They are rolling around howling and hissing, and knocking stuff onto the floor. I turn the light on, and that stops them in their tracks. They look over at me, and Big, Mean Cat leaps out the window. I run over and slam it shut behind him.
“What was that?” I shout at him. His ears go flat, and he’s trying to make his body small. He’s guilty! He gives me the same look when I find his little presents he leaves in my slippers. “Don’t give me that look Mister! Why are you inviting cats into my kitchen, and why are you fighting them?” He doesn’t answer me. “I know you can talk! Why are you fighting cats in my kitchen?” He still doesn’t say anything. Am I crazy? Was he not giving me some grand, Get it Together, Oprah kind of speech earlier? I wait a second longer for a response before deciding that I must be the one with brain damage. “Okay fine, have it your way.” I turn to go to the fridge. I need some cheese after all this.
“No! No not the emergency cheese, Bonnie! I’ll explain everything if you promise to not eat anymore cheese tonight.” He shouts at me. Alright, so he can talk!
“Okay, no more cheese, tonight. Pinky promise.”
“You might want to sit down for this.” I sit. “What I’m about to say might shock you, but then again, you do need a good shock. What you saw, Bonnie was we in the business call, a bad deal. That cat you saw, he was coming here to buy something from me, but he didn’t have enough for a payment. He got mad at me because I wouldn’t fork over the goods. I tried to settle it with meows, but he wanted to get physical. I’m a catnip dealer, Bonnie. And no one messes with me. I’m well known around the alleys. That’s why I go by Fins. Mr. Muffins is cute and all, and it worked for me and you, but it’s not a name for the streets. Speaking of, this diet you have me on is killing me! All this “fat” you think I have, it’s pure muscle, baby! You have to be able to take care of yourself when you run a business like mine. Not to mention, I have to protect you. That’s my full time job.” I’m overwhelmed with all this information. I have so many questions. I just start firing them off.
“Why do cats need a catnip dealer? It’s not illegal, is it? Are you also a user, or do you just sell? Where are you getting the catnip, because I’ve never bought it before? Are you being safe? Does Jinxie know? Is she the one who got you into this?” I say all in one breath.
“Whoa, slow down, Bonnie, baby. It’s alright. Take a deep breath. . And yes, I’m being very safe. I mostly deal to local alleycats. They don’t have a way to get the nip on their own. I do have a few house cat customers as well. Not all People allow their cats to have nip. Jinxie does know what I do, and she’s been a big help in expanding my business, but no, she didn’t get me into it. Your scumbag boyfriend, Tony did. Right before he left, he tossed me some nip from his pocket and said good luck. I enjoyed it so much I thought my friends in the alley would too. I grew up on the streets, remember? I know what it’s like to have to fight for every meal. They deserve to go nuts from time to time.”
“Okay, I can rationalize all that, i think, but you left something out. Where do you get it?” He sighs at me. I didn’t know cats could sigh. Well, I didn’t know they could talk either.
“This is the part you’re not going to like. You know Old Lady Kowalski next door? She has a nip plant in her garden. I don’t think she even knows what she’s got. I seem to be the only cat around who knows about it. Late at night, I hop over the fence, and harvest it the best I can.” He looks sort of ashamed. And he should be! Dealing nip, fighting Big, Mean Cats in my kitchen, and STEALING from Mrs. Kowalski! She already doesn’t like me. When Tony left, I went through a rough patch. She said my loud middle of the night crying kept her up. She’s been cold to me ever since. If she finds out what Mr. Muffins is doing she might call animal control on him.
“So you’re nip dealer AND a cat burglar? Wait, what are they paying you with? It can’t possibly be cash!”
“That’s the thing doll, the pay, the pay is the best part. It’s the reason I do all this, for us. They pay me in…yarn. I love it, you love it. It works out perfectly.” He purrs when he says perfect.
“But you’re stealing! It’s not right! As much as I love yarn, I love following the rules even more! We don’t do this kind of stuff Mr. Muffins! We have a routine and we follow it. Wake up, work, dinner, TV, then bed. There’s no room for crime!” That’s when it hits me. This is how I get out of my rut. I go into business selling catnip for yarn with my cat, Mr. Muffins. No, excuse me, my cat, Fins.
We’ve been in business for almost 2 months, and things couldn’t be better. I’ve got a few catnip plants growing in my own garden. My part in all this is to grow it and harvest it. From there, Fins takes it and sells it to our clients. I’ve been learning so much about gardening. I’m thinking soon I can grow my own strain. Then we can see exactly how many cats are getting their supply from us. We pulled Jinxie in for help too. She’s dealing at nights at the west side Alley. Fins is wanting to recruit more dealers, but the game is so dangerous. It’s hard to trust anyone. I can’t complain though, I’ve got enough yarn to wrap around the sun! My Etsy shop has become pretty popular too! Jinxie had a brilliant idea of having the house cat clients take their Person to my site, by walking across their keyboard. I haven’t been able to quit my day job, but I might if we keep it up! I’ve got Fins back on his high calorie diet, while he has be sticking to a low calorie diet. What he doesn’t know is that I stop off everyday to get a large order of fries on my way home, and eat all of them before I get there. We’re really making this work!
Isn’t that the way it happens though? Just when you think everything is right in the world, something happens and it all comes crashing down. It’s 3am and a furry paw just hit me in the face. I open my eyes to see Fins sitting on my chest staring at me. I’m startled, but thankful he’s not trying to suffocate me anymore.
“Bonnie, come quick. We need your help!” He sounds so serious. I get up, throw on my robe, and follow him into the kitchen. He jumps out the window, peeks his head back in, and says, “Get your shoes on. We’re going to the Alley.” This must be serious because People aren’t welcome in the alley. We hustle down the street, and as we’re going all these other cats are starting to follow us. They’re all howling and hissing. We turn the corner to the Alley, and I see even more cats. They see me coming with Fins so instead of fighting me, they scatter. That’s when I see her. It’s Jinxie and she’s laying in the middle of the Alley motionless. Her breathing is shallow, her eyes are bugging out, and she’s making a strange gurgling sound. What is going on? Fins runs over to comfort her. He looks up at me and howls, “I think it’s an overdose! I don’t know how to help her!” I need to act fast.
“Okay, let’s get her to the animal hospital. They can help her there.” I go to scoop her up, but Fins stops me.
“Aren’t they going to ask a bunch of questions? Is it safe to take her there?” Fins shouts.
“At this point, if we don’t get her some help she’s going to die!”
We get to the animal hospital in record time. The doctors take her back, and leaves us in the waiting room. It’s just us in there, so Fins feels comfortable to talk with me.
“I didn’t think cats could overdose on nip.” I say quietly.
“You are learning all the time, aren’t you Bonnie? When you’re around it as much as we, you’re bound to get too much. Oh Bast, I hope she’ll be okay!” He looks so sad. The saddest I’ve ever seen him.
“Maybe it’s time for us to retire, Fins. The Etsy shop is doing well, and I have plenty of yarn now. When she gets out, Jinxie can move in with us. We can get you guys clean, off the streets, and be a family again. Doesn’t that sound nice?”
“I can’t give it up now, Bonnie. I know I made it sound like I’m in it for the yarn, but I’m not. There’s so much more. I love the power it gives me. I love how the other cats respect me. They get out of my way when they see me coming. I’m loved and feared all at the same time. Growing up I was always the scaredy cat. It wasn’t until I took on those teenagers in the park for you, that I realized I could be tough, and dealing nip has only made me tougher. I feel like I have 18 lives instead of 9!”
“It’s so dangerous though! Look what is happening to Jinxie! She may not make it! None of this would have happened if we weren’t dealing. You’re willing to risk the ones you love just to stay in the game? Just to feel powerful? I can’t understand that, Muffy.” He’s breaking my heart. Jinxie was nearly dead in that Alley, and he doesn’t see how it was our actions that put her there? I’ve learned a lot over the last few months, but I never thought I would learn that my cat was a true thug. This business is bigger to him than I thought. “What if I stop growing it for you? You’ll have to stop then, because i forbid you to steal it.”
“Bonnie, doll, I’m Fins. I have connections now. I can get it if I really wanted to. And I really want to. We can go back to how it was before, me dealing, and you having no part of it.”
“No, it has to stop! I don’t want to find you in the Alley overdosing on nip, Mr. Muffins. You know you’re all I have!” I feel like crying.
“Bonnie, don’t do this. Don’t make me pick between you and the business. It will tear me a part.” Now I am crying.
That was the last time I saw him. We waited together until Jinxie was released from the hospital. She was going to be fine, just needed a few days rest. After that, we went our separate ways. That almost was a year ago. I’ve pretty much gone back to my old routine. I don’t weave, or knit anymore. It makes me too sad. Instead, I’ve taken up kickboxing. I spend every Saturday and Sunday in the gym. I’m taking care of myself now. I got a letter in the mail last week from Tony. He’s back in jail. He is looking to start things up again while he’s in there. I was going to respond, but I dropped the letter in the shredder instead. Sometimes, when I’m out, I’ll walk slower in front of the Alley. At times I think I catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye, but when I turn to look, he’s not there. It took a long time to get over what happened. I still don’t think I’m completely over it. I still leave the kitchen window cracked, just in case.
I miss him, but that’s just how life goes.