In which Citizen Jim arrives being drunk and disorderly, with a plan to enter Jay in the cat show…
I was waiting for Miss Mabel to return from the grocery store on Thursday morning and had started to worry, as she’d been gone for two days. I desperately needed some milk, but she’d taken the checkbook and the ATM card, plus she’d emptied out the Slim Jim canister full of pennies and had scooped every last quarter, dime and nickel out of our “movie rental mug.”
Penniless and jonesing for a strong cup of tea, I’d decided to run up to the blood plasma clinic to make a donation when I heard a maniac’s horrifying cackle outside the kitchen window, followed by the maddening toot of a tin whistle.
A few seconds later, Citizen Jim came into view, a boombox hoisted up on one shoulder. Following behind him was my yellow tomcat, Jay, dressed in a green sweater, pointy green shoes and wearing a green top hat complete with a gold buckle. He was weaving and lurching in a way which let me know that he’d had a few too many drinks, perhaps more than Citizen Jim.
Jim was fiddling with the knobs on the radio right before “Double Dutch Bus” by Frankie Smith blasted from the speakers; Jim was singing along at the top of his lungs:
I got bad feet, my corns hurt
To top it off, I’m late for work
Let me tell you what I say
when I’m dealin’ with a funky sidewalk
Let me show you how I walk
when I got to do my funky walk
I say ssssssshhhhhhhoooooogah!
I rapped on the window with a wooden spoon, but I knew neither Jay nor Jim could hear me over the noise the boombox and Jim were making. With the wooden spoon still clutched in my right hand, I ran out the door, smacking Jim, first, then Jay, then the on/off switch on the boombox.
“What’s the big idea?” Jim yelled.
“You’re disturbing the neighborhood!” I screamed.
“Hey, man, you’re the one jumping up and down yelling like a stooge,” Jim said quietly, leaning to one side. “I’m just standing here.”
Even from a distance, I could smell the alcohol on Jim’s breath. I leaned over to sniff at Jay’s mouth and nearly passed out. “You’ve got my cat drunk again!”
“Listen, Stimpy, that cat doesn’t need any help from me to get drunk,” Jim said, taking the boombox off his shoulder and setting it down on the grass. “He was three sheets to the wind by the time I met him and Miss Mabel at the High Life Lounge up there on the four-lane.”
“Miss Mabel? What the—”
“That’s right. She bought us all drinks until the bartender took her last nickel and was still wanting another fifteen cents. Then Miss Mabel started crying and said she needed to go to the grocery store. That’s when Jay and I made like hockey players and got the puck outta there. So. FUCK OFF, YA FUCKER!!”
I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry at my best friend, my eldest cat and the woman I love more than I was at that moment. I ordered Jay into the laundry room and demanded that Jim march into the house.
“I can’t go inside! I gotta go to the St. Paddy’s Day parade!” Jim whined. “And I was gonna win me some money at the cat show, too, and split it with old Jay.”
That explained the ridiculous costume my cat was wearing. But I still wanted to know where Miss Mabel was.
“Listen, if I had to keep track of every girlfriend of yours who went AWOL, I would never have found time to work or have a social life for myself. She’s probably up at Wal-Mart trying to steal whatever it is you sent her to buy. I sure as fuck know she doesn’t have any money with her,” he said, letting a huge burp escape him. He smiled sheepishly. “‘Scuse me.”
Fearing that I would have to make a trip to the county jail to retrieve the woman I love if she were arrested for shoplifting, my resolve turned firm. “Stand up! UP! And go get Jay out of the laundry room,” I said.
“I’m not risking my life by walking in there. You know as well as I that Mister Meme’s hanging around, just waiting for someone to attack,” Jim said. He put his head on the table and moaned. “UGH! I shouldna had that last shot of Bailey’s Irish Creme mixed with Triple Sec and chased with root beer.”
I pulled Jim’s head up by what little hair he has left. “That’s not my problem,” I said. “Now come on. We’ll have to hurry if we’re going to make it to the cat show to win us some money and then to Wal Mart to pay for my milk.”
“Oh, Stimpy! Can’t we have us some breakfast first? I am starved with the hunger!” Jim groaned, then began weeping. “This is the WORST St. Patrick’s Day of my LIFE!” “Well, that makes two of us,” I said, gnashing my teeth and swearing if I ever got to drink another cup of tea, I’d pray daily to St. Brigid.