Un Gros Chat Andalou

The night is dark. The world is black and white. I stand sharpening a straight razor. The smoke from the cigarette burning in my mouth rises into the sky and dissipates to nothing. The smell of freshly baked lasagna is wafting in from the kitchen. A heavyset orange cat is seated motionless in a chair beside me. Inexplicably, I am compelled to run the razor against its eyeball, moving in perfect synchronicity with the thin cloud crossing the moon and spilling forth the vitreous humor within. No. Never. Even here I would not be so cruel. But where is here? There is only one explanation: I have awoken again in the 1929 surrealist short film Un Chien Andalou and a Garfield comic. I hate Mondays.

How does this keep happening? I have a life of my own. A job. Here none of it is relevant. Here I am an unsuccessful cartoonist with a passion for polka music. Here I have a cat. A dog. When did I obtain them? When did I develop an unrequited, wholly inappropriate romantic fixation on their veterinarian? She spurns my every advance, belittling me with dialogue driven by an acerbic wit that could only be penned by the hand of an unseen creator. I set the razor aside. My dog, a panting yellow creature with brown ears is standing at the edge of the dining room table. The cat approaches and kicks the dog off the precipice, damning it to an eternity in the endless depths of the abyss beneath. I observe. I do nothing.

Eight years pass.

I am dressed as a postal worker and a nun. I pilot a bicycle down an empty, unfamiliar street. I stop at the doorway of a strange building and somehow know it is my home. I open the door and peer inside. The cat pounces, toppling me upon an unforgiving bed of cobblestones. Then I am upstairs. The cat is reassembling my clothing on a bed. The cynical veterinarian stands in the corner. I advance. The veterinarian observes in silent judgement, her arms crossed. I make no progress. I am nearly stationary, my movements slow and labored. I am tied to two pianos, so this makes sense. Kind of. Bound to the pianos are the Ten Commandments, the decomposed corpses of two donkeys, and two men dressed as priests. I free myself from my bonds and reach out to the veterinarian. I look at my hand. Ants are emerging from my palm. By a hole in the wall, the cat is conversing with a mouse. Their mouths do not move, yet I understand them. I literally read their thoughts as they are written out and hover over their heads in clouds suspended in the air. It is lunchtime. My stomach growls, but the cat has emptied the contents of the refrigerator.

Darkness. Time reverts. Sixteen years.

I wake. Motionless. Immobile. Buried to my elbows in sand on an empty beach. The veterinarian is buried beside me, her arms still crossed contemptuously. At my side is an assortment of books: Garfield At Large, Garfield Gains Weight, Garfield Bigger Than Life. Now I remember. Between periods of European art house cinema binging, I have unwound with escapist literature from my childhood. Who hasn’t liked Garfield at some point? Even if, in hindsight, the scores of health problems a cat with such a lifestyle would be suffering from are no laughing matter. Neither for that matter was the comic, honestly. Regardless, I know now why I am here. I close my eyes. I sleep. Monday will soon be over. Perhaps tomorrow I will awaken in The Seventh Seal by way of Calvin and Hobbes, or 8 ½ via Peanuts. Only time, whatever that is, will tell.

C’est tout. Je déteste le lundi. Fin.

What They Didn't Say

I appreciate your interest in me—particularly my vast collection of Guess jeans

Invisible Hooves

But I’d learned a thing or two from the cow, learned about things pretending to be other things.