The Scarlet Letter - A Performance by Grace

Amidst growing concerns from my neighbors, but mostly out of my own paranoia, I had to give Grace a bath last night.
Because I drew on her head a week ago.
With a red marker.
I drew
A scarlet letter A, smack on the head of my giant white cat.
Shut up, it was totally non-toxic marker.
But I still started thinking about what I would do if the Pet Detectives showed up at my door and were all, "We have a report that this is your cat and uhhh... she seems to have been written on?"

Here's the scoop:

I have friends all over the world. Not many of them grant you, but they are strategically located in far-away lands and they sometimes send things to me that I am unable to obtain in Tucson, simply because of certain legalities extant in the USA.
Through some unnamed sources and due to my recent birthday, I was able to get my hands on The Green Fairy.
Yo, what up. I said it.
The real Green Fairy, absinthe, blended and brewed in the Czech Republic and delivered to my doorstep.
Absinthe is something that I have idolized, like when I was 16 and I idolized pot. At 16, NOTHING seemed cooler than those people who were able to procure a tightly rolled baggie of bud, spread the contents out on the dresser, and begin the tedious process of breaking up the stash.
Even better were the people who knew how to roll a sweet fatty.
The height of cool though were the ingenious stoners who could turn a Coke can into a bowl or a bucket and a 2 liter into a gravity bong. Those people were my idols. I would probably have been rendered unable to speak and turned into a mushy little mess of high school clean hair and clear nail polish if one of them had turned to me to ask advice on the newly introduced subject of pot-smoking.
But I digress.
Absinthe was not on my radar until last year when Namoli sat me down to watch Moulin Rouge. It took me a minute to focus and get into the movie but I think that's because it was like a Friday afternoon and right after I ducked out of work early. I didn't even change clothes and I went over to her house to start the weekend. She had made buffalo wings and had frosty mugs for the beer and suddenly, a cool weekend started. AND I was supposed to sit down and watch her favorite movie.
So once I got focused (or unfocused, which is probably the best way to watch Moulin Rouge - just let yourself fall the tiniest bit away from your everyday self -) I loved the movie.
And I decided to hook myself up with the Green Fairy.
I may not be famous for my patience but people, when I have to, I can wait like nobody's business. And wait I did. For a year, I had the feelers out. I didn't want anything made in the US. I needed to find the real deal, the stuff made only in Bohemia that has its own unique green glow.
I get a package from the Czech Republic.
Are you kidding me?
No dude. I got a package from the Czech Republic and in it, tightly rolled in bubble wrap inside of more bubble wrap, was one liter of pure, old-school absinthe.
I gazed lovingly at the bottle, cradling it really and allowed a parade of turn-of-the-century artists and writers to make their delighted way though my head: Van Gogh, Wilde, Matisse, Degas, and all of the famously off-beat people who created so much of my favorite enduring art. Degas!
I am holding in my 21st century, chubby, lazy American hands, the stuff that Degas would have ordered at a cafe! I swear, I was totally having a cheesy dream-sequence of imaginary, dorkathelon proportions.

I wonder what it feels like to drink this stuff. I don't want to get sick or anything. Did anyone die from absinthe? If they did, I bet they drank a shit-ton of it. ...
I'll just take the..
top off and... get the...
Smells - wow!
my eyes are watering a little bit...
Am I crying?

there...just gonna
have a little sippy-poo...
After one, small sip of absinthe, I swear to god that I could totally have breathed fire on someone. You could say that absinthe has a bitter taste, like anise; or you could say that absinthe must be what ammonia tastes like, if you ever had the bad sense to take a nipper off the old ammonia bottle.
Both statements would be correct, although the latter one probably more so.
The phone rang and I gently put the absinthe down and paced around my house, working out plans to build a lock box for the absinthe while on the phone with my friend Jenn. She probably knew what I was up to but whatever.
If she didn't know that I wasn't paying attention then, she does now!
Call me!

Yeah, so I'm on the phone and I'm going, "Uh huh" "Seriously?" "Nuh uh!" "Did you?" but I'm also going, "A special box for my special prize. Yes, I could build it myself and decorate it with Modge-Podged images from the 1890s Bohemian lifestyle. How cool will I be when I say to an expectant guest: Would you like to try a taste of absinthe? It's the real stuff." And I was imaginging the awe of my guests as I brought out the bottle and spoon and the sugar and watched them turn the bottle around in their hands, trying to phonetically sound out the Czech words.

That was right about the time that I heard the crash.
I heard the breaking.
I heard the breaking of my heart.
I wasn't sure if my heart was breaking for the liquor or for the cat.
All I know is that I panicked. I dropped the phone into the cradle as I screamed, "JennIHaveToGo!" My heart was pounding at the sight of shattered glass, green wormwood juice, and the fucking cat standing at the doorway.

I'm not much for animal abuse but I opened the door and I threw the bitch out, just about as much as anyone can throw a 13 pound cat that doesn't really like to be picked up.

I don't think I'll write about the moments after the cat got pitched out the door. There were tears, there was physical abuse to my person, there was some throwing of the remote.
And the phone.
There was finally numbness - sweet, sweet lack of feeling which I am currently attributing to the fumes from the liter of absinthe that I had to clean from the living room floor.

That was a Saturday and later in the evening, after the hysterics and the anger and the pain of the loss began to subside, when the numbness had unquestionably set in for the duration, the cat was invited back into my home.

"Grace. A terible thing has happened here. You had no right to knock that bottle over and I know that you did it on purpose."
Sidenote: My mother says she does this shit because she is bored but she has the best entertainment of all - another fucking cat to play with! She's not bored; she's a Minion of Satan and let's all be on the same page about that.
Grace = Problem.

Sometime during the next week I was reading an article about Nathanial Hawthorne. About half-way through the article, Grace jumped up on the couch to sit in my lap. I often read with a pen in my hand. I don't really know why except that I do, especially if I am reading something that has some substance.
I had the idea.
I had the marker.
I had the cat.



The Scarlet Letter


The Scarlet Letter

It was all over in about a second. Grace got drawn on. I drew on my pet. She never noticed and thankfully, most of my neighbors know me and expect this type of borderline behavior. Unfortunately, over the weekend, some new people moved in and I was forced to take responsibility for my animals. Last night, I got home from work and there she was in the window: the dirtiest white cat in Tucson with a fading, markered A on her head. I sort of knew in that moment, that the joke was over like the absinthe bottle. There, backlit by the setting Arizona sun, was Grace, waiting for me to scratch her Scarlet Letter head and more importantly, waiting for me to let her outside.
She only got one of those wishes. Instead of letting her outside, I gave her the bath that she probably should never have needed in the first place.
But come on!
She violated the Green Fairy!
Who does that?
Cats who deserve to be drawing boards, that's who.

At least now, there is absolutely no physical evidence for when Animal Cops Tucson shows up at my door with their cameras and their snotty comments about how it's "wrong" to use your pets as "artistic expression" and how people "shouldn't" punish their pets because they're just "pets"
Whatever, Animal Cops Tucson.
That cat needed a lesson and hopefully the social ostrafication (I made the word up - hee!) that she felt taught her something about the value of good behavior around pricey European rarities.

arizonasarah at 2:12 p.m.

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