All this happened, more or less. The death, the resurrection. And I’m not talking about Jesus; we all know that didn’t happen. No, I’m talking about my black cat Michael Myers. Everything started on October 24th, 1871 – yes, I’m that old.
I was strolling through the park, my feet squashing the crunchy autumn leaves that blanketed the ground, when my gift – brilliance – hit me yet again. “It would be swell to have a household cat, wouldn’t it, dear Geraldine?”
“Oh yes, Thomas,” she exclaimed. “It would be swell indeed. What a brilliant idea!”
The next day, Our Majesty Sir Lord John Francis Igou the 3rd, son of the 1st – you don’t want to know what happened to the 2nd – bought a cat for a penny from some petty street vendor. A black cat which my father named Michael Myers, for reasons unknown. You should have seen him before the accident; what a cute little thing – I’m talking about the cat, not my father. His accident happened years later.
For a week we gave Mikey-Mike – that’s’ what we nicknamed him – so much love. Sometimes we even gave him food. But he must have been in his rebellious teens, or l’age bête, as the French would say, because every time we approached him, to pet him, to talk to him, to hold him, or to shave him – he left his long black hair all over the place – he ran away. Or tried to, at least. All the exits of our mansion were locked and double locked, so much to the point that Fort Knox envied our security. Not that we considered Mikey-Mike our prisoner; only, the world is such a dangerous place for a cat.
This saddened my dear sister, who was not as strong as me and could not bear it. But my mother was always, always there to comfort us. “Give him time,” she told us. “It’s hard to become accustomed to a new family, but he’ll come around. Who wouldn’t with such wonderful owners as ourselves?” Her eerie grin revealed a gapped wall of teeth whiter than albinos.
So we gave Mikey-Mike some time, we took our distance. But who could have foreseen that terrible accident on October 31st, a day which will live in infamy in our family? The previous day a violent storm had battered against the area. The damage had been minimal: a few fallen trees in the backyard and a broken window in the attic on the thirteenth floor of our mansion. Of course, at that time elevators didn’t exist yet – the idea would come to me decades later – so we didn’t find out about the window until it was too late. Mikey-Mike, though, knew about it.
Always the rebel, he saw it as his opportunity, his one shot, to run away, like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. McQueen, in the movie, jumped a fence with his bike toward freedom; Mikey-Mike, in real life, jumped the window his dignity toward death.
My sister, the poor innocent child, was as angry with God as John McEnroe with a referee. Thank God she didn’t have a tennis racket; it wouldn’t have lived long. Kind of like our cat. To keep the story PG-13, I’ll save you the gory details. Let me just say that it wasn’t a pretty sight.
My sister was devastated, but still had the courage to pick up the car – well, the numerous bloody limbs of the cat, splattered all over the yard, some of them with flies already nibbling on the flesh – and buried it – or them, I don’t know how to phrase it – in our little backyard, known today as the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
Call it the magic of Halloween, call it luck, I don’t know, but the next day at dawn, when 90% of Americans were 10lbs fatter from the previous night’s sweets, who stood in the doorway of my room? Michael Myers! And not the Halloween killer – he would have been a day late – but my used-to-be-dead-but-is-now-resurrected black cat.
“Jesus Christ,” I murmured, shocked.
“Nooooooooo, “my sister said, picking up the cat and entering the room. “Don’t you recognize him? It’s Mikey-Mike.”