In Boozo Veritas #50 by Teege Braune
Divertissement with Kittens
A man dreams, his visions, hopes, loves, anxieties all bubbling to surface of his unconscious mind with out logical transition, referents lost, his thoughts incoherent to himself. In brief: Chaos reigns. How to order this miasma? How to peer into phantasmagoria, to find a thread of inspiration wriggling in the soup like a baited worm, to bite down and embrace the hook that pierces not the lip but the imagination, to allow oneself to be dragged out of the sea of one’s confusion, pulled by no effort but one’s own submission into the air of creative triumph? Is this what the philosophers mean when the speak of Genius?!
I stand with rod raised in the storm, allowing the gail to blast my calm. Smite me, Jupiter, for I have blasphemed against thee. Like Ixion I have insulted thee, lusted for thy bride, violated thou natural order, and now here I stand making mockery of thee, and yet lightening doth not strike!
Turn not to Jupiter, young man, for he has long since wearied of mortal folly. Apollo burns but speaks not. The wisdom of Minerva will help you least of all. Bacchus of the Vineyards is your salvation. This is the embodiment of the divine, which has called you to worship. Blessed be he whom in his benevolence bestowed upon humanity that sacred fruit, the grape and the secret it contains within. Liquid courage, social lubricant, bottled, bubbling inspiration. Bacchus for thee and thy gifts we give praise.
What was Papa Hemingway’s advice: “Write drunk but edit drunker?” The first sip merely sets the stage. Consumed in meditative state like a prayer, we give it up to God. Gone down the gullet before it even touched our lips, it never belonged to us in the first place. The second sip is a labor of love. It goes down like brass tacks, our mission solidified. Once more for good measure, after the third sip we can begin to work.
A finger taps a key, but a flitter in the corner of an eye distracts me from my purpose.
–Be thee mote or fairy, speak, sir, please. I implore thee of thy purpose.
My voice creaks, betrays my fear. I feel the steely gaze of cold malicious eyes upon my heart. Dare I investigate further lest I come face to face with some incorporeal beast?
The tinkle of a bell, the pitter-patter of tiny feet, no roar but a friendly mew, eyes the emerald green of precious stones not hellish flame, Tom Tom trots through the door, fit for the ball in elegant tuxedo. He bats a ball of yarn conveniently lying on the floor, chases dust bunnies to their doom. Laughing at the antics of this jester, I lose my train of thought, forget completely the masterpiece for which I’ve completed a mere two words: “Stately plump…”
–Tom Tom, entertain us with a little soft shoe,
I tease the kitten, sipping from my glass.
Now here comes little Ariel all white from whiskers to tail. She’ll give Tom Tom a run for his money, by gum. Pouncing upon the predator, we see how quickly the lion on the prowl is turned knavish at the pummeling of his paramour. He rolls onto his back showing his furry little belly, flashing white daggers, bluffing.
Another drink and then another and then I’m seeing in photo negative. No, that’s just Ariel’s counterpoint Mephistopheles. A witch’s familiar in his first life, he was burned at the stake. Poor Mephistopheles isn’t bad luck. On the contrary he seems to bring with him a kind of infernal fortuity. Happy is she for whom he has taken a liking, albeit this luck seems always to come at another’s expense. Perhaps a charm has been placed on him, for the hapless kitten is oblivious to his own talents. Nevertheless, his entrances can be off-putting, for in unlit rooms one is rarely aware of his presence when suddenly a pair of glowing green eyes of obstreperous intent appear as if floating midair.
Chuckling to myself I turn away from the kittens at their play. Let’s see, where was I? Ah, yes,
One’s concentration is difficult to sustain while kittens are arriving one by one as if for some kind of feline fête. There is Eury whose preternatural ability for rediscovering objects lost weeks previous suggests a secret tendency towards kleptomania. Newt, the thief of shrimp, fish, and foul, master of the grab and run technique, he brazenly enacts his criminal activity under our very noses. Riley, the manx, with stub of tail and tufts of main jutting this way and that, well groomed but perpetually unkempt.
I pour another glass, but finding it empty before I can return to my work, I pour one more. More and more the kittens arrive. Here come Mittens, Dempsey, and Ambrosia. Then Goneril, Reagan, and Cordelia. Tumbling head over ass they make fools of themselves on my office floor. Squealing, they beg for grouse, cream, liver pâté. How to explain to them my abject poverty, for I, a starving writer, am barely capable of feeding myself, much less a dozen kittens and yet more are arriving every minute? Bean and Dusty, Jersey and Schnickelfritz, Bailey and Loki. All of these kittens climbing over me. Impossible to write another word amidst this cuddly infestation, I am Saint Anthony suffering adorable torment at the claws of darling imps and demons. Dozens of kittens turn to hundreds. Their mewing is a din drowning from my mind my creative intention. Kittens will be my death. They tear at the curtains, slash at the sofa, scatter their dirty litter into every nook and cranny. They rise up, swirl around me like a maelström. Stern discipline is what they need so that I may finish my task. I attempt to pluck them from midair, but they elude my grasp. Reeling, I stumble, fall, hitting my head against the linoleum floor, I blackout, slip from a world overfilled with kittens into a dark and dreamless sleep.
When I awake, my head is throbbing, but the room is empty, not a kitten in sight. Somehow the decimated furniture is immaculate, not a fiber misplaced. I look at the computer dreading the humiliation of another missed deadline when, to my surprise, words adorn my screen. Some sprite or fairy has taken it upon itself to finish In Boozo Veritas in my slumber.