I wake up.
Nothing special about today other than the fact that I wake up next to Jenn. That always puts a smile on my face. I do the normal morning routine, bathroom, couch, pull out Jenns laptop, start pecking at the keys, hoping that this computer will have found me that job I have been looking for. I wish my life was a Sims game. Sit at the computer, pick a job, go to that job, make money.
For about an hour I sit, reading e-mails, blogs, nothing. Jenn is awake now, showering, getting clean, something I haven't done in a while. I should do that today before my interview. I make the mental note and go back to the computer.
Jenn is ready for school. She looks nice today. She doesn't ever think so, but she does. She kisses me and leaves. I am talking to someone on AOL IM but I cannot remember now. I look at the digital clock on the computer.
I should go and get ready for this interview. I gather my things, and head to the car. I drive. The gas needle is getting low. I make a stop at the bank. I take out what ever cash I have left in it and head home.
I arrive to a quiet house. Nothing different about this day other than the fact I cannot find my cat.
Whopper has been sick for some time, and I am looking for him hoping he did not succumb to his illness and die in a corner of my house somewhere.
I find him, curled up under my daughters bed. He is weak. He is skinny. His face is more swollen than normal. I call the vet. Whopper has forced me to do what I have been dreading for months. His time has come. The woman at the clinic was very nice. She said come in at 2:20pm. It is nearly 1:00pm at this point.
I call the woman I was having the meeting with at 1:00pm. Tell her something came up. We will have to reschedule our interview. She agreed.
What do I do for an hour?
I go outside with a book from the library. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. I have wanted to read this book, but did not want to buy it, or be caught buying it. I hate Oprah.
I sit on my fold out OSU chair and enjoy the warm weather. I need a shower, but if Whopper smells like piss, then I will just to make him feel better.
The sound of police sirens pierces the afternoon. I look up from my book to see a police car screaming down Nicholson Ave by my house.
That is something you do not see everyday.
Another police car, and another, and another.
Curious. Another car, this time an unmarked.
Another police car is screaming somewhere. Odd. My curiosity takes over. I gather Whopper. He could use a drive. This may be his last.
He is tucked away in his car cage. Safe. Curled up in his towel he had been sleeping on for months. Meowing in pain from the abscessed tooth. He is weak.
I turn out of my driveway and head to Nicholson Ave. I wait, I turn left towards Clifton. I look in my mirrors and I see another car, Ford Crown Victoria, Blue, Blacked out grill. I do not hear the sirens until he passes me.
The police car turns left onto Clifton, I hurry up and follow.
The police car is screaming down the middle of Clifton. Looking to avoid other cars at intersections he slows down. Enough for me to keep eyes on.
Red light. Damn.
I sit for what seems like an eternity.
I hurry off the limit line and continue in the direction of the police car. No luck. He lost me.
I pass an elementary school. I see police lights in the distance. Quarter mile, maybe. My pace quickens and I have arrived. I see an estimated 10 police cars, mostly marked Lakewood Departments, but also Rocky River, North Olmsted an numerous unmarked.
As I pass the congregation of cars, I notice they are blocking off an entire street. What street? Damn, passed before I could look. I turn down the next street. Webb. As I look down the side streets going back toward the block street, I realize what street it is. Granger. Chip. Fuck.
I pull down a side street after crossing railroad tracks. I call Mary Anne. No answer on her cell phone. Shit.
I call Chip. The result is the same.
I ask some neighbors on the street what is going on. They were clueless. They did not even realize the Army of police officers that has invaded their quiet neighborhood. I turn onto Granger near Detroit rd and try to look down. I cannot see passed the semi-truck blocking the street and numerous police cars. This is serious.
I turn left onto Detroit and head down the next street on the left. Bonnie view. I head back to Clifton to get a good recon post.
How I wish I was a police officer today. I would know what is going on. I would not need to worry if I knew what was going on.
Whopper meows. I comfort him. I turn left onto Clifton. More police cars. Hostage negotiators. This is serious. I turned back onto Webb. My phone rings. Mary Anne.
I ask if she knows where her boyfriend is. She has no idea.
I turn onto Norton.
I ask what house is his. She tells me. At the end of Norton, white and blue house. She cannot remember the address. I tell her what is going on. She worries. We hang up and I talk to a guy in a parked car. Curious, like me. We talk.
He said he heard gunshots. Curious. He says two shots. I say, cool, I am calling my friends at the news desk of WTAM. I park, I call. As I am on the phone, two more shots. I look toward Granger where a black suburban is blocking the intersection. A cop dove behind his suburban. He brandishes his gun. Fires twice.
My phone rings. Mary Anne again.
She has Chip on her other phone talking to us both.
The police sirens break the afternoon breeze. A patrol car stops blocking off the street. A police officer gets out or the car. He brandishes a shot gun.
I hang up the phone and walk to the black civic who's passenger I was talking to. Tell him that it could be my buddy's house, but that it is not my buddy. I tell him I am getting the hell out of here.
The patrol car is moved enough for us to get out.
Shit, I have to get Whopper to the vet. One more time around the area to see if there is anything new. Did one of those bullets find its target? Is there a job opening on the Police force? I will look tomorrow.
As I head south to Detroit another car pulls up. The police officer is wearing a uniform, but you can tell this is not his shift. Blue shirt, blue pants, white sneakers. He walks to the back of his patrol car with a partner. They pull out what looks to be high powered weapons.
Slow, but I drive.
I take it all in.
The precision of the quarantine zone. The camaraderie of the officers. All from different cities, all there to do one job. Protect the public at all costs. With their lives, with their training.
I turn again onto Bonnie view.
More Police cars, more guns, more people gathering to watch.
Police in backyards. Waiting.
I turn left onto Clifton and I look more. More cars.
Fire trucks. Police cars. Ambulances. All on site and ready for action. Lights. No Sirens.
I call Char.
I turn right onto Webb this time.
The news crews are there.
Did Char know where her Dad was? Is was possible he was at the scene. She didn't know. She sounded disappointed she was missing it. Wonder if her Dad could help me with a job? It will have to wait. I had to go.
I drive to the vet.
Im late. Fuck it. I saw something completely cool. Police in action. Guns.
I sit Whopper on the table and retrieve him from his cage.
He is weighed.
Seven pounds. He has lost two in a couple of weeks.
He was not eating.
The nurse left. Left Whopper and I. He looks at me. His eye is no longer swollen. Is neck is huge now. He meows. I kiss his head.
He is scared.
He scratches at his neck.
His neck pops open.
What it was I do not know. It did not have a stench. I was milky white. His face was not swollen. He looks relieved.
The doctor comes in.
I ask her what that was. She traced it to a wound on his neck that Whopper has self inflicted.
His skin is so weak he tore it scratching.
Tears well up in my eyes.
I hold them back.
Not in front of Whopper. He needs someone who is not freaking out.
The doctor examines his mouth. All his teeth are still there.
She looks harder.
He bites her. He is not going without a fight.
She asks questions. Trying to soften the blow. I want to help him. There is only one way.
It was his time. She leaves and comes back. She tells me what she is going to do. One shot of anesthesia. He overdoses. He goes to sleep.
Do I want to be here for him.
So I want his remains.
I also want some of his hair, a paw print. For Audrey. She is loosing her first pet.
I sign paperwork. I will get Whopper back in a week. $160.00. I do not have it. I can pay later when I pick him up. I hopefully have it then.
I hold whopper. He looks at me. Meows. Purrs. Cuddles. I kiss him one last time. I tell him he will be better in a minute. He will have all the Kitten Caboodle he wants soon.
The doctor returns.
I whopper lays still on the table. They look for a vein in his leg.
They are small. So is the needle. One nurse looks for his pulse in his neck. She cannot find it. The doctor hears a faint heartbeat. Whopper is dying on his own terms.
The doctor helps him. Whopper purrs.
The needle goes in. Whopper purrs. Whoppers salvation is pushed into him. Whopper purrs. Whopper purrs. Silence.
Whopper is in a better place now. I cry. I kiss him. I cry. I kiss him some more. His eyes are glazed. Open.
I kiss him.
The doctors and nurses try to comfort me.
They are crying too.
They see this all the time.
They cry too.
I pick him up one more time. I kiss his head. I lay him on HIS blanket. I cry. I tell him I loved him.
I miss him.
The nurse returns.
I ask for the paw print.
They go one better. They print out a card with a poem. What it is I cannot bear to read it. They write his name. Whopper Gercak. 5/3/2006. They shave his paw to get to his pads for the print. They moisturize it.
Whopper signs his name for one last time.
They shave some hair and put it in a baggy. This is for Audrey. This was her cat.
I cry more.
I give the nurse permission to take Whopper. She takes him.
I walk out. Alone. With an empty cage. I stop in the parking lot. I sob. I lost my friend. My cuddle buddy on cold sleepless nights.
I compose my self.
I call Jenn.
She knows something is wrong.
I go to Jenns house.
I take the trek up her stairs slowly. Looking at the envelope with Whoppers card to Audrey.
I do not look up.
I look up. Jenn is at the top of the stairs.
I she hugs me. Oh how I wanted that.
She cries harder.
I give her the card.
She hugs me more.
She cries harder.
I sit on the couch. I try to talk. I am quiet.
She opens the card. She see the paw print. She cries.
She goes and turns off her lunch. Wants to know if I am hungry. Yes. I lie and say no.
I tell her about the police on Granger. She asks about Chip.
He is fine.
Pat comes out from his room. He is happy today. He asks if I have heard good news. No. I hand him the card.
He is curious.
He sees the Animal Hospitals return address .
He gets up. Does not open the card. He hugs me. I need it. I break down again. Pat is not a cat guy. He liked Whopper.
Jenn gets ready for work after her lunch. She leaves for work. I leave to get Audrey.
The empty cat cage is in the front seat of the car.
The radio crackles to life. WTAM has a news bulletin. The gun man on Granger is dead. That is the price you pay for shooting at a police officer.
I pick up Audrey without incident. She gets into the car. She sees the cage. Excited that Whopper was picking her up she is jovial. I tell her the cage is empty. She asks where he is. I close the door. I get in the other door. I tell her.
I give her the card. Tears roll down her cheeks. It was the first time she cried out of emotion, not pain, or because I yelled at her. She understood.
We drive home in silence.
She says she wants to eat tacos. To taco bell we go. She deserves them. First staples, now Whopper. Poor girl.
We pick up dinner.
We drive past the crime scene. All the cars are gone except for the crime scene investigators. I call Chip.
Is he home?
Waiting for the police to call him.
Is it safe to go home?
He recounts what happened from his perspective. Police call. Ask questions. He answers. Lets them know he owns guns. Didn't think the kid knew about them, but just in case. He had a .38 caliber hand gun, two clips full of ammo. Hollow points. He had a .40 caliber shot gun. Enough ammo to start a war he says. The police appreciate his candor. He has nothing to hide. Just wants them to know if he broke into the house, there is potential danger.
We hang up.
I pull into the driveway.
Audrey is asleep. Emotionally drained.
We get into the house. We eat. I look around. My house is trashed. I half did the dishes last week. More still to be done. Garbage on the floor. Old cups. Newspaper. Toys. A mess. I am not in the mood to clean today.
Audrey and I go for a walk. Short walk. To the lake.
I watch a movie and read more in A Million Little Pieces. The house is quiet. No Whopper on my lap. No police sirens. Quiet. Just a breeze. It is quiet.
Phone rings. I do not recognize the number. I started to do the dishes hoping I can clean up a bit. I answer. It was Robert at Jenn's work. He is taking her to Lakewood Hospitals ER. He thought I should know.
I am Jenn's only family here. I have to go.
I call Keith. He is on his way.
I clean up some of the garbage. Clean off the couch. Keith will be sleeping there I am sure.
Robert calls again.
I am on the porch pacing.
He said she started crying, shaking, her hands went numb.
I think. Panic Attack.
She did not want him to call me. I have a daughter. I need to worry about her she says. Bullshit. I am going.
I arrive at the hospital. I see Robert. No Jenn. We sit. Watch the Cavs win in overtime. Wondering where the fuck Jenn went. We ask.
She was in an ice box of a waiting room behind the triage doors. We come in. She had been crying. Ashamed she was there. She always does that. She doesn't need to. Robert and she talk for a minute. Robert goes home. He has done enough. I was there. Hopefully I was not the reason she was there.
I think I was.
My job prospects are few at this point. On the outside looking in it may look as though I am not trying. Mooching off my friends. I hate that feeling. I try in vein to keep up appearances.
I haven't showered. I stink. I am ashamed.
We are moved to a real room in the ER. Colder still. Jenn is shivering.
Doctors come in. Check her out.
A nurse comes in. Needles. I have seen enough of them. I try and keep the mood light. Jenn is trembling. She hates needles. They poke her. She winces and recoils. The nurse hit a moving target. The cleanest IV I have ever seen. Jenn is in pain.
Note to self. Encourage an epidural during child birth for her.
EKG. Blood work. Funny nurses. Adavant. Jenn is calm now. Heart rate down to normal. She is feeling the sedative kick in. She flips the TV. I do the games in the newspaper.
I am bored.
What a fucked up day.
Discharged. UTI and a panic attack. Excuse to stay off work for two days. Jenn cries. She cannot afford it she says. I tell her it is an excuse, they aren't calling your employer and telling them not to let you work. If you feel up to it, go.
I know I am the reason for this. My lack of financial stability, my cat. It is my fault. I feel bad.
I drive Jenn home. I would rather she come to my house, but my bed is soaked.
Whopper had not gotten up for three days in my bed. He pissed the whole thing. Sheets, comforter, and bed, all wet, being cleaned. Liberating Whoppers stench.
I will miss it.
Jenn is dizzy from her meds. I help her in the house. She stumbles up the stairs. I feel responsible. I want to help. Nothing I can do but catch her if she falls. She walks into her room, dresses for bed, gets into bed. I kiss her. Tell her I love her. Tell her goodnight and I would see her in the morning. Keith needed to get home.
She cries. I kiss her. I turn out her light.
She cries herself to sleep. She has no idea why this happened. She knows, but will not share it. Trying to spare my feelings I am sure. I drive home.
Keith wakes up. Asks if she is ok. I say she is home asleep.
I sit on the couch.
Pry my book open and try to read. I cannot keep concentration.
I turn on a movie.
I lay down on the couch.
A quiet house.
No cat to keep me company.
Jenn cries herself to sleep across town.
I cry myself to sleep in my messy, empty, quiet house.
How am I going to fix this?