Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Gets Real

I know I have bored you with my fascinating story of how our Halloween Film Festival will probably be shorter than ever this year because of all my October travels. We have managed to squeeze in THE MUMMY'S SHROUD and RE-ANIMATOR if you are keeping score. Ha ha! Who are you, person who doesn't exist? Yesterday we were distracted by something else that had many horrific elements and some "downer" aspects with which you know I hate to trouble you, but there is a happy ending... though not for every creature involved! You have been warned. So anyway we have been feeding this feral but sweet-natured blue-eyed cat that hangs around our neighborhood. Many times when Lee Durkee has been walking past our yard he has seen the cat. He became quite taken with it. (It is the kitten we were trying to coax off the roof in another unforgettable "blog" "post" you may have forgotten.) He said if we ever caught it he'd like to try to bring it into his house and make it a pet. Now, Dr. Theresa had already caught this fellow - the cat, I mean - once and had him fixed and got all his shots and had him tested for dangerous diseases and everything. She does that out of her own pocket when she finds a feral cat, just to help out and keep the population down and make sure they're healthy. So on Wednesday she saw that the cat - we cleverly call him "Bandit" because of the black "bandit" mask across his blue eyes - had a hurt leg. Fearing he had been hit by a car, Dr. Theresa caught him and took him to the vet again. He had only fallen from a great height and twisted his leg and scratched up his nose a little, the doctor reported. So, now that he was drugged and compliant, a perfect opportunity to take him over to Lee's house so he could recuperate inside and find himself in a new home! The exciting and terrifying parts of the story that will make you question the meaning of existence are coming up soon, don't worry. So Dr. Theresa and Lee set up the cat in a safe, small space: Lee's bathroom. That night our pal Joey and her practically brand new husband Brian came to town so we all went out for a big night on the town square. Everyone came out. Semmes (the man who was once almost in a plane crash with Werner Herzog) told a story about peeing next to Bob Hope. (You know, I should do a "post" about the time I peed next to Rob Reiner and the time Ward McCarthy peed next to Robert Mitchum, but I am getting far afield of the existential horror I mean to express here. OR AM I?) Joey told about when Vince Vaughn gave Buck Owens a prop knife from the PSYCHO remake, only it was a real knife, but Buck Owens didn't get that part - he thought it was some kind of trick knife and started slashing it madly at everybody (including Joey) and laughing with glee while people fled in actual terror that Buck Owens might jokingly kill them. SO! Now we are coming up on the part of the story that will trouble and alarm you! And then it turns almost into a David Lynch movie. When Lee got home, he couldn't find the cat anywhere. And then he noticed that the CAT HAD CLIMBED UP SOMEHOW AND OPENED THE WINDOW and escaped. This is a window that is hard to open. It sticks! And Dr. Theresa had shut it securely herself, expressly so that the cat could not get out of it. But this cat displayed remarkable dexterity and cunning. Not only did it manually slide open the difficult window, it pushed out the screen and dropped from a height of 10 yards (Lee's house is on a steep slope) and vanished. We found out the next morning. We feared the worst! The cat was already injured! And Lee's house overlooks a heavily wooded ravine filled with wild animals. Dr. Theresa set out walking the neighborhood for signs of the cat. I soon followed. In my haste I forgot my glasses. At one point I met Dr. Theresa coming from the opposite direction and I pointed at something I saw moving and said, "What is that?" And Dr. Theresa said, "It's a raccoon." It was a sick raccoon! A poor sick raccoon stumbling and circling and appearing confused in the broad daylight. To add to the nightmarish quality of the scene (made more impressionistic by my blurred vision) the raccoon was on the street in front of what appeared to be a gulley filled with colorful rubble. There's some kind of construction going on. And three guys are taking a break from work, saying and doing nothing but sitting there in the bed of a pickup truck wearing red-tinted sunglasses and expressionlessly, without comment, watching this dying raccoon try to make sense of the world. It was truly a hellish scene. Dispirited and with little hope we went on looking for the cat. We walked through the parking lot of the Chevron on the corner and it was deserted - like weirdly OMEGA MAN deserted - except for two large crows who were just WALKING AROUND the empty, silent parking lot like they owned it. Silent except for their eerie cries, that is! As we went on into the neighborhood I began to notice that the Halloween decorations seemed sinister. So many skeletons! We were forced to pass by the raccoon a few more times, and on one of those times it had died. We found all sorts of weird things in the neighborhood, things we had never seen before, like a tumbled-down shack filled with rusty machinery and glass. All this time Lee was out looking for the cat too. Finally we gave up. When it was close to getting dark, Dr. Theresa decided to go back out. (I couldn't join her because I was in an ADVENTURE TIME meeting. I was not feeling it! Pen and Kent cheered me up by singing funny songs they were making up and then I showed them this Little Rascals clip ["click" here] that Kelly Hogan sent me a long time ago, and we all got a lot of enjoyment out of it. Art helps!) On Dr. Theresa's lonely way in the gathering dusk she met Lee, who had a forlorn expression and told of a harrowing experience. He had heard an otherworldly shrieking from the woods behind his house! He said it was the worst sound he had ever heard. And as he walked deeper into the brush, he came upon the omen-like vision of A BUNCH OF GROUNDHOGS ALL STANDING ON THEIR HIND LEGS AS IF FROZEN IN ETERNITY AND GAZING IN HORROR IN THE SAME DIRECTION, the direction from which the scream had come that had also haunted Lee. Things did not look (or sound) good. Lee and Dr. Theresa split up. Dr. Theresa walked deep into the treacherous woods and sat on the ground and softly called again and again. She was about to get up and head home when she heard a response. She called again. The response came louder. Finally she saw in the distance the feral cat actually running toward her! This is not something feral cats do. Somehow she scooped it up (this is not easy to do with a feral cat; in fact it is impossible) and carried it in her arms UP THE STEEP BRAMBLY HILL back to Lee's place. And Lee came walking back forlorn and when Dr. Theresa, covered in dirt and thorns, told him she had the cat he couldn't believe it. But that's Dr. Theresa for you! She's my hero. So anyway, they blocked up that window real good.