It was an unseasonably warm night in early January the first time Suicide Pussy and I crossed paths. It had been a long night at Denim Hell and I was very nearly home when a block from my house a grey tabby cat jumped out in front of my jeep and darted across the road in front of me.
“Stupid damn cat,” I said to myself through a yawn, already enjoying the thought of my nightly glass of cheap Sangria with the customary Ambien chaser. “Gonna get itself killed…”
And that was the last I thought about the cat until two nights later when, in the exact same spot, the same grey tabby ran directly out in front of my jeep and crossed the road just as I was again coming home from work.
At the time, I chalked it up to Déjà vu and exhaustion. Exhaustion because I was on the tail end of a few weeks of overtime and Déjà vu because sometimes, just sometimes, cheap sangria and ambien will f*ck a bitch up.
Don’t judge. At the time I was dating the Spaniard and sangria was my attempt at breaching the cultural walls between us and showing my respect for his culture.
And so a few nights later on my evening drive back to the little mortgage on the Prairie I thought about the cat with the death wish and wondered if I’d just imagined the whole thing.
“If I see it again I’ll know,” I thought to myself. “I’ll know I took the blue pill and there’s a glitch in the Matrix.”
The grey tabby did not run out in front of my jeep that night.
The grey tabby was sitting dead center in the middle of the road blocking the street.
“Is it dead?” I thought tiredly. “Is it hurt?” I stopped the jeep 20 feet in front of the cat and looked for signs of life. The cat’s eyes glowed in the headlights as if to say, “Bitch. I was here first” and then slowly…leisurely…walked over to the side of the road before turning around to look at me and hiss.
Suicide Pussy was serving me face.
The next day I saw my next door neighbor and while catching up on gossip, I asked her if she’d ever noticed a grey tabby cat a block over.
“I almost hit one the other day,” Pansy said in her best Mrs. Kravitz realness. “Stupid thing ran right out in front of my car as I drove by.”
“About 40 yards from the corner by the El Camino that’s been sitting on the street forever and ever?”
“Yes! It was exactly there. It’s not dead is it?” she asked with big, round eyes.
“Too bad,” she said quietly. “I hate cats.”
Later that afternoon, on my way to the store, the grey tabby ran out in front of the car driving directly in front of me in the exact same spot it always used to ambush passing vehicles. Luckily, I was watching for it out of curiosity so I didn’t rear end the car in front of me as it screeched to a quick braking stop to keep from killing the wee beastie.
And thus, Suicide Pussy was named.
Weeks went by and again and again, Suicide Pussy would run out in front of my jeep as I went by. And it wasn’t just me. Just as some dogs chase cars, Suicide Pussy would run out in front of just about any car driving down the block. Half hearted attempts to catch the cat were made by the neighboring villagers that comprise my own personal hood but Suicide Pussy proved to be a wily and unpredictable soul. She was not thin like a feral cat and with the windows of the jeep down I could hear her tags jingle as she’d dart in front of oncoming traffic. I’m sure she had a home. It’s just no one seemed to know where Suicide Pussy called home.
I was intrigued. Partially because things were going downhill with the Spaniard and I desperately needed distraction but also because I wanted to be the one in the neighborhood who’d solved the mystery of Suicide Pussy. Surely wealth and accolades would forever follow the neighbor who saved the cat from its own dark tendencies…
I began keeping a can of Fancy Feast in the jeep at all times.
Just in case.
After several weeks, Suicide Pussy disappeared during one of the few cold snaps of the winter and everyone assumed nature had taken its course and the tabby was gone forever. No body was ever found but she was a small thing and it wasn’t hard to imagine her plastered spread eagled and flat, Garfield style, on the front grill of a garbage truck; triumphant in kitty heaven that it had finally found the right four wheeled bullet with bad brakes to end its misery.
Life went on.
Three weeks ago, out of the blue, Suicide Pussy returned. While driving home from my usual night in Denim Hell, I came across Suicide Pussy sitting once again in the middle of the road at 2:15am looking mightily bothered by my approaching headlights. On this particular night, I was less weary than others and was so excited to see her that I pulled the jeep over to the curb to see what she’d do.
She just sat there looking. Looking at me. Looking like she expected a toll.
And there, in my glove box, was my can of Fancy Feast.
Open can in hand I got out of the jeep and made the universal “Here Kitty-Kitty” sounds that humans have used to try to lure felines since ancient Egypt. Suicide Kitty was having none of it. At least, not until she smelled the Fancy Feast with Cheddar! Bites. With an air of disdain, the tabby strolled over to me, rubbed against my leg, and howled loudly demanding the food. Slowly as not to spook her, I kneeled down in the 2am darkness of my neighborhood and acquiesced. Slowly and leisurely, Suicide Pussy began to nibble on the canned food there under the lights of the street lamp. And while she was distracted by the food, I had a second to check her name tag. In the darkness and headlights of the jeep, the inscription might have said Kat but to my late night eyes it looked like it said Kurt.
“Like Cobain?” I thought out loud. “Seriously?”
Kurt’s ears suddenly shot up, his whole body tensed, and leaped away from me crossing the street in a flash. I thought I’d spooked him but I was wrong. A car came down the street and Suicide Pussy had run out in front of the oncoming vehicle with his usual lust for death.
The car didn’t slow down or even flash its brake lights so it probably never saw the tabby as it ran out in front of it but it missed the cat by a mile. Suicide Pussy stopped on the opposite curb, looked at me for a second, and walked off into the night.
I left the can of Fancy Feast. I felt he deserved it.
This story does not have a happy ending.
Suicide Pussy finally got his heartfelt wish of a speeding driver with bad brakes this week. No one knows who finally did the deed or if they know no one is talking. And of the two neighbors I’ve spoken with, no one seems sad. Suicide Pussy just finally got what he wanted and in an odd way it just feels right. I saw the body Friday morning on the side of the road near his favorite crossing spot and when I went by a few hours later it was gone. Images of Kurt’s family fitting him for a shoe box coffin to be buried in the back yard circled through my mind the rest of the day.
Unless Suicide Pussy is just messing with us all. Perhaps Suicide Pussy had just grown tired of his game and decided to freak everyone the hell out by laying on the side of the road and playing dead. I wouldn’t be surprised. I wouldn’t be surprised at all. It seems like exactly the kind of thing he’d do.
I didn’t stop to check the body for a pulse. I was out of Fancy Feast.