My cat’s been missing since Thursday and now all the fish are dead.

I don’t think there’s a correlation between the two occurrences. I think it’s just a really bad time to be a pet in the home of Alex and Lynn.

I’m pretty upset about the recent turn of events. OJ (originally named Odysseus Joseph, shortened to OJ when it was discovered that he was a she) came into my life as a street cat when I lived in crack-addled San Jose. She was tough and smart, real street-smart like. Her lean figure betrayed her often unsuccessful dumpster diving, but she kept her coat clean and shiny. I named her, adopted her, and got her spayed.

She’s disappeared before, but has always come back within 48 hours. While we both still lived in San Jose she was gone for a couple of days. I went into my housemate’s room, where he was watching TV, and asked if he’d seen OJ around.

He pointed to the television. “Yeah, your cat’s driving that Bronco with a shotgun to it’s head.”

My other housemate came in holding a small, round piece of paper. It said, “My name is Applesauce.”

He handed it to me. “Here, an alias for your cat.”

I guess after 3.5 years she’s finally gotten tired of all the jokes and has taken off for warmer, more humor-impaired climes. I combed the block for her on Friday and Saturday, and yesterday Kevin came over to help me scour the neighborhood.

We walked block after block. My voice started to give out. At one point I turned to him to apologize. “I’m sorry we have to walk so far to look for her.”

“Lynn, we can walk all night if you want.”


Oh, so anyway, I took half a day off work on Monday and went to the local humane societies. No sign of OJ, not in the cages or in the Found Pet files or (thank God) the DOA records. I called the vet to let them know she’s missing, and am hoping that the breakaway collar with her rabies vaccination tag with the vet’s phone number is still securely around her neck.

I got home from my humane society hunt and looked at the 40 gallon fish tank in our living room. All of the fish except one were dead. Some floated in the top corners, others had sunk to the bottom. All looked glassy-eyed and bloated.

Only two of the fish were mine. I’d had them for five years. They were feeder goldfish, the type you get at the pet store, 12 for a dollar. Julie, my then roommate, started the tank. My only condition was simple: I would not scoop dead fish out of the tank. I’d gone through that too often with my previous, softer-hearted-than-I roommate and would not do it again.

So the tank got started and a fish died daily. After about four died, Julie got tired of her chore and just let them sink. A while after that, the carcasses would dissolve, chewed apart by the survivors.

My neighbor Steve suggested we call our tank “Donner Lake.” We taped the Far Side cartoon depicting “The Donner Party Memorial Statue” to the tank — for those who haven’t seen it, it’s a foot between two pieces of bread.

This is turning out to be much sicker than I’d originally intended. Sorry.

I miss my kitty! And now the fish are gone. I feel like Job, and await the coming of the locusts.

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