I and McFuzzball are creatures of habit, which has effectively led to a cold war in the house. I’m thankful for it, because the tension keeps me wary and is probably why I’m still alive. Our daily routine plays out like the following:
6 AM: My alarm wakes me. I stare at the ceiling and rejoice. McFuzzball hasn’t infiltrated the bedroom and smothered me in my sleep, which means the day is already off to a great start, except that it’s 6 AM and I’m awake.
6:05 AM: I shower and shave.
6:25 AM: I come out of the bedroom, carefully looking both ways, and I see nothing but two globes of fire in the darkness. McFuzzball launches herself out of it, crying, “Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!”
6:26 AM: I make my way down the stairs, McFuzzball winding her way through my legs, all the while crying, “Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!” Her nefarious plot to distract and trip me—sending me head first down the stairs to break my neck without leaving a single incriminating claw mark—fails again. Every day is a new roll of the dice and I rue the day I roll snake eyes.
6:27 AM: I feed McFuzzball. She tells me, “What the hell took you so long?”
6:28 AM: I eat my cereal in peace, knowing there’s no toilet cleaner in my milk. Every cleaning chemical in the house is behind locked doors and McFuzzball hasn’t learned to pick locks. Yet.
6:35 AM: I brush and floss my teeth. Dental hygiene is important.
6:45 AM: I leave for work. Yes, work. My writing, for now, is an incomeless hobby and I have a day job. McFuzzball’s caviar doesn’t materialize out of thin air, as she keeps reminding me.
4:00 PM: I arrive home from work. In the time it takes me to close the door, McFuzzball is back at my feet, this time trying to trip me as I climb up some stairs to the kitchen, all the while she’s crying, “Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!”
4:01 PM: I feed McFuzzball.
4:02 PM: I start making dinner. Typical favorites include risotto and pasta primavera. If each day could be my last, I might as well eat well.
4:30 PM: My wife, home from work, walks in the front door, crying, “Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!”
5:00 PM: I feed her. And me too.
5:30 PM: I finish dinner and exhale. It’s time to write.
5:31 PM: I remember my brain needs lubricant, so I pour myself a glass of scotch/wine/beer.
5:45 PM: More lubricant required.
6:00 PM: Now I’m getting somewhere.
6:10 PM: McFuzzball is crashed out on the far end of the couch from me. I turn to look at her and her eyes are closed. I turn away and, out of the corner of my eye, I’d swear she’s watching me.
6:11 PM: I need another drink.
6:12 PM: Back to the laptop. What am I supposed to be doing again?
6:30 PM: Oh, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing.
8:00 PM: After hammering away at the keyboard for a feverish hour and a half, McFuzzball comes out of her post-dinner slumber to remind me her 9:00 PM feeding is getting close. I don’t know how she does it, but, for an hour straight, she constantly cries, “Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!” without taking a single breath. Maybe she’s undead, but she’s too wily to be a zombie. Maybe a vampire? I’ve always known she was going to outlive me, but this is just bizarre.
8:10 PM: Her meowing is absolutely hypnotic and I find myself slipping into a trance. Definitely a vampire. Or, maybe it’s the alcohol. The end result will be the same if I’m not careful: the cat gets an easy meal and an inheritance.
9:00 PM: My wife breaks me out of my trance (or drunken stupor) so I can feed the cat. It’s 9:00 PM already? Damnation.
9:01 PM: I feed the cat before packing tomorrow’s lunch.
9:10 PM: I climb the stairs to go to bed. McFuzzball races up beside me. There’s a look in her eyes telling me, “I’m not done with you yet, writer boy.” Write? When the hell did I have time to write? I brush my teeth. Dental hygiene folks.
9:15 PM: I play with McFuzzball for ten minutes as she chases a shoelace around the hallway outside my bedroom. I aim to burn the hunting instinct out of her for the night, to take away her instinct to hunt me. Maybe there’s something to it. Or maybe she’s the one toying with me.
9:25 PM: I shut the door to the bedroom, carefully watching to ensure McFuzzball remains outside (those two globes of fire in the darkness again). I climb into bed and open a book. I exhale. My bedroom. My fortress of solitude.
9:59 PM: My wife joins me. I carefully watch to make sure the cat doesn’t follow her in.
10:00 PM: I’ve made it through another day. And it’s time for lights out.