Before my wife and kids, there was just me, and a weird ass cat I called Zonker, named after the star of stage, screen, and Walden’s Commune, Edgar Zonker Harris, immortalised in Gary Trudeau’s ‘Doonesbury’ comic strip. Living in our own little piece of paradise, we spent our days on lawn chairs. I was drinking beer, Zonker was downing catnip, as we set out to achieve the perfect tan. Life was wonderfully serene.
When I brought my wife to be over to my place, the cat jumped up at her, and began rubbing up against her. My wife began sneezing, her eyes watered, and her nose became red and inflamed. “I think I’m allergic to cats.”, she said.
“Are you sure?”. I asked.
“Pretty sure.”, she said. “My eyes are watery, my throat is itchy, and I can’t breathe.”
“Can’t you take anything?”, I inquired.
“No.”, she replied, “It will just put me to sleep.” Well, this evening wasn’t turning out the way I planned.
“I guess we should go.”, I said.
“I’m sorry.”, she stated, wiping liquid from off her face. “But I don’t think I can come over, with the cat here.” Now, we had a problem. She was living with her mother, so I knew we couldn’t go to her place. And now, she wouldn’t come to my place, because of her allergy to Zonker.
“What if I locked the cat in another room, and cleaned the apartment, I mean vacuum, spray, everything.”, I stated.
“Well”, she answered, “I guess we could try.”
We went out and got something to eat, and I took her home, with her eyes still seeping, and her nose looking remarkably like W.C, Fields. I spent the next day de-catifying the apartment. I shampooed carpet, swept, vacuumed, and deodorized. I sprayed, bought an air purifier, and washed floors, and bedding. I kept the cat in a spare bedroom, listening to him meow. I shoved a truckload of catnip in there, hoping he would eat himself into a stupor and pass out.
When my not yet wife arrived, she seemed pleased with the effort I had made to remedy the situation. We sat on the couch, and listened to the drugged out cat meow, and charge at the door. “I feel so bad.”, she said.
“Me too.”, I replied.
“I don’t think this is fair for the cat”, she said.
“Oh, right.”, I stated, trying my hardest not to sound sarcastic. “The cat. It’s not fair to the cat. I thought you were talking about something else.”
“Like what?”, she asked. Before I could answer, she started sneezing. Her nose started dripping, and her eyes were running. She started making weird noises, like a seal trying to clear its throat. “This isn’t going to work.”, she added. “I can’t be here. Its either me, or the cat.”
Well, that kind of sucked. I was being forced to choose between her, and Zonker? Interesting, I thought. I had never played ‘pick your favorite p***y’ before. I had no idea what the rules were, but I knew someone was not going to be happy, no matter what I decided. My brain was working faster than I thought imaginable, processing information, and identifying and evaluating scenarios. It was proving to be a much tougher decision than I thought. On the one hand, there was this drug addled cat, who wanted nothing more than the occasional of his back, food, and catnip. And then, there was this wet faced, swollen nosed, coughing and sneezing woman, and when I looked into her seeping eyes, I knew that I was in love with her. “This is going to be difficult.”, I said.
“Are you kidding me?”, she replied.
I knew Zonker had to go. “Pack your bags, cat.”, I said. “You’re out.”
“Are you sure?”, the future Mrs. G. asked.
“It was a tough decision.”, I told her, ” with your wet and swollen face and all, but yeah, I’m sure.”
Now, I will never admit this to my wife, but it was one of the easiest decisions I had to make. The next morning I took Zonker, and all of his belongings to one of my friends, who had no allergies to cats, and had already met Zonker when she cat sat for me several months before. On the drive over I gave him the talk about behaving, and being a good cat. I also apologised for having him neutered. I bought Zonker a going away present, and dropped him off. I went home and cleaned up again. More carpet cleaning, and vacuuming, followed by another round of washing floors, and bedding, preparing for the return of the winner.
I never heard from Zonker again. But they days spent on those lawn chairs with him, will forever be fondly remembered. And looking at my wife and kids, and their partners and spouses, I am almost certain that I made the right choice, even with the soaking wet face, swollen eyes, and red nose.