Kitty 3, Braineater 0

Twelve years ago, we had two puppies who were less than a year old. When they went through their chewy stage, among the things they destroyed was my pristine Mattel Rodan from 1979 — they tore it to tiny vinyl shreds, really. I was surprised at how thoroughly they pulverized it. I learned a tough lesson: as long as I had animals, I just couldn’t have nice things.

I remembered that this evening, as I went to look for one of my prized possessions: a press packet for the movie Green Slime. It was an original set of promotional materials for the movie from 1968. Precisely one newspaper ad had been clipped out of the back page; evidently the movie had a very limited run at that particular theater. My plan was to scan or photograph some of the pages to go with my podcast about the movie.

I found the press kit, all right… along with the press kit for Hannah, Queen of the Vampires and my enormous 6-foot by 4-foot French poster for Lucio Fulci’s 7 Note in Nero. They had been knocked off their shelf (probably a year ago), dragged to the back of the closet behind the shelf, and shredded to make a nest for my weird little goblin cat. There’s barely a piece left of any of them that’s more than two inches long and a half an inch wide (The kitty also got the sheet music for the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto… but as I haven’t touched the instrument in 25 years, that’s not such a big deal).

I’m not as mad as I thought I’d be. After all, I’ve been in this situation before… many times. Nine years ago, someone — possibly the same cat — unerringly chose some of my favorite books off the shelf and turned them to confetti. My complete annotated collection of M.R. James ghost stories was one volume I lost. Also, I was about to write a lengthy comparison between the 1944 Ray Milland film The Uninvited (often described as the first serious ghost story in Hollywood history) and its source novel, Dorothy Macardle’s “Uneasy Freehold”; but somebody shredded the book before I got started writing. I haven’t found a replacement copy since.

The thing is, this particular kitty, who has spent most of the last 14 years hiding in a shadowy corner — Lisa calls her “the troll” — has in the last couple of years decided to become a house cat. She’s always been fond of me, if not my belongings… and now she likes to come into my room while I’m working and visit. She’ll sit on my lap and rest her greying chin on my hand as I move the mouse. She’d sit there all day, if I let her. How could I stay mad at anything that cute? And in the end, who needs “nice” when you have a cat?

I’m going to keep telling myself that, because it’s just occurred to me that I can no longer find my Seventh Voyage of Sinbad re-release poster, and some of those fragments in the closet look awfully thick…

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