I am perplexed, but that has become the norm in the course of this inquiry. I do in fact feel closer to this man, but my head is foggy from drinking in the dark and staring at the back of an easel, lit in the soft pink glow of a sun-faded neon light outside the window. If Cat was a painter, I see no evidence of any of his work. The couch in his old room is not very comfortable for sitting, and I don’t feel much like laying down across it, either. I’ll drink vodka on the rocks, thanks, as I understand it to be Cat’s drink and we share an appreciation for the honesty of an occasional clear spirit. He’s complete scum, but Churchill did lend his name to this drink, at least by reputation. 6:1 vodka to vermouth is a dry martini. 6:a spray from an atomizer would be extra dry. Drinking straight vodka while staring at a bottle of vermouth? A Winston Churchill Martini. Without all the racism for garnish, I trust.
There are more “Tails,” as you knew there must be. I personally love them, perhaps because I feel like the author writes the same way I think, or because I am being fooled into thinking these entries are somehow more honest in their brevity and perfunctory presentation. Or maybe they simply go better with olives. Either way, a few more of these might add a little levity for contrast. Take my mind off of the weight of Cat’s words prior. I get nervous when I think I’m getting too close to the man beneath the man, as if I don’t really belong there at all.
Written in dark pencil on the back of a colored flyer:
We lost Sparkles again. Hopefully not for too long, we need him around. You never really have Sparkles anyway, but you know when you have lost him. An eerie calm sets in, the edge gets dulled, and then you have to worry about missing something because you are not as sharp. He will be fine, you never have to worry about that.
FIELD NOTES on the SUPPORT (2 of 2)
They call him the grim reaper, which is not exactly fair. He is identified by the city from which he hails, but it holds nothing for him. He is handsome, exudes a nervous calm. Everything will work out when you are with him, but he is not a fixer. He can communicate with the general populace, the civilians, but he would prefer not to. He is safer when he is with us, and we are ultimately safer when he is with us also.
We do a job and he is in a Leonard Cohen t-shirt, making certain everything works out. Cohen is young on the shirt, though he was never really all that young. The only album of his that made it East, where I came up, was one at the moment when he was ready to stop being young at all and became instead timeless. Never old. I think of Ballad of the Absent Mare when I see him out there. Grazing away.
He has little reason for fear. That is important of the support. There are different levels of what they call entitlement. The feeling that you deserve something that has already been given. Like it was simply destiny all along. He does not have that, it simply seems not to occur to him. He is generous in an offhand way. Not showy. This makes it much easier to trust him. The civilians should not trust him, but we are forced to, and it is a good thing. This may prove we are not civilians.
He pulled a rusty knife once, “just to test it.” I wish I had been there to cheer him on. I walked through the rooms of his place, one to the next, wondering if it would end. It was just one after the next, a sitting room, then a library, then a dining room, then when they call a den, a few bathrooms, though never a bedroom, but I never reached the end. I put my hand on each door frame as I walked through it. None of it was opulent, but it never stopped. This is a symbol of great wealth, where the rooms never seem to stop. But he doesn’t seem to care, and neither do I. I watched two women pass, and I thought they would kill each other, or else embrace. They did neither, and the iciness still hangs in the air, watery daggers from the corner of our building in winter. He did not draw his knife then, but he might have had his hand upon it.
I do not know how far we would get without the support, and I am glad I do not have to find out.
On lined paper, torn from a notebook, yellowed from sun:
I am sitting in a place called “All Saints,” waiting for the next job, which will be modest, but they are each important. The walls are brick, but I would prefer to sit outside, for as long as I can stand the smell of American cigarette smoke. It is not that the cigarettes come from here, but that those who smoke them are desperate. The walls are covered in slogans and black silhouetted birds against a silver-sprayed wall. “Fight War Not Wars.” “He Who Fucks Nuns Will Later Join the Church.” “If You’re Gonna Scream, Scream With Me.” It all seems to make sense when it is written in the same place at the same time. Still I wonder if these people would fight if they had to. I think they might. That could be enough.
They all talk at the bar.
“Which saint is your favorite?”
“Oh, I could take or leave any of ‘em.”
“Archie Manning or Chris Bailey?”
“I don’t think that’s really that clever.”
“Listen man: I’m in love, you know what that means?”
“Love like L-U-V?”
“Oh, I like that very much! I think you know exactly what I mean!”
It will be kids like this who will make the difference. It will not take that many, not at first. It is too bad that it always has to fall to them, but they are willing to make decisions where the adults are not. I will always be accused of being a kid for my decisions.
Cat In The Hat grows sharper in these later Tails. His observations are more directed, and I read some frustration in what he has to say. I want him to be all right, which is a silly thing to want for someone you have never met. The pages in this box seem somehow brittler, as if they will fall apart in my fingers if I sift through them too much further. I feel it is safe to say that there are no answers at this point, and I am truly uncertain what the questions even are. The whole crime seems little more than a lark, quickly written out of Cat’s history, and if serving one of his friends is an explanation, that is the explanation I would prefer. But it isn’t about my preferences, in the end. It’s about representing faithfully the end of an arc which no one forced me to begin. So let’s wind down this myth is the style best befitting its subject, that we might portray enough of this person to allow the reader his or her or their opportunity to decipher as they might.