If it turned out that the cat I'd owned and loved for twenty-two years had actually always been a giant turtle in disguise, I think the following would immediately race through my mind..
'Did Scott put you up to this? He did didn't he? Fuck him. He swore, SWORE he'd get me back for hiding that book of poetry by T.S Eliot in his sandwich when we were eight, he didn't 'get' any of the poems, plus he found them bland and hard to chew, and I kept waiting for hell to rain upon me, but it just hadn't come yet, and then time passed and it still hadn't come, and then so much time had passed that eventually I thought he'd forgotten, but it turns out he'd just waited nine years then pulled the best trick ever. Damn you Scott. I bet you understand Elliot better than even T.S by now too! Bastard.
But what's in it for you Miss Cotton Face? If that even is your real name? Twenty-two years is a long time to help someone else pull off a prank? I mean I guess living indoors is a nice change from having sharks want to eat you, but why didn't you complain when I'd bring home live sharks for you to eat? Then again, based on the chunks taken out of my left thigh, I was probably the one who ate most of them. They taste horrible while still alive, should I have cooked them? Why am I asking you, you're not a cat, I should ask T.S. He'd know, he's probably one of the few people who got all the way through Hemingway's 'The Old Man And The Sea', if that doesn't have a shark recipe in the back three-quarters, then how on earth did it win a Nobel Prize?
You could have just told me you know. I wouldn't have been that upset. Sure I adore kitties more than literally anything in the universe, and find turtles to be prehistoric looking, (and not in a sexy way), terrible at climbing trees, very reluctant to get their feline-AIDS shot in their back, too quick to lay ten thousand eggs in your sofa cushion, and terrible rat catchers, but we could have made it work, by which I mean I would have fed you to a snake, or OR, dropped you down the waste-disposal. The point is I'd have made it swift, unlike you and Scott who dragged this out twenty-two years!
Still, I guess I'm partially to blame, I should have known things were suspicious when you'd go on those three week long ocean swims, but I thought I'd just inspired you by that time I lived in the bath for a month to prove to my girlfriend at the time that I was as 'hopelessly in love' as she wanted me to be. What's more hopeless than living in a pool of urine diluted water for a month? Plus I still think that she wouldn't have moved on with that other guy if I had have told her I was going in the bath, but how was I to know she wouldn't notice me missing and break into my house to see if I was dead from a self inflicted wound? She knew I was clumsy and yet like playing with super sharp knives!
And yeah, your head and limbs would often disappear, but I just thought you were one of those kitties who'd actually learned to use its shell, I mean some cats barely even seem willing to grow their's in, and you were proud, brave, forward thinking, evolutionarily, the type of kitty other kitties could look at and say 'well that's a more advanced kitty, I should be like that, even if it IS less cute, and remarkably less lovable'. But I was wrong. It's not the first time, I thought my ex would like matching leg bite wounds, but she found my face and teeth full of her flesh 'creepy'.
And I guess this explains why every Halloween you went as a giant turtle, and managed to pull off a remarkable costume, even though you had no money for materials, weren't allowed to use the sewing machine ever since the time you'd sewed your leathery paw to the curtain behind the fish tank, and thought that it was Halloween 352 days a year. But I loved that about you. It felt like that wonderful book, 'The Old Man And The Sea', you know? Just epic repetitiveness to the point of a tedium that could strip paint.
The real question is what do we do now? I don't want a pet giant turtle. But I also don't want to take back the past twenty-two years. All the fun times, watching finding Nemo together saying 'I really relate to a life going down the toilet', going through photos of the ex, with me crying and you rolling in the tears with a frantic spirit suggesting that if you didn't get moisture on you soon you'd die, watching baby turtles climb out of the sofa cushion and try and find the ocean, only to end up being eaten by the next door neighbor's wolf, and both of us laughing so hard we had tears streaming down our face. So I'll admit it, you played a cat perfectly, you're a fine actor. If they ever make a movie of a T.S. Elliot poem that has a giant turtle pretending to be a cat, then you're a shoe in. But I doubt they will, I think Scott is probably the only person who's both read and eaten one his poems, and as we all know, the Hollywood criteria for a poem to be turned into a film is for 62 people to have done that.
So it's farewell Miss Cotton Face. I'll miss complaining to my friends that my cat weighed almost a tonne more than average cats its age, and that cuddling it was like being shot with a cannon. Take care. And as you leave, watch out for the wolf, he has the taste for turtles. Oh I just realized, those were around 26000 of your children! Ha ha. Irony or something. Good bye'.
But of course I never will get to think that, as my beloved cat of twenty-two years did NOT turn out to be a giant turtle in disguise. My twenty-two year old cat turned out to actually be a set of fireplace utensils in disguise! It was definitely a surprise.
Although at least that finally explains why her kisses kept chipping my teeth, but then, what's been pooping in the kitty litter?