Cat Hair everywhere Ran away But it’s still there Fat cat crying Hurricane Katrina survivor Feline PTSD sufferer Thirty days gone We thought the dog ate yer Ran out the door Always scared of your own shadow Never been outside before You were courageous that day though
For several days over the last couple of weeks, I’ve come across the topic of Faust via different forums: Facebook, Twitter, etc. Anyway, this recurrence has reminded me of an occurrence that took place when I was 15. My mom took me and a friend to a book store in an area mall, I forget which one. I’d just finished reading most of The Vampire Chronicles in which Faust is referenced many times. So, I wanted to read Faust. I really enjoy books that lead me onto other things, that reference classic literature or themes about which I can learn. One thing I enjoyed about Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles was her use of geography. I even did a report for my sophomore geography class, a project that required us to read a book and describe the different places written about in it, on The Vampire Lestat (I was already reading it at the time, so I figured, What the hell?).
At any rate, I asked the bookstore clerk about Faust, as I wasn’t able to find it on the shelves. He rudely advised me I should have come as soon as I’d gotten my book list because they’d run out from other students buying them up. I was so confused, and I asked what he was talking about. He asked me if I were buying the book for school. I said, “No, I’m buying it for myself.” His response, “Wow, impressive.” I still took him for a dumbass.
Epilogue: He ordered the book, and I read it. Then a pen pal of mine sent me copy of the book written in both English and German, as I was studying German at the time. I still have both copies. They survived Hurricane Katrina in a plastic Rubbermaid container that, although it weighed at least a hundred pounds, floated inside my house. All of my books were left unscathed.
My husband actually discovered them, and my cat, just a day after I’d written in my journal how I wished my books and my cat had survived. It was 33 days later. The cat has since run away, but the books remain.
Shark Week has ended, and I must admit I am having withdrawals. It happens every year. See, I really like sharks. Like, a lot.
I’ve even acquired the moniker “Nell Shark”, given to me by my dad when I was a teen. I wasn’t only given the nickname because of my love of the carnivorous fish, but also because there was a time when I could consume anything I wanted, like a shark, and my dad would joke that I’d probably swallowed a license plate somewhere. This name was also born from a nickname given to my dad in the time of Saturday Night Live’s Land Shark sketches. He’s often called Lan, and so he became Lan Shark. Being his offspring, I suppose it was only natural that I also share the shark title. Over the years I’ve taken on more of an image of a whale-shark, but I digress.
If reincarnation exists, I want to be a shark. I think it would be wonderful to swim freely in the ocean, at the top of the food chain, not a worry in the world. Except for, you know, commercial fishing nets, shark nets designed to protect beaches, fishermen killing you for your fins, and crazed people hunting you because they think you’re going to chomp innocent surfers and swimmers for fun. Besides all that, I think it would be real nice. I’d even make extra sure not to accidentally taste anyone, which as we all know, could result in maiming or killing them.
Speaking of hunting sharks and sharks accidentally tasting people, one of my favorite movies is Jaws. I love the movie, although I don’t love what it did for sharks. I must make an admission here, as well: I’ve never read the novel.
I know. I’m sorry for my literary sin of loving a movie for so long without reading the story which inspired it. Truly repentant. My penance will be to read War and Peace twice and recite The Illiad fourteen times. I’ve never read War and Peace, either, but I imagine reading it twice would be quite the compensation for any wrongdoing.
But now, now I can claim absolution! For I have received my copy of Jaws, the novel, written by one Peter Benchley (I understand Mr. Benchley and his wife became advocates for shark conservation after seeing the anti-shark furor created by his novel and from Steven Spielberg’s movie which came out a year later) .
And I didn’t just buy the novel, I bought a vintage (sure, why not?) hardcover copy. It’s used, not in mint condition, but in good condition. The jacket is a little torn, but the book itself is in tact. It was cheap, and it smells delicious. Ecstasy! Is anyone not excited by the smell of an old book? It’s just me, then? All right.
I was pleased and surprised when the book arrived. When I ordered it, I was under the assumption that I was ordering a used copy of a print reissued in 2005. But no! It’s the real thing, baby. Not some reissued young whippersnapper copy. I’m very happy.
To a lot of people this is a silly thing about which to become excited. Oh well. Not to Nell Sharks*.
*My son, Robot Boy, is also a big shark fan. Even at his young age, he watches Shark Week programming, and chomps like a shark on the chewy tubes given to him by his speech therapist. Once, before he was sick, Jaws came on television. Fearing he would be afraid, I stood in front of the television as Jaws attacked some folks on a banana boat while blood filled the water. RB saw Jaws’s attack anyway, and instead of crying or getting scared, he started shouting “Rawr! Rawr!” pretending to be Jaws. His nickname is Chompy Shark.
As a writer, I let few things go unnoticed. Things that have little or no significance in real life may spark a certain interest in my mind. So when we were paid a visit by a certain individual of avian nature, I was quite taken with him.
It’s not the first time we’ve had this particular visitor. He came once before, cawing and pecking at the ledge, presumably trying to snatch up tiny insects scurrying there. He wasn’t coy about trying to get our attention. He was rather photogenic, too.
Now, as some of you may know, traditionally having a crow caw at the window of one’s sick room is not something you’d want. But I grew up on Poe and Hitchcock and King and all things delightfully frightful. I’m not superstitious, as a rule, and I had to capture this beautiful ebony bird. My only regret is that I didn’t have a better camera.
I suppose he saw his reflection in the window as he scuttled back and forth on the ledge, peering into our window and the window of the room next door. I wasn’t perturbed by his presence, but he seemed to look at me-right at me-and so I said to him, “Your services are not needed here.” To which he cocked his little head and with a look of apparent understanding in his coal-black eye said, “Caw!” then flew away.