Keith Richard’s Cat

Tough Riff-master rocker

Keith Richards writes

in his autobio LIFE

that when he was a

kid, his mother Doris

“didn’t like animals”

and killed all his pets,

including his cat who,

his mother had said,

“was pissing all over

the place.” So little Keith

“put a note on her bedroom

door, with a drawing of a

cat, that said “Murderer.'”

But the parts of this story

that hit me hardest were

Keith’s comment: “I never

forgave her for that,” and

his mother’s reply to him

after he’d called her out as

a murderer: “Don’t be so soft.”

Maybe this, along with the

bullying Keith endured as a

kid, was why he spent much

of the 60’s high-enough-to-die–

despite the money, women,

and musical success. There

are some things we can never

forgive, no matter what the

preachers say. And I’m glad

Keith wrote about his cat the

way he did. It shows me once

again, that inside every tough

guy is a hurt, angry kid, who

should never forgive.

 

— Fyodor Bukowski, author of Mail-Order Annie

 

Opossum in the Road

I have this walking nightmare

that sometimes comes true:

the nightmare is that I see a

wounded animal in the road and

there’s not much I can do about it.

One night when practically

nothing was going according to

plan, the Big Prick in the

sky decided to make things even

worse: I’m driving along and see

an opossum in the middle of the

road, half-upright, and staring

straight ahead. So I pull over,

get out of the car and defying

the inexorable flow of idiotic

traffic, walk up to him or her,

and notice that the legs are

crushed and there’s blood around

the mouth. It was likely the usual

case: some sports fan must have

hit him and just drove off to his

ball game, Wal-Mart, or fat wife.

I call the police, explain, and

ask for an officer to come and

put the opossum out of his misery.

The dispatcher, sounding bored,

says she’ll send someone. Fifteen

or so long minutes later, I call

back. The officers are busy with

“more important matters.” I say if

those cops were real men, they

wouldn’t tolerate a system that

keeps releasing criminals so they

have to catch and arrest them

all over again. Then with an eye-

rolling voice, she addresses me by

name and says they’re on their

way. By then I’m cursing myself for

not having a shovel with me, so I

drive home, grab one, double back,

and see the opossum’s head down–

no life in the eyes. I use the shovel

to move him or her under a

nearby tree. When the officer

arrives, he’s tired, but polite. I ask

him to shoot the poor creature,

just to make sure he’s not

suffering; but the officer assures

me he’s dead, though he doesn’t

seem to give a damn any more

than the endless steam of

motorists, driving by, towards

their own inglorious deaths.

 

— Fyodor Bukowski, author of MAIL-ORDER ANNIE (A Story of Passion and Compassion): MAIL-ORDER ANNIE (A Story of Passion and Compassion)