The Ecology Global Network estimates there are up to 600 million cats in the world.
How the hell did it work out that Carol and I ended up with the two best cats in the whole goddamn world?
And they are not even #1 and #2. They are tied at #1.
The truth is that it is Carol magic that made it happen.
After we had to put Lokai down we went to the SPCA to pick out a friend for Max.
Carol was drawn to a cage with a couple of gorgeous tortoiseshell cats. She tried to get the attention of one of them and the cat turned her back on Carol. The other one came right up to Carol and said hello.
She is the one we took home; she became Lakota.
When we had to put Max down we went back to the SPCA to get a friend for Lakota. That move was prompted by a night when we were leaving to go visit Paula and Bill.
As we walked out the door Lakota was sitting in the middle of the living room floor - all alone - watching us leave.
It broke our hearts.
I decided I would pick out the cat. I pointed one out to Carol, she scooped up the little bugger who promptly scratched Carol's nose when there was a commotion in the place.
We sent that one right back to jail and I backed off, ego deflated.
Carol picked out this little doll of a calico cat, picked her up and the cat put her head on Carol's shoulder and closed her eyes. I was standing behind Carol and was blown away by how immediately content the cat was in her arms.
Carol is the cat whisperer.
We took that precious cat home and she became Maka.
If we are ever again in the position to pick out another cat, I am staying out of it.
Carol has the magic. Carol has the touch.
I am eternally blown away by the depth of solace and peace and contentment I get from Lakota and Maka.
They make me feel so peaceful and loving and just so goddamn happy. It is pure magic and a source of sweet release for me.
You would think I would experience that type of peace from Carol, my wife of 38 years, but it just isn't so.
Everyone thinks she is a sweetheart, and she is, except for the cricket bat that she keeps hidden in the pantry.
When she is frustrated or just plain bored, she breaks that weapon out and beats me mercilessly with it. Usually right after I have passed out in the recliner.
She'll whack me in the head and then pummel me with body blows after I fall to the floor.
I refuse to take my shirt off in public and everybody believes it's because I am a flabby old man.
I don't take my shirt off because my body is covered in bruises.
Deep, purple, blood gorged muscle bruises.
My ribs poke out at strange angles because they have been broken so many times. I look like a Jenga stack.
Still, I love the woman deeply.
I do experience peace after the beatings. When I am lying quietly on the floor, blood trickling out of my mouth and nose, and I look up at her with a crooked smile as she says: "Wanna watch 18 more episodes of NYPD Blue?"
It is then that I am certain of her love.