Domesticating Schrödinger’s Cat

A friend of mine took in a cat she claims originally belonged to a guy named Schrödinger, and she still calls it his. Whenever we get too drunk for me to bike the rest of the way home, she lets me crash at her place. As she walks in, she says–every time– “Where’s Schrödinger’s cat?” I laugh because I’m too debauched not to.

These days my insomnia depends on the clothes I wear to bed; at this point I can’t sleep unless I’m still in my jeans. So a delicious wave of whiskey-soaked delirium washes over me when she doesn’t ask questions about my turning down her offer of pajamas.

Tonight I think I’m clever. After I’m sprawled on the couch and she’s fooling around with something in the kitchen, I yell, What happens when you lose him?

The cat? she says.

I giggle.

As opposed to what other male in your life?

Ya ass. (But she’s laughing too.) I don’t worry
about it. I’ve domesticated him, so it
doesn’t matter so much where he is or
whether he’s dead or alive as long as
I know he’s one or the other, and that
he’s got to be somewhere. I have faith
now in nothing but uncertainty itself.

I thought you were Lutheran.

I’m trying to levitate the situation. Levitate? Add levity… Alleviate? Allevitate? I’ve drunk too much. She says:

Who ever proved beyond doubt the
mutual exclusivity of religions?

Don’t use big words, you’ll give me
the spins. I swear to Christ I’ll vomit
on your shitty Ikea futon.

What night have you not vomited
on my futon? Don’t call Ikea shitty, or
the Ikea gods will find you and curse
you to an eternity of assembling their
furniture. Also I’ll make you come with
me to that purgatory and buy me a new
futon. And put it together while I watch.

Do you have a futon fetish? Do you
want to talk about it? If it’s a curse to
assemble their furniture, isn’t that
just admitting it’s crap?

Stop, or you’ll give yourself the spins.

I let my pointed finger fall back to my chest and marvel at how it rises and falls without my trying. I think to whine,

I was starting to win that one,
and you know it.

Something crashes into something else in the next room, and I laugh and vomit into the bowl my friend has waiting for me. She puts my hand on it, leaving me to my own devices, then stands up.

Where the hell is that cat?
Turn the lamp on.

I can’t reach it with my drunk arms.
Anyway didn’t you just say you liked
the dark?

In so many words. Not when I have
a black cat.

Racist.

Sot.

Love you, you know.

Good. Aim for the bowl.

she says, and fades out. That’s the last I remember before waking up to the smell of a dead cat in a box. But I never saw it, so who knows, right?

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Horns Up, Frankenstein

When the steady flow of missed connections hits critical mass, I am a heat-seeking missile for humanity in all its horror. I need to be overwhelmed, and I will find something to push me over the edge no matter how much dignity it strips away from my neurons and nerves. Usually I fall into music, because it strikes the gossamer chord of ordered chaos.

Tonight I stand stock-still in front of the speakers, feeling life pulse around the stage and praying it will beat itself into me, willing the bass line to defibrillate my heart to life, to shock my brain into sanity. All night I cling to the band’s fingers and lungs as if it matters. How could it not, when it induces a focus that tempers the incessant lunacy which too often threatens the integrity of my mind?

When the melody saturates my brain, when it spills over from the back of my head and warps the social contract I often drag myself through, that’s when I freeze up or cut out or both. The stakes– imaginary and otherwise– are just too high. So I abscond to my basement, where there is nothing to ruin but myself and my own.

On nights like this I could scare off the best of you.