I like dogs well enough but I would never have one in my home. Animals, like plants, belong in the out of doors, not in your house. It’s a controversial stance I know, people love their pets, but I’m not a pet person. We had dogs on the farm but they weren’t really pets, they were more like co-workers. There were always cats around too but they fit better in the category of non-invited guests. As far as pets go that’s the end of the allowable list. Birds? Forget it buddy. Fish? Get real. Don’t even get me started on reptiles, stop pussyfooting around and just get some angel dust like you want lizard guy. Now if you have stables and horses that’s entirely different because those aren’t pets.
What does this have to do with anything? I’m getting there. Why are you always rushing me? What’s your damn hurry? Say what you want about cats but they’re smooth creatures. Dogs are lovable but they’re herky-jerky goofs like a whacky sitcom neighbor. And much like Kramer, Lenny, Squiggy, Mr. Roper, et al dogs can get on your nerves with their blundering. It’s a lot of energy coming at you. Cats on the other hand are generally chill. Even when they’re turning your yard into what looks like a Civil War battlefield with dead moles they don’t get excited about it. Just killing a hundred moles and not even eating them, what?
The only exception to this cat class and cat style is when they drink. When you see a cat drinking out of a puddle or the crick or what have you they get all scrunched down in a way that makes their cat shoulders (or whatever the hell they have) and their cat hips point up in an ugly awkward way. It’s like their body drops softs down to another level while their limbs stay up above. It’s displeasing to my eye.
That’s what Martialla looked like when I found her. We had stopped to get our bearings (we were lost) and while Lucien and one of the Jesus Lady people were messing about with the map Martialla wandered off like she does. She’s going to get herself killed doing that one of these days. I went looking for her and when I came upon her she was all hunched over with her limbs splaying out crazily cat-style.
“What on earth are you doing?”
She looked at me guiltily for a moment and then regained her composure and moved into a sitting position like everything was fine “Eating dirt.”
I couldn’t even laugh, nothing would come out of my lungs for a moment “Why?”
She wiped her hands off in a very prissy manner considering she was just literally eating dirt “It’s something Paul taught me. There’s this grass that absorbs blood which triggers it to bud out and then die. Something about that process injects the ground with sugar, I assume so the seeds can grow better. They’re like sugar beets only instead of storing the sugar in the fruit they distributed it out through the roots. He showed me how to look for the patches of ground that are still sweet.”
“Why were you hunched over like that? Why don’t you pick it up with your hands? You know, the things with the fingers and opposable thumbs.”
She started to say something and then stopped, her face falling “I don’t know. That’s just how Paul did it.”
I shook my head “Jesus Christ.”
“Did you need something?” she frowned at me.
I helped her to her feet and we headed back towards the killmobile we stole from the plainspeople “I’m worried about Lucien.”
“That seems reasonable considering he got shot through the abdomen.”
“Shouldn’t we do something?”
“I’d love to, but what is there to do? First aid for gunshot wound is to apply pressure and get the person who was shot to a hospital right fucking now. They call it the golden hour after you get blasted because you need to get to a doctor inside an hour if you want to live. Since he was shot two days ago and there are no hospitals anywhere, let alone within an hour’s drive, I don’t see what we can do. Not to mention which any knowledge I have is for people that weren’t pumped full of chemicals by the Canadian Military that turned them into Engineer Smurf.”
“There was no Engineer Smurf.”
“Whatever, the point is he’s not normal anymore. I got there right after he got tagged and the wound wasn’t even bleeding like it could have, a stream of Star Wars milk blood would come out every few minutes like it was being shot out of a water gun. His skin doesn’t even feel like flesh, it feels like hardened Play-Do. Whatever the Queen and her Royal pharmacologists did to Lucien and his men I don’t think they’re human anymore. I don’t think a normal doctor would know what to do with him if there was one, which there is not.”
“Shouldn’t we dig the bullet out? Aren’t they always doing that in movies? Put a knife on a fire for a while and slap some whiskey on it and then get to cutting?”
She gave me a sidelong look “You’re not being serious are you? Bullets do damage on the way in. Once they stop moving they don’t hurt anything. Stabbing someone with a hot knife is not helpful in any way. You’ve been on enough movie sets to know that everything they show in movies or TV would be the worst idea in real life.”
I nodded absently “And why is that is?”
“Because movie and TV writers are idiots.”
I bit my lip “Oh right, I knew that.”