Be careful what you wish for
The prologue to my year review
Remember when I said I thought of wanting a cleaning business? Well today, I had my first attempt at cleaning up a crime scene.
And remember when I tweeted that I was going to write a year review on my birthday? I guess, I must first admit that I’ve been struggling to write one. I’ve been trying to for days, but I really couldn’t come up with anything until this incident that made me realize what the previous year has truly been about.
Just a heads up — I’m writing this today but know that, today is not yet my birthday. Today is February 15. I’m writing this right now, on a day after Valentine’s. And before you get excited, you should know that I’m not going to share a mushy tale of sweet roh-manz and a fancy dinner with yellow candlelight. I just slept the whole day yesterday and ate cake brought home by The Father while singing along to the Ghost Fighter opening theme song. The only Valentine’s Day-esque/Valentines Day-ish/Valentines Day-y (whatever) activity that I did just an hour before Feb 14 ended was watch 5 Centimeters per Second.
Claarz tried to break my heart on the day when hearts are supposed to feel special but — booyah! I think I’ve become immune to sad endings, mwahahaha! If your favorite chick flicks leave you weeping on the floor, screaming “WHY?!” or “WTF?!” while throwing kicks and punches in the air, my good friend right there might just be the movie buddy for you.
Anyway, I wasn’t supposed to share how V-day went for me but there it is. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
The Mother hasn’t been feeling well for a couple of days now. I heard that PMS becomes a bigger bitch just before your period permanently ends, so instead of awakening the fire-breathing dragon, I had to volunteer to take on the gruesome task of tending the cave — house! I mean house… while she’s relishing her much needed beauty rest.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Contrary to popular belief and accusation, I’m not lazy. I tend to keep lax but that’s not what being lazy is entirely about. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. As a matter of fact, the only household chore where I fail is at the cooking department. I would love to cook if I knew how. And by that, I mean knowing how to whip up something other than fried food. I can fry and I can even make spaghetti (that’s the only food that matters, actually) but unfortunately, society has very high standards when it comes to other people’s cooking skills. Not a single person has ever agreed that I can cook. Frying was never enough.
Luckily, I didn’t have to think about how to not starve today. But there was something bothering me since last night. And to give you a bit of a backstory, our house has always been a home to many pets. And I say many because we’ve never had a time when we had zero animals to take care of. When I was a kid, a dozen cats to feed was normal. Right now, we only have four cats and two dogs. All the cats were strays we took in. One of them, whom we fondly call The Queen, is already more than a decade old. She’s too old that we can’t recall exactly how or when we got her, but she’s called as such because as many cats have come and go over the years, she’s the only one to remain up to this day. Still callous with her deadpan stare but surprisingly, still very fertile.
The Queen was pregnant for the nth time. She’s been a part of this household long enough that she can call this house her ancestral home. She’s responsible for the birth of our many other beloved cats — Gary, Lily, Kangaroo and Kulit who were adopted by a friend, Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer, and many more. We’ve never had troubles with the total number of pets around, especially with cats because back then, our pet cats were extremely low-maintenance and much easier to deal with. We rarely stress over taking care of them. It is only recently, when we lost Channing and Alex, that we got into extra devoted domestication.
Due to her age, we expected The Queen to slowly get sickly and weak. But instead, much to our surprise, she actually gets pregnant a lot faster than before. While her belly still holds that lumpy, just-gave-birth shape, it’s bound to bear another batch of babies in just a few weeks. How fucking promiscuous.
Now, this is where the problem arises. She’s too freaking old that her body is not capable anymore of producing enough nutrition to make and keep healthy kittens. And holy shitballs, her latest pregnancy is the worst one I’ve ever had to deal with.
You know, cats like to give birth in dark secluded places. We didn’t really care where she gives birth before but this time around, I had to find out. I forgot the exact day when I first heard the newborn kittens cry. My memory’s getting crappier but I know for sure it couldn’t be more than a week ago. I was excited to meet new babies, in the hopes of getting one that’s affectionate or at least, gentle and well-behaved like Channing and Alex. The Little Beast rarely seeks affection and hates even the slightest touch, so I really miss being able to cuddle with cats.
One night while I was under the sheets, canoodling in bed with my phone, I heard one of the kittens crying strangely loud. It wasn’t a cry that sounded like it was hungry or it needed its mother. The sound was almost similar to tightly gripping a squeeze toy — high-pitched and long. It was the first time that I heard a kitten wail like that and it continued to do so for quite some time until I fell asleep.
The next night has come and I heard the kitten wailing again. I wanted to check on it but I was more concerned about it not getting devoured by The Queen so again, I just let it be. She’s been a mom many times before so I trust that she knows how to take care of the baby. I’m just really wishing that it’s healthy so I don’t have to see her again walking across the living room with a headless kitten dangling from her mouth.
I know that sounds sick but to anyone without experience with child-bearing cats, it’s important to not meddle with newborn kittens. You’re lucky if a mother cat allows you to peek at their children because they’re very protective and want newborns to stay hidden and free from danger. Sensing that they can’t protect their babies anymore is one of the reasons why they eat their young. Yup, one of the reasons.
The next day, I heard the kittens sounding like how they normally should so I thought everything was fine. What I did notice, however, was that the sound seemed to come from a different spot now and I couldn’t tell where. But anyway, it’s more important that I shouldn’t try to find them if I want them to stay alive.
It was February 15 and as I was doing the usual things I do, I noticed a foul pungent smell coming from where I first heard the kittens. It was near a pile of boxes of old stuff. That alone was enough indication for me to realize that I will need to face something gruesome. And that I have to say goodbye to the poor kitten who was probably calling out to me for help while being devoured by its own mother. Goddammit.
Left with no choice, I gathered up the cleaning supplies and looked for the exact spot where the kitten could be. Armed with but a handkerchief over my nose, the stench was getting worse as I was moving the boxes one by one.
When all of them (well, most) were set aside and only the big old cabinet was left, the smell was unacceptably awful. It was like poison to your freaking nose and undeniably, it was the stench of something rotting. Underneath that stupid big-ass cabinet was a gap. An open gap, between it and the fucking floor. I honestly, fucking hate furniture with useless gaps underneath. Those tiny gaps that are only high enough to get filled with dust and garbage and to become hiding places for small animals. It’s the dark abyss where your pens can roll into and be lost forever!!!
To make things worse, the gap was unbelievably fucking tiny that if I wanted to check what’s underneath, it’s almost impossible for my head not to touch the floor. And I had to do it. Fuck it! I had to fucking do it!
I turned my flashlight on and pressed my hands onto the cold floor. Holding my breath, I lowered my head slowly and made sure I don’t gasp from the horror, or else I’d be inhaling all the pathogens from the bloody carcass. For two nights I heard the kitten cry in anguish. I was a fool to think that two nights held just one victim.
White and orange, just like Alex and Channing.
I grabbed a bunch of newspapers and laid them out in front of me. I wasn’t supposed to take deep breaths but I needed to muster the courage to grab a putrefying animal. I sighed. How the hell do I do this?
Staring at the mess in front of me, I saw Jason Mraz on the paper. He was looking at me. I swear, he was looking straight at me with two thumbs up.
I. Kid. You. Not.
Jason, I love you but I don’t know what you’re trying to tell me. Why are you here right now with both of your thumbs sticking up? I’m about to dump a dead animal on your face and you seem to be happy with it. I’m so sorry, this is not the remedy or the experience, this is a dangerous liaison.
I had to get going so I reached for the body that was easier to get. There was almost nothing left to it but some limbs and white fur. When I peeked under the cabinet, I didn’t see its ears nor its head. The plastic that covered my hands and the newspaper sheets were thick enough to disorient me from feeling what’s left of the poor thing. I couldn’t look at it and it’s stupid to turn the crunched newspaper sheets up just so I could get a better grip before I toss it in the plastic bag. With both hands, I just pressed the sheets onto each other harder to make sure that the body is contained, sweeping more of the blood at the same time.
There was more left from the other carcass. I could still see its body being whole but like the other one, its head was gone. It was tricky to get this one out because it was on the left side, facing and touching the cabinet wall. I couldn’t position myself closer to it as there was a heavy box on my side that I couldn’t move. Also because of the limited space, I wouldn’t be able to use my left hand. Extending my short arm to the farthest it could, I grabbed the carcass with my right hand. I couldn’t tell if I gripped it properly but I could feel more liquid through the crumpled newspaper with this one. Fresher and more viscous. I swiped my hand across the floor to see if I did get the whole body.
Worst. Move. Ever.
The first truly sickening sight to actually happen in front of my very eyes was here at this moment. I didn’t grip the body right and I swiped it against the floor, disturbing the fat, squirmy maggots feeding on the bloody carcass. It was a scene that happened quick enough for anyone watching to overlook the details but how could I forget how those fat maggots tumbled and rolled across the floor as I swiped the carcass away from where it rots? How could I erase from my memory that I sprawled them across the black void of space under that stupid cabinet like sprinkles on a cake?
Putrid and repulsive beyond words.
The stench was unforgivable and the sight was utterly gross. To anyone wishing that we could smell through television, good luck watching The Walking Dead.
I could tell that the maggots have been enjoying the decomposing kitten very much. It was my first time to see maggots that fat. And as I paused in disgust while I tried to figure out what to do in this horror, they were quick to run away. For some reason, they all ran to a direction away from me. Are they smart creatures? Do they have eyes? Do they know what people are? And they move fast, I tell you. I watched them wriggling away onto the far end of the cabinet, disappearing like magic. How could that happen?
I know for sure, they had no way out. It was a dead end. That cabinet stands on a corner and the floor was concrete. Where the hell did they go??
Before the smell of the exposed decaying kitten killed me, I wrapped it up with newspaper and tossed it in the bag. I lost track of time but I cleaned the crime scene for hours, through the only way I knew how — rounds of wiping and pouring of disinfectants.
Rose and Norah may find my cleaning method insufficient or incorrect, but I didn’t see them dispose a decomposing corpse. Kim and Aggie, hosts of one of my favorite TV shows, didn’t have tips on how to clean up places where dead creatures have rotten. I did what I could and I’m hoping that I did enough.
Rest in peace, dear kittens. I want to hate your mother but I guess, only she could tell if you’re going to survive this cruel world or not. I’m sorry we had to meet this way.
And I really hope I do not die of a disease contracted from this experience.
The year review is here, btw.