I Killed Artis
I had to. I absolutely fucking had to.
I told everyone, everyone, that she died in my arms at four in the morning.
Truth be told, it was a fucking nightmare.
This is Caveman. He was a street urchin when I took him in a few weeks after my divorce. Motherfucker he could be mean. Not to me, necessarily, but to my other rescue, Lovepie…
So… I was at the animal shelter and I spied Artis, and I thought, maybe Artis would bond with Caveman and Lovepie would be happier because she was sick and tired of Caveman’s harrassment.
And it worked. It fucking worked! Caveman and Artis were inseparable. And Lovepie found peace.
Well… Lovepie died in the big freeze of 2011. I wrote on my blog… Lovepie is dead. Found her frozen outside a few minutes ago. I don’t know why she didn’t come in out of the cold. Perhaps it was simply her time to leave me. She was, and is forever and ever, my little angel.
Caveman died two years later. It was a sweet death. He was maybe 12, and he was always a scrapper. But, he was my bestest friend. Even when he knocked over visitors’ drinks, on fucking purpose, even when he chewed up my mouse cord, even when he would put my hand in a death grip until I begged him to let me go, I fucking loved that cat. He was numero uno.
Lovepie was numero two.
And Artis? She was number three.
I’ve told you how Lovepie died. What I didn’t tell you is this. I suspect that Caveman deliberately would not let Lovepie come through the doggie door the night the temps dropped to zero. I have no proof, of course. Just a suspicion. I found Lovepie that morning a foot away from the doggie door, stiff as a board. Her eyes were open. I brought her in. I thought I could revive her. I was almost fucking hysterical.
Caveman’s death was way more sublime. Happy, even. I could see him getting thinnner, and slower. He didn’t appear to be suffering. Just wasting away. I was OK with that. When it’s your time it’s your time.
One evening I brought my guitar out to the porch and played. And Caveman literally dragged himself out the doggie door and settled at my feet. Content. My friend. My bestest friend in all the world.
The next morning I found Caveman dead. He had gone to sleep inside an outdoor dog kennel. He looked so peaceful, though the fluids which had trickled from his nose disturbed me. Bodily fluids always disturb me.
Caveman and Lovepie (and Artis) are buried in my back yard. Rosemary (that’s for rembrance) is their flag.
Now I come to the hard part. About two months ago I noticed Artis getting thinner. This picture was snapped just before she started losing weight.
And I thought back to Caveman and how everything was clean and neat. So I decided, that’s what I wanted for Artis.
It was not to be.
Please, understand. What I’m about to tell you is fucked up. I can only plead mitigating circumstances. My wife was in a hospital dying of ulcerative colitis. I was alone in the house with Slider (the Westie) and Artis. I had just had surgery for an obscenely outrageous boil on my neck. I was a wreck.
Artis was not dying like I wanted her to. Instead of fading out, her right eye closed, her right cheek puffed way the fuck up, and she started leaking pus and blood.
Stella (before she was admitted to the hospital) suggested I have Artis euthanized. I should have listened.
It got way fucking worse. I’d come home from work and Artis would be sitting in a corner. Sometimes she would cry. I would sit down with her. I’d brush her fur ever so gently. She would purr.
Pus and blood, at the very end, began to leak from an unseen hole in her cheek.
I despaired. I loathed myself. (In some measure, I still do.)
And now comes the fucking end.
I told everyone, my family, friends, co-workers, Twitter, that Artis crawled onto my bed at 4 a.m. in the morning, bleeding and pussing on my white sheets, and that I held her tenderly until she died.
THAT IS ONE BIG MOTHERFUCKING LIE.
Artis did indeed crawl up my bed. And I fucking freaked the fuck out at the dripping blood and pus. I wailed. I thrashed. I couldn’t hold her. I wanted her dead. Was my misery greater than hers? it sure felt like it.
So I went to the garage and I rigged a vacuum hose from the car’s exhaust to a cardboard box. I am crying.
I go back to my bed and gently pick up Artis and cradle her in my arms. She is content.
I take her to the deathbox. I place her inside. I tape the lid shut with duct tape. She butts her head against the top. She fucking wants out!
I start the engine. I let it run for 60 seconds.
I stop the engine.
I open the box.
Her body is limp. Heavy. Dead. At peace. I want to die.
I get my flashflight and take Artis to the grave I’d dug a week earlier. I gently wrap her in an old shirt of mine and place her in the grave.
I shovel dirt.
It is done.
I tell everyone the big lie. How Artis died in my arms that early morning.
So, now I’ve told the fucking truth.
If there’s a god in heaven, forgive me my sins. Especially this one.