Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Rice Allergy

Rice hated that cat. They heard him swearing at it every time he went down stairs to feed it. He kicked gravel at it when it came near him on the driveway and insulted his sister’s choice of pets. They said he really loved it, deep down, somewhere. One time his sister thought she’d caught him petting the cat with a blanket wrapped around his hand, but he denied it later.

He had wicked allergies. Rice was cursed with asthma so severe he couldn’t run or live in a room that wasn’t vacuumed daily. A dozen things could trigger harsh attacks, but the worst was cat dander. The normal person had a cat dander allergy index of 70, at which point they would have almost no irritation if a cat fell asleep on them. Rice had a cat dander allergy index of 1620. His index sounded like a year in modern history. If he lingered even for sixty seconds after giving the cat its food he became so violently sick and remained congested for a week.

He said that didn’t figure into the feud. It only meant the thing was forced to live in the basement, which was fine with him if it had to live at all. No, he simply loathed that loaf. Hated that it didn’t contribute to the household finances and was always meowing for attention. It’s food cost more than his did. If no one else was home and it cried for food, he’d whip open the door and kick at it. Then he’d go get its supper.

Cat dander was just one allergy, though. And allergies were just one of his problems. He was made from frail stuff. In his twenties the doctors found cysts in his lungs. They grew no matter what chemicals he was bombarded with.

Until that morning, he didn’t know that doctors actually told you that you had a month left to live. He’d thought TV made that up.

His sister rushed home when she got his message. She found his shoes by the door. Strangely, she found his socks a few feet later.

He wasn’t in his room, nor in the kitchen. Going downstairs, she saw his jacket cast over a chair, along with some bags from the pharmacy. A trail of Benadryl bottles lay leading to the basement door. There was another tossed on the steps leading down to the basement. Like all the others, it was empty.

The light was on. She called his name, but he didn’t answer. The cat meowed instead. It didn’t come to her like it normally did.

Rice lay on the basement floor, limbs splayed akimbo. His feet were bare and his eyes were open, but didn’t move in response to her presence. The cat lay on his chest, licking his chin.


  1. I'm glad he went out showing the cat some affection. :)

  2. Loved the line, "His index sounded like a year in modern history." That's the year that the Pilgrims sailed on the Mayflower :)

    Very clever.

    Hope you're feeling better. Please, no walking about with a cat underfoot.

  3. Thank you both! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm healing from the surgery, little by little and day by day. It'll be quite a while before I'm back to normal, but now I can sit up and write for a bit, so things are getting better. Haven't been able to go downstairs much, and haven't seen my sister's cat at all. I wonder if he thinks I'm dead.

    Oops. Did I just give away the inspiration for this story?


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