Friday, April 11, 2014

Faking Disability - #fridayflash

“He's not disabled. He doesn't look in pain, I saw him smiling yesterday. Sometimes he jogs; he must, since I've seen him in sweat pants. Cripples can't exercise.”

I've heard him laugh. His back can’t be that bad, that's just something he tells the government. He's lazy. He's a liar. Sure, sometimes he goes to his room for two hours, sometimes for a day, but he comes back acting normal. Bet he’s jacking off, and if he can jack off, he's not that sick.”

“When he staggers around like that it gets a lot of sympathy, but he’s not a hunchback. He could stand up straight if he wanted. I’ve seen him do it for photos. It’s an act.”

“No, he’s probably drunk when he’s staggering like that. I had an uncle who liked to get fucked up, but the government didn’t pay him for it. Being fake disabled is a sweet gig.”

“How much do they pay him?”

“Too much, that’s how much, to just pretend like that. It’s depressing to look at, with that stupid tremor. How's he make his leg go like that?”

“Depressing because it’s an act?”

“…Yeah. Yeah.”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

John Adapts to Having a Cat

So, yesterday was not my day. While I don't want to go into everything that happened yesterday, it began by burying the family cat, Marshal. Spring had softened the ground enough to confer him to earth, and he'd been waiting long enough for it.

Marshal and I were not friends. He was my sister's cat, though she left him with us years ago to move closer to work, in an apartment that forbade pets. I am extremely allergic to animal dander, and above all danders, cat dander is the worst. Lock me in a room with a cat for long enough and I'm dead. That meant that Marshal spent his life in our basement, with a door leading to the outside where he could prowl and menace the squirrel population.

We had to adapt to each other, because often I'd be the only human contact Marshal could even have in a given day. And further, being the eldest male around, I quickly became Marshal's alpha. He would claw and bite the ladies of my family. I still chuckle remembering the one time he bit my foot as I was too slow to bring his food; I knocked two knuckles on the top of his head, soft but swift, and he looked so surprised that there could be comeuppance for his actions. He never bit me again, and starting that night became much more affectionate.

That was a problem for me since I'd get bleeding hives from a cat rubbing on me. I bought plastic gloves to pet him, and in warmer weather would occasionally wear an old blanket so he could sit on my lap for a while. Even that caused severe asthma attacks.

Marshal never understood why he couldn't rub against my leg or sit in my lap like he could on other humans. However, to illustrate the point of Dr. Pavlov, he learned that he wasn't allowed to. Last spring he finally adapted to following me to the deck and sitting underneath my chair, resting in the shade I created. By the end of summer, he was routinely beating me to the chair for his spot.

It was as close as we could be. Sometimes I'd bring fresh copy out to edit, and talk out plotting problems with him. He was a terrible editor, and if he managed to drool on a page I'd have to throw it out. There was something to having another pair of eyes, sapient or no, to look into as I chatted. There was even the benefit of having those eyes attached to a mind that couldn't understand and thus couldn't object to whatever I was saying, permitting me to have company without distraction. He was a good listener.

A person can adapt to a lot.
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