Comstock Profiles: Malice

While accounts may vary regarding who was a true resident of Comstock though virtue of being on the lease or having been common-lawed in as squatters, there is no debate that Malice fit the very definition. Malice, for those of you who were not around during these halcyon days, or have forgotten, or who have no idea who we are and are reading this blog for some reason, was the house cat and witch familiar to Knaus. Rarely a protagonist in these stories, she is an invaluable part of house lore and deserves her own entry.

            In the weeks leading up to move in day, recounted in an earlier entry, Knaus approached me with the admission that he had rescued a kitten from a dumpster filled alley, no doubt in Hell’s Kitchen, and was hoping I wouldn’t mind if she became a house resident. At the time, and because of the room coup, we were making decisions bilaterally, expecting the other two would fall into line easy enough. The expectation proved correct for the most part, at least back in the beginning of things. I said I didn’t mind so long as he took the responsibility to spay and de-claw her, as well as attend to the feeding and litter changing on a regular basis. He swore it would be so and I took him on his word. Malice then became a bona fide member of the Sanitarium, the name Dave originally gave the place that never really caught on and was dropped by the second year.

            Arriving in a house full of goons, Malice was a tiny creature of no more than half a pound soaking wet, but with the heart of a wild razorback hog. While she started, and may have developed into, an ordinary housecat, living with us had its effect on her potentially calm and aloof demeanor. She was often placed on ledges, locked into cabinets though purpose or carelessness, and chased around the house by drunken oafs. The final straw I feel was Jason’s penchant for locking her in his room with him. Malice, having a more refined and powerful sense of smell than us, must have been driven insane by the very environs and thereafter became a hell spawned force, red of tooth and claw, ruling the lowest yard of each room.

            Our first year, or the better part of it, we had a workable balance of 1 mean cat to the number of humans in attendance. During this time, her descent into madness became finalized and the cat we all loved to hate was complete. Knaus, having forgotten his heartfelt promises to disarm and de-sex her, left her to her own survival devices. Her claws were registered weapons drawn at the slightest provocation and employed without thought. One of her more delightful habits was to go charging about the house full tilt and scramble fully up the first person she encountered. This was particularly painful in the summer time as she found bare flesh to be suitable substitute for clothing. As purchases of cat food became increasingly rarer until they ceased all together, she generally fed off of kitchen scraps, and having the keen sense to prey upon the weakest of the pack, would steal food directly from Jason’s plate. Her litter box, cleaned but once in the first October, became a mountain of odorous feces until she took to using the crypt, and by default Jason’s socks and underwear, instead.

            I am convinced to this day that she was indeed a witch’s cat who traded up to a darker master. On more than one occasion I entered Knaus’s room to find her perched upon his chest, sitting upright and staring intently upon his sleeping face as if to steal soul or power from the dark lord himself. While I do not believe in the supernatural, this proved the best evidence I have been presented to date. She also enjoyed climbing out my window to take up sentry on the Florida room roof, and there one day made a friend. Sitting on my bed I heard a cacophony of screeching noise from outside and stuck my head out the window. There did my wondering eyes did behold the cat, sitting upright, facing an enormous black crow perched on the same roof, not 3 feet from her. The cat meowed and the crow cawed its message of doom. A few minutes later the bird politely exited, the conversation complete and any agreements understood. I witnessed this occurrence once more although I can still only guess at the content of the unnatural palaver.

            At some point I attempted to introduce a new member to our menagerie; a snake, caught and delivered to me by one of my devoted customers at Collector’s Inn. It was an 18 inch garter snake, and I felt it would go well with our décor, installed in a fish tank upon the mantle next to the ugly lamp and beneath the perpetual Halloween cobwebs. To our combined pleasure, Jason was afraid of it, making it welcome at once. Malice, I felt, was immediately jealous of this new denizen and began to plot its end. One day I came home to an empty house. As always, my first action was to check on Boscoe (a name I later took to calling Aaron), and found him missing. The tank top, a piece of sturdy wood with a rock on top, had been jostled aside. I looked to the dining room and found my poor Boscoe completely shredded, in dozens of mangled pieces and partially eaten. Malice, furiously proud, sat atop the table and eyed me with bemused confidence. I cancelled all plans for procuring fish.

            One of the delightful side effects of Malice maturing into a fecund young beast was her going into heat for a solid week each month. During these happy periods we would be treated each night to hours of horrendous howling as she vented her frustrations and called though sound and scent, every tomcat in a 5 mile radius. No matter where she set up shop for the evening, the sound would carry as it were directly outside your door and emitted by riled, flesh eating banshees from the foggy moors of the old sod. Despite our incessant entreaties to Knaus to address the problem, his steadfast approach was to do nothing and hope the problem went away. I did notice that during these periods he tended to become even more of a ghost in the house than normal.

            While in heat, Malice would redouble her efforts to escape from the house. It is reasonable that she wanted away from the premises; who could blame her, but during these times is was for the purposes of having a train of horny tomcats run on her. It was well understood between all of us that kittens would not be a desirable addition as it could tip the balance of power in the animal’s direction and we were a hairs breadth from being routed as it was. It was inevitable, I suppose, that she did indeed escape in the fall of ’93 and returned to us days later calm, worn, and in a family way. The potential fathers, which may have numbered in the hundreds, like the animals they were, avoided all responsibility and slunk off never to be seen again.

            Malice being pregnant represented one of the more peaceful periods at the house. The beast, tempered and restrained by her condition, was no longer the terror that threatened our lives and limbs unprovoked. Knaus during this time also made himself scarce as though a shamed father presented with the visible evidence daily of his progenies slutty behavior. The clan Frank was faded from the picture by then, and Jason worked long hours, perhaps with forethought that he would need new pants in the near future. It was not to last.

            One chilling December evening I sat alone in the living room in a rare moment of peace at having the house to myself for a change. My Christmas lights blinked, the fake tree stood tall and unmolested due to its nemesis being weighed down, and a fresh spray of fake snow adorned the windows. I looked down to see Malice staring up at me, as if needing my attention. It was then I noticed that she was considerably thinner than earlier that day. The dark day had come around at last in the twilight of the year. Following her down to the basement and into the darkest, most recessed storage area, I found a box full of discarded clothing and 4 miniature versions of Malice. My gorge rose. Did Malice lure me down here to give her hungry young the first taste of human blood? Upon closer introspection, I concluded this was not likely the case. Malice actually appeared betwixt and befuddled about what to do with these things that came out of her.

            I brought the box upstairs to the dining room with the mother following me closely behind in curiosity. Once settled, she sat there looking at the box and back to me as if to say, “That’s just great. Now what?”. In her meteoric rise to power she had on the way lost such basic knowledge as how to be a mother. I put her in the box where she sat on the heads of two of the kittens and looked at me. I then had to push her down on her side and hold her there until her miniature replicas latched on to her protruding udder. Understanding at last, she allowed them to feed as her pretties needed strength for the coming revolution. When done, and perhaps fearing the coming of torch wielding villagers, she took them in her mouth, one by one, back down to dank recesses of the basement.

            Having a house full of kittens who were very much their mother’s children was less enjoyable than one would think. They were assigned names to some extent, although multiple appellations. The largest was Death, a proud male, strong and completely amicable. Next was Grover, whom Jason claimed for his own; weak, small, and of poor hygiene for cat, dog or sewer rat. These two would remain with us for the duration of our stay. One, with crooked back legs was known as Froggy or Dogfodder. The last could not be agreed upon and officially became known as Nameless. One of the more amusing habits they cultivated from the get go was to create an opening and then tunnel throughout the innards of every piece of stuffed furniture we had. Inside, they would wait with cunning patience for some unlucky schmuck to come close enough, then burst forth like an Alien from Bishop’s stomach and attack the startled fool with teeth and claws. Callers to the house were often treated to unexpected screams mid conversation as their place of choice was the couch near the phone.

            Time passed and we were able to unload two of the four on unsuspecting folk and somehow managed to avoid receiving them back from scratched and harried new owners. The other two grew big, especially the large male, Death. Death, upon reaching maturity at 6 months, found himself in the same condition as his mother – clawed and fully sexed. He began a particularly delightful habit of spraying every object and corner of the house with his foul, pungent urine, laying claim the entire place. This heinous activity had one shining moment; however, as he managed to spray Jason’s leg as he sat eating his evening meal. The house began to reek and as summer approached, the heat began to bake in the smell and intensified it considerably. Everyone began to gag upon entry.

            Where pet ownership degenerated from amusing, to annoying, to frightening, to disgusting, in the end it became absolutely loathsome. Death’s maturity resulted in him coming into heat, often at the same time as Malice. Although rudimentary attempts to keep them separated were made, it still failed to prevent one from coming to the table with a plate of food, only to find screaming cats fucking upon it. As expected, Malice once again found herself in a family way, only this time with Deliverance country monstrosities. Where witnessing cats boning was enough to curb the appetite, walking in on a group of cats devouring one of their mutant young is truly a revolting sight. Fortunately, this was in the last month of our occupancy and reflected well that it was time for the experience to be over. On our last day Knaus packed up Malice, Death, Grover and whatever mutant kittens still survived and took them away, never to see the house again.

            I saw Malice one last time after the Comstock experience when home from the Air Force. I stopped by the Knauses and came up. Paul managed to find Malice in the sea of other cats that occupied the apartment. I approached her and she sniffed my finger in curiosity. The deep and buried memories of her youth must have manifested as recognition flashed in her eyes. She bit me and stalked away. Last I saw Knaus, back on New Year’s Eve of ’04; he reported that Malice was still alive, although advanced in age. I imagine her sitting there still, plotting the day when she will escape the prison of her dark master and instill a rule of fear once again.

           

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11 Responses

  1. I regret our treatment of Malice now, but we were stupid college kids. Of course I could use that excuse for most of what we did.

    It can be noted that Grover, or as everyone buy Jason called her, Froggy, got that name because she has splayed out back legs and could run faster backwards than forwards.

  2. Yes, not everything here is something to be proud of. I must say that the amount of cat crap and urine became overwhelming near the end of the time at Comstock, to the point where one night at 5am I had some serious respiratory distress. Of course the smoking in closed rooms and the layer of filth, ash, and feces on the dining room (gaming) table was bad. I eventually boycotted coming over.

  3. Don’t forget to write the story of Wrinkly Bill.

  4. I forgot to add one particularly annoying aspect of the Malice experience. Jason, when looking for the cat, would call out, “Mally-ally-ALLLLLL-ice!”, in a loud, chirpy and incredibly douche bag way.

  5. Ug! I forgot about that. Now it is gonna be stuck in my head!

  6. Two of the mutant kittens were given to my cousin. She lived out in the country and, being near feral already, they eventually ran away.

    I remember one particluar instance of someone blowing pot smoke into the kitten’s faces.

    I also remember that Malice always had problems feeding her ckildren. There were several instances of them ganging up in a hoard, rushing across the room, knocking her down and then feeding, while she struggled to get away.

  7. My favorite part of the cats was when they would climb the Xmas tree Wolf so lovingly decorated, then he would enter the room, see the cats hanging from the tree, knocking off ornaments, and freak out. “Why do you let them climb the Xmas tree!” he would scream as he ran for his spray water bottle, “because I don’t care”, I would say, then sit back and watch Wolf spray the cats, who would scamper from the tree and knock more ornaments down and sometimes the tree.

  8. Death, I remember, was called that because he was all black, and a crooked tail, which, when upright, looked like a scythe.

  9. When is someone going to tell the tale of Wrinkly Bill?

  10. This is up to Wolf.

  11. I’ll get to it eventually. I should have fit it in with the Malice story in hindsight. The whole Wrinkly Bill affair is but a few paragraphs worth, even with my tendancy to ramble on forever.

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