Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Young Max: Soon to be a Moroccan Classic

Like most Cats Of Mystery, I take great pains to conceal my true identity so that I might wander the streets of Agdal anonymously and unhindered in order to distribute kitty food to the city's scrawnier felines. Nonetheless, there are a handful of you in the city who can place face to name, and one of you has broken your code of silence by asking me to blog about an incident which I had recently relayed to her. I normally don't accept "requests" but that has more to do with the fact that no one knows who I am rather than any sort of high blog-groundism on my part. I am, after all, a Cat of Mystery.

A colleague of mine teaches young children, pre-teens. A few weeks ago, in a class about emotions, one girl raised her hand to say that she had something to be happy about, that her parents had just given her a new puppy. She had named it Max - a pretty groovy name for a Moroccan pup.

*Sigh* Yes, this is a dog story and I bet you know already that it isn't going to have a happy ending. If, like me, you were traumatized by Old Yeller as a child, I suggest you stop reading now and go here. You have been warned.

To resume our story of horror. Last Saturday, my colleague noticed that the once ebullient little girl was rather glum and had not participated in class all morning. She asked the little girl if everything was okay, and the child responded with this tale of woe (I warned you):

Max was dead. (I warned you). The little girl's grandfather had visited the previous week and the Evil Grandfather (as he will now be known) doesn't like dogs. The fact that Evil Grandfather doesn't live with the family and visits sporadically is inconsequential. Evil Grandfather simply doesn't like dogs. So Evil Grandfather took Max and dragged him out into the street and anchored the pup's leash to the road with a rock. Evil Grandfather returned to the house and compelled the little girl to look out the window and watch as a passing car struck and killed the dog. (I warned you).

In the arcadian fairytale kingdom that I live in (where people are intrinsically good), I'd like to think that the driver of the car that ultimately hit Max swerved to avoid him. Of course, people like the Evil Grandfather would have long been banished from my realm, making this entire paragraph moot.

So as the little girl sobbed and heaved and convulsed to her story's conclusion (with the teacher generously matching her tear for tear), a classmate of hers broke out into peels of laughter. Perhaps the beastly boy thought that she was on the cusp of a punchline or perhaps he's as evil (albeit in a shortened condensed form) as the Evil Grandfather. The teacher erred on the side of caution by accepting the situation's most logical interpretation and tore the Mother of all Strips off the loathsome child for his callousness and insensitivity.

I don't mind telling you that I was bawling by the end of this tale. This was like Old Yeller and The Yearling all rolled into one horrible flashback in which, as a child, I realized that I would never understand a grown-up's world.

As a Cat of Mystery, I guess I'll have to keep one eye on Agdal's roads for condemned pups on my nightly rounds. As if I didn't have enough to worry about. This winter's kittens are just weeks away from going into heat themselves.

Alas, there is no happy ending to this story (I warned you) unless I can sell the movie rights for "Young Max" to Disney and finally make my fortune. Since that's rather unlikely, the only thing we can hope for is that Evil Grandfather will live to a long ripe age and when the little girl is all grown up, she'll drag Evil Grandfather out into the street and anchor his jellaba down with a rock. Then, behind the wheel of her Fiat, she'll gun the engine and just as she lets loose on grandpa cries out, "This one's for you Max!"

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