A great story needs a gripping opening line that fuses mystery together with a desire to solve that mystery, pulling the reader ever forward through the words until they find the reward of greater understanding. Craigslist is known for awesome missed connections ads, great for sale posts, and funny ads for free shit, but this Craigslist lost & found announcement offers that rare commodity, a real comic mystery. The first line is:
“If anyone is missing a cat name Django (pronounced Jango the D is silent) I stole him last night.”
Let’s overlook the uninspired rip-off of Quentin Tarantino’s joke from Django Unchained. We shouldn’t judge the poster for a lazy pop culture joke, not when this CL post offers a more promising beginning than most novels I read. With the second line, the comic mystery only deepens:
“Not on purpose, I was extremely intoxicated and thought he was just some random stray I was rescuing.”
Oh, I love this guy even more. What a drunken sweetheart, stumbling about, rescuing stray animals. I’m assuming it’s a guy based on the syntax and his flawed drunken reasoning. Don’t get it twisted. Women definitely use drunken logic, too. Look at some of the guys they take home and the Vine or YouTube videos they record when they’re “extremely intoxicated.” That said, women don’t often portray themselves as the hero for doing something like drunkenly stealing a cat. But let’s allow our hero to explain how he innocently discovered the truth the next day:
“It was not until this morning when I was haphazardly going for a glass of water that I remembered I took the cat and noticed that he a collar.”
How exactly does one “haphazardly” get a glass of water? Perhaps, the world is often very disorienting to this young man who steals cats. Perhaps he careens through life, just barely able to make it through the day. Maybe he’s the dramatic type. Or maybe he doesn’t really know what haphazardly means but he felt his use of an adverb might make the cat’s owner feel that even though this person stole their cat, their pet is still in good and educated hands. Or maybe he’s just a stoner and everything he does is done somewhat haphazardly. I tend to lean in that direction, but primarily because I think only a stoner would try to decide if a cat was high.
“Django is a very frisky black cat, he also has very sleepy eyes and appears to be stoned although I don’t think he is.”
How much time do you think he spent trying to decide if the cat was high? Which raises a few interesting questions. How do you determine if a cat is high? Do you feed the animal weird shit and see if it eats it? This is my best guess since this seems to be what our cat-stealing hero did:
“If Django belongs to you I would like to give him back, I have been feeding him cheese all morning and I really don’t want him to shit all over my apartment.”
Oh, man. I’m not a cat person. But… cheese? Do you think his milk was just way past its expiration date, and then he saw a block of cheddar, thought to himself- Well, what’s the difference? Problem solved. If he fed the cat cheese all morning long and the cat ate it, on second thought, maybe the cat was high. I don’t know, I’m not a cat person.
I do like how our cat-stealing hero really wants the owners to show up and claim their stolen cat before it shits all over his apartment. Saving a “lost cat” when you’re drunk is one thing. Having to clean up stinky cheesy cat turds when you’re painfully sober the next day, as our hero apparently assumes he’ll have to do, that shit ain’t cool.
More evidence he was raised right, to make sure there are no hard feelings, the cat-stealer tries to end on an up-note. He just wants to get this whole cat-stealing business behind him. And move on with his life. No harm. No foul.
“So please feel free to get back to me and get your cat back. Thanks! And sorry for stealing him (on accident)”
Don’t you love his use of “(on accident)?” It reminds me of the folks who post legal notices on their Facebook feed. And the people who use the term, “no offense,” after they say some reprehensible shit to you. Does anyone really think those gestures mean jack shit? Doesn’t it just make you smile when someone thinks whatever they do only means something if they did it on purpose. Like they’re relieved of any responsibility if they didn’t mean to do it. Suddenly, they’re Zen hippie philosophers.
That’s like life, man.
Oh, I’m so sorry I hit your car in the parking lot (on accident).
Yeah, I kinda got your daughter pregnant (on accident).
Dude, I don’t know how to tell you, but I burned down your house (on accident).
I guess we should hand it to the guy for being cordial. He does say “please” and “sorry.” Clearly, his parents raised him to have manners, and to look out for lost creatures. If only they taught him actions have consequences regardless of intention. Maybe he’ll learn that on his own. If the cat’s owners didn’t contact him that same day, I’m sure he now has the memory of cheesy cat shit cemented as a reminder not to steal cats.
Here’s the original post. Does Django look high to you?:
If you notice, this story took place in Chico, California. It’s a small college town in Northern California. I grew up near there. And the majority of the litter in that town is red plastic Solo cups left strewn in front yards, parking lots and along the sidewalk on any given morning. If you’ve ever spent time in Chico you could easily see how one of the residents might think stealing a cat is a good and fine idea. It’s basically a sleepy drinking town with a college problem.
I’m not too worried for the cats of Chico. Let’s be honest, aren’t we all guilty of poor decision-making when we’re drunk or high? There was one time, I was in a parking lot, outside of a concert venue, and I’d run into my best friend, not knowing he was at the same show. And I swear on your mother, he was petting a brown paper bag… because he thought it was a cat. Which made perfect sense because he’d eaten an eighth of mushrooms. He’d pretty much flipped his wig. I watched him cradle that brown paper bag and lovingly pet it for like ten minutes. I only know it was a cat because that’s what he said it was when I asked him what he was doing. I had to take his word for it, it’s not like the bag was going to meow.
Even as twisted as my friend was on ‘shrooms, and as much as he apparently also felt the need to save a cat, so far, he’s still never stolen someone’s real live cat. It doesn’t seem to be habitual. I think the cat-owners of Chico can sleep well at night, comforted by the fact it takes a very special moonbeam, an “extremely intoxicated” hero, to decide to take someone’s cat home (on accident) and feed him cheese. But who knows? Maybe the cat was just looking to get high.
Buy Zaron’s newest Thought Catalog Book here.