Jay Keefe: Uber Confessions– Saber Tooth House Cat
Every once in a while, and it’s a great while, I meet someone who I just click with. We just jive, just get each other, and when they go on their merry way, I think to myself, Self, that was as close to a perfect conversation as any you’ve ever had. Doesn’t matter if it was a little sick, a little twisted, a little dark, it was still perfect.
I picked Javier up in the South End at 3 am on a Saturday/Sunday and had to drive him deep into Cambridge, almost all the way to Arlington.
We chatted about family, where we were from and what we were doing for the holidays. After discussing how uncomfortable Christmas dinner can be when politics or religion comes up (we had the same beliefs with both, by the way) we started talking about pets.
What follows is as close to the exact conversation as imaginable (I wrote it out in my head for the remainder of the night and added it to my laptop the next day, so it’d be fresh). Besides, I’ll never forget it.
“Yeah,” I said. “I have two goldens. People kept telling me they’d slow down at three. No go. Then they said, ‘They’ll definitely slow down when they’re five’.
“Nope. Never happened. Then they promised, ‘Seven… seven’s the magic number. They have to slow down at that point.’
“They just turned nine last month and they’re finally slowing down, but just a little bit.”
“That’s awesome,” Javier said. “I’ve always been a cat person. I had this cat for nineteen years, all of my adult life and he’d always bring me presents, almost as if he was worried about me, ya know, like I wasn’t eating enough, kinda like, ‘Here, this is for you. You need to eat.’”
“Let me guess,” I said. “Birds? Mice. Frogs. All of the above?”
“Yup. And it was an everyday occurrence. And I was like, ‘No buddy. I got it under control. I can take care of myself. I don’t need you to feed me.”
“He was looking out for you,” I said. “That’s sweet.”
“I know, right? Then it got me thinking… Tens of thousands of years ago, Saber Tooth tigers had these crazy long fangs so it’d be easier to rip in the cranium of cave men, ya know, to just get in there and shred our brains, to get to the good stuff.
“And here I am, living with one in my apartment. Granted, it’s a smaller version of a Saber Tooth, but it’s essentially the same animal.”
“They’re self-sufficient,” I said. “They don’t need us. That’s always made me nervous. Dogs do. Cats? Not so much.”
“My biggest fear,” he said, “Is that someone with enough money or time or science is going to someday create a house cat that’s just a little bit bigger than what we have now. Then it’ll be all over.”
“So you’re talking cat apocalypse?” I asked.
“Absolutely. I mean, Bob Cats aren’t huge, and they can do some serious damage. Even if a house cat was ten or twenty pounds heavier, I think we’d be fucked.”
“And they’re always looking at us,” I said. “Taunting us, almost.”
“Bingo. I’m telling ya man, animals are going to take their revenge on us someday. Serves us right. Who are we to take over their planet?”
He paused for minute.
He was buzzed, the kind of buzz I always chased after I had my first drink but could never achieve because I couldn’t slow down long enough to enjoy it.
“Did you ever see the YouTube video of the eagle attacking the little kid?” he finally continued.
“I have not.”
“The eagle goes right after him. It’s nuts. It was a fucking baby.”
“That is nuts!” I agreed.
He started giggling.
“I don’t mean to laugh, because it’s a horrible situation, but part of me wanted that eagle to win, to grab that kid and fly off into the sunset.”
We were pulling up to his house.
“Survival of the fittest,” I said. “I hear ya.”
I turned towards Javier and he fisted his hand, raised it in the air and brought his elbow down to his side, in aYes! gesture.
“That eagle had gumption, man!” he announced.
“He knew what he wanted and wasn’t going to conform to his little eagle society. Good for him.”
He started laughing.
“What’s the name of the YouTube video? I have to check it out.”
“‘Eagle Snatches Kid’,” he said, then started laughing harder.
“You’re fucking kidding me?”
I was exhausted. I had been driving for the better part of the last twelve hours. And although I’ve never been good with any kind of titles when it comes to writing, whether it be a poem, an essay, or a book, ‘Eagle Snatches Kid’ was fucking priceless, especially in the middle of Cambridge at 3:30 in the morning.
I burst out laughing.
“Jay, man, thanks for a great ride.”
“Absolutely my friend. Absolutely. What a way to end the night. Thank you!”