Thursday, October 22, 2009

A very special place for Mrs Piccolo re:Tokie

I was working at sea during the time I was Tokie's human.

During that time, Mrs Piccolo took care of him when I was out of town.

For the last year and a half of the little guys life, he needed fluids several times a day.

For a year and a half, Mrs Piccolo never slept for more than 6 hours at a time.

She was also there to make the call to put him to sleep when the time came.

For this, I am eternally grateful.

How to read the SEC chronicles

Start at the bottom and work your way up, starting with the ARfcom papers.

In memory of the little guy

This was written a couple of years after I lost Tokie. A lot of people asked me to try and train another cat, but cats cannot be trained for mischief, they are born to it as I found out.

The era of the Seeing Eye Cat is over, and I'm glad to have had him in my life. I'll not mourn his passing, but will rejoice in the time we had together.






Fact is, Tokie was one of a kind. I've never seen an animal like him before or since. He was a man's cat; he was an officer and a gentleman with a kittytude.

He was a high-stepper and he would walk along with me proudly as though he had a sense of purpose. There was an air about him that was special. Men that HATED cats would watch him and comment "Now THAT'S a neat cat.

He had the saddest eyes, though.

I disciplined him once for pooping on the floor, and the look he gave me was one that crushed me. It was a look of hurt, anger and the face of someone that has been cheated by his best friend. Ten minutes later, I found out why he had pooped on the floor. His litterbox was a mess. I was the one that had let him down.

I apologized as best I could, and never let his box get so full again.

I also never disciplined him again, either. I never had to. If he did anything to upset me, I'd look around and see that I had failed somehow.

I learned a lot from that demanding little kitty. All 7-1/2 pounds of him.

I'll never forget the look he gave a waterproofing salesman one day. Tokie sat down next to him and the salesman swept him off onto the floor. The look he gave the salesman was priceless, it said clearly 'You're in deep. deep shit."

Then he looked at me as I was quietly getting up to my feet and smiled. He knew.

I didn't throw that salesman through a closed door that day because Mrs Pic opened it before I could. (She later regretted it because she wanted a new door and it was a couple years before we got to replacing it.)

Then the little guy jumped up on the window sill and watched the salesman chase all of his paperwork around, scattered by the wind. He seemed amused.

He was extra affectionate after that. A pest, really.

He ruled the Piccolo household, like a Field Marshal.

I don't think he liked a whole lot of people. He didn't hate them, I think he just didn't have time for their shit or their stupidity. When the teenager at the mall actually got down on her knees to give the cat directions, (For you newbies, he was playing the role of a Seeing Eye Cat, I was playing the blind man.) the teenager was speaking to him in baby talk, like he was a little kid.

Tokie's face was priceless. It read, I'm not stupid, you are!

I think we're all going to have to face it. The era of the Seeing Eye Cat is over.

When Tokie died, they broke the mold.

A visit from the Atomic Energy people

Shortly after Tokie and I became a team, it was discovered that he was sick. It was a thyroid condition and the best route to take to get him squared away was radioactive iodine. He was taken to a clinic in Cleveland, and I consider it to be the best $1000 I ever spent.

When I went to pick him up about a week later, the reunion was a sight to behold. We started screwing around in the waiting room playing like a couple of little kids, The woman behind the counter called the animal techs out to watch and when we were leaving, a couple of them told me that getting to see a reunion like Tokie and I had was worth the lousy pay they made.

I also was told that the little guy was supposed to sleep in the other room for a couple of weeks, but I was not planning on having any kids, so I didn’t worry too much about it; Tokie slept on the bed with me. Actually, we slept on the couch because Mrs. Pic was worried about it the radioactivity. She worries too much about nothing. They also told me that his used kitty litter was radioactive and had to be held in a separate trash can for a couple of months before it could be disposed of with the regular trash.

OK, fine. Back then, Neighbor Bob and I were finishing our childhood, or having our second childhood. Whatever. Anyway, we were always pulling dopey little pranks on each other. Bob asked me about the trash can that was always outside the garage and I told him about the radioactive waste.

A few days later he had to go to the hospital for tests and hornswoggled one of the horsepistol people into snagging him a radioactive waste sticker out of X-Ray or someplace. He sneaked by and slapped it on the trash can. It was cute, but his timing was lousy. I think he was paying me back for stuffing a store mannequin into a body bag and putting it in his trash on trash day. The trash guys panicked and called the cops and the resultant circus was pretty entertaining.

Tokie had been home for a little six weeks, I was working a three on/three off rotation and the kitty litter trash can was filling up pretty fast.

The woman across the street was pregnant at the time, knocked up higher than a kite, Hormones were raging, and her head wasn’t really screwed on too tight. I was at sea, but due in later that evening when she noticed it the sticker. Bob had wandered up the house to ask my wife when I was due in because he wanted to borrow my Sawzall or something. Maybe he was visiting Nurse Connie, I forgot which. Anyway, the woman across the street spotted him and called him over.

She asked him about the nuclear waste sticker on the trash can, and Bob forgot that pregnant women have no imagination or sense of humor.

He told her, with a straight face that I had built a small reactor in my basement and not only was getting free power, but was selling it back to the power company. Most people would have rolled their eyes at such an off the wall answer, but most people are not suffering from a hard pregnancy, either. She was a real mess at the time without any help from anyone else.

She took Bob’s word as Gospel and reacted.


I don’t know exactly she called, but it was not the local police department, and I can only imagine her babbling incoherently blithering on and on about her fears of having a three headed kid with nine fingers on each foot and a three foot-long tail. I feel bad for whoever took that call.

I pulled in later than evening, and I remember and it was a hot day, hotter than hell. When I got home, I noticed the litter box needed a little cleaning, so I emptied it into the trash can. When I opened the trash can, it about liked to knock me clean across the driveway with six weeks of sun baked cat urine.

The Air conditioning in the house was acting up and I would have slept pretty poorly, except for the help of a couple gin and tonics. I sacked out, not waking up Mrs. Pic.

I woke up a little late the next morning I was up early. I ate and sat down and started reading the paper and unwinding. It was shortly after nine when I saw a car park on the street outside the house and saw two men get out. I looked out and saw it was a government automobile.

These two clowns started putting on white disposable suits. If you pinned a long tail on them they would have looked like a couple of sperms from a Woody Allen movie. It was pretty funny. Then they opened the trunk and got some kind of machine out. I grabbed a GI .45 automatic, jacked one in the pipe, set the safety, stuffed it into my belt, and covered it with a shirt tail. Then I bowled down the stairs into the basement and into the garage, opened the garage door and met these two clowns in the driveway.

“Who the hell are you and what do you want?” I demanded.

I got some mush faced answer about being some kind of Federal agents and one of them showed me some kind of ID that I saw right off meant that the pair of them were paperwork commandos. One of them asked me about my reactor.

“What reactor?” I asked.

They explained that they had gotten a report of some kind about some guy running a homemade reactor in his basement and that he was storing nuclear waste I a trash can outside his garage.

“Are you Federal marshals?” I asked.

“Well, no, but if we need one….” The little guy started.

“Stop,” I interrupted. “Let’s do this right. Let’s get one. Wait right there.”

The neighbor diagonal to me was an FBI Special Agent, and I saw his car was home. I remembered he was on vacation and ran over to his place. He was up, doing something or another to his lawn.

“Grab your gun and badge,” I said. The Atomic Energy Commission is at my house and they might need an FBI agent.”

The look on his face was priceless. He took one look across the street at the two clowns and went agape for a second, and then he went inside and came out with his badge and his pistol in his belt and wandered over.

The two clowns hadn’t bargained for this. Tom, the FBI agent asked the two clowns a few questions and had a real amused look on his face when the pair of them explained that there was supposed to be a reactor in my basement.

“Let’s go in and check,” I said. “Oh, yeah. I forgot.” And I looked at Tom. I drew my .45, cleared it and handed it to Tom. The two clowns almost shit themselves and Tom smirked. Tom knew I was a shooter, and we had shot a couple matches together. He wasn’t too worried.

The machine the clowns had was a Geiger counter of some type and they wandered around my basement for a few minutes, getting only what they reported as slightly higher than average readings. It was probably a small amount of residue from the kitty litter box.

It was starting to get pretty warm outside, and after snooping around for a few minutes, they started outside and looked at the trash can and the Geiger counter started really making some noise.

The little guy pulled the lid open and reeled at the nasty stench of six-week old cat urine.

“Why didn’t you tell me you had a sick cat?” he asked.

“You never asked,” I replied innocently. I turned to Tom, “Did you hear them ask?”

“I don’t believe I did,” he replied, chuckling.

Then Tom handed me back my .45 and the two clowns stared a second, took their leave and went to their car, climbed in and drove off quickly. They were in such a hurry they simply tossed the Geiger counter device into the back seat and left in their sperm suits on.

I never saw them again

A whacked out night with the little guy

It has been about 12 hours since I got home last night and I have very mixed emotions. The whole evening was one of truly wild craziness, and Neighbor Bob is probably still shitting little green apples. He’s a pretty straight, solid family type.

When we got home, the 45 YO Registered Nurse next door had LEOs in her yard. The LEOs waved us over and we had to deny just about everything from breathing to conspiring committing long hair. I think I managed to get off the hook by admitting that I was D.B. Cooper. Whatever. As Richard Nixon said, “Deny it, even if they have pictures.”

This was not one of the local LEOs that I knew, and conspiracy to do serious bodily harm is not to be laughed at. Still, with no rehearsal, the RN and I managed to deny everything.

Earlier that night I had loaned her my chain saw as a tool to run some asshole off with whose dog was using the neighborhood lawns as a toilet. Apparently, she had chased the asshole down the street, babbling incoherently giving the dirty bastard a greater fear than that rank amateur by the name of Charles Manson was capable of on the best day of his life.

Idiot had called the cops.

After a series of dubious looks, the LEO left. Connie invited us in for a drink and an after action report. Bob, being very polite, did something totally out of character. And why not? The whole night was a Total Zoo. And it was only about 8:45 PM. Time to go out and do some serious drinking. Delayed stress was on the way. All three of us were shaking like dogs shitting peach pits.

We barged into Connie’s and headed straight for the liquor cabinet. Bob grabbed the first thing he could get his hands on, a bottle of rum and poured about six ounces down this throat. Connie stared. This was not like Bob at all. I polished off about 2 and ½ inches of Irish Whisky from the last of a jug of Jameson’s. She didn’t bat an eye. She also didn’t bat an eye when I opened her refrigerator and whipped out a knife and cut off a chunk of meat for kitty, who had been in the middle of the ruckus.

She’d seen it before. More than once. She’s been one hell of a neighbor, and is a damned good holistic nurse to boot. She knows Mrs. Pic doesn’t serve red meat and she has had me over for a steak dinner more than once.

And no, I ain’t hitting it.

She also displayed her ability to do the right thing once more; she handed us beers.

We were both still shaking. So was she.

I tossed the empty jug out and Connie told us about chasing the damned dog owner down the street with my chain saw, cursing loudly. About this time, the pair of neighbors from across the street knocked on the door and entered. Don and Dawn, Fred and Lois. Lois immediately asked if they could borrow my chain saw. I agreed.

Connie handed me back my .38. It was unfired. I checked. Thank God.

I also went into Connie’s garage and felt the chainsaw. It was a bit warm. It had been run. I brought it up and handed it to Lois. Lois is pretty competent; she grew up on a farm.

Visions of Lois chasing the owner of the Phantom Crapper Dog down the street did not bother me one bit. She has a pretty good head. I offered her the .38, and she refused.

“I got a .45,” she said. “Empty the litter box since you emptied on his yard?”

I stared. Word was out. “Today was trash day,” I said.

“Where the hell were you two, “ asked Connie.

“Out,” I said. Bob and I got up and headed to my house. Bob went straight to the reefer and grabbed each of us a beer.

Where had we been?

We had been to the porn shop with the Seeing Eye Cat.

We pulled in driving Bob’s truck. Bob held my arm and I had kitty on my leash and had my white cane and sunglasses on and in we went. This place is the epitome of a dirty bookstore, with peep shows for all types, all types of porn for every taste. The place draws weirdoes like a magnet, and here we were.

Once inside I stumbled around like Ray Charles. Bob took one look and realized he was out of his league. For certain, this place was weird.

It was also packed. The place reminded me of the song Dr Hook recorded years ago about ‘Freaking at the Freakers Ball’, or some such shit. There was a couple there, he was about 20, and she was in her mid 40s. They bore a strong family resemblance. Mother and son? I really wondered. This place was scary.

But not really weird enough for me. At least I won’t admit it. There’s really nothing here to hurt you, but this place is truly strange.

Bob adjusted and started looking around. The woman behind the counter was a beefy bleached blonde with enormous tits that looked like she could beat the holy hell out of the pair of us before breakfast. She was to be feared. I think she had been the onetime rough and tumble Madame of a whorehouse that had been closed down by the state police a while back. She sure looked tough enough.

I remembered her from when I had bought something there for a bachelor party about four years ago.

I managed to halfway fool the woman, but she appeared skeptical about whether the cat really was a guide animal. She said nothing. In fact, she seemed amused. Some scabby-faced guy mumbled something about being allergic to cats.

Bob said to him simply, “There are 50,000 carry permits in Allegheny County.”

“You packing? “ he asks.

“No, I’m criminally disabled for hacking up as asshole that gave a pal of mine shit once,” he said.

“Then you ain’t carryin.’”

“No, but HE lives in Allegheny county,” he said, nodding to me.

“But he’s blind.”

“He ain’t criminally disabled,” said Bob. “ All he’d have to do is pass it to me. Blind people with Seeing eye Cats carry to protect themselves from Seeing Eye Dogs.”

“Stay away from him,” said the beefy blonde. “he’s a guide animal.” She was laughing her ass off.

He wandered off. He looked kind of shaken up.

Next thing, Bob, whose curiosity overwhelmed him, opened a box that held a 16” warty dildo and held it up. “You gotta be kidding,” he said. The beefy blonde gave him a dirty look.

“You’re not supposed to open boxes,” she said.

“It was already opened,” he said.

Kitty obviously wanted to leave.

“Give it here,” I said.

I felt my way down the leash and held the dildo under kitty’s nose. The plastic aroma made kitty snort.

“It’s been used,” I said. “Cat’s sure got a better nose than I do!”

“Someone oughta call the Board of Health,” said Scabby-face, indignantly. “That can spread disease!”

The blonde instantly threw all four of us out, Scabby face, Bob, Kitty and I. All four of us, out the door. Scabby Face hit the bricks fast. He was gone in an instant with a look of fear in his eyes.

We both laughed. A first for both of us. Kicked out of a porno shop! Weird, but not totally.

It was the parking lot that got totally strange.

Some wholesome, clean-cut guy came up to me. About 20 feet behind him was a woman dressed in an outfit that would make a stripper blush. I looked over his shoulder, appearing to be blind to him, but my eyes were popping out of the sockets.

She was in the tightest little black dress I’d ever seen, fishnets, spikes, false eyelashes and fingernails. I think the dress was actually an undergarment made to flatten a woman out. She was pouring out of it, and there was one hell of a lot to pour out!

The guy seemed pretty unsure of himself, and somewhat embarrassed.

“My wife has a fantasy,” he said. “To be pimped out. It’s gone on ever since she had a breast augmentation.”

I nodded.

“She says one time and it’ll get out of her system.”

I felt bad for the poor bastard. On the other hand, she made me pretty damned hard!

“Fifty bucks,” he said. “she’s yours.”

“Has she ever lost a child?” I asked.

“How’d you know? A couple years ago,” he said.

“Counseling,” I said. “Take her to counseling .Same thing happened to a pal several years ago. They got lucky and worked it out. Know another guy. Same thing, only he didn’t get lucky. Once wasn’t enough, she became a whore and last I heard, died of an O.D.”

“Fifty bucks’ll get you anything,” she said. She hadn’t heard her husband and I.

I grinned and pulled out my wallet.

“Don’t have fifty,” I said.

Bob hadn’t heard hubby and I, but he heard her.

“Hey, Pic, if you need money, I got some,” he said.

I gave him a dirty look, and he picked up on it. Thank God. Visions of babbling my way out of this were clouding my brain. The woman was HOT. Hotter than the 20 year old sandwich shop clerk, and the sandwich shop clerk had been dressed and designed by a professional drag queen. Ain’t NOTHING hotter than a woman that’s been dressed and made up by a drag queen! Most of them look pretty good, and when you got a drag queen designing the real thing, got good materiel to work with, things give the word ‘hot’ a new dimension. She was hotter than the 20 year old chick!

“Only got ten,” he said.

Kitty pulled on the leash and we wandered off to Bob’s truck. Praise be to God.

Behind us, the guy was stuffing his wife into the family car, and off they went. She looked pretty disappointed, but off they went.

The beefy blonde looked out the door, so Bob and I grabbed kitty and we hopped into Bob’s truck and left.

I already told you about what we came home to.

an old man has a fist fight.

This is a PRE SEC tale of Tokie and I, happened about 10 years ago before i started doing the sunglasses and cane business. It really isn't too pretty a story, but I suppose I ought to tell it if the coast is clear.

All I will say is this: It involves a smart ass 17 YO punk kid, a cat, $10, some missing teeth, and a lesson taught regarding cruelty to animals.

The $10 wasn't paper money.

FWIW, the atty visit is family business.OK this is well before Tokie became the Seeing Eye Cat and shot to stardom at AR-15.com. This was when he was just another nobody cat that had been rescued by Mrs. Pic.

Shortly after the little guy came into my life, we found out he was sick. He was eating like a horse, but not gaining any appreciable weight. A trip to the vet and blood work told us he had a thyroid problem. We took him to Cleveland Clinic for radioactive iodine therapy; the offshoot being a visit from the Atomic Energy commission, thanks to Neighbor Bob putting a Nuclear Waste sticker on the trash cans which is another tale of laughter in itself. Oh, well. Someone remind me to tell that tale of woe and governmental stupidity. If it hadn’t been so funny, I swear I’d have shot Neighbor Bob.

Anyway, the little guy got better and would walk with me on a leash and I often took him on my rounds.

Work was going OK; except my vessel had been sold out from under me and I had to go through the madness of the bid process to find another permanent job. I never lost any work, though. I worked relief where they sent me, but I was truly a gypsy. I never knew how long I would be, or on what boat, so instead of using the company supplied bedding, I brought my own in the form of a lightweight sleeping bag. The sleeping bag started getting a little funky, so it was wash time.

Everyone knows that the average washing machine is a little too small for sleeping bags, so it was Laundromat time.

I had gotten off the day previously and still had the sleeping bag in a backpack. I decided to get that job taken care of. I put Tokie on his leash and we hopped into the pickup and off we went to the bank to get some scratch. We entered and the teller smiled, but did not boot us out. Banks are hit or miss over some things, and although this was not a case of Tokie being in his more famous role of a Seeing Eye cat, it did look a little odd. The teller was amused, so the bank let us slide.

I got myself fifty bucks walking money, two twenties paper, and ten bucks silver for the Laundromat. The paper went into my jeans pocket, and I dropped the roll of quarters into the patch pocket of my barn coat. I noticed the quarters were in a new style roll of some kind of plastic shit and scowled until I remembered I had my rope knife in my pocket.

We got to the strip mall where the Laundromat was and I got out of the pickup with Tokie on his leash. He balked a little at first, but started walking alongside me. I had parked some distance away from the laundry.

We wandered up to the start of the sidewalk and started down the strip, sassing by one of the stores. Someone looked at the sight of a cat on a leash and looked amused. We walked on.

A big teenager came toward us, head on from the other direction, and I gave him a passing glance. When he got closer, I looked a little closer. He was about seventeen or so. On an even closer inspection, I realized he was one of those ‘overdeveloped’ kids.

Most of us have had a kid like that with us in school. I know I did, his name was Larry. Larry was taller than the rest of us, and had probably started shaving at about ten or so, daily at about eleven and by the time he joined Scouts, he probably had the 5 O’clock shadow by two in the afternoon.

Larry was a pretty good kid, really. He was sort of a gentle giant. However, some of these overdeveloped kids either from teasing or whatever can turn into bullies. Something told me the kid in front of me had shaken down more than one of his schoolmates for their lunch money.

I hoped he didn’t have a penchant for animal cruelty. I wasn’t going to stand for that for an instant. We faced each other and made our passing arrangements. One whistle. We would pass each other portside to portside, and I veered off to my right to facilitate a save passage. Tokie was hipped up on my portside.

This was my first mistake. I should have held out for a two whistle passing situation, and put Tokie against the building, where he would have been a little safer. The kid held course and speed, but I was still a bit wary. Instinct.

At the last minute, I jerked the little guy out of the way of a mean spirited ‘accidental’ kick.

My temper flared and I called the oversized yard ape a few of the things I heard in basic training and started in on his parentage, birth and legitimacy. Instantly, I knew I had my hands full, so I opened the door to the floral shop, tossed Tokie inside, leash and all, shouted for someone to hold on to him, closed the door, dropped my pack and faced the oversized orangutan.

I wasn’t going to start anything, but I wasn’t going to give an inch over this kind of shit. Not from snot nosed kid like this, or anyone else, for that matter. There was no excuse for this and I wasn’t going to put up with it.

I sucked it in for a second and decided I was going to play this one to win. Not just the battle, but the war. I was not going to go on the offensive. That would be a case of winning the battle and losing the war. I wasn’t really going to go into a defensive position, either. That could be a losing situation. My plan was to try putting myself into a counter offensive situation. He would start it, and I would finish it. I also knew that I had witnesses. The florist had snagged Tokie’s leash and looked out the door window.

I was a bit out of practice. It had been quite a while since I had been in combat, but I guess I hadn’t really forgotten everything. Of course, to the soldier, combat is pretty clear. Win or lose. This was different. I didn’t want to wind up in jail, either. The kid was, after all, a kid. He was boy in a man’s body. In court, they’d put him in a Buster Brown suit, give him a lollipop and he’d look like a nice little boy some mean old guy brutally assaulted for no good reason. I’d hang.

We exchanged insults, I was soft, and he was very loud. This was another thing in my favor. The witnessing florist couldn’t hear me, but she heard his threats. They were loud, ugly and violent. This was in my favor.

I egged him on quietly another time and he played into my hand. He shoved me.

I hit the wall harder than I had to, for show and bounced off.

“Don’t hit me!” I shrieked in a loud, high pitched panicky voice. He neared me again. I held up my left hand as if to fend him off and he neared me closer. Suddenly, my left hand thrust forward and arrived in his face. My index and middle fingers hit his eyes.

Moe Howard would have been proud of me. All of those episodes of The Stooges I had watched over the year had paid off. I had disabled my opponent with a near perfect Three Stooges two finger shot in the eyes. However, I realized I had screwed up. I had pulled the punch a little too much.

I figured I had only a few seconds before the shit was going to hit the fan and that things were not going to be very nice. My kindness was hurting me badly. I pulled the punch because I wanted to simply temporarily disable him. I didn’t want to detach retinas or do permanent damage.

I figured I had a couple of seconds, and it was time to end the fight here and now. I balled my fist and at the last minute, realized that I was making the same mistake twice. My hand darted into my coat pocket and I grabbed my ten dollars laundry money and stepped to his left side and waited a second for him to move his hand. He moved it out of the way, exposing himself for a good shot and I took it. I hit him as hard as I could, heard a snap and wondered if I had busted a finger like I had years ago.

The kid hit the pavement like he was a sack. His mouth was a bloody mess and I knew it was over, at least the combat part. I also knew I had to boogie on out of the area, and fast.

The door to the florist shop opened and two women walked out. One of the women looked at the kid, then at me.

“That kid has been trouble for months,” she said. “He finally got it.”

The other woman looked at him a bit more carefully.
“Why didn’t you just shoot him?” she asked. She was being sarcastic.

I lifted my coat, exposing a .380 automatic. “I didn’t think that was necessary,” I said. That opened here eyes wide for a second.

“I guess you’re right,” she said. I relaxed a bit. I knew these women would tell the police what happened and put me in a good light. I snagged Tokie and started to leave.

“Leaving?” asked the florist.

“Yeah, I’m an adult and he’s a kid,” I said. “Under those circumstances, I’m going to wind up in jail. If I leave and you two tell the cops what happened, there’s a good chance they won’t come looking for me. They’ll take your word for it.”

“I think you’re right,” said the older woman, thoughtfully.

The younger woman then did a funny thing; she took some flowers out of a vase and poured the water on the kid. He moaned softly. “They do this in the movies,” she said.

I took off.

Three miles down the road, I pulled into a bar with Tokie and downed a fast triple shot of brandy. I was trying to beat the after action shakes, but I was too late. The bartender knew something was wrong, so he ignored Tokie. The shakes started in hard, so I downed another. Then I realized I had slammed about 8 ounces of hard liquor on an empty stomach. I was hosed. Driving home was out.

I asked for the phone and called Neighbor Bob at work. He grabbed an employee and was there in about fifteen minutes. They took my truck home with me in it.

About a week later, I ran into a cop I knew at the 7-11 and he gave me an odd look and asked me a couple vague questions, I gave vague answers. I swear he knew about it.

A month later, I passed by the florist again and she told me that she didn’t think I had anything to worry about; it seemed the cop who showed up knew the kid was a troublemaker, too. She also told me she had overheard the paramedics say it looked like a broken jaw and some missing teeth.

I’m not really proud of this, but it is part of the relationship I had with Tokie, and it belongs with the Seeing Eye cat stories. FWIW, I have changed the places slightly and mentioned no names.

I’ll say this: If Tokie was still alive and this happened today, I swear I’d do it all over again. I can’t stand animal cruelty.

Why the cop tipped us off.

Kitty was OK; this was more of a social visit. Dr Shirley had moved and her clinic was across town. I was glad to see her, and so was Kitty. After a brief visit, we left.

On the way back, Bob and I decided that we ought to eat and decided to reroute down to the Strip District. This is the area in Pittsburgh where a lot of good foods come into town, and is just about the only place in the area where one can get decent seafood. At least in my opinion. We decided to hit Wholley’s Seafood for lunch.

”Bring Kitty in with us?” asked Bob.

”Why not. We’ll get him a little piece of halibut.” I answered.

”Ever occur to you that the little guy might go nuts in a seafood place?”

”I planned on it”, I replied.

”A cat in a seafood restaurant oughta be more chaotic than 19 blind lesbians on a tuna boat! Oh, well, what the hell.”

I grabbed my cane, doffed my shades, grabbed the little guy and off we went. Kitty was making a beeline for Wholley’s.

None of us wanted to get booted out, so we played this deal pretty straight. Some boss type looked at us, but decided that he’d probably better shut up and take us at face value. A blind patron, his pal and his guide animal.

He even asked if kitty wanted anything and fixed him up with a very nice piece of baked halibut. Free. Pretty nice of him.

Bob and I had a cup of chowder and a pretty good fish sandwich. We all ate and left.

Bob was chuckling that we’d gotten away with bringing Kitty in with us.

We were headed back to the truck when I saw her.

”Bob, target of opportunity, range 75 yards, It’s that damned reporter that raised hell at the match a while ago” I said, quietly.

”Oh, shit!” said Bob. And with that, he peeled off out of formation like a P-51 pilot after an ME-109. He vanished.

Kitty and I proceeded and the reporter addressed me. I played dumb and kept moving.

”Hey, you with the cat!” she said, loudly.

”Who, Me?” I asked.

”Is that a guide animal?” she asked.

”Now what do you think?” I answered, just on the edge of nasty.
”Would you like to see yourself on TV?”

”Whadda you, some kind of magic eye doctor?” I snapped.

”Oh, I’m sorry”. Anyway, I’m a reporter from STUV-TV and we’d like to interview you. We’ve never seen a cat used as a guide animal and it might make a pretty good human interest story.”

Bam! Snagged the bitch! Payback time!

A few years back when the media was playing the “militia scare” business up, this little twit had shown up at a local sportsman’s club and shot film of the rapid fire portion of the National Match course, zooming in on 2 National Guardsman and a Vet in BDUs. That evening it was aired in the context of being some sort of ¡ “Paramilitary training” going on in the area. The club came damned close to shutting down their DCM/CMP program for a while.

And here I had the bitch! Cameraman and all. HAH! I’ll fix THIS twit!

So I gave her an interview.

I stood there with Kitty, and looked off center toward the camera and explained how Kitty had been trained by a retired Barnum and Bailey lion tamer, and that HMOs are starting to use trained cats instead of dogs, and in general, with a straight face, gave her the biggest crock of pure, 100% unadulterated first-class bullshit that I’ve ever produced.

When the interview was over, Kitty and I started up the sidewalk. Neighbor Bob popped straight out of nowhere and rejoined the formation. He had pretty much heard it all and was laughing himself silly.

We drove home and watched the news nightly for the next week.
Nothing.

I went back to work and forgot about it. I guess they figured out that they’d been had and hadn’t used the tape. It became a dead issue.

I was at sea weeks later, and as I crawled out of the rack, my shipmate looked at me.

”Some guy name a Bob called. He says call home” He said.

I called. Mrs. Pic told me an anonymous caller that was looking for me worried her. She said that there was something about the voice that worried her a bit. She also gave him a date to call me.

I assured her things would be all right, and reminded her that the .45 was ready to go.
A few days ago, when I got home, the caller called again.

He told me that there had been chaos in the TV station a day after the interview. Just a couple minutes before airtime, the cameraman had run a computer search on the subject of “Seeing Eye Cats” and had gotten a link to ARFCOM. Chaos had reigned as they replaced the interview at the last minute with some copy they had on file about something or another. (Mrs. Murphy supplies Mexican Army with Clam Chowder comes to mind.)

Had the interview aired, there would be a good chance that a competitor would have aired it poking fun at the other TV station. This means it probably would have gone national.

The following morning the reporter stomped down to the Police Station demanding that the evil perp that had lied to her be apprehended. The desk sergeant took her complaint and told her he’d look into it.

(Right now my vision is in Black and White. Ol’ Sarge picks up a foot tall Mike: “Calling all cars, Calling all cars, Be on the lookout for a guy with a Seeing Eye Cat¡. Approach with caution! Cat has been reported to be an extremely vicious trained attack cat (Sirens start to whine. A Motorcycle cop adjusts his cap, pulls down his goggles, kick-starts the Harley and comes out from behind the billboard. I watch too much AMC)
Truth is that he most likely tossed the complaint into the trash can, or perhaps used it to entertain the oncoming shift during briefing.

He also asked me NOT to bring Kitty into the city for a while.

Whoever you are, Thank you!

CAV-AID 2008

Tokie and I get an eyeful

SEC and I get an eyeful.

The pesky little bastard woke me up early, so we went out early. I grabbed a breakfast sandwich at the local 7-11.

We went to the park, which is near a bus stop.I had my cane and shades on. We sit on a bench and I break open my sandwich and open a can of food for Kitty.

At the nearby bus stop I watch a woman hand this fat broad something. She goes into the park. She pulls a 'Leggs egg' out of her bag.

She sits down on the bench across from me. Takes a quick glance at me and hikes up her skirt and promptly starts changing her panty hose.

I was looking into space. About the time she was pulling her panty hose up, I raised my shades and said:

"Hmmm. My kid brother's Basset Hound has better makings than you."

She lets go a scream.

"But I thought you were blind!"

"What ever gave you that idea?" I asked.

"You got a cane and sunglasses and a guide animal!!"

"It's bright out, this is a walking stick, and whoever heard of a cat as a guide animal?

Besides, you made a really big mistake."

"What's that?"

"You thought."

Thank God the bus arrived.
This whole mess started as a trip to visit the vet. As I was leaving, neighbor Bob hopped in with me just to get away for a while. I had packed my white cane and shades because Dr Shirley thinks it’s funny to see us come into the clinic like that. It draws looks from patients.

a VERY risky undertaking.

The girl in question has since graduated from High School and is now in college.




My neighbor's kid took a spill at basketball and got a pretty healthy sized bruise. No biggie.

The next day at school, the math teacher, a 1st year, high-strung rookie about 23-24 yo) took 1 look at the bruise and instantly called the child welfare people without asking anybody anything about it. Bam! just like that. No chain of command thru the principal, no questions, no nothing! That ain't right!

Of course, there was a brief investigation. No wrongdoing of any kind, still my neighbor was pissed of to the max because he was 'now in the system'.

I got him calmed down and what we did was evil.

He called the school and told them that I was going to pick up his kid after basketball practice. He gave me a note. He waited at home.

I took kitty and we got out of the pickup around the corner, out of sight. Kitty and I did the SEC bit and Trish and Ms Crunt were at the door. I handed the note to the teacher and Trish led me off to the truck asking me who was driving. I said I would if she told me which way to go.

Then Trish asked if we could go to the rifle range on the way home.
Ms Crunt went through the roof babbling all sorts of craziness about a blind man driving and taking a little kid shooting. She followed us out to the truck screaming and babbling all sorts of shit. God, it was funny! Kitty made a beeline for the truck, as he HATES yelling. I followed, guides partly by cane, partly by Trish.

With her carrying on and Trish and I totally ignoring her, it's a good thing there were no witnesses. They'd have taken all three of us straight to the booby hatch.

We got in and fired up the rig and drove off amid threats of LEOs and Child welfare people.

Fifty feet out, we both started laughing so hard I almost had a for real accident.

The bait had been put out, the trap set.

Shortly after I dropped Trish off, Bob got 2 calls, 1 from the principal and the other from Child welfare. Meeting set for after school Mon.

Bob later said that he fenced pretty well with them and managed to make Ms Crunt look like the idiot she is. ('Whadda ya mean blind guy?' He's a Merchant Marine Officer!)

Then he went in for the kill.

He dialed me on the cell phone and I was there inside a couple of minutes, in a jacket and tie, wearing sunglasses. Trish met me at the door and took me to the conference room by the hand.

"That's him! There's the blind man!"

I took off my sunglasses and looked at her like she was nuts.

"You're gonna get fat if you keep up your exercise program," I said.

"What?"

"Running off at the mouth, jumping to conclusions, and dragging a good man's name through the mud is NOT good exercise," I said.

"But you has a cane and a guide animal!"

"The cane was a stick. I twisted my ankle a bit. Blind people use a foldup cane, if you never noticed, and the animal was a CAT. Who ever heard of a seeing eye cat? That's a good one, Seeing Eye Cat!"

I shook my head, looking at her like she was nuts, and laughed.

The kiddie cop laughed outright. "Seeing eye cat, that's pretty good," he said.

Even the principal smiled.

Ms.Crunt sat there looking pretty damned stupid!

The kiddie cop asked about the rifle range.

Mike said that Trish goes there to practice her Archery so she'll be ready for Spring Archery season, coming up soon. He pointed out that archery was a SCHOOL ACTIVITY and Trish took it last year, and planned to take it again.

As far as the rifle part went, He said that although he never owned a firearm and didn't see getting one in the future, that he wanted to have his daughter learn to safely know how to handle one in case someone ever handed her one.

Then he said, "Capt Pic is on several fine rifle teams and is obviously the guy to teach her. He's actually shot in the National Matches!"(Yeah, the JCG and Springfield matches. BFD)

The kiddie cop seemed impressed, which surprised me to no end. He actually said gun safety was a good idea!

Ms Crunt pouted. She looked on the verge of tears.

I then answered several questions about Bob and his relationship with Trish and then was asked to take Trish home.

We quietly hung outside the room for a while before we left, and there was all sorts of teary sobbing as the Kiddie cop and the Principal went to work on poor little Ms Crunt.

They hammered her big time.

I heard the principal tell little Ms Crunt that "If she saw 50' flames, she was NOT to call the Fire Department until she had notified her first!" More tears.

Trish and I left,with me stopping off on the way home at the liquor store for a 1/2 pint. I was shaking like a leaf. The after action shakes.I needed a belt just to settle down.

We waited about an hour.

Bob returned.

Final score: Lions-5; Christians-0.
1.Teacher on probation.
2. Principal pleading for no lawsuit.(agreed)
3.Kid gets tuition for free to grade 12.
4.Kiddie cop made everything go away except 1st contact report, and put a note on that declaring initial complaint proved to be a questionably criminal act on the part of Ms Crunt.(ouch!)
5. Trish pulled out of Ms Crunt's math class and put in another a bit more advanced, and the teacher there is supposed to 'work with Trish' to help her catch up.

Bob owes me a steak dinner,and a new pair of shorts. Kitty gets gourmet food and goes back into retirement.

CAV-AID 2008

We go to Wally World

NO––––Say Again––––NO animals are to be hurt in any way in this possible caper. NONE!

You need a 4' by 1/2 inch dowel painted white with a red, say 6" tip, a pair of sunglasses, a leash and a harness for the cat.


BEAT THIS:



OK, I needed a hand with this one, so I grabbed Neighbor Bob and his
kid. Bob drove, we arrived and he took my arm and led Kitty and I to the
door and in we went. The old bag was there.

You guys all know the type, she was probably pretty about 55 years ago,
and as her beauty faded, she replaced it with makeup and cheap perfume.
She's also the type that comes totally unglued easily. I think the
Wallyworld people won't let her wear any cheap perfume, which is a relief
for everyone.

When we got near the old bag, she came toward us and offered me one of
those dopey little go-carts in a VERY loud voice.

Any of you guys out there that are genuinely handicapped can tell the
rest of us that people often do this to them. It is really annoying to
them and it was annoying to me.(Just because your legs may not work
doesn't mean you're deaf, dammit!)

I politely asked her how she expected me to steer one of those dopey
carts. She got a bit embarrassed.

Duh!

Anyway, she fawned over me a bit and asked me if the little guy was a
real live seeing-eye cat.

"Absolutely," I replied.

Bob squeezed my arm and off we went to sporting goods. I hit an end
counter with my knee, another with my foot, and plowed into a support post
and chewed Bob out for not paying attention.We got to sporting goods.

I wanted to buy a box of .223 ammo any watch the clerk get weirded out.

What I DIDN'T know is that Bob and darling daughter had already
rehearsed their act.

The sporting goods guy came out. He asked me what I wanted, and I told
him I wanted a box of .223FMJ 55 grainers.

"A gift for a friend?," he asked.

"Nope. For my Mini-14," I replied. "Anyone tried to break in and
they're toast."

"How do you shoot, are you just legally blind, or what?"

"Blind as a bat," I replied.

Bob's kid spoke up: "He shoots for a living. He's a trickshot."

He gave the kid a dirty look.

"We all work for Barnum and Bailey," said Bob."He's a trickshot, I'm an
accountant and my wife's a lion tamer."

The guy gave Bob's kid an apologetic look.

"Do you work in the Circus?" he asked the kid.

"Yeah, I work with him," said the kid, looking at me. "He shoots the
pinwheel I hold."

"You hold up a pinwheel and he shoots it?"

"Yes, I hold it in my teeth and give it a spin. When he hears the whir
it makes, he shoots."

"How long is the stick?" he asked.

"About four inches", said the kid, casually.

The guy went straight into shock when he heard that.

The clerk recovered and looked at Bob.You raise your family on the road
in the circus,Huh? how many kids do you have?"

"Had 4, got 3 now.We lost one some time back."

He didn't ask how. But the dubious look he gave me made me think that
he thought I'd shot one of my buddy's kids under the Big Top.

Then he asked me about the little guy and said that he was the first
seeing eye cat he'd ever seen. I explained that Bob's wife, the lion
tamer, had trained the little guy in her spare time, and went on a while
about the advantages of seeing eye cats over dogs.

He asked me what defensive measures I take if a dog tried to attack the
little guy.

I explained to him that there was a little known Federal Law that
permitted blind people with seeing eye cats to carry concealed handguns to
defend their cats from vicious dogs.

"Gee, who da ever guessed?"

It was the kid that saw her first, and gave me the high sign. Out of
the corner of my eye I saw the 'People Greeter'. She'd left her post and
was nearby picking up the phone. The kid sidled near her, and listened.

"Cops," said the kid.

The jig was up!( Leonard Skinner music here: Give me 3 steps)

The old bag looked up at us. "I've seen you in here before, and you're
not blind. It's against the law to bring an animal in here!" she nearly
shouted.

Had she threatened me first with the cops, I probably could have
'brassed it out' with threats of a huge lawsuit, but she had gotten uppity
and called the bulls first.

I scooped up the little guy, and Bob tossed his truck keys to the kid
who took off like a shot. It's common knowledge that the township out
here has EXCELLENT police response time.


Bob and I walked pretty quickly to the door, as not to stir up too much
attention and when we hit the pavement, the little guy went up under my
sweat shirt and promptly got really pissed off and started scratching
the hell out of me. Ny new asshole is now about three inches above my
naval.Bob was heading straight for the truck. I headed toward the exit.
Nobody followed us into the lot, but the old bag stood in the door,
trying to keep her eye on me.

By the time Bob got to the pickup, the engine was running, and all the
doors were unlocked. He unparked and headed toward me at the exit. The
kid popped open the door, and we made a pretty good 'Bonnie and
Clyde'exit. Out to the highway, we hooked a right and not an eighth of a mile
down the road, we saw the local LEOs coming with lights flashing.

I let Kitty out of his hiding place inside my sweat shirt, and he
looked pretty upset, but got over it. Three miles down the road, we got on
the Interstate and we were home-free.

I wonder what had happened if we hadn't unassed the area fast enough
and had gotten caught.

CAV-AID 2008

"Let me get this straight...A bunch of skinny, under-nourished, tree-hugging granola munchers are threatening

The SEC and I visit Lowes

A lot of readers think that I have the little guy trained. Come on, think about it. Has anyone ever seen anyone get a cat to do anything that a cat didn’t want to do? Hah!

Fat chance! You should live so long!

No, a cat is a cat, and trying to get a cat to act like a dog is like trying to get a brick to carry on an intelligent conversation. On the other hand, one might have better luck with a brick.

The SEC will walk with me on a damned short leash, but that’s about all. The only reason the little guy will do that is because he knows that it’s the only way he can get out of the house.

Today I decided to take the little guy into Lowe’s. I also decided, rather foolishly, to put myself at the mercy of the little bastard. I decided to give him a long leash and see what happened.

I short-leashed the little guy into Lowe’s and got him into the main aisle before I cut him some slack. The place wasn’t too crowded, so I felt safe doing so. Of course, being a cat, he promptly jumped on top of a display and took a nap, leaving me standing there with my thumb up my ass and a leash in my hand for about twenty minutes.

I stood there and muttered threats, much like Popeye in the early cartoons.
After about twenty minutes, I grew impatient and growled at him. He woke up, hopped off of the display and started down the aisle. After a couple aisles, he wandered into the tool cage, with me firmly attached to the little guy.

Of course, someone offered to help me.

“Yeah, could you direct me to the Paint Department?” I asked.

He started to give me directions. I interrupted.

“Don’t tell me, tell HIM.” I said shaking the leash.

“The cat? Can I give him directions?”

“Absolutely.”

So the tool guy gets down on his knee and starts giving the cat directions.

Of course, the cat looks at him with a bored look of scorn.

When he’s done, I shorten up the leash and the two of us go straight to the paint department, with the tool clerk behind us, slack-jawed. We got to the paint department and the woman there asks us if she can help us.

I tell her to get out a color chart and explain that the cat needs his scratching post and climbing post painted. She asks me what color. I tell her to ask the cat. I pick the little guy up onto the counter and she lays out a color chart.

“What color do you want, kitty?” She asked.

The cat sniffs the color chart like he’s trying to make up his mind.

“Meow.”

So I put him on the floor and tell the woman that we’ll be right back when Kitty decides. The woman looks astonished and we leave.

Kitty seems to want to head in the direction of the lumber section, I give him slack and follow. He promptly cuts a corner and runs me into a post. Whack!

“Ouch! Dammit, pay attention!” I almost shout.

I hear a snort behind me. A glance out of the corner of my eye tells me that the tool guy, probably at the direction of his boss, is following me. This is getting interesting.
Kitty whips a U-turn and we’re back in the main aisle, still headed for lumber.

We’re now dead center in the main aisle and ahead of us is one of those dopey signs announcing some type of sale. The frame of the sign is like an upturned U with a crossbar in the center, below the sign is a two-foot square hole.

Of course, Kitty makes a beeline for it. Straight through the hole. I feel the obstacle with my cane, shove my cane in my belt, and gingerly feel the rim of the hole. I get down on my belly and crawl through and get up again.

I shortened up the leash and picked up Kitty.

“Next time you pull that stunt,” I tell him. “I’m going to replace you with a German Shepherd and take you straight to a Chinese Restaurant! Chin Ho offered me two fifty a pound for your sorry ass!”

The woman beside me looks pretty shaken. She’s probably a cat owner.

I put kitty down, he heads down another aisle, cutting the corner again, and I promptly run into a display and knock out the corner of it. There is now a pile of tape measures on the floor.

“I’ll get it,” says the kid shadowing me.

Kitty gets more threats, whips another U-turn, and we’re off toward the lumber department.

By now, at least a dozen people are shadowing me. Some are amused, but most of them are looking out for my welfare. A management type seems to have figured me out, but dares not say or do anything, lest he be pounced on by an angry mob that will insist that kitty really is a Seeing Eye cat.

A kid of about twelve or thirteen asks me a question.

“Hey, Mister, were you born blind, or did you have an accident?” he asks.

“What?”

“What made you go blind?”

“Masturbation,” I reply, seriously. “I didn’t believe the Nuns at school, but it really does make you go blind.”

The kid pales and takes off. Probably a St Ignatius kid.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see a guy about 40 trying not to pee his pants.

Laughing his ass off, he says, “You probably ruined him for life.”

We move on. Nearing the lumber department, I hear a voice. “Piccolo, is that you?”
I ignore him. Dammit! Ratted out by a fellow ARFCOM member! Now I wish I had brought my chain saw! I’d cut the bastard lips to hips! So I ignore him.

At the lumber department is a huge, wide open door, and kitty makes a beeline for it.

Out we go and I shorten leash and we head for the pickup.


CAV-AID 2008

We lay low awhile. Thanks, Officer

The reason for no SEC tales recently.

02/10/2004 : 14:41:21

Kitty and I are laying low.

We're waiting for the heat to die down.

Boy, we really went and did it this time!

It's been a couple of months, and I don't see us rearing our heads for AT LEAST a couple more weeks.

We came DAMNED CLOSE to being on nationwide TV and giving a certain anti RKBA reporter some SERIOUS payback!

My recon sources tell me that we got reported to the PGH PD.(Who are probably ROFLAO’ing)

I’ll be damned if I know who this caller is. I figure he’s a cop, because he knew just about everything. This tale of woe would NOT be written if it weren’t for an anonymous phone caller. He called when I was at work, and made Mrs Pic pretty nervous. Mrs. Pic told him to call back when I was home.

He did, and filled me in on the details of what later happened in the TV station AND the Police station.

I respected his anonymity. I made no effort to *69 him or find out who he is.

I KNOW that the caller has visited this website. Maybe as a member, maybe as a lurker. I don’t know. I THINK he’s a cop.

Anyway, thank you, Mr. Caller.

Some time after Tokie died

Gotta go BACK to Emerald City. The Water Department.

Last time I was there the SEC was still with me and we had a little fun.

In I walk, go to the desk and explain the problem. The woman askes me if I once had a vision problem. I KNOW where this is going. Busted.

Almost.

So I tell her I was legally blind for seven years.

"Cornea transplant?" she asks.

"Cat died," I reply.

"I remember the cat," she said. " How did that get your vision back?"

"Seven or eight years ago, my wife rescued a stray cat. I didn't know I was allergic to them and after a couple weeks , my eyes shut solid. Doctors couldn't figure it out. I asked my HMO for a guide dog, but they only offered to train my cat to do guide duty. All along it was making me worse, and nobody ever had a clue. The cat was keeping my eyes shut. When the cat died, my eyes got better.

"Really?"

"What do you think," I snapped indignantly. "How would you like to spend seven years being led around by a damned cat?"

She didn't know what to say. I'm sure she figured it was all bullshit, but she knew if it wasn't, it could cost her job.

She changed the subject, took instant care of the bill and got me out of there fast.


Not bad for off the top of my head, Huh?

CAV-AID 2008

Tee SEC and I pay a water bill

I had to go to the water department today. The new building is nearby, and is sorta built in a ravine of sorts. When you drive by it, you are actually looking DOWN at the building, which is pretty huge, and the Maintainance building that's a hell of a lot bigger.

Because of the odd-colored green roof, the pair of buildings is known throughout the area as 'Emerald City'.

Kitty and I went in, I was in sunglasses with cane. We stumped up to the receptionist and I picked up kitty.

"Kitty, does this look like Kansas?" I asked.

Then I looked toward, but not directly at the receptionist, and told her: "I'm here to see the Wizard to get my eyes fixed And, Oh, to have this bill reviewed."

The woman busted up laughing.

"I've been wondering when someone would actually have the nerve to ask and see the Wizard," she said. "The nickname 'Emerald City' really does fit."

"My wife says that this bill is wrong," I said.
"Would you read it to me?"

"OhmyGod!" she said. "You really are blind."

She took the bill and left for a few minutes.

When she returned, she told me that the bill had been paid a while back.

"I know, it was screwed up then and I was trying to see if it was going to be sent out screwed up again. I figured that someone just quick-fixed it the last time and the wrong data was still on the computer."

"I'll check." Gone again.

She returned.

"You were right," She said. "I fixed it. This time you'll get billed for the proper amount."

Kitty and I left, and in the process, I 'accidentally' ran into a doorjamb.

Off we went, hopped into the pickup and drove off, swinging my cane out the window. I wonder if she saw.

All in all, a pretty good deal. I managed to save a Mrs Pic a headache. She gets worked up when stuff like water bills get screwed up.
Bill problems. Gotta go BACK to Emerald City. The Water Department.

Tokie and I go to Camp Perry

As you know, the SEC is getting pretty old, and really isn’t getting around on the Seeing Eye cat circuit too much these days, which is a part of life. He’s coming near to the end of his. I’m sure going to miss the little bastard when he’s gone. We’ve sure had a hell of a lot of fun together.

Last year, I asked you guys to write the CO at Camp Perry and ask if I could get an exception made to the ‘No Pets on Post’ rule. The CO’s email box was stuffed.

Which really made no difference because I couldn’t get the time from work to go to Perry, anyway. Oh, well.

Still, Commanding Officers do not like having their in-boxes stuffed with requests for permission to bring Seeing Eye Cats on post, and I sort of thought that someone might be laying for me. I was right. Sort of.

Anyway, I was at Perry and happened to run into a familiar face from a couple of years back. Maybe even last year. Although I get to Perry pretty much annually, I generally get to shoot High-power every other year. When I’m not shooting, it’s usually a hectic run to shop on Commercial Row and stock up for a year’s worth of supplies and a couple T-shirts.

The familiar face was Sp/4 National Guardsman and had served as an MP for the last couple of years. We chatted and I mentioned something about a guy supposedly planning to bring a Seeing Eye Cat on the post. He grinned.

“Ya know, last year, we were supposed to be on the lookout for someone like that and run him and his cat off post if we saw him. Some idiot stuffed the CO’s email box by posting his email addy on some shooter’s forum or something. I don’t think he himself gave the order to run the guy off, but it came from somewhere,” he explained.

“Yeah? I saw the guy with the cat and I can tell you for a fact that he’s here on post,” I said.

“Really? The guy that wanted to bring his cat with him to the Garand match last year?”

“The very guy. He’s got a cat with him, too.”

“Huh,” he mused. “I think there was a case of beer or something as a reward for nailing his sorry ass.”

“Well, he’s here,” I said.

“I ought to check up on this,” he said.

The seed was planted.

I figured it’d take a couple hours before every MP on post was looking for the SEC. The battle of wits was on!

Could I manage to hide the SEC from the MPs for three more days? This was going to be interesting.

Of course, I had allies. Many ARFCOMMERS would stick their necks out a bit to help me get away with it, and there were a few junior shooters that know about the SEC and would help me out of youthful exuberance. Time to put word out that the chase was on.

It didn’t take me long to get word out to my allies that the chase was on and the MPs were looking for the guy with the SEC. Of course, I had a distinct advantage in that they didn’t know exactly who it was that they were after. Sometimes the best place to hide is in the lion’s mouth.

A pair of MPs was walking between clusters of hutments when the first shot was fired. A teenage girl I had quietly recruited at Celeste Denson’s CeCa earplug clinic fired it. I had been careful NOT to et Celeste know what I was up to. Although she has a wonderful sense of humor, she is a woman of great integrity. I didn't want her to get caught in the middle.

The teenaged girl's brother was entering the family hutment as a pair of MPs went by, and she sang out in a loud voice.

“Don’t let the cat out!” she fairly sang out to her brother. This was a pretty good shot. The MPs were smart enough not to be seen peeking into the hutment occupied by a female. Still, they moseyed down and hung out a bit. They were hoping that there was a cat in the hutment and that it escaped. I quietly walked past suppressing a smirk

I new the 2 MPs would hang out there until they were called to go somewhere else.

I grabbed the cat cage out of my pickup cap and took it inside my hutment and left it where it could be seen only by peeking through a window. I tied the end of his long leash to the top carry handle and opened the cage. I’ve done this in motel rooms before. Kitty gets a little running room and can’t escape when a door gets opened. This way, you don’t have to shout out a warning not to let the cat out when you receive a visitor.

I doubted the MPs would be looking in this hutment for the SEC.

KY23 knows. He kept quiet. I’d bet that you could have beaten him senseless before he’d say that there was a cat in the hutment, and for good reason.

It was just as darkness was setting in when the second shot was fired, and it actually caused a pair of MPs to call another pair as sort of a backup.

Half a dozen fired a volley when they started wandering around calling out for a lost cat.

“Here, Kitty. Kitty, Kitty,” they sang out. When the MPs came around the corner after hearing it, they clammed up and shuffled round looking as guilty as hell. This caused the 2 MPs to call another pair and the 4 of them started calling out for the imaginary lost cat.

The SEC was now well hidden from the MPs, there was no way in hell they were going to catch us.

The following I took care of business. My teenaged girl co-conspirator fired another shot, with the expected results. She was glad to, as she wasn’t a shooter and was a bit bored.

I shot the Springfield match that afternoon, and later that evening some of the young people fired off a couple shots. This kept the MP pretty busy.

That evening a sharp-eyed Sp/4 bringing the cat cage to the pickup nailed me, but the MPs were to be disappointed. Here was no cat in it, and I was using is as a laundry hamper. For a second, there they acted like they’d brought a desperate criminal to justice.

Disappointment. No cat, no crime.

Later that evening, an ARFCOMMER was heard making cat meows. This drew a pair of bored MPs.

But there was no cat to be found. No cat, no crime.

The next day, I was slated to shoot the JCG on the afternoon relay.

The morning was spent on commercial row. A shooter’s wife told me that she was shouting, “Don’t let the cat out!” every time her husband entered their hutment. I think her hubby was an ARFCOMMER. She noticed the MPs walked by their pace slowly.

I shot the JCG match and spent the night at Perry, and left the following day around noon. I hadn’t been caught.

Why was KY23 never going to admit to ever seeing the SEC?

Simple. He hadn’t. The SEC had spent the whole time in Pittsburgh with Mrs Pic!

The cat I had with me was a stuffed toy.

Ya can’t catch a cat that ain’t there!

The SEC and I vote

OK, guys. You know the basics.

We arrived at the polls in Bob’s full size pickup and Kitty and I got out and I grabbed my cane and sunglasses. I short leashed Kitty; he heeled pretty well and actually looked like a Seeing Eye cat is supposed to look. I took Bob’s arm and we entered the building and got in line.

We’d been in line just about a minute when a poll worker came up and asked me if I had any special needs. That was nice of him. Bob answered him.

“I’ve got 20/20 vision and need to be escorted to the booth by a blind man,” he said.

“Err, Son, didn’t you mean that the other way around?” he responded. He was a pretty old guy, in his 70s. He could call us ‘Son’ if he wanted to.

“Whatever,” I interrupted.

Our asses were now covered. We had told the truth.

We waited in line, and as to be expected, some big oaf passes by and damned near stepped on Kitty. Kitty responded with a vicious clawing of the asshole’s leg. Haven’t seen him do something like that in years. The asshole got pissed and mouthed off about animals in the polling place.

“It’s a guide animal,” said a Soccer Mom.

“I don’t care what it is, if he claws me again…”

A lot of people started looking at the asshole, and he realized he wasn’t too popular. He made one more face saving threat.

“Touch that animal and you’ll be shot dead!” said a voice behind me. I knew her. I ‘bout like to shit. It was the woman from down the street. She’s really nice, and is one of my admirers. She’s a real Amazon. “Blind people with Seeing Eye cats are permitted to carry licensed handguns to protect their cats from Seeing Eye dogs.” She said. “Federal Law. John Kerry fought for that bill, along with Ted Kennedy and Charles Schumer.”

The poll worker came charging over and in a loud voice said something about no firearms in the polling pace. He nodded in my direction. “Except for him,” he said.
“Sounds like something those idiots would do,” said an unknown voice.
The whole line chuckled.

The asshole didn’t know whether to shit or go blind, so he closed one eye and farted. He moved away.

My neighbor lady chuckled. “Hey, Pic, wait’ll I tell my husband about this,” she said.

We laughed. I patted my underarm. The Soccer Mom directly behind me looked concerned. Could it be true? Was the blind man packing?

Silence.

A little kid with his mother started trying to play with Kitty in a way I knew he didn’t like. I signaled Bob, who started coughing heavily. The instant everyone started looking worriedly at Bob, I cracked the little bastard with my cane.

Whack!

The little yard ape ran back to the safety of his mother. Smart little crumb snatcher, it ever I ever saw one.

As we got to the front of the line, I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out an Irish Whisky bottle full of tea and took a healthy swig and passed it to Bob. He took a swig and offered it to the Soccer Mom behind us. She looked pretty upset and refused.

Now the pistol packing blind guy is half in the bag? Legally? John Kerry sponsored the bill? WTF?

When we were at the front of the line, the woman asked me my name, and I gave her Neighbor Bob’s. She dug out a card and asked me to sign it.

No way in hell was I going to forge his signature, so I said to him, “Take the pen and keep my writing on the line. I’ll sign. We’ve done this before.”

Bob took the pen, put it on the line and I placed my hand atop his and we buffaloed them. Our integrity was still intact. We had done nothing really wrong. It was really Bob’s signature.

To ham it up a bit, Kitty led me right into a pole and I hit harder than I thought I was going to. I bounced off and plowed into a voting machine. It almost got knocked over!

Close call.

“You ought to take that damned cat to a Chinese restaurant” growled Bob.

Everyone looked aghast. Except for the big guy that had felt the wrath of the SECs claws.

“Yeah,” said the big oaf.

“You keep out of this while you have a head on your shoulders,” said the Amazon from down the road. You even look at that kitty again and I’ll slap you silly!”

Everyone looked at her and busted up. The big guy turned red. Again.

Bob and I entered the booth and he voted.

We started off. The Soccer Mom who was behind me mumbled something about this being the first time she’s voted for a Republican POTUS in her whole life.

I guess she figured that she sure in hell wasn’t going to vote for anyone that would allow a blind drunk to carry a pistol. I say take the votes any legal way we can!

I let Kitty lead me into another post on the way out. BAM! I hit again.

“I need a fuckin’ drink,” I said, shaking my bruised head and pulling the Jameson’s jug out and taking a snort.

This drew pretty good looks. Horrified looks.

Then I short-leashed Kitty and the three of us stumbled across the lot, got in the pickup and started it up. A cruiser instantly blocked us. I rolled down the window.

“You were drinking? Asked the LEO.

I offered him the bottle of iced tea. He didn’t even sniff. He’s the same LEO that came to the house after we raised hell at Builder’s Square years ago.

“Didn’t you learn when your wife made you sleep in the basement for six weeks?” he asked.

He laughed and shook his head, got back into the car and drove off.

Kitty gets steak tonight.

The SEC in the bookstore

This is one of the first times I took Tokie out in his role as the Seeing Eye Cat.

Many of you guys have read of our earlier adventures, but not this one.

I’ve kept two stories hidden, and I’m in the process of trying to find out if the other one can be posted. The other one has only been heard by two Arfcommers, Sgt Hoskins and Offctr.

I’m not worried about the criminal liability of this one because it’s water under the bridge. I very seriously doubt the police are interested in this as of now.

I also never posted it because I sort of lost the fight and the victors write history. I didn’t get away with this one cleanly.

Far away and long ago, Tokie and I wandered into a bookstore. On a short leash, I could make it look like the kitty was leading me around. When we got in the door, I stopped for a moment and said in a clear, loud voice “Is there a service desk nearby?”
A teenager answered, “I’ll come and get you.”

“I heard you. Don’t bother.” I replied. And Tokie and I went over to the service desk.

I took my cane and gently felt around for feet and asked whomever if I was in line. “One step to your right,” someone answered.

I stepped to the right. “One step forward.” I stepped forward. “You got it. I’m the guy in front of you, I’ll get you there,” said the voice.

“Thanks, Pal,”

“Nice looking cat you got there. He ain’t no guide animal, is he?”

“Managed Health Care,” I said. “Bastards wouldn’t get me a dog.”

“Oh, my Gawd!” he exclaimed.

“Hey, half a loaf’s better’n none,” I answered. We made small talk, as we were third and fourth in line. Finally, I worked myself to the head of the line. The teenager asked me what I wanted.

“Do you have a basic book that teaches Braille?” I asked. She proved herself to be an imbecile.

“Down that row,” she started.

“He can’t see. Directions are worthless to him. Take him there,” Said the woman behind me. “Let him take your arm. Damned kids.”

“Either that, or she could tell my cat,” I chuckled. “Thank you.” A few people laughed.

She came around the desk and gave me her arm and carefully led me to the bookshelf.

“Hand me a basic book on learning Braille, please.”

She did, and led me over to the top of a low shelf and opened it.

“I’ll be OK,” I told her. “Just need to show the little guy a few things. Someone will be here to pick me up.”

She went back to the desk. I opened the book to the ABCs part and touched the raised letters as if I were reading them.

Then I picked up Tokie. I touched his paw to the raised letters.

“This is ‘A’”, I said. “This is ‘B’…this is ‘C’…” A few people passed me with a confused look on their face. A couple of the smarter ones snickered. They knew what I was up to.

It wasn’t long before the manager came charging up. She looked like a horrible old harridan with no sense of humor whatsoever.

“What are you doing,” she demanded.

“Seeing if I can teach my Seeing Eye Cat Braille,” I said.

“You gonna buy that book, or what?” she demanded.

“If it works, I’ll buy it. If not, I’m not.” I said simply.

“Baloney. Take your cat and get out of here.”

A big, beefy Irishman interrupted. “The guy’s blind, give him a break.” Then the big fellow tipped his hand. He smirked at me and then winked. I almost lost it then and there, but somehow managed to hold it together.

“He’s not blind!” said the old bag.

“Then why does he have a Seeing Eye Cat?” the Irishman shot back. His breath smelled like he’d had a couple Jameson’s under his belt, sort of like I’ve had as I write this.

“Take your cat and leave,” she said to me. I put the little guy back down on the deck and decided then and there that unless the police were called, I was damned well going to brass this one out. Deny it, even if they have pictures.

“Tokie, we’re out of here.” I said to kitty. Wickedly, I gave the little guy a lot of leash. On a short leash, I could act like he really was a trained guide animal. On a long leash, I was at his mercy, so to speak. “Keep a soft, civil tongue,” I said to the manager. “My animal doesn’t like fast movements or loud noises.”

“Just leave,” she said, sounding like a real shrew.

The cat, being a cat, took a short cut under a bench. I ran into it, almost went ass over teakettle and followed the leash. I crawled under the bench to follow. I got up on the other side and the little guy cut a corner and I plowed into a bookshelf and almost knocked it over. The old bag was not amused.

The big Irishman almost wet his pants.

“Lady, quit scaring my animal.” I almost shouted.

Another ally appeared. A Birkenstock hoofed, braided armpit, liberal do-good Humboldt honey jumped in. Unlike the big Irishman who was feasting on the uproar, this idiot actually thought she had a liberal cause to support. She looked like the kind that got pissed off if you held the door for her. A real mouthy idiot.

There’s one good thing about these idiots, they’ll fight to the death for you if they think that they’re defending something idiotic.

“That’s a guide animal,” the Humboldt honey protested. “You’re scaring him.”

Tokie went under one of those chrome inverted U things with a metal base they put in aisles to advertise specials in. I plowed into it and knocked it down. It got tangled in the leash and I fumbled around with it, set it back up and felt under the crosspiece and followed the leash. I crawled through the hole.

“Lady, you’re scaring the animal,” protested the big Irisher. A glance told me that he was trying not to wet his pants. He was positively amused. On the other hand, out little Humboldt Honey was ready to go to defend the rights of the blind and their Seeing Eye Cats.

“You’re scaring the poor man’s guide animal,” she shrieked.

That started to draw a crowd. A couple more people showed up. The old harridan started to freak.

“Margaret, call the police,” she shouted.

“Yeah! Call the police,” shouted the Humboldt Honey.

“Call the fuzz,” laughed the Irisher. “This old bag is assaulting a blind man.”

A voice from the desk: “What should I tell them?”

“The man’s not blind,” shouted the old bag.

“Then why does he have a Seeing Eye Cat!” shouted the laughing Irisher and the serious minded Humboldt Honey in unison.

“Tell the police the man’s not blind?” asked the teenager behind the desk.

By this time, the cat was the only one in the whole place that knew the right thing to do. He made a beeline and led me to the east wall where there was a door and he started scratching it. It was a fire door, alarmed with a panic bar. I mimed feeling the perimeter of the door.

“That’s a fire door,” shouted the old bag.

“Push it! It’ll get you outside!” shouted the Irishman. I pushed the panic bar, the door opened and as the alarm went off,

I shuffled out the door. The Irishman followed, laughing himself silly.

“I have to buy you a drink,” he said.

The old bag freaked. She ran to reset the alarm and call the fire department to cancel the call. AND call the police. But when she went for the phone, she gave me the instant I was looking for. I scooped up kitty and started off.

“This way, I got a van,” said the Irishman. “And I got a bottle!”

We wove through the lot and the three of us ducked into his van. He had a jug of Irish there, but thank God it wasn’t too full. I took a snort.

He fired up the van and parked it in a ringside seat where we could see through the storefront window. We spent the next 45 minutes in the van peeping out the windows watching the police go into the bookstore, interview people and leave.

The Humboldt Honey took the longest. We both knew that she was trying to hang the store manager for abusing a poor blind man. Finally the poor police officer left. The look on his face was priceless. He looked like he was going to close one eye and fart because he knew he didn’t know whether to shit or go blind! I never pulled a Seeing Eye Cay foray in that township again.

The SEC and I go hunting

About 6 or 7 years ago, I decided to go out on Opening Day of deer season. At the last minute, I decided to take the little guy with me.

Although there is a law against using dogs to hunt deer in PA, there is no law I knew of against taking a cat with me. I got everything together the night before, of course, and in the morning I grabbed some cat food and fished a couple of tuna cans out of the trash and washed and dried them.

Every year I go out and I spot at least a couple of legal deer, yet I haven’t shot one in years. I’m the laughingstock of the Sportsman’s club I belong to when it comes to deer hunting.

Truth is, I’m too damned lazy to shoot one.

At one meeting, I boasted about actually taking ammunition with me ‘in case one of them tries to trample me’. The guys chuckled. “Hey, it’s dangerous out there,” I said in a pouty-like defensive voice. “A guy could get killed.” More laughter.
Opening day is a special time for me that has little if anything to do with shooting an animal. It’s simply a day when I take a rifle for a long walk in the woods. The rifle stays in the safe all year and I guess it’s entitled to getting out and being taken for a walk every so often.

I harnessed up Tokie and we hopped into the pickup. I improvised a litter box on the floor by putting some kitty litter in an empty beer case. It’s a trek to the happy hunting grounds and I generally stop for breakfast along the way. There’s this little place that makes a pretty good breakfast.

Of course, I had forgotten that I wouldn’t be able to go in with Tokie. Then again, I figured it might be worth a try. We pulled into the lot and moseyed on in. There were a bunch of hunters wolfing down all the stuff that their wives raise hell with them for eating.

“Hunting cat?” one of the hunters grinned.

“You got it,” I said. “He’s got better sense than I do.” Most of the guys there chuckled.

“You can’t bring an animal in here,” said the owner.

“Any off you guys object to the little guy sitting under my chair while I grab something?” I asked aloud. Most of the guys shook their heads to indicate that they had no problem. Nobody voiced any objections.

“Nah, cats are pretty clean animals,” said one guy.

“Sit in the corner bench and keep him out of sight,” said the owner, looking around like some Mafioso making a drug deal.

I was genuinely surprised. I was pretty sure someone would object until I thought that most of these guys probably have animals at home themselves. Most of their hunting dogs probably sit next to them during dinner.

I fished the tuna cans out of my pocket and put water in one and some food in the other and slid them under the bench. Then I ordered breakfast, and an extra piece of ham. Tokie ate and jumped up alongside me on the bench, but on the inboard side where he wasn’t too obvious.

He curled up and took a quick little nap. Then my breakfast arrived and I cut a piece of ham up, fished up the tuna cans and set them up quietly on the bench. I really had to do this to keep him from hopping up on the table and getting both of us tossed out.

Tokie ate some of the ham and behaved himself. That’s pretty unusual behavior for a cat.

I ate, paid the bill and stuffed Tokie under my coat and sneaked him out because a couple of other people had come in while I was eating. No telling if any of them would start something. I

agree that animals probably do not belong where food is being served to the public, and I can see where someone would gripe. I don’t mind this too much.

The thing that pisses me off to no end is the cruel, gutless bastard that really doesn’t mind a situation at all, but simply starts something because he can. This truly frosts my ass. Had anyone voiced an objection, I’d have taken the little guy out and ordered a ‘to-go’ order with no problem.

The ones I’d like to smack are the ones that publicly go along with something than quietly complain to the management. If you have a problem with something, say so. Don’t backstab me.

Anyway, we got to the State Game Lands, and geared up and started off on a long walk down the open swatch by the power lines. I moved slowly because Tokie was being a cat and taking his own sweet time, sniffing everything and exploring the Great Outdoors.

A hawk floated above us lazily, and Tokie made a beeline for a thicket and got under cover. Like most cats, he’s pretty instinctive.

From time to time, we would hear a shot, sometimes two and I knew someone somewhere had harvested venison.

It was around mid morning when the little guy stuck his nose up and headed into the trees. About five yards into the woods, I saw what he was looking for, a gut pile. He sniffed and licked, but I wouldn’t let him eat. I snagged him up and took him away. About 100 yards away, I took out the tuna cans and fed him again.

Another hunter passed and looked and grinned. “Hunting cat?” he asked with a grin. “Highly trained,” I answered with a grin. “Two firsts,” he said. “First time I’ve seen a cat on a leash and first hunting cat I’ve ever seen.” He chuckled a bit.

The look on his face told me he wasn’t fooled. He reached down and gave Tokie a friendly little pet and continued his hunt. We went back out into the power line area and moseyed around until lunch and then retreated into the tree line after air support prepped it.

I got out the tuna cans and my lunch, and Tokie being Tokie gave me his look so I peeled off a piece of roast beef and put it on top of his cat food. He ate it in seconds. Then I reached into my pack for my bayonet, fixed it, jammed the rifle bayonet first into the ground and pulled out a ‘do not disturb’ sign and looped the string through the trigger guard.

Next, I tied Tokie’s leash to my wrist, placed my back against a tree and dozed off for a while. I woke up about an hour and a half later feeling a claw in my thigh. I woke and saw the little guy looking up at something. It was a pretty good-sized buck.

This happens to me quite often on opening day. I take a nap and when I wake up, I see deer. It’s goofy, but it happens more often than not.

Tokie gave a loud ‘Meow’ and I’ll be damned if the deer didn’t mosey on off somewhere. Seeing we were more that 20 feet from the truck, I really didn’t care. I loosened the leash and gave him a lot of slack while I refilled the tuna cans with food and water and watched him go off and dig a hole and poop and quickly refill it. Then I watched him eat.

We started back slowly toward the truck and the little guy caught a whiff of something, so we wandered in that direction. Another gut pile.

I scooped him up and carried him part way back to the truck. We arrived at the ‘parking area’ and there was a Game Warden. He was checking tags. He saw the pair of us and the look he gave us was priceless.

I cased my rifle and put my stuff in the back of the pickup. “You didn’t unload your rifle,” said the Game Warden. “I never loaded it,” I replied. “Please check it anyway,” he said. I opened the back of the shell and picked up my rifle, uncased it and held it up for him. “

The bolt’s out of it,” he said. “And there’s a bayonet in the case. What’s with the bayonet?”
“Bolt’s in my pack. Never put it in,” I replied. “Bayonet is so I can stick it in the mud and use the rifle to hang a ‘do not disturb’ sign when I take a nap. Ain’t nothing worse that being in dreamland and having someone shake you up and ask you if you’re all right.”

He laughed outright. Then he reached down and gave Tokie a little pet.

“I’ve seen hundreds of hunting dogs, and if he was a dog, I’d be carting you off,” he said. “Never seen a hunting cat,” Said the Game Warden.

I opened the pickup, Tokie got in, I followed and we drove home after another adventure together.

Request for the Navy Cross

Request letter for Navy Cross for SEC
5 June, 1999
Commandant, USMC
Washington, DC

Sir: I need a small favor. I need a letter explaining why the United States Marine Corps can NOT-repeat-NOT decorate my cat with the Navy Cross.

Seems the 7 ½ pound family kitty got tired of being chased up a tree by the local 75 pound fleabag collie and opened the Giant Imperial (get 16 ounces free) can of Whuppass on him. Quite frankly, it was the best damned fight I ever saw, and there isn’t a marine that wouldn’t have taken his hat-belay that-cover off to the little guy.

A couple of days later, the owner of the vanquished foe approached me and demanded that I write him out a check to defray his vet bill. My reply was simple: “Sue me. The only thing I’m writing is a letter to the Marine Corps putting the cat in for the Navy Cross!” That settled things then and there. And it did. That part of the issue is closed.

Except one of the neighborhood kids heard me and put word out at the bus stop that Mr. Black is writing the Marines to get his kitty a medal.

Ouch.

Those kids think I’m a real hero because last spring I hit a baseball over the phone wires.(It broke a grouchy neighbor’s window, too, which made me a bigger hero.) That, plus the time I chased a bully off. Those kids look at me the same way a marine looks up to Chesty Puller! (They also don’t tear my yard up on Halloween, either.)

I’m damned well not going to lie to those kids.

If I said I’m putting Tokie in for the Navy Cross, I’m putting him in for the Navy Cross.

As the leader of an organization that prides itself on integrity, you can understand. Incidentally, this letter is not to be misconstrued in any way to be any form of insult or injury to any of the brave service people that have been awarded any of the various decorations for courage while in harm’s way. I also feel you should know that I have a very serious side I quite often write my senators (Santorum and Specter) and my representative (Coyne) to make sure you get what you need. They don’t always listen, but I try. I’m constantly amazed with the excellent job the Corps does with a lousy seven percent of the DOD budget.

With thanks to the always faithful,

Piccolo

The non duel

SEC files: the pre-seeing eye cat tale Story:True. Names changed to keep my ass out of jail. Fortunately, the idiot has since moved.

Shortly after the little bastard stole my heart, he got sick on me and had to go to a big-city animal clinic for radiation therapy. Best grand I ever spent. This was about 6-7 years ago. He was still pretty much in the feral stage, although I had gotten him settled down a bit.

I was taking him for a walk on his leash regularly, and this * down the street thought it funny to let his collie out to chase kitty up a tree. This, of course, left me stuck holding a leash in one hand and fending off a 75 pound collie with the other.

I admit, it was funny the first time.

I bought a can of pepper spray, plan was to give the poor pooch a quick squirt and hose down the owner with the rest of the can. That night, I had a couple too many beers while watching TV with kitty on my lap. Kitty and I both woke up feeling not really 100% because kitty had been breathing my fumes.

You don't want to mess with a hungover cat. Anyway, we went for our morning walk, and as usual, the * let the collie out, but I was ready. Or thought I was. I unhooked kitty's leash and put him in the tree and got the shock of my life! Kitty jumped out of the tree and charged the collie!

It didn't last very long, Kitty tore the collie up––bad. REAL bad. Last I saw of the dog was watching him run while being chased by one pissed off 7 1/2 pound cat.

The dog's owner came flying out of the house raising all sorts of hell, and as he was carrying on, kitty returned and added fuel to the fire by sharpening his claws on the guy's mailbox post. I hooked kitty back on to his leash.

End of round one.

Late that afternoon, the owner came to my door babbling incoherently about having to cough up $400+ at the vet's office. Seems the collie's snout took quite a beating, seeing there wasn't much meat on it. Every slash kitty had made was to the bone and required stitches.

In a way, I felt bad for the dog. Anyway, the idiot babbled something about 'demanding satisfaction'. I knew he meant restitution, but, being a First Class Clown myself, I decided to take him at his word. I told him to show up Saturday AM at 10:30 with a reliable male witness.

Nothing like purposly misunderstanding someone.

He showed right on time. I came out of the house with my hair slicked back, wearing a ruffled front tuxedo shirt with mu moustache trimmed to a pencil-thin, ala Errol Flynn. Then I slapped him with a glove and offered him his choice of swords or pistols. His 'second' whipped out a cell phone.

LEOs.

MY second got to the cruiser first and assured him no weapons were out.

The LEO seemed both amused and aggravated at the same time and told the pair of us to 'take it to West Virginia'. "Those hillbillies eat that stuff up," he said. "Either that, or take it to the magistrate. If the dog wasn't on a leash, I KNOW what the magistrate's going to say."

I asked the cop if he's referee a fistfight, he agreed with a grin, if both parties insisted. The idiot skulked away. Took off like a shot.

As he was leaving, the LEO told me that my pencil-thin didn't make me look like Errol Flynn. He said it made me look like a pudgy little Italian organ grinder. end of round 2.

The cowardly bastard waited until I was at work a week or so later and demanded the money from my wife. The wife told him I'd just spent all of our money on dueling swords,'Which he's never gonna use because you chickened out!' He left. End of round 3

When I was home from work, I shot in a CMP match. On my way home, I stopped at Rosa's greasy spoon for lunch along with a couple former marines. In walks the *. "You gonna write me a check for that money you owe me," he boomed. " The only thing I'm writing is the Marine Corps puttin' tha cat in for the Navy Cross, after all, he whipped your 75 pound fleabag!"

Almost everyone in the place bust out laughing, and a former marine said:"That's right, put him in for a Navy Cross because if you put him in for a Silver Star, those chairwarmers in Washington will bump it down to a good conduct medal!" GALES of laughter. The * fled.

The following day I was trying to get out of mowing the lawn. A little kid from across the street came by and asked: Are you weally going to twy get your wittle kitty a medow?"

I decided on the spot, why not, beats mowing. So I went downtown and argued with a major for the paperwork, and it took me a couple of days to get it all completed. I sent it into HQ USMC, and, as I expected, got no official answer.

But about a week later, I found 3 small packages in the mail box with no return addresses, and greater DC postmarks. 2 homemade medals from the hobby shop, and one can of gourmet cat food with a 'Semper Fi' sticker on it. Kitty doesn't like to wear his medals, but sure ate the gourmet cat food!

The pepper spray got used about 2 months later. I walked into Clancy's and he was likkered up a bit and came at me with threats. I quietly goaded him on and when he tried to grab my shirt, I hosed the bastard down with the entire can. Clancy threw him out, and the next thing I heard of him was a couple years later when someone told me he moved.