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A lump was discovered on Rufus. It probably would’ve gone unnoticed much longer had a foreign hand hadn’t rubbed his belly for an introductory, “Hello.” Rufus and I mostly focus on head scratching.

Apparently I went into shock. Didn’t really notice how much until I was alone with Rufus and I started diagnosing his condition on my own.

“We’re up at 4AM every day for food and door. Feisty. Cuddly. Drinking. Eating. So much eating. I’m calling the vet…” There was never any question. We were always going to the vet. That was just to keep me calm in the interim while waiting till we got to the vet.

Rufus has always done everything for me and he runs like an Ever Ready Battery. He doesn’t seem to mind any of it. Takes the pills when they come and looks at me funny when he gets hit by a car. The neighbors love him and his demands are made humbly when he visits their homes. He cuddles and he snores.

I decided whatever the deal, I owe him whatever they ask.

But the shock.

It seems so often that I might have a range of three emotions: Love, Joy and Fear. Fear then tapers into anger when fingered inappropriately, which then dovetails into rage. Or rather: Fear irrationally crescendos into rage whenever fucking picked on. But at least it’s a crescendo and of course it’s irrational. It’s fear. And it always feels picked on. It’s fear. Yeah, yeah, yeah…it’s fear. It was easy to bargain with myself when I got to the vet.

There are dogs there. Rufus is a cat. I walk in and my brain starts up at me, “Fucking DOGS!” ” And his BOYCHILD BRAT!” “Don’t they have cages for that shit?!” “No crying.” So dramatic. And my eyes are welling, so the Aviators stay. “Rufus has a lump…But he seems fine,” and I give them the checklist from my Armchair Doctory. Usually I’m just picking up his special cat food. But I feel the ire, “HELLO?! YOU AGREE, RIGHT?! HE’S FINE?!!” And I ignore it.

I look at the photos of gargantuan furry bellies instead.

Relief arrives. Partially feeling welcomed by my own efforts to smile at my patrons rather than scream the bloody murder that was icing its way over my terrain. It’s the resident senior citizen with his dutiful cat and wife. They’re in today and they’ve turned Rufus towards them. Thank Fucking God. Me and Rufus really, really needed a little tenderness right, right then. I wanted that sweetness. I was absolutely terrified. The delicacy that protects an event by such selflessness…understanding and compassion. When you’re depleted it’s pretty grand when the Calvary arrives. And in such cute uniforms. Just smiling and being nice. Just tell me that my old cat’s going to be fine and I can take him home and continue to feed him his way too expensive special cat food that he and Myrna eat way too much of which then turns them into the aptly titled, “Dinosaur Cats,” that they are.

$533. Whatever.

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