Dear Jay-Z & Beyoncé,

I want you to know that I didn’t always feel this way. I was partial to you both the first day I saw you when I was just checking out the apartment. I immediately thought the sight of you both hovering near the door like dogs was kind of endearing, because most cats slump around and wait for people to come to them. I was charmed by the oddity of your actions, whose depressing motives are clear to me now. Plus, you were (and still are) each the size and shape of a large, oblong watermelon that I imagine Gallagher would love to smash. It was cute then. I feel like Gallagher now.

I enjoyed the concept of your existence at first. I hadn’t been in a home with animals since I lived with my brother, his girlfriend, and the feline fart-machine they called Mowgli. That jungle cat was a nutcase, and in contrast, you both seemed chill. How could you be anything else? You each weigh in the upper twenties and I think you’d both agree with me in saying that physical activity isn’t your strong suit. Regardless, I was more or less happy to have you two butterballs around. I also got a kick out of your names and I really milked telling everyone I knew about your monikers, as well as your comically unhealthy size. For a short time, I was also content in petting you when I made my way to and from the shower or kitchen. But then you started getting clingy.

At first, it was easy to enjoy the more-or-less ghost town that is the three-bedroom apartment where we all live. Your owner works a 9-5 and spends many nights at her girlfriend’s house. The other roommate is always away studying or teaching somewhere. So I’m alone with you a lot. And that’s why things started to get tricky. Every time I leave my room you’re there at my feet, crying at me in a high pitched chorus of meows, and clawing my legs through my jeans, drawing blood. After months of this unpleasant behavior, I just recently had my aha moment where I pieced together the puzzle of why you act the way you do, like at the end of The Illusionist when Paul Giamatti finally realizes that he’s just been in a poor rendition of The Prestige.

You’re alone more often than not, with nothing to do but gorge yourselves silly until you puke up landmines all over the floor.

Your weight and appearance – I ignorantly had thought – was due to the fact that you were just really lazy, like two real-life Garfields, sans-Jon. I also gave you benefit of the doubt, knowing that our apartment is fairly small and there’s not a lot of space to move around. It would be a different story if you were outside cats with freedom, I told myself. Then I noticed that, like your water bowl, your food kernel container is an infinite feeder. You eat maybe a cup or two of food, and a cup or two more falls down the chute through the space you had previously emptied. There’s nothing to stop you and no one to care about what happens.

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Your leavings pile up in the shit box and the pebbles of litter that you kick are spread out in an eight foot radius on the floor like you were trying to teach us about the size of the universe with each barefoot step onto a galaxy of litter-stars. When your owner does come home (the weekends, sometimes, to clean up after you and have fights with her girlfriend), she doesn’t even let you in the room. You cry for her when she randomly appears to make Orville Redenbacher’s in vein attempts to be touched, even if for a fleeting moment, and feel any semblance of love. At night you claw at my door to let you in, hoping in vain that you might find more affection from me. If I make the mistake of leaving my door handle not fully pushed in when I go to sleep, I’ll find you have made the tiresome climb up the ladder to my loft bed – a telling sign that you’ll go to any lengths to have any sort of lasting company.

I really can’t blame you. You’re alone more often than not, with nothing to do but gorge yourselves silly until you puke up landmines all over the floor. Sometimes I’ll hear you run about in a frenzy or listen to you tear up one of our sofa chairs, but I can tell by the shortness of your actions that your lack of commitment means you’re losing your edge every day. I think it has finally dawned on you that there is really nothing you can do to stop your descent into a sad form of insanity spurred by loneliness. I can see it in your piercing gaze and the way you lay about the room, defeated. It reminds me of how awful your owner is and how I feel bad for you, but not enough to do anything but complain.

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That said, I’ve thought about killing you, to put an end to your collective misery. Just let me know. Spell it out in the Purina – the cat litter or the food. I’ll be honest in saying that I wouldn’t be surprised if you owner would even notice your absence. I mean, you’re both already invisible anyway.

Sincerely,
Ben Hargrave

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