To whom(eow) it may concern,
This is a sternly worded letter to all of you felines of myth, lore, legend, and urban legend who slink into my bedroom at night and clap your magical sphincters in my face while I sleep, like so many dirty castanets.
I reiterate myself once again — leave my room, you goddamn myth cats!
For those of you reading this who are not felines whose exploits have been relayed through centuries of oral history, I apologize. I have no quarrel with you.
Similarly, if you are a folkloric feline whose territory is outside of the geographical demarcation that is my bedroom's four walls, no besmirchment is intended.
I mean you in particular, Gichi-anami'e-bizhiw, "the fabulous night panther." You live under the Great Lakes, which are clearly not located in my bedroom. Let's include some pictures of you so nobody indicts you in my screed.
That's a face handsome enough to sell legal tender. But as for the rest of you mythic tabbies, I've made my marching orders clarion — clarion as balls.
Now, some of you humans reading this may dismiss me as a starry-eyed fabulist. Or maybe a 21st century snake oiler shilling fingers of, uh, jackalope extract and, like, bunyan balm, a term I just made up that has something to do with Paul Bunyan's gall bladder. But trust that my words are true and my language blue as I regale you with my tale of woe and/or "whoa."
When I was a kid, I spent a goodly amount of time at my grandparents' house in Rhode Island. It was there that I first discovered I was allergic to cats. This was a strange revelation, given that my grandfather had exhausted his household's entire supply of arthritic deaf cats in a single swoop years before.
See, the cats made a habit of sleeping atop the wheels of my grandparents' minivan. From what I understand, my grandfather was in a rush one day, forgot to check the chassis, and the ensuing carnage was not unlike three gargoyles perched on a steamroller.
Even with the cats dead, my grandparents' house still made me spend sleepless night in a Benadryl pocket dimension. Rivulets of tears and nose fluid would converge on my chin, forming a crust delta. When my parents found me in the morning, I'd look like one of those Incan child mummies, the snot latticework a reasonable proxy for centuries of ice crystals.
Bedtime in Rhode Island was like Stephen King's The Jaunt. Wait, that analogy made sense to twelve of you. Basically, I fucking hated my grandparent's house. They were lovely people, but sleeping there was tantamount to snuggling up inside a wallaby pouch filled with Sriracha.
I always assumed that decades of ambient cat dander were to blame for those long evenings of booger stasis, that unvacuumed cat hair that was turning me into one of those crystal vampires from Lifeforce.
But a recent and similar turn of events have disabused me of modern allergist newspeak. For the past week, some unseen primeval force has been depositing a bocce ball of mucus into my nasal cavities while I sleep. It sits in my head all day, giving me the vocal pitch of Sweetums from the Muppets. Every time I open my mouth, it sounds like a fondue exploding. Life is godawful right now.
Now, I could chalk this up to some heretofore undiagnosed spring allergy or even another mythological beast, like a nose kobold or a sinus gnome. But these symptoms remind me of those snotty New England nights, watching The He-Man Christmas Special in an antihistamine stupor. I was so fucking high a single sentence from Orko would stretch out into entire sonatas. Life, it was a Fisher-Price opium den.
In short, nowadays it feels like cats are nearby. But I never owned cats, and neither did my apartment's previous tenant. And it's certainly not ghost cats, because ghost cats are crazy talk. No, I have no choice but to assume that my room has been claimed by a cat of myth, and that I have always been allergic to mythological cats. For all I know, my grandfather pancaked the Nemean Lion back in 1986.
I have created a shortlist of mythological cats I saw in my dreams last night, which also involved winning a horseshoes championship against Flash Gordon. Here's a list of likely interlopers:
The kittens who pulled the chariot of Freya, wife of Odin.
The dreaded Tatzelwurm, an Alpine cat-snake which still vexes humans to this day.
Top image by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, whose raccoon testicle art you may recognize (NSFW). Fabulous Night Panther illustrations via Erin/Deviant Art, Talisman Coins, and Steven Lalioff/Burl Carvings, respectively. Orko image via. Cat chariot by N. J. O. Blommer, via. Tatzelwurm via.