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2003-12-08 | 10:53 p.m.

Groggily Rufus licks, licks, licks the place where his testicles were this morning. He lifts his leg and stares at his crotch. The leg wobbles.

Sometimes "the right thing to do" feels absolutely wrong.

I imagine a future where people cluck their tongues over the barbarism of my present. In this vision, I am guilty of every noble vanity. I built the leper colonies. I throw witches into the sea. I hide syphilis diagnoses from black men in Tennessee.

Rufus is mewling piteously in his cardboard carrier. The pretty young vet lifts him out and shows me how to clip his nails. I already know how to clip his nails but we are having the conversation anyway. Rufus looks around. He seems frightened and confused.

I tell her I'm reminded of those urban legends where the guy wakes up in a bathtub full of ice and finds that his kidneys are gone. She says it makes her think of alien abductions. She imitates a frightened cat recalling the operating room: "There was a white light, and suddenly everything went black!"

On the way home, Rufus loses control of his bladder; his bowels. Jasper holds his nose and screams that the smell is too horrible to bear. I remind him that Rufus has suffered a great loss today but Jinx has no compassion for the cat. He cries at the top of his lungs all the way home while Rufus, who would have made a knee-weakening tomcat, slips and slides in his own excrement.

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