Thursday, January 17, 2008

On Blue, Fierce Grimalkin

Grimalkin is an interesting word I came across today. It's a synonym for "house cat," though it originally was used to refer to a gray cat that served as a witch's familiar, which is probably the only cool thing about witches.

I have a gray cat. I have a grimalkin.

I wonder what my cat would be like if it were my familiar. First of all, I suppose that would have to mean I was a witch (or a warlock), something I'm not so comfortable with. Something has always struck me as terribly corny about witches, but that might be a direct result of their widespread corn-ification in popular culture. That, and I abhor Wicca, the closest thing to real-life witches. It is hard for me to fathom why, if you are going to pretend that you're some sort of impossible being, you would choose something as manifestly lame as a witch. No one past the age of 5 finds witches to be frightening, and not many past the mental age of 14 find them to be awe-inspiring or worthy of one's aspirations. While the concept of a witch might have been truly alarming to supersititous, naive, Christ-fed medieval plebeians, the wisp of that bygone era that remains in modern times is truly stale and fleeting. None of the essentially terrible traits of witches have any consequence in today's world.

But still, familiars are a pretty nifty concept. To me, they always seemed more sinister than the witch herself, the sight of one a more hair-raising omen, the uncertainty of their agenda more stressful and nail-biting. Just what sorts of information was that gray (black, whatever) cat gleaning about you, what sorts of weaknesses and soft spots was it reporting back to the witch? Is the rustling just outside the window at night the return of the grimalkin? Has it come to leave slightly painful, irritating scratches on your ankles? A gruesome, undulating hairball that twitches on your doorstep? Has it come to plant the Devil's seed in your own lovable tabby?

I think that's what my cat would do if it were a familiar. It would go around propagating the Devil's spawn. I think if Blue (that's my grimalkin's name) were an outdoor cat, he'd be a massive swinger. He'd work natural selection the way it was meant to be worked, spreading his genes far and wide and letting the sheer number of offspring overwhelm the gene pool and keep his cool-catness alive for generations to come. So, if he were a familiar, the extension of me, a witch (i.e. a person in cahoots with Satan), each little kitten he produced would be a distillation of the purest of evils. I'd like to think these Satanic kittens would eat their own mothers. I'd like to think that these horrendous felines would refuse to be litter-trained and would actively attempt to expel their waste atop their sleeping owners. I'd like to think that when the book of Revelations becomes reality, the armies sent forth by Satan will be comprised of thousands of demonic kittens fathered by Blue.

The other thing Blue would do is rip up people's newspapers. Somehow, he thinks that pisses us off, because my mother yelled at him for doing it randomly one day. Whenever we do something that annoys him, he finds a newspapers and bites a huge chunk out of it. It's the only example of consistent animal revenge I've ever encountered. Familiar Blue would tear people's newspapers to shreds, shrouding them in ignorance. He'd mince their books, fray their Ethernet cables, hide their cellphone chargers. People across the land would become immensely uninformed, mostly stupid, and completely helpless. They would be weak and susceptible to Satan's influence. I could cast my Level Three Spell of Doomy Doomishness without them laughing at me or pointing me out to bullies and frequenters of biker bars. Infernal domination would be close at hand.

Sadly, my grimalkin is no grimalkin. He's just intermittently moody, largely disinterested in human affairs and usually hungry. Having been neutered, he can't even spread his decidedly non-demonic seed.

But every once and a while, if you rub his belly for too long, he'll scratch you and run away.

I can only see this as potential.

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