Less Than My Lover, More Than My Pet.
My sweet Milky Smith left me to fly with the bumblebees this morning.
He was 11 calendar years old, which is two billion thirty million seven hundred thousand four hundred fifty-five centipede larval cycles for an equivalent and relatable frame of reference.
Milky was the lone survivor of an industrial pickle bucket incident which took the lives of his litter brothers and sisters. The ensuing investigation to determine exactly how the kittens ended up inside a factory sealed bucket is believed by the locals to have been undermined by powerful men in low-key black and blue wool suits with sinister accessories to match. The case remains unsolved.
To this day many are still convinced the police department and major press outlets were paid off to ensure the renewed public love affair with vinegar soaked cucumbers continued into what eventually became known as the "Pickle Boom" of the early 21st century.
That's what USA TODAY called the phenomenon but honestly, it was just another foodie fad propped up by a niche conglomerate inside the agriculture sector.
Anyways, the town paper did run a small story months later with the headline "MIRACLE KITTEN FOUND ALIVE " and featured a photograph of a clearly traumatized but clean pearl white kitty cat.
After a few drinks Milky would reminisce about the horrific loss of his family and call them "Milk Duds" but would get upset if I or anyone else called them that.
In his youth, he worked as a barista inside a nameless rinky-dink diner but like many cats, at this time in their lives he racked up an insurmountable credit card debt to pay for his Ultimate Poggy cards collection.
Milky got took by the bank on that one and was also fond of bitching about "the goddamn ROI for these glossy hologram comics is bullshit" in between bites of his beloved snacky pack pudding pops and late night Matlock marathons.
He attended university in Kentucky and graduated with a C average; it was here where he discovered his life calling as a computer review analyst. His work in this field was nothing short of prodigious and vaulted him to international computer review analysis stardom.
The warm spring nights of his sophomore year were spent in a maddening love trance with a spicy Maine Coon named Spade Queen, whose real name was Candace Brownfield. He met her on the Appalachian Trail after a hiking bug bit him one afternoon. She had run out of granola bars and asked Milky for one of his and he offered up two like a gentleman but for a kiss or three.
Their romance lasted only the season though. In early June she confessed to an ongoing affair with Alley Cat 13, whose real name was Larry Baumgourd, a vagrant Scottish Fold who was into underground sex shows and "alternative philosophy" and had even bought Milky drinks on more than one occasion.
A week later Spade Queen left Milky and his love letters high and dry for a lucrative career in the adult film industry where she subsequently left Alley Cat 13 for Alley Cats 23 through 88 and a chronic case of anal polyps.
Milky told me one night that the stress of constant calls from retail newsprint coupon firms to analyze reviews after seeing his award-winning work on the Radio Shack Macintosh 2000 piece coupled with the crushing blow to his self-esteem served by Spade Queen led to his crippling bone density issues and extreme weight fluctuations.
He made me promise to never tell.
But he also promised me he'd never leave to go to the mall by himself and get run over less than a block from the house.
He was more than my pet but less than my lover.
He was my best friend.