Friday, November 25, 2011

Chickenhead: Allergies

Chickenhead assured us that the following is a true story.

April 24, 2001-Allergies

Thursday nights were big party nights at Terry Taylor College, but being
borderline agoraphobic, and stricken with numerous other anxiety disorders,
kept me in the townhouse every evening. It was me and the kitten, a stray my
roommate Bryan and his parents found on Ashland Street. It was a stroke of
genius naming her Ashland. I told Bryan that Ashley is more of a name, not
for a cat, but better than Ashland. He was insistent.
We were going to have a lovely evening, the two of us, watching NBC’s
“Must See TV” lineup while Ash climbed all over me. I grabbed the remote
control and tried to zap her as she attacked futilely. The remote fell to
the floor and she went after it, knocking over Bryan’s bottle of chewed
tobacco. That was Bryan’s idea of decorating apparently: A dozen beer
bottles filled with spit-out Skoal and Red Man and placed randomly like
landmines throughout the townhouse. Ash got some on her and I wiped her tiny
feet with Bryan’s blanket. Serves him right.


When “Will & Grace” came on, my cat allergies started kicking in. I have
since learned that I can be around cats and dogs as long as I don’t touch my
face until I wash my hands. My eyes watered and my nose and throat itched. I
had to come up with a plan without isolating myself from Ash. I placed a
chair between the couch I was sitting on and the television. Ash did not
like this and soon began leaping at me as if saying, “Why don’t you love me
anymore?” She leaped twice unsuccessfully, and on the third try banged her
little head on one of the bars under the chair. If I didn’t feel bad then, I
certainly did as she dejectedly crawled back onto the couch and buried
herself in my other roommate Nick’s jacket. It was heartbreaking. I went to
her, pleading, “I’m so sorry, Ash. I still love you. Are you all right?
Here, let’s play.” She recovered, but I needed something to help my
allergies. Then I remembered Q.Q.
Q.Q. was not so much the local allergist as he was just a guy who
practiced medicine and lived in an old whiskey bottle on our kitchen
counter. I gently rubbed his bottle, and out in a puff of smoke came Dr.
Q.Q., practicing his golf swing.
“What? Hey, what’s the idea, calling for me while I’m working?” he
“Q.Q., I need something for my allergies,” I begged.
“Didn’t I tell you that if you stay away from Miss Henrietta Pussycat
over there, you wouldn’t have this problem?”
“Yes,” I said. “But…”
“Yeah, but, but, but,” he said. “If shoulds and buts were beer and nuts,
we’d have one hell of a time, wouldn’t we, Sneezy?”
“Dr. Q.Q., please. Do you have anything to drink around here?”
Q.Q. opened the refrigerator and grabbed an open beer bottle. He took a
swig and immediately spit it out.
“What the hell is this crap?” he shouted.
“Oh, that might be some of Bryan’s tobacco spit.”
“Good Lord, I think I’m gonna vomit,” Q.Q. said as he ran into the
“Gallant thanks his host for the cold beverage,” I hollered. “Goofus runs
away screaming about how he’s gonna throw up.”
“Now, look, jar head,” Q.Q. said, returning. “You need to get rid of that
darn cat and get an armadillo or something. You’re like Elvis with the
“Q.Q.,” I said. “She’s not my cat to get rid of.”
“Hmm,” he said. “Wanna see a trick? You see this?” He pulled out a wand,
a magic wand perhaps. “Bet you didn’t know I was a magician. The Amazing
Q.Q., they used to call me.”
“They? Who’s they?” I asked.
“Well, mostly winos and prostitutes, but it was folks like that who made
Houdini famous.”
“Really?” I said.
“I don’t know. Watch.” Q.Q. motioned his wand toward Ash and she
“Holy shit, Q.Q.!” I said. “You made her disappear.”
“Yeah, so the narrator told us, Clouseau” Q.Q. replied. “Clever
observation, boy.”
“You’re a witch. They burn witches, Q.Q.”
“It would be warlock, and I’m not one. Thank you very much,” he replied.
“Bring her back,” I demanded.
“Fine, get sick and die.” Q.Q. motioned again and something appeared, but
it wasn’t Ash.
“Uh, Q.Q.,” I said. “That’s a bucket of fish.”
“So?” he said. “Cats like fish. Let me try again.” He motioned again, and
I began to worry about little Ash.
“Q.Q., that’s Fatty Arbuckle, silent film comedian. Please bring the cat
“Sorry,” Q.Q. said. “Better keep him away from all these tobacco
bottles.” Q.Q. tried again and a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex stood in our living
“Heavens to Mergatroid,” Q.Q. said. “You’re on your own, kid. I’m out of
here. See ya.”
“Bullshit, Doc,” I said. “I’m coming with you.”
We both jumped into Q.Q.’s bottle until the coast cleared, or so I
thought. Q.Q. informed me that mortals can get into a bottle, but not out.
Wonderful. For the rest of our lives, we would be The Odd Couple. I would
never see little Ash again, nor do I know where she is. And frankly, I was a
bit more concerned about living my life in a whiskey bottle, thank you.

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