I talk often about how surprised I was how common gun ownership was in the South, how I once borrowed my friend Tara’s car, which unbeknownst to me, yielded a loaded pistol under the passenger seat, or how more than one friend there told me, “Oh yeah, every time I go to Savannah, I carry.”
“No shit,” I’d say. It seemed, and still does seem, foreign to me, but in no way did I want to hop on the gun ownership wagon, though I lived alone and was encouraged to. It did start to become clear, however, that in a home invasion situation or something similar, I’d be at a disadvantage. Many Southern stories begin with, “It’s kind of a crazy story…” I learned that what followed would most likely involve a gun, an opossum or raccoon, someone’s pickup truck, and someone’s weird relative or ex-husband (who was definitely carrying a gun).
Yesterday my cat Scrappy died rather unexpectedly. I’d adopted him from a friend in the South, and it was clear the beginning of his life hadn’t been very easy, he hid under my bed the majority of the time the first few months, meowed from the hours of 4-6 am, hated most men, and figured out how to open my kitchen cabinets with his paws to hide under them.
“What a pain in the ass,” I thought initially, but life has blessed me with a great deal of patience and tolerance, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and eventually we became best of friends.
Yesterday, after I put him to sleep, I contacted my friend Stephanie, who I’d adopted him from. “Scrappy lived a good life with you,” she said. “The first half of his life involved living on the streets of Brunswick Georgia, and getting shot…”
“Hold up, Scrappy got shot!?, I asked. “I never knew that.”
And in typical Southern fashion, she answered, “Yes, by my ex-husband.” Naturally, I thought.
I had so many questions, as usual. “How the fuck does a cat get shot?” and “What?”, “Are you kidding me?,” and “WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES PRECEDE YOUR EX-HUSBAND SHOOTING YOUR CAT?”
“Well, I’ll tell you sometime,” she answered, “it’s kind of a crazy story…”