This morning I took Pavlov to the vet and she had The Talk with me.
The Talk amounted to this: If at any moment after today I look into his eyes and decide he’s had enough she would support my decision.
So. My old friend’s life is in my hands.
I am giving him double the insulin and double the fluids I was before. He has three kinds of food he can choose from. He gets a massage/brushing every day, a laxative to keep him from becoming constipated, and antibiotics for a persistent respiratory infection. Apart from that there’s nothing I can do.
He spends his day crouched on the Polo beach towel by the door to my office. He still eats, drinks and poops but that’s about it. Sometimes he will visit me on the couch but he always retires to the floor behind the stereo.
From a human perspective that’s not much of a life, but for a cat it may be exactly what he wants right now.
I don’t think he’s suffering. He doesn’t look like he’s in pain. But I can see he’s tired, maybe too tired. I don’t know.
Once before I said I’d give him a week. Sure enough he bounced back. But the news today suggests he may have used up all the reservoirs of strength he’s been running on.
We’ll see how he’s doing at the end of the week. I’ve got to give the insulin a chance to work.
If it doesn’t, however, then I guess I will do what a friend would do.
About the author:
Del Stone Jr. is a professional fiction writer. He is known primarily for his work in the contemporary dark fiction field, but has also published science fiction and contemporary fantasy. Stone’s stories, poetry and scripts have appeared in publications such as Amazing Stories, Eldritch Tales, and Bantam-Spectra’s Full Spectrum. His short fiction has been published in The Year’s Best Horror Stories XXII; Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine; the Pocket Books anthology More Phobias; the Barnes & Noble anthologies 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, and 100 Astounding Little Alien Stories; the HWA anthology Psychos; and other short fiction venues, like Blood Muse, Live Without a Net, Zombiesque and Sex Macabre. Stone’s comic book debut was in the Clive Barker series of books, Hellraiser, published by Marvel/Epic and reprinted in The Best of Hellraiser anthology. He has also published stories in Penthouse Comix, and worked with artist Dave Dorman on many projects, including the illustrated novella “Roadkill,” a short story for the Andrew Vachss anthology Underground from Dark Horse, an ashcan titled “December” for Hero Illustrated, and several of Dorman’s Wasted Lands novellas and comics, such as Rail from Image and “The Uninvited.” Stone’s novel, Dead Heat, won the 1996 International Horror Guild’s award for best first novel and was a runner-up for the Bram Stoker Award. Stone has also been a finalist for the IHG award for short fiction, the British Fantasy Award for best novella, and a semifinalist for the Nebula and Writers of the Future awards. His stories have appeared in anthologies that have won the Bram Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award. Two of his works were optioned for film, the novella “Black Tide” and short story “Crisis Line.”
Stone recently retired after a 41-year career in journalism. He won numerous awards for his work, and in 1986 was named Florida’s best columnist in his circulation division by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. In 2001 he received an honorable mention from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for his essay “When Freedom of Speech Ends” and in 2003 he was voted Best of the Best in the category of columnists by Emerald Coast Magazine. He participated in book signings and awareness campaigns, and was a guest on local television and radio programs.
As an addendum, Stone is single, kills tomatoes and morning glories with ruthless efficiency, once tied the stem of a cocktail cherry in a knot with his tongue, and carries a permanent scar on his chest after having been shot with a paintball gun. He’s in his 60s as of this writing but doesn’t look a day over 94.
Contact Del at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is also on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, TikTok, Ello and Instagram. Visit his website at delstonejr.com .
Image courtesy of MGM.
“Quantum of Solace” Starring Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric and Judi Dench. Directed by Marc Forster. 106 minutes. Rated PG-13.
Don’t ask a James Bond purist what he thinks of “Quantum of Solace.” He’ll likely curl his lip, let out an exasperated huff and mutter something to the effect, “They’ve ruined 007!”
And well they might. Like many fictional characters who have made the transition from 20th century escapism to 21st century realism, Bond has been transformed. “Quantum of Solace” continues that evolution.
(Warning: Spoilers follow.)
The plot is classic 007. A super-secret organization known only as Quantum angles to depose the current Bolivian government and replace it with a strongman willing to sign over that country’s most precious resource – water. Give the screenwriters credit: They anticipate the ferocious competition predicted by climatologists to result from global warming and its diminishment of potable water supplies.
Despite orders to the contrary from the redoubtable M (Judi Dench), Bond (Daniel Craig) travels to South America to discover exactly why it is ersatz environmentalist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) has taken such an interest in an apparently barren desert. Vengeance is a subplot. Bond seeks payback for the death of Vesper Lynd while Bond’s female counterpart, a Bolivian secret service agent, Camille (Olga Kurylenko) aims to kill the appointed strongman who murdered her parents.
The action is hyperkinetic and at times almost unwatchable as exquisitely choreographed fight scenes unfold at a blistering pace, leaving Bond a dirty, bloody shambles who nevertheless prevails over the bad guy de jour.
Almost lost amid Craig’s intensity is the humor – not the campy double entendres of Roger Moore’s Bond or the sly sophistication of a Sean Connery, but actual comedy that launches unexpectedly from the darkness. Upon arriving in Bolivia, Bond is escorted by a sexy British agent to a seedy hotel where they will pose as exchange teachers. Unhappy with the accommodations, Bond takes them to the ritziest hotel in town where he explains to the desk clerk, “We are exchange teachers – and we just won the lottery.”
But much goes missing in “Quantum of Solace,” and this is where purists will hold their noses. Lost is the suave, indefatigable James Bond who emerges from a wet suit wearing a tuxedo, his hair unmussed. Gone are the insane luxuries of the super-rich, the creatively dysfunctional devices of murder (death by laser emasculation) , and the over-the-top malevolence of the ultra-evil.
Worse, we see Bond bleed, and that is not part of the Sean Connery canon of an unreachable and untouchable super man. It is as if Bond has also been tainted by the economic meltdown and would trade his beloved martinis for a can of Miller Lite.
This new Bond is more Serpico than, well, James Bond, and while that may satisfy critics one must wonder if the paying public will believe its escapist dollars have been well spent. So far box office receipts have been excellent so it’s hard to argue with numbers.
Ultimately you must ask yourself: Why do people go to movies? If it is to see a reasonable facsimile of yourself then the new, evolved James Bond may work.
But if it is to see a spectacle that rises above the gritty ordinariness of life, expect a regime change in the James Bond pantheon of superheroes.
Del Stone Jr. is a former journalist and author.
In this photo, Pavlov sits amid the ruins of tractor-feed perforation strips from my old Okidata dot-matrix computer printer. He loved playing with those strands of paper and usually created a huge mess. Photo by Del Stone Jr.
OK, so this blog is about a cat. Pavlov. MY cat. He’s sick and it scares me. I don’t want him to die.
Pavlov was here in 1992 when I was trying to recover from a catastrophic relationship. He didn’t know it but he helped me through that.
He was here on Oct. 4, 1995, when Category 4 Hurricane Opal roared across the Florida Panhandle. He didn’t know what was happening and his calm demeanor helped me cope with the terrifying destruction I watched fly past my window.
He was here in October 1998 when my father was dying and I finally broke down and cried for the first time in 25 years. He crawled into my lap and pawed at my chest as I sobbed.
He was here on Sept. 11, 2001 as I watched airplanes fly into buildings and could not comprehend the cruelty I was seeing on TV.
He was here on Sept. 15, 2004 as Hurricane Ivan laid waste to the Panhandle and I could not bear to sleep upstairs because the sound of debris hitting the roof frightened the living hell out of me.
And he was here in December 2005 when I made the decision to have Maggie, my other cat, put to sleep after she succumbed to the very same disease that is killing Pavlov now.
Pavlov is a chore. He must be given an IV every day. He needs laxatives to do his business. I hide vitamins in his food. He eats three different kinds of very expensive cat chow – at this point anything down his gut is a good thing. I give him an antibiotic twice a day. And he needs a special “massage” to keep his alopecia at bay.
It’s very expensive and time-consuming.
I think he’s still happy. He doesn’t appear to be suffering.
But it’s clear to me he’s heading downhill. He sounds different. He’s peeing around the house, which is never a good sign. I think his diabetes has returned.
I had Maggie put to sleep the week before Christmas, and I cried for weeks afterwards. I loved that cat.
I believed I didn’t feel the same about Pavlov, but I’m seeing now that isn’t true. It will be heartbreaking to make that drive to the vet in Destin.
No more pets.
Author’s note: Contact me at email@example.com. To read more of my opinion and humor pieces, visit delstonejr.com . I also write fiction – horror, science fiction and contemporary fantasy. If you’re a fan of such genres please check out my Amazon author’s page. Print and e-books are both available, and remember: You don’t need a Kindle device to read a Kindle e-book. Simply download the free Kindle app for your smart phone or tablet.