Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Ongoing Ballad of Daleville Dan

I've got a cat problem. Somehow, through some strange power unknown to me, I've managed to attract every neighborhood stray to the hood of my truck. They pee on my tires and the bushes in front of my house, taunt my dog as he barks, helplessly from inside the living room window, and on more than one occasion, I swear at least one of them has flashed me an evil smile as it walked slowly out of my yard in the middle of the night.

Fed up with the infestation, I borrowed an animal trap from a friend and caught me a cat. I caught the cat because I was told there is no service for picking up strays in my town. I called every humane society branch within three counties only to be told that they are not currently accepting cats but they would be happy to put me on a waiting list. In desperation, I called the dispatcher for the local police department to ask if they could do anything. The dispatcher answered my question short and rude, obviously suffering from a lack of morning coffee and some prior social education, and preceded to say "We ain't got no ordinance for stray cats." She went on to tell me that, if I found an animal dead on the road, they could send someone to come pick it up. Hmm, I thought, But I knew I couldn't follow through on such a despicable plan.

Well I've been catching cats for a week now-one a day. Let's just say that I'm trying to provide them with a good home in the country. Hey, don't judge me. I did everything I could short of providing a pillow and a scratching post for the flea-bitten varmints! Besides, were talking property damage here. These cats have scratched the paint and rubber on all of our vehicles. Back in the old days one could rid themselves of cats by simply starting their vehicle first-thing in the morning. This is no longer an option with electric fans and tight engine compartments.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a mean person. I love cats, they taste like chicken! Just kidding, although one never knows. I've eaten food in enough third-world countries that I have learned to refrain from asking if something doesn't taste quite right.

Anyway in keeping true to myself, I just couldn't let it go. Since I could find no help in the local community, I wrote a very long poem/ballad about it. If anyone asks me, I'll claim the characters and events are purely fictional.

I've tried to conform, if only barely, to the standard ballad format. That is, four-lines (quatrain) with the first and third line; second and fourth line emphasis.

The Ongoing Ballad of Daleville Dan

Daleville Dan was a simple man
New to life in the city
He was country as vast farmland
Taking no handouts or pity

His truck was his greatest source of pride
A 4X4 with big fat tires and shiny paint
He'd often say as he cleaned his ride
"A workin' truck, it ain't"

Now one cold morning, he went outside
To give his baby a start
A big black cat sat on his ride
A sinking, he felt in his heart

He stood firm, took a deep breath and yelled with all his might
"Get off my damn truck, you mangy flea-bitten feline"
You'd think the cat'd hiss, run away but no, he stayed for the fight
Dan yelled again, feigned a jump, the cat left in a hurried beeline

With the cat gone now, Dan went to his truck
And eyed his ride with great care
In his throat, a lump became stuck
When he saw some scratches there

Dan thought hard, scratching his head
He came up with a plan and broke out the old phone book
The shelter refused saying "can you call the cops instead?"
So, he called the dispatcher with a "please, come take a look?"

He pleaded and whined about his truck with the brand new scratch
The dispatcher gave him a hush saying "We don't care of your woes"
"Don't you see, we've got no ordinance for cats"
"find your own plan, round here, that's just how it goes"

No one to call, his heart in free-fall, he didn't know what to do
His truck was a mess, and if asked to confess
His yard was becoming a zoo
But Dan, a smart man, soon had a plan to get him out of his mess

That evening he looked in his shed and found an old metal trap
Made for critters, great and small
He thought of the cat "I'll learn him from giving me crap"
As he baited, set and placed the trap right next to an outside wall

The very next morning there in the trap sat a scouring mad feline
Ole' Dan was quite proud; as he picked up the trap with gloved hand
Threw the cat, in his truck, and headed for the county line
Over the bridge, across highway 231, he traveled through the land

A distance now away from his home, he stopped and let the cat go
The cat took off like, well, a scorned cat, and into the woods he ran
Satisfied, Dan got back in his truck and headed back home
No remorse, city cat, country cat, he thought, just a part of the plan

The next morning, Dan left his house, intending to go off to work
There lay the cat he'd dropped off before, waiting on top of his ride
The cat slowly rolled, flexed it's claws, looking at him with a smirk
Then, just as slow, the cat jumped away, as Dan stomped back inside

The scene replayed till two weeks were done
And Dan could take no more
HIs patience at end, he found his gun
And ran like a madman, out his door

In the yard stood the beastly, hairy, evil, flea-bitten feline
Rage in his mind, hate in his blood, Dan raised the pistol square
He started to squeeze the trigger, but he heard the siren's whine
Dan was distracted but shot at last; the bullet flew up in the air

The Po'Po' ran in, pistols raised and yelling with scream and shout
They cuffed him and beat ole' Dan down, pushing air from his lungs
To the station and in the jail, they told him he'd never get out
Saying "Son, what you trying to pull? We got an ordinance for guns"

So, now Daleville Dan, in the city jail, off the city streets
The cops threw him right down the hatch
And that dastardly, devilish, hairy beast
still uses his truck as a cat scratch