Cats fell from the sky, but not dogs. In other words, it was raining cats, not dogs. The cats were mostly pure-bread, but some were purebred. There was one frog and one spotted leopard. Which is technically a cat, but the frog was surprised to see it nonetheless.

The droplet of water vibrated and skipped on the surface of the skillet. It made its way over to a pool of oil, and then popped upwards violently. He recoiled and clipped the back of his head on the stove hood.

He jumped into the foam pit and disappeared.

“Don’t parade down the hallway with that thing,” he said as he sat down on his meditation cushion. “You could burn your eyebrows off.”

He set a timer for five minutes, and began staring at the blank sheet on the desk in front of him. No veering of eyeballs. No wondering about sounds. At minute three, he pinch-held his pen from its very end and dragged it across the surface of the paper. It made a line like a stream falling through a forest and then curved back on itself. It looked like a lower case q. He wrote, “quest”. Then, “ion”. Then “ionic”. Then “tonic”. His father was coming to town. He should buy tonic water for his pre-dinner G & T. Circle that. Martini. James Bond. Tuxedo. He should get his suit cleaned. It hadn’t been cleaned since the last funeral he was at four years ago, for that was the space between suit-wearings. Circle that. The timer went off.

Later, he drilled a 1″ hole through the drywall and siding between his living room and the garden outside, so that creatures could get in and out. He finished it nicely with a piece of PVC pipe so the creatures wouldn’t wander into the wallspace.

His cousin worked as a clerk for the Chicago Board of Education. On a cork board by his desk, on dozens of thumbtacked post-it notes, he kept a collection of names that he had come across… variations of the phonetic “Kay-lee” (one of which had been his sister’s name).

“Bruce’s Sauna”, said the sign on the door. They pushed the heavy cedar door open. The adult-sized Batman pyjama pants hung from a hook on the wall. He threw the pants onto the heated rocks and ladled on some water.

The little brown squirrel climbed up on the big brown fence to get the nut, which was actually a polished stone of brown obsidian, stolen by a magpie 1000 years ago from a merchant in Venice. The story of how it got to this house fence in Connecticut a millennium later is fantastic.

He looked across the spread that the B&B hosts had put together on the hutch: French toast and fixings. Fruit, skyr, syrups, and a pyramid of beautiful, thick, French toast powdered with icing sugar. But the gluten was off limits. You don’t fully appreciate generous French toast fixings until you can no longer eat the toast.

He had a large red chip clip clipping his nose shut.

He had been meditating and working on mindfulness for about three years, and he could definitely feel a difference. If his reactions to the world could be charted, the peaks and troughs would be tightened, and nothing really shocked him anymore. As such, he had been looking forward to this experience… a test of sorts: The watching of grown men and women chasing a giant wheel of cheese down a grassy hill.

“Don’t worry about that snake… that snake is okay. Yeah, he’s okay. Just don’t step on him and you’ll be fine. The bad snake is the one you want to worry about. You can tell the bad snake because it has a scar running down its face. That guy will crawl into your sheets at night. Man… I hope you don’t roll around in your sleep. Best not to move in your sleep, ever.”

The coffee was weak, but perhaps his taste buds were a bit off as well.

She ate her kiwis whole. Furry, scratchy skin and all.

It was remarkable how much a minor ache or sore throat could sidetrack his mindset. Just these little things… relatively small for a full-sized human, like a thorn in a lions paw, that nevertheless commanded continuous attention. A little yappy dog to its unfortunate owner: I’m here. I’m here. I’m here. Over here. I’m here. Preventing any sort of flow from happening, or happiness from forming. But then sometimes, he would locate the willpower to step back, look at the affliction and say, “You are there”, “You are there”, “You are there”. And it would calm. “There you are”. And it would quiet.

In her absence, the pup had flipped the kitty litter and skated it around the laundry room, den, and kitchen, while the cat watched indifferenently from it’s high perch near the window.

She came home from the orthodontist all loopy, with cheeks packed with gauze. Anything to do with gauze-in-the-cheeks reminded him of Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now, which lead to Marlon Brando in Island of Dr. Moreau, which lead to moo moos, which led to Homer Simpson.

He barged into the house, all barrel-chested like a 1950s movie star. “I need my chop saw back, man!”

He had late-night Ulkranian folk dance classes on Thursdays, and on Friday mornings, his ankles were so stiff he could barely descend the stairs.