My Eyes! He’s After My Eyes!

Good lord, has it really been two weeks since my last entry? Sorry, kids. I didn’t mean to vanish without notice like that. To explain, The Girlfriend and I have both been under the weather since the weekend of the 16th. And when I say “under the weather,” I mean “down in a two-mile-deep bomb shelter with a Cat-5 hurricane stalled above it, slowly grinding away the very crust of the earth.” Seriously, I can’t remember ever having a head cold lay me out the way this one has. I normally have a fairly strong constitution, or so I like to believe, but while Anne has remained relatively functional, I’ve been helpless in the face of this shit. At its peak, I spent two days on the couch in my bathrobe, weak as a kitten and drifting in and out of a fitful sleep. A few days ago, I ruefully joked — and it was one of those jokes with a grim kernel of truth at its not-very-funny heart — that I have in fact picked up a case of Captain Trips, the implacably deadly weaponized flu virus from Stephen King’s novel The Stand (his scariest work, in my opinion; I don’t do “outbreak” stories anymore, because they’re all too plausible in my mind).

It started pretty innocuously as a sore throat and a raspy voice, which I chalked up to Salt Lake’s annual winter temperature inversion, when a mass of cold air traps car exhaust, fireplace smoke, and all the other atmospheric filth you can think of near the valley floor for weeks at a stretch. Soon I had a cough too, which I again attributed to the inversion-caused “crud layer.” But then came the runny nose, the nasal congestion, the weepy (and then gooey, and then crusty) eyes, the sinus pressure — I had a day where I felt like Rocky Balboa had given me a solid right cross, the entire left side of my face ached so badly — and the stuffed-up ears, all of these rotating in and out of prominence. Just as I started to feel like I was making headway, a new symptom would pop up and smack me back to the couch. And underpinning all of it was a mind-deadening fatigue that quashed any ambition to do, well, anything. I suppose my kitty boys have enjoyed the constant company, at least.

Speaking of the kitty boys, on the second or third night after this thing really got a hold on me, I awoke to see one of them, Jack-Cat, sitting in the open doorway to my bedroom. Well, to be more accurate, I saw his silhouette sitting there. Unlike his shaggier, Creamsicle-colored brothers, Jack is sleek and black, a classic Halloween-style cat, so it was easy to identify him in the dark. I don’t know if I was feverish or if it was just the hour of night when the lack of good sleep finally gets to you, but in the instant of spotting him there, only a few feet away, his face ominously invisible in the shadows, I knew, just knew, that he was waiting for me to die. And once I’d rattled off my last breath, my normally sweet-natured little black buddy was going to eat me. Starting with my eyeballs. My tender, juicy eyeballs, round and bulging, primed to pop in Jack’s fangy little mouth like giant grapes…

Silly, right? Of course, it’s silly. But that was a bad night regardless.

I think I’m finally making headway on this stuff. My left ear is still intermittently stuffy, and I have a nagging cough. But my nose is free again, and I’m starting to regain interest in doing things that I used to do in the Before Time. And Jack-Cat hasn’t made any suspicious moves whatsoever. But still… I’m keeping a close watch on him. You never can tell…