George’s Dilemma

George had no idea he even had a problem.  At least not yet.  His alarm had gone off at the usual 5:45 AM.  He rose, showered, shaved and selected one of his Wall Street pinstripe uniforms.   Ready for the day, he entered the kitchen, put on coffee and went to the front door to retrieve the Wall Street Journal.  Something seemed out of the ordinary, but he couldn’t immediately put his finger on it.  Ah, the cat!  Binky always bothered him to be fed and watered first thing.  Not today.  No sign of him.  George went into the living room where Binky slept peacefully on the carpet.  A little too peacefully.

George called to the cat, asking him to come and eat.  Nothing.  Approaching the kitty, George stamped his foot.  There was no reaction.  Bending down, George stroked the cat, feeling for a heartbeat, pulse, anything to disprove what he was dreading.  Binky was late, among the departed, no longer with us.  Dead. While George felt badly, he had always been pretty much a dog guy.  His Wife, Debbie, had wanted the cat, and five-year old George Jr. absolutely adored the cat.  George was considerably more concerned with how this should be handled than in Binky’s demise.  Binky had been an adequate cat, as cats go, but George was not devastated.   Little George knew nothing about Death.  That’s what was eating at George.  He dreaded being the one to tell his boy that nothing is forever. Things die.  As he sipped his coffee, he ran through some alternate scenarios.  He could always just get rid of the body and tell little George the cat must have run away.  That seemed convenient, but cowardly.  Maybe he could get Debbie to take the reins here; worth a try, for sure.

Running quietly upstairs, George gently woke Debbie and explained the situation.  He had been hoping for some guidance.  Actually, what he had really been hoping for was a transfer of responsibility.  It did not happen.  Debbie suggested a proper burial in the backyard after George had explained to the child about Life and Death.  After he had done the explaining; definitely  not the desired response.  She deflected the issue as if she were Teflon-coated.

George picked up Binky from the carpet, carried him to the kitchen and found a large brown paper bag.  Once he had Binky in, he put the paper bag in a large white plastic bag and went out to the car for the short drive to the LIRR.  He contemplated just putting the bag in his garbage can out at the curb, but balked at the idea.  The garbage guys knew him.  Maybe he could put the bag in the garbage can at the station.  Again, he couldn’t do it.  Parking his car, he boarded his crowded rush hour train to Manhattan.  As he found a seat, he placed both his briefcase and the Binky bag on the overhead metal shelf.

George was unable to concentrate on his paper.  He could just discard the bag in a Penn Station garbage can, but his conscience was kicking in.  That was no way to treat a family pet.  Binky had not just been an average cat. He’d been a damn fine cat.  Any cat that’d had to suffer the name Binky shouldn’t just have a grave; he ought to have a mausoleum.  No, George was going to face the music and do the right thing.  But obstacles still remained.  He had a whole day to get through and he could hardly keep the bag in his desk drawer.  At some point not too far in the future, Binky was going to get a little aromatic.

The subway ride was uneventful and George entered his office a few minutes early.  Good thing, too, because the Department refrigerator, though big, could get very crowded.  George put the Binky bag on the bottom shelf, as far to the back as possible.  Barring something unforeseen, Binky should “keep” until quitting time, right alongside everyone’s salads and sandwiches.  Nice. George hoped the Department had no closet “frig foragers.”

The day seemed to go on forever.  George made umpteen clandestine visits to the Kitchen to check on the bag; so far, so good.  When quitting time came, George grabbed the bag out of the refrigerator and was among the first to the elevator.  The subway came immediately and he arrived at Penn Station in time to catch the train before his usual one.  Again he placed his briefcase and the Binky bag on the overhead metal shelf.  Binky seemed to be noticeably less limber. Sort of stiff, no pun intended.

As George got off the train, his briefcase and bag in tow, he made a beeline for his car.  Leaving the lot, he cut off some guy in a Lexus, who flipped him off.  Following protocol, George returned the gesture.  Minutes later, he was pulling into his driveway.  The sun was setting and the backyard was dark.  Figuring he could get the grave dug before Dinner, he grabbed a shovel from the garage and went to work.  Though not yet Winter, the ground was hard and the digging was harder.  George comforted himself by imagining how difficult this could have been were Binky a rhino.  He got the grave finished and went in to eat.

Over Dinner, George was somewhat distant, wrapped up in what he would say at the burial.  After the plates had been cleared, George explained to his Son that all beings, people and animals, face a time when their Life on this Earth ends.  They go to join God in Heaven, a much better world than the one they left behind.  While we will miss our departed one, we must be glad for them and send them off with good, loving thoughts.  Little George, though very sad, seemed to understand, inasmuch as any five-year old kid understands.  It was time.

The family went out to the small grave, and held hands while George did his best impersonation of Minister delivering a graveside eulogy.  Some tears were shed, and Debbie and little George held hands as George brought the bag to the graveside.  They all bowed their heads as George opened the bag, knelt down and gently shook it over the grave.

Out of the bag and into the grave tumbled a cellophane-wrapped leg of lamb.

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5 Comments on “George’s Dilemma”

  1. Annie Says:

    Love this!…..My favourite line being…’George comforted himself by imagining how difficult this could have been were Binky a rhino’ Made me laugh out loud! My kinda humour! Brilliant!

  2. Cathy Says:

    Very funny …. what’s even funnier is imagining the expression on the person’s face who ended up with the Binky Bag.

  3. Sorry, Juddy but I just didn’t find this funny. I guess I’m too much of an animal lover to find humor in someone that callous.

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