November 26, 2014
Jesse does not like it when I play Go.
With my badger friend back in the apartment, it was initially hard to find time to get onto the server for even a quick game. A blitz takes anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, which is more than enough time for Jesse to fall back into his feral habits. Just a few nights ago, I left him alone to go brush my teeth, and from the bathroom watched helplessly as he murdered my inflatable yoga ball. It was so graceful I almost forgot to floss.
But a good game of Go is something I require, much in the same way Jesse requires a good brushing, so I hatched a plan to divide my badger’s attention for an adequate length of time. I placed my rolled-up yoga mat in the middle of the kitchen and shoved some raw liver down the middle, then hurried to the computer to find an opponent. Jesse took interest in the mat immediately, and the way he growled, it was almost as if he knew it and the ball had been part of a set.
Soon I was deep in a furious game, trying my best to ignore the sounds of foam carnage from the other room. The mat had been premium, but if Go has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes you have to make tough sacrifices to get what you need. Using this strategy, I took a huge corner for just three stones, and readied myself to make a strike on my opponent’s daunting center. I was laying down a string of authoritative sentes when I became aware of Jesse prowling around my feet.
“Are you done already?” I asked, trying to keep my concentration. But it was Jesse who was now transfixed, staring at the shapes on the screen — black, white, maddening. The exercise equipment ruse had only seeded suspicion in his badger brain, and this new bi-coloured companion of mine was evidently an urgent threat. Just as my opponent forced a brutal seki, Jesse leapt at the computer, and foolishly I grabbed him, a mistake on par with catching a falling knife.
I’m definitely lucky to still have my eyesight, and I’m not sure how long we grappled, but it was long enough for me to lose the match on time restrictions. Jesse seemed to sense when this occurred, and left me to bleed, returning to the kitchen to finish off his liver.
I guess it’s about time I blew the eleven dollars on the Android client.
February 4, 2010
This apartment is still very cold but I recently acquired an electric heating pad, much like those used in electric blankets, and it has found a home under a regular blanket on my lap. As this is normally Jesse’s spot, there have been, as you can imagine, some tensions.
I was working on a database one cold morning when I decided I needed to get the pad out. My hands were chilly, and every time I would write a new query, I would have to pause and question my will to continue living. I could hear Jesse in the kitchen attempting to get into the garbage, so I knew it was safe to remove the pad from its hiding place. I quietly opened my sock drawer, after putting on some music to cover up the associated sounds, and slid the main portion of the pad under my lap-sized cat quilt. As I bent down to unplug my lava lamp, I heard the sound of a cookie package tearing and some happy snuffling, so I relaxed a little, and, with the pad plugged in, dialled up the heat to the maximum allowed by industry standards.
Jesse might have known something was going on when he heard the music, as it is not usual that I put on late-period Depeche Mode before noon, but responded instantly to the sound of the dial, tearing himself away from the cookie crumbs and running down the hall, coming to a sliding stop in front of the doorway. He had been getting into the garbage a lot lately and was developing a noticeable inertia, cute at first but now downright terrifying. He snarled, the scrap of a Mr. Christie logo stuck on his claws. I tried to not look guilty but the cord was impossible to hide, and Jesse is a perceptive, territorial animal.
My cat quilt was spared and despite the safety instructions on the heating pad which practically guarantee a fire for one reason or another, no fire was started. However, in my haste to hide the more covert but less effective barley bag from his rage, I ended up with a gash which I think actually needed stitches? It was elliptical at any rate. I considered calling Heather for her nursing advice but that website I had designed for her hadn’t gotten a lot of views and things were a little icy between us.
“Jesse,” I said, pressing an old Terry Fox Run t-shirt into the wound, “how can you be my only heat source when you’re always tearing open the garbage?” I removed the shreds of fabric and plastic from his paws and set him down in my lap. He stayed there happily until lunch time, though, and I finally finished that database I was working on.
After lunch I accidentally erased all my data with a bad update query, but I blame myself for that.
November 23, 2009
The Authorities were quick to discover my badger.
“Are you ‘Chris?’” one of them asked, his face one-third covered by federal-issue sunglasses.
“Yes,” I said, shielding my eyes from the glare. “I am Chris.”
“Are you in possession of,” he asked, consulting his clipboard, “one… Jesse?”
Internet police. The other man had an eBay pin affixed to the lapel of his suit.
“No,” I said, holding Jesse behind my back with both hands. “No badgers on the premises.”
“We never said Jesse was a badger.”
I tried not to wince as Jesse bit into my hand, the skin still sticky from when I had brushed the honey jar with my knuckle.
“You didn’t need to,” I said. “You’re reading my accounts, obviously.”
“We… don’t have access to your accounts.”
“My accounts of Jesse the Badger.”
“Oh. They were brought to our attention, yes.”
“They are fictional, you realize.”
The man removed his sunglasses. He had green eyes.
Jesse scratched the back of my shirt with his long claws, tearing through easily and catching himself on my belt. I felt a trickle of blood and squirmed, and the Internet Policeman definitely noticed something was wrong.
“If Jesse the badger is, as you say, indeed, fictional, can you say the same for your light-blue towel!?”
I had foolishly left my Emergency towel in full view on my armchair. His partner cracked a smile but said nothing. I recovered.
“That towel is true.”
“So I see.”
We looked at each other for a few more seconds before anyone spoke. Jesse had attacked the blood and I had to bite my lip to keep from screaming.
“We’ll be back with a warrant,” the man said, and the two of them walked off, down the stairs to the street. I closed the door with my shoulder and put Jesse down. He looked up at me, his bloody snout like a dewy hibiscus, and in his little green eyes I saw something I hadn’t noticed before, but had been there the whole time – gratitude.
We spent the rest of the afternoon tearing apart an old blanket.