February 26, 2015
There was a big snow, then it rained, and the puddles all froze. Then it snowed some more, and there was a big rain, and that froze, too, and apart from turning every sidewalk in Halifax into a jagged deathtrap, it’s left an icy mass on my building’s roof. Last week, my ceiling sprung a leak over the window frame in the bedroom.
I set up some towels over the curtains and texted the superintendent. He said he’d be over the next day, but around 4am, I became aware of a bigger problem — halfway across the room, the ceiling had started dripping onto Jesse’s badger bed.
Jesse was not taking it well.
After pacifying him with my light-blue towel, which he’s always been fond of, I sent a more urgent message to the super. He told me the property manager would come first thing in the morning, which, while a relief, presented another problem.
I don’t have a badger written into the lease. Though cats are permitted, I learned definitively one Hallowe’en years ago that Jesse does not tolerate costumes.
In the morning, when I heard the knock on the door, I hastily put him in the closet.
I’d only done this once before, during a date I’d organized for myself — and when Jesse made a brilliant escape, completely ruining the evening, I learned a valuable, painful lesson: that one should never confine a badger to a closet. But these were desperate times.
“Show me the leak,” said the property manager, skipping the formalities. He clearly still resented me for the time I’d requested an access key to the storage room. I led him into the bedroom after making him take off his boots.
As he inspected the bubbles on my ceiling, I heard Jesse growling at the closet door. I tried to cover like it was my stomach, and lamented the lack of grocery stores nearby. The property manager ignored this, and said he would get some people out to clean off the roof. This, he said, would stop the leaks.
I asked him if it would still leak when it rained, through these new cracks.
“No,” he said forcefully. “No. It won’t.” Although I recognized this as a Power Lie, I didn’t call him out on it. I took the opportunity to again show him my rotted window frame, but he dismissed it as too big of a job before leaving.
When I finally opened the closet door, the remains of my ultra-thermal sleeping bag poured out into the room, followed by my frenzied badger. I’d been sleeping under thin sheets for months when I had a sleeping bag in there the whole time? Terrible. I deserved the injuries I got that morning.
Some men came and smashed up the ice on the roof for most of the day, and though it took a lot of organ meat for Jesse to forgive me for the closet thing, all my other towels were soaked through, so I had to use the light-blue one to clean up a puddle underneath the curtains.
The sidewalks must be especially bad right now, because the emergency room is packed tonight.
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 game 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.
Once VR tech becomes affordable, I am going to play so much Go.
November 23, 2009
The Authorities were quick to discover my badger.
“Are you ‘Christian?’” one of them asked, his face one-third covered by federal-issue sunglasses.
“Yes,” I said, shielding my eyes from the glare. “Christian is me.”
“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.