Last night was the full moon. With all the fires in California this fire season--the other 49 states call it summer time-- the moon was the color of a ripe peach. I know what you're thinking, "Where'd you find a ripe peach!?" Hey, I'm 54. In my lifetime I've actually EATEN a ripe peach. You kids will never know what that's like. And did you know watermelons used to have black seeds in them? Apparently they were more than just seeds, they were flavor pods, because the newfangled watermelons have neither seeds nor flavor. Let's get back to the peach-colored moon.
The moon was full, and the light of it was so bright it shone on the pool cover until it glowed like a sheet of ice. It looked like you could skate on it. But I'm in no mood for skating, Mr. Cat is still out and he's not taking my calls. "Mither Cyat. Mither Cyat. Time'a come inna houth now Mither Cyat!" I call him like this every night. And every night he comes to that lispy stupid kitty talk call. Tonight nothing.
I lay down on the bed and eat a chunk of watermelon knowing full well it will cause "watermelon dreams." Watermelon dreams, like pizza dreams, are bizarro dreams that are almost fun to have, and more fun to tell, but disturbing. Not scary, just odder than odd. I watch TiVo. I get sleepy. I drift off and awaken to the familiar sound of the coyotes whose den is down in a gulch behind the vineyard, I'm pretty sure. The neighbor dogs are barking. The coyotes are...well, the thing is, coyotes don't bark. They yowl, or sing, more like hyenas than dogs. They almost sound like children pretending they're Indians. Do your best Native American impression and raise the pitch two or three octaves. You got it.
The sounds of the coyotes, the fullness of the moon, the watermelon...and Artsie not curled up on my legs...brings terror to my gut. They are night hunters. They have a full moon. Tonight they can see their prey. Artsie is not home because they've eaten him. And I won't know until morning that he is, for sure, coyote chow.
I fall asleep the only way a late-night watermelon eater can, in other words, not quite. It's the worry hour, between 2 and 3 a.m. Not to be confused with the worry hours (pl), between 1 and 4 a.m. This is the time of the night when your mind cannot be trusted. Its thoughts are not yours. Its thoughts are not real. It is dark outside, and it is dark inside...your brain. Stop it. Stop it. He'll be fine. He'll jump up on the bed any minute now with that Vinnie Barbarino look on his face and, "Whut." on his lips.
Good god, who is that! It is 3:47 a.m. and my cell phone is ringing. It was only when it woke me up I realized I was asleep. Oh no, it's Julie. I answer, "Hi, Julie. You scared me. You woke me up. What's the matter?" She's talking to someone else. I listen carefully because OBVIOUSLY she dialed my number in stealth so I could be ear-witness to the rape, murder, robbery or other heinous crime being perpetrated on her at this moment and with the help of a crack team of Crime Scene Investigators we would find her perp and effectively convict him.
Except she's saying things like, "We landed early." And I hear the clicking of seat belts. She's on a plane. She's deplaning. She must have dialed me accidentally when she turned her phone on after landing. I hung up. Unless there are snakes on the plane, she's okay.
And just then, onto the bed, leaps Artsie. I'm all, "Mither Cyat, Mither Cyat! You're alive. You're home. You're safe. The coyotes didn't eat you!" And he's all, "Whut."
We fell asleep in a heap.