It started off as a joke. We coordinated our living arrangements so that we could always be within walking distance of each other, a quick couple of steps across the Boulevard or a wave across Kedzie Avenue and Matthew and Charlie would be in my kitchen for dinner, and I would be in theirs for dessert cocktails. Someone made a joke about being able to hit the other’s house with a frisbee, and before we knew it, it was on.
“No you can’t,” he shouted and then I tossed and waited to see if he could catch it.
In retrospect, it may have been a bad idea. Matthew gets me into trouble sometimes and I am certainly no saint and when we spend too much time in the same room, inevitably, something in that room gets broken. To cut back on phone and energy bills and the effort it takes to holler, we’ve threaded a piece of string between our windows and he reads me to sleep when he can. When we found out that it actually worked, we immediately added a line to Charlie’s room and then dragged another one four blocks to our friend Andrew’s window so that we could make conference calls and discuss drug deals without having to leave our own bedrooms. We have been mildly concerned about the power lines and the El tracks but so far nothing has gone wrong. Occasionally a bird lands on the line and we have to bring it down with insults and threats about down comforters but so far nothing has died.
When we started having the frisbee contests, we started gently. Being able to brag about frisbee distance was enough for a little while and we threw with precision and care so the other one could catch it. Like everything, of course, we got bored with that, and the pitches got wilder before sundown. I think it was Charlie who suggested we remove the windows. He might have said anything, really, because there were not one but two birds on his cup line but either way it was a good idea. Taking out all the glass panes took about a day. We put them in a safe place on our back porches with a sign that warned of AIDS contamination to deter any possible thievery and then went back to tossing the frisbee.
“There goes the Juarez cat,” I said.
“Oops!” Matt belched into the cup.
After a few days, the contest got boring, but we still haven’t put the windows back in. Leaves are blowing through my house. I think I’ve made a new friend of this stray cat, but I can’t tell if it’s just using me.
“Matt?” I say into the cup, holding it in my hand as I totter around the drafty house with this cat in my arms, trying to keep the string tight. “Do you remember that time we were at that gallery with all the animals and we saw that turtle, and we started poking at the glass, and threatening it? Do you remember when I said, get out of here, before I make soup out of you, and you said, get out of here, before I make a bag out of you, and people thought we were nuts, but we laughed for like an hour anyway?”
“Yeah…” Matt says into the cup.
I tell him, “Matthew, you might be the only person in the world who gets my sense of humor.”