It began when young Mickey Blaszczyk of Portage Park stumbled upon a baby cat. He kept it. His father, a subcontractor of vast body odor, once found the baby cat curled up in his work pants. Rather than identify this as one of the moments of haphazard beauty that sustains us, Mickey Blaszczyk’s father and his meaty hands took it as an affront. This baby cat is anti-union, he thought. I’m getting rid of it, he told Mickey. He flushed it down the toilet.
The cat — soon to forget his given name of Mittens Blaszczyk — found that the sewers of Chicago nourished him beyond his wildest imaginings. A relentless diet of activated sludge and ward-heeler’s turds helped him defy the growth charts of every sewer-dwelling cat pediatrician whom he encountered. And he encountered many. Because of his size, visiting alligators from New York — themselves of unthinkable depths and breadths — changed his name from “Mittens Blaszczyk” to “Bewhiskered Colossus Whopping.”
Eventually, Bewhiskered Colossus Whopping grew too large for the infrastructure in place and cracked through the asphalt at the already nightmarish Fullerton-Damen-Clybourn intersection, sewer lines wrapped around his neck like sewer lines around the neck of a giant cat. Police were summoned. They lobbed grenades at him, singed his fur with flamethrowers and assailed him with shoulder-mounted missile launchers. America declared nuclear war against Bewhiskered Colossus Whopping, and Irish-Catholics prayed to Satan that he would be be murdered by big lightning. It was all to no effect.
Bewhiskered Colossus Whopping meowed at them, and the sound of that meowing crumbled capital improvements at far-off universities where legacy admissions hoped every phone call brought news of a grandfather’s death. While it sounded like merest meows to those who survived the hearing of it, what Bewhiskered Colossus Whopping was saying was this: “As a show of defiance, I shall hold an illegal dice game at Wrigley Field.”
And that is what Bewhiskered Colossus Whopping did.
As for Mickey Blaszczyk, he died.