In Defense of Insanity

from the continuing adventures of

Insanity Jones

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When my Grandmother would write Insanity Jones, her cat, would sit on her shoulder and ” Inspire Her “.

Most of us hated it when she said told that story to the press because Insanity only inspired one thing in our family and that was loathing.

When he walked through a room the lights would flicker the air would turn cold and if  Insanity  looked up at you your first reaction would be to cry.

To be honest, it’s hard to love something that holds you in such low regard. I’m talking about our Grandmother, not the cat.

Or whatever it was.

As I started to tell you our Grandmother was a famous writer in her day and presently if you’ve ever been a student of literature you’ve probably stood in line somewhere buying a copy of ” Cliff’s Notes ” to one of her books.

In case you’re not familiar with them, my Grandmother’s books looked simple they sounded simple but they were far from being considered light reading.

Over the years there was lots of speculation about what inspired her to create her characters and what they really meant and of course she was famous for her ‘unique perspective’ about human nature and relationships.

People took this discussion very seriously.

There are College Classes dedicated to studying the works of Estrella Derrick. I’ve even heard that there are Estrella Derrick Societies and all they do is sit around and talk about the ‘true meaning’ of Grandmother’s stories and they even talk about how her life played a role in her writing.

I wonder then how these diligent students would feel if they were to find out that the reason for ‘unique perspective on human nature and relationships’ was coming from a cat.

It would explain a lot.

But it’s true- every book, every play every lecture ever written by Estrella Derrick- were all authored by a cat. When I started to put that idea to the rest of the family they said I was crazier then Insanity, but I was right all along.

I’ll prove it to you.

Our Grandmother threw Halloween Parties twice a year- one for the holiday itself and the other for her birthday which was actually in December.

Coming in from the outside you’d be impressed- Grandmother was an avid collector of skeletal remains- human skeletal remains and she even had two mummies- one from Egypt and the other from South America.

So along with the bones she had body parts in jars and lots of candles and lots of photographs of people all over her house.

Those photographs weren’t of us (of course). They were all dead people in coffins so I guess that looking back on it now it’s a relief that we weren’t in any of those pictures.

So anyway, Grandmother’s house was dark and moody and on the surface you’d think she went all out to welcome her guests.

In reality, all she really did was to bring in a cleaning staff to dust and polish and she brought  caterers in to do the food and  the serving because domestic things had never been Grandmother’s ‘thing’. I mean her house always looked like Halloween anyway so it wasn’t a lot of work on her part.

But it certainly was on everybody else’s.

Just last Halloween it became pretty obvious that Grandmother and Insanity Jones were getting along in years. They both slept a lot and they both seemed too quiet and when they walked that Pirate Swagger they both had was gone.

I figured this conversation had to happen now because time was obviously working against us. So that evening I waited for Grandmother to go into her study and when I heard her chair slide up to her desk I went in without knocking.

She was reaching down for Insanity and she carefully put him up on her shoulder. When she saw me standing there and realized I had seen her lift Insanity up they both looked like the cat that had eaten the Canary.

Or the Eagle as it was in their case- neither one of those two ever did anything small.

” He’s the writer here, isn’t he? ”

” Excuse me? ” my Grandmother snapped- and I do mean snapped I could hear her teeth click together and no- she did not where false ones.

” Don’t be an idiot, he can’t write, for Pete’s sake Akela he can’t even read.”

” So that line about him being your inspiration…”

” That is true. Insanity if very inspiring, or haven’t you noticed that yet?”

“So he didn’t tell you what to write.”

” He most certainly did not…the idea”

I guess I should have known better, my Grandmother who loved herself way more then anybody else ever did simply because she thought no one else could do that as well as she could was not exactly a candidate for the role of being a Ghost Writer.

” So a cat didn’t write your books…” I said as my face turned hot.

Suddenly I could see how foolish I must have looked to everyone I’d been talking to. On top of that my dear Grandmother would probably find a way to work my idea into one of her stories and now the rest of the world would know how crazy I was.

I figured on my way home tonight I’d take that Bridge, the badly lit one home and the next day they’d find me…

My Grandmother turned around in her chair and looked up at me with the perpetual smile that she always seemed to have on her face, even when she was angry. Then she turned around and went back to her writing and she said with that smile in her voice:

” I never said that Akela.”

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Insanity Jones

by a.m. moscoso 

Inspired by The Soul Food Cafe Prompt

“W” is For The Wheel Of Life

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Insanity Jones was a cat whose real name was Wolfgang and he belonged to  a woman named Rose Hunter.

Rose was an old lady who never seemed to have been a young lady and for as long as anyone could remember she wrote ghost stories and towards the end of her very long old life she wrote horror stories that contained astronomically high body counts that ended up becoming video games.

Everyone in Rose’s neighborhood liked her and they liked her brick house with the stained glass windows and they didn’t mind that she had a genuine human skeleton in her writing room and these part monkey part fish creatures floating in jars in her study and a big heavy oak chair that someone later figured out was an electric chair in the foyer because hands down they were all much more unverved by Wolfgang aka Insanity Jones.

The cat, they decided, was stranger then Mrs Hunter or her collection of dead things in jars.

Insanity Jones bit the mailman ( twice ) he attacked the fire fighters that come through every single Fourth of July to put out the little fires that start in the Evergreen trees because no one living on 51st Street has learned that bottle rockets with strings of firecrackers tied to them are a really bad idea.

Once Insanity Jones even sat in the middle of the road during rush hour and backed the traffic all the way up to the Lost Bay Road and caused three hour traffic jam on the highway.

Why didn’t the people in those first few cars get out and move Insanity Jones?

Well, that would mean touching him.

So why didn’t they just run him over you ask?

Because if you knew Insanity Jones you probably knew that would make him really angry and very dead and that was the stuff nightmares are made of.

Really though, no one hurt Insanity Jones because they really liked Mrs Hunter and it was sort of sweet the way she’d pick Insanity up and hold him like a baby and tell him how sweet and precious he was.

Plus, if  Insanity had ever torn apart birds on your lawn during an Easter Egg Hunt in front of a bunch of 3-8 year olds all dressed in their Sunday Best or popped your dog’s eye out of it’s head you’d have to admitt that it was sort of satisfying to watch Insanity Jones sitting in an old fashioned baby carriage while Mrs Hunter cut flowers.

Occasionally she’d bring them over stick them under his nose and say, ” Isn’t that nice my Sweet Baby? ”

The only thing better then seeing that was having Insanity know you were watching.

Thinking back on it, Insanity didn’t seem to mind at all- because when that demonic man eating beast was anywhere near Mrs Hunter he would act almost human. And when she would lift him up and kiss his battle scared nose ( which was missing a tiny chunk on the right ) and say, ” Never leave me Wolfgang, it would kill me for sure if I ever lost you. ” he almost looked like a real cat.

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It was a sad day when Mrs Hunter died, and in the town of Abandon her funeral was huge. Along with her friends people like writers and actors and artists who did special effects makeup showed up to say goodbye.

Insanity Jones was there too and when he found his way into the chapel and sat on one of the back pews nobody tried to move him. No one sat anywhere near him but everyone remembers seeing him there and when he jumped down and walked out after the service he was limping a little.

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Nobody was really surprised that Insanity Jones disappeared shortly after Rose’s Funeral-  everyone in town figured he just went completely over the line and took off for one of the inner circles of Hades where he had earned his own little forest full of flightless birds and Fireman with exposed ankles.

In a way they hoped so- Mrs. Hunter would have wanted her Sweet Baby to be happy.

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It was about two years after Rose had died that her house was turned into a museum and it drew a lot of visitors on Halloween- and even after it was passed  people who looked like they didn’t know it wasn’t Halloween showed up and along with the curious and they all wanted to know the same thing.

Was it true that Roses’s Grandmother was Slumber Boneset- the famous Cemetery Baby? Was it true Rose spent two years living with Head Hunters and Witch Doctors on those little Islands in the South Pacific where soldiers during the war chose to die on sinking ships or ditched their planes in the shark infested waters rather then set foot on those dark little islands that Rose Hunter called home.

Rose’s friends would look from left to right and say, ” Well, she was a writer you know…” and then they’d say a little defensively ” Rose lived in a lot of places but she liked her house here in Abandon the best.”

As the years went on the Museum People started to notice little things around Rose’s House- things that made them not want to be alone in her rooms that smelled like nutmeg and gardenias.

Sometimes there’d be fresh cut flowers on Insanity’s little bed by the fireplace, sometimes the skeleton out in the living room would standing in one corner and you’d come back in a few minutes later and he’d be in another.

And sometimes the things in Rose’s Jars would have their eyes closed and sometimes those eyes would all be open and looking in the same direction.

They told themselves that in life Rose had a weird cat and she traveled to weird places and she had dead things floating in jars all over her house and she had a machete collection stored with bolts of fabric that were probably intended to be used as death shrouds- so of course you were going to see weird things in the house she called home.

As sad as it was they knew Rose was dead and gone and she was never going to come back and neither was Insanity Jones. The world, the people in Abandon would tell you, got a little smaller and duller when they accepted that cold little bit of reality.

It was a bright Spring morning the day Carmen Stark’s turn to open the museum came up- and like the other times she had to work alone in Rose’s House she prided herself on the fact that it didn’t bother her to work on her own for a little while the way it bothered the other volunteers.

She looked up into the bright blue sky as she popped the key into the lock and as she started to turn the key she saw that the trees were full of singing birds- all except for Rose’s trees and Carmen thought how right that was considering how hard Insanity worked to rid the world of anything that had wings.

Only the birds had been nesting in the trees since Rose had died so…

Carmen pulled her hand away from the key and she looked over her shoulder and up into the empty trees in Rose’s yard and then she looked down and looking back up at her was Insanity Jones.

Insanity was looking straight into her face and then he winked at her.

” You’re back ” she said and if you’re here…”

” Rose? ” she whispered hoping no one would answer.

And  from the other side of the door somebody turned the lock and the door swung open.

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