In Chicago town, I had two cats;
Kittens, sprightly, genuine brats.
I named them for thrill killers known ‘round the globe
by their last names only: Leopold and Loeb.
At night they’d crawl into bed with me–
had no girlfriend then, there was lots of space free.
And there they would cuddle, seeking warmth from the cold,
two tuxedo felines, named Loeb and Leopold.
One night one of them—I can’t remember which–
decided to snuggle so tight that I itched.
I asked him what gave, and out the words came:
“So how exactly did we come by our names?”
I inhaled a bit, the moment had come:
They were now in their teens, I couldn’t play dumb.
I propped each one upon a knee
and recounted how their monikers came to be.
“Long ago,” I began, “in the Windy City,
A crime was committed that wasn’t pretty.
Two students at the college that I now attend
Decided a young boy’s life to end.”
They gasped, horror-stricken, and looked at each other;
They were incredulous, the two be-whiskered brothers.
“Why’d they do that?” one of them asked,
while the other looked on, completely aghast.
“They wanted to prove that they were so smart
that they could perfect the murderer’s art.
They both possessed brains of the sort you well know;
The type that attends the U of Chicago.”
They knew in an instant whereof I had spoken;
They’d heard bon mots that I spent like tokens,
Offending acquaintances both left and right
With callous disregard on a dinner party night.
“Say no more,” Leopold said.
“I know exactly why the kid’s dead.
O’erweening intelligence, a shrunken heart,
You guys think you’re soooo damn smart.”
“Yeah,” said Loeb. “They thought it was funishment
to make like Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment.
“Your undergrad Supermen read too much Dostoevsky,
Instead they should imitate Alexander Nevsky.”
That’s the kind of cats I was raising;
Moral, upstanding, platitude-praising.
Or at least that’s the impression they like to leave
when you walked in the door from a drunken eve.
“Excuse me,” I said, with uncommon candor,
“You’re in no position to utter this slander.”
Their whiskers bristled, they took offense,
I couldn’t believe cats could be so dense.
“And what,” asked Loeb, “do you mean by that?”
Have you ever been grilled by such a cat?
“I mean just this,” I said with aplomb,
And then I dropped my behavioral bomb:
“Men and cats are the only two sort
who will kill another animal purely for sport,
So before you roll your eyes at me there,
Take a look in the mirror at the cats you see there.”
They were taken aback, and then back some more.
The circled their bods ‘round my apartment floor.
And then they sheepishly admitted their vice:
“Well, we do like to play with those stupid mice.”
Moral: Those who live in cat houses shouldn’t throw stones.